Financial planning is the long-term process of wisely managing your finances so you can achieve your goals and dreams, while at the same time negotiating the financial barriers that inevitably arise in every stage of life. Remember,financial planning is a process, not a product.
Your future is a journey filled with hopes and dreams. Investments are tools to help you achieve your dreams. How you use your tools, could be the difference between whether you realize your dreams – or not.
Financial Compass specializes in helping clients use their tools appropriately to achieve their financial dreams. Dreams are individual in nature and are different for every person. Your dreams are unique.
Dreams are most often achieved through a process. There are no get rich quick schemes that will reliably get you to where you want to go.
Have you ever taken a cruise on a ship? Have you ever wanted to take a cruise? Do you know someone who has taken a cruise? Do you know what is involved in being a passenger on a cruise ship? Your future is like taking a long cruise. Both set sail from a home port towards some destination. And both encounter situations, expected and unexpected, along the route.
Much care goes in to planning a cruise. Passengers begin by deciding on a destination – where they want to go. They may plan a Caribbean cruise, an Alaskan cruise, a Mediterranean cruise, or it may be a cruise through the Panama Canal, beginning in Miami and ending in Los Angeles. Additional planning includes traveling from their home to and from wherever the ship sets sail from and it’s final destination, either here in the United States or overseas.
Once the final destination has been determined, a list of exciting excursion tours offer guests the opportunity to leave the ship and experience the flavor of the local culture – visiting places of historic importance, sampling the local food and music, shopping for souvenirs, enjoying white sandy beaches, and others are reviewed, prioritized, and planned.
Planning this trip may begin months, even years in advance. It involves determining the cost of the cruise, establishing a budget and deciding how much money to allocate not only for the cost of the trip, but also the excursion tours, items needed to take on the trip, money to spend on board ship, and money for souvenirs to give to loved ones as a legacy of their trip.
Unfortunately, all of the planning that goes into the trip does not guarantee that the journey will go smoothly. It cannot prevent the unexpected. People may get injured or sick prior to setting sail, resulting in trip cancellation. Once the ship sets sail they may get seasick, they may even need to leave the ship and return home early.
In addition, rough or stormy weather, may turn the expectations of a sunny holiday into a rainy miserable trip. During those times, a competent captain utilizes many tools to navigate the ship along the journey. Also, the cruise line employs tour guide operators, medical staff, and ship stewards to assist guests, answer questions, and calm and reassure passengers as needed.
These and other unforeseen incidents may turn the best made plans sour. To guard against these unexpected risks and protect their investment in the cruise, travel insurance and medical insurance may be purchase to reimburse the traveler.
Financial Compass is like your financial cruise ship, ready to help you Bring Your Future Into View – no matter where you want your cruise to take you. We begin your journey by helping you identify what’s important to you – where you want to go in life - your goals and your dreams – as you define them. Once identified, we then help you prioritize and map out where you currently are, and how to get to where you want to go. Together we will strategize and plot a course geared towards helping you achieve your dreams. Along the way we may identify new long-term, intermediate, or short term goals such as saving for college, purchasing a new home, starting a new business, determining when and how to use your stock options, caring for elderly parents, having a successful retirement, leaving a legacy to loved ones, or any number of other goals and dreams you may have.
The winds of change may attempt to blow you off-course, so we periodically monitor our wind gauges and our map and compass to verify your position relative to your dreams. Periodically a change in course may be required and we may need to readjust the sails and chart a new course. At other times, although the winds and storm clouds may appear menacing, it may mean advising and counseling you to maintain the course. At times that may feel uncomfortable. However, maintaining the course often can be the difference between realizing your dreams – or being like a ship without a rudder – unable to stay on course and unable to arrive at your desired destination. At Financial Compass, we take pride in helping you stay on course so that you Bring Your Future Into View.
Most people would agree that their long-term goals and dreams are more important than planning a cruise. However in general, people spend more time planning their dream cruise than planning how to bring their future into view. Which have you spent more time doing?
