Four Steps to Sound Financial Planning

Get started on the path to a happy retirement by taking these steps to make a stronger financial plan.

Couple sits together on the couch to discuss financial planning

According to a recent Employee Benefit Research Institute study, only 41 percent of U.S. workers have tried to determine how much they will need to save for a comfortable retirement. You can put yourself among those 41 percent and get started on your financial plan with these four easy steps.

Establish a Relationship with a Financial Planner

Discussing finances is uncomfortable for most people, so it is important to develop a good working relationship with an advisor with whom you feel comfortable discussing financial details. Know the role of your planner and the services they will provide. Be sure to ask about credentials, experience, ethics and their approach to investing. Your advisor will know your most important information, so it is imperative to work with someone that you trust.

Know Your Numbers and Determine Your Goals

Know the ins and out of your personal finances including what is coming in and going out and gather your data including your budgets, insurances, employee benefit information, taxes, estate planning and investments. Brush up on your financial knowledge and familiarize yourself with a variety of financial topics. Set goals by identifying your current needs and wants as well as determining where you want to be in 20, 30 and 40 years from now.

Analyze Your Data and Develop Strategies

Once you have gathered your financial information and have an idea of where you are headed, your advisor will take the data you’ve provided and present strategies on how to best fund your goals. You can also use online calculators to run scenarios and estimate answers to common financial questions. Keep in mind that calculators are hypothetical examples used for illustrative purpose and do not represent the performance of any specific investment or product.

Get Started

As you get started on your plan, it is important to remain connected with your advisor for ongoing support, monitoring and adjusting as needed. Your advisor will likely set up regular appointments to check in and review your portfolio to help keep you on track. 

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