Updated: Feb 17
The goal-setting process is the most critical of all in the development of a financial plan. All the projections that your advisor comes up with mean nothing unless they represent those things that are dear to your heart. Some people have their desires clearly mapped out while others only have a vague idea of what it is that will make them happy.
Now that you’ve got a handle on your budget, the next step is to turn your dreams into reality by making them into financial goals. To do this, examine your life’s story and whether you are satisfied. It helps to think about your relationship with money. The two most important things we can control in life are how we spend our money and our time.
So let's take a look at what that means and how we can do that.
While no one question can trigger your mind to determine what you really want, I have come up with a few questions that may help you get started. Write down your answers since there are some real advantages to writing down goals. You will find it helps to create actionable steps toward your big dreams and that by identifying those steps, your goals become much more doable.
Read through the questions below – there are 14 of them – and if you’d like, you can download a printable version right here.
Examine your life’s story.
What in your current life story do you enjoy? (i.e. your job, where you reside, relationships with family/friends, certain hobbies…)
Did you expect your life to be different than it is?
What would you do differently with your life if you could make a change?
What do you want moving forward?
Examine your relationship with money.
What is your gut reaction to money and financial matters? List any conflicts, stresses, or concerns around money that you would like to get rid of.
What changes would you like to experience in the way you deal with your money?
Does money impact your relationships with others? If so, how? How would you like it to change?
Identify your financial goals.
What are your top financial concerns? List the top five concerns that you would like to address in your planning. If possible, prioritize these items (example: #1 saving for retirement, #2 solid investment plan, #3 adequate life insurance to protect my family, etc).
Identify how you use your most precious resource – time.
What is it you are truly passionate about?
Are there changes you would like to make in your life to allow you to spend more energy on this activity?
Has anything prevented you from fulfilling this passion?
Identify how you want to spend your time during retirement.
What are your expectations of retirement?
When do you want to retire?
Do you want to work at all in retirement?
When you are going through this exercise, if you have a spouse or partner, it is important to have them do the exercise as well.
Think through your answers and get them down on paper. Be as clear and specific as possible—and don’t be afraid to dream big. You never know what’s possible until you find out what’s possible.
How can your trusted financial advisor help?
Your trusted financial advisor can help you bridge your goals to reality. Once you have written down your answers, meet with your advisor to discuss your answers. Your advisor can help you align your finances with your passions and vision for the future. He can help you allocate your savings and investments while addressing your financial concerns and priorities. And, he can ensure that you are not only leading the life you want today, but that you are on track for the retirement that fits with your expectations and lifestyle.
Are you in need of an advisor that will keep you accountable for your financial goals? Do you need assistance tracking your goals’ progress? Are you looking for recommendations regarding specific action steps you can take to meet your goals? If you have a net worth over $2 million and need help from a wealth manager, the Peak Wealth Planning team can assist you.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
About the Author
Peter Newman is a Chartered Financial Advisor (CFA) and president of Peak Wealth Planning. He works with individuals nationwide that have accumulated wealth through company stock, ESOP shares, real estate, or running a business. Peter applies his unique background to help clients achieve their specific goals and enjoy peace of mind.
Peak Wealth Planning provides concierge services to meet your wealth management needs. Services include: financial planning, investment management, esop diversification, retirement income, insurance, and estate planning advice. Peak Wealth Planning is a fee-based financial advisor based in Champaign, Illinois, and Fraser, Colorado.