Financial Planning: Creating a Road Map for your Future

Setting the stage for a comfortable retirement can start with your first paycheck and continue through every stage of life. Whether you are at the beginning of your career or well on your way to reaching financial goal milestones, one of your options along the way is to develop a relationship with a financial planner.

Why partner with a financial planner?

When you establish a relationship with a financial planner you start with a customized financial plan and pair it with ongoing investment advice. That way the plan leads investments rather than the opposite. By pairing a plan—informed by long term goals—with your investment strategy, investment decisions are based on you rather than a starting point of past performance or beating the market. 

If we could simply lay out a plan, set it on autopilot and land on time at our destination it would take all of the financial wondering and stress out of planning for the future. Life, however, is no ordinary journey from point A to point B; it is likely that unexpected turns happen at the most inopportune times. Turns like career changes or getting close to retirement are inflection points in life where your financial planner can make a big difference. 

I have found that the most successful financial planning relationships are focused on real life advice, in real time managing change as it happens. Looking forward helps allows for a more proactive approach, reducing the importance of relying on the rear view mirror for perspective. While it may be tempting to start with investments and lay out your plan later, it is not a complete solution. Without financial planning investing alone may not produce the results you are counting on. 

Here are my top three route changers that can add value in your journey with a financial planner:

  1. Financial planning doesn’t mean planning for the day your health begins to fail; it means asking where do I want to be in three years? Ten years? Twenty years?
  2. Steer your financial plan by making investment decisions based on your goals and current circumstances. It may be tempting to jump straight to investments. Resist the temptation for a more focused journey.
  3. Tracking your progress through every stage of life is an effective accountability check and helps increase the likelihood of reaching your destination on time and prepared.

So whether you’re beginning your financial journey or nearing a big inflection point, feel free to call us and ask how we can help create a plan and map out your future to better align your investments with your goals.

Laurie Renchik, CFP®, MBA is a Partner and Senior Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® In addition to working with women who are in the midst of a transition (career change, receiving an inheritance, losing a life partner, divorce or remarriage), Laurie works with clients who are planning for retirement. Laurie is a member of the Leadership Oakland Alumni Association and is a frequent contributor to Money Centered at The Center.


The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Laurie Renchik and not necessarily those of Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Every investor's situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.