An Introduction to the Financial Planning Process

Philip Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, is credited with the observation, “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” He could easily have been describing the process of financial planning.

After all, there are few more important actions you can take on behalf of yourself and your family. In developing a financial plan, the decisions you make today will literally reverberate throughout the rest of your life. As a result, every decision you make in the process takes on greater significance — from the financial professional or firm you choose to work with, to how you interact with your financial advisor, to the ways you and your spouse adhere to the plan through all types of market conditions.

In this document, we offer a variety of recommendations to help you get the best results from the financial planning process, based on decades of experience in the business. We’ve deliberately focused our advice on the initial stages and decisions involved, based on the assumption that you will be working with a financial planning professional. After you’ve established your relationship with your financial advisor, they will become your primary source of financial guidance and advice moving forward.

Before we get started, it’s worth noting that even the best financial plan, by itself, cannot guarantee results. Success requires not only having a solid plan, but also having the faith and determination to stick with it, especially when your instinct tells you to do the exact opposite. That being said, nothing will increase your likelihood of success more than starting out with a well-crafted plan, customized to your needs.

Best wishes on your financial journey!

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