Money is a necessary tool that can help you take a dream vacation cruise and/or help you achieve your financial goals and dreams. It takes the form of many different types of investments/tools. Although each tool is important, more importantly, the key to getting you to where you want to go in life is not what tools you have, but how you use your tools. The same tool can be in two different tool boxes with differing results based upon whose tool box the tool is in. A hammer in the tool box of a homeowner may repair the screen door at the entrance of a house. A hammer in the hands of a carpenter builds the house. Likewise, a compass in the hands of a cruise ship passenger, tells the traveler what direction north is. However a compass in the hands of the ship's navigator, helps passengers get to their destination. Which tool box are your tools in?
A compass is a navigational instrument used to determine direction. The navigator uses the compass to guide him/her towards his/her destination.
Which direction is your compass pointing towards -
your dreams or your money?
Do your dreams guide you in making financial decisions? Or does the amount of money in your wallet drive your decision making? - Which direction is your compass pointing towards?
For a moment, forget about your money and investments. Assume for a few moments that you have more money than you could ever hope to spend.
Imagine yourself sitting in your favorite chair on the porch of your beach-front property staring out over the bay on a bright-sunny day without a care in the world. Or imagine yourself lying on the grass in the middle of meadow with the mountains in the background, aka Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. --- What are you dreaming about? What thoughts come to mind that put a smile on your face? What are your passions? What motivates and inspires you? What brings a song to your heart? --- “The hills are alive …” What are you concerned about or afraid of? What holds you back from doing the things necessary to move forward?
The answers to these important questions form the basis of whether or not you will achieve financial success, as you define it. Answering these questions at times may seem daunting, however they should not be left to be answered tomorrow, because … the financial decisions, or indecisions, you make today will greatly affect your tomorrow.
Financial Compass specializes in helping you navigate the sea of financial issues that surround you. We utilize a wide variety of tools at our disposal to determine where you are on the map and help you maintain your course, even in rough waters to Bring Your Future Into View.
At times you may feel as though you need a life raft, as the swells of fear and greed threaten to sink your ship and delay your journey. However using our map, compass, wind gauge and other tools, we will tack our ship and change course as necessary to keep you sailing towards your destination.
We will work with you to help you plot a course, and give you peace of mind, knowing that as you continue on your financial journey your ship’s crew is using your financial compass to guide the ship towards your destination.
Financial Compass’ approach has always been to help our clients plot their financial journey based upon their goals and dreams. You are unique. Your questions and concerns may be similar or the same as your neighbor’s or your friends at the club - but your financial journey will always be different.
We recognize that difference and tailor the answers to your questions, concerns, and needs to you.
Collaborate with an expert. Financial Compass understands that no matter what your current level of wealth is, the number of financial issues you face on your financial journey are often interrelated and complex.
Diverse and competing issues such as education planning, career advice, planning for special needs children, small business office design, taking care of elderly parents, leaving a legacy, distributing assets at retirement, and many others may affect your ability to arrive at your financial destination.
Together we will pursue your goals and dreams through a comprehensive, long-term process tailored to fit your needs. To meet your needs, the universe of wealth strategies will be explored and broken into six primary components:
Accumulation: how to allocate and grow your assetsDistribution: how to target the distribution of your assets.Legacy: how to preserve your assets the way you want.Risk Management: how to protect your assets.Business Planning: how to grow and manage your business.Tax Management: how to do the above in a tax-efficient way.Plot Your Course: - Create a Comprehensive Plan
A comprehensive plan begins by looking at the “Big Picture” - how you define success, what you want to accomplish, where you currently are at relative to your definition and what it will take for you to accomplish your goals.
Financial Compass and You
With your goals and dreams as our guide, together we will simplify the issues and plot a systematic long-term course of action as we begin our journey together. Along the way, we may experience headwinds that could threaten to blow us off course. Therefore periodically we will monitor our gauges and verify our position relative to your goals to help you make smart money decisions and
"No airplane can take off without a flight plan; no ship can sail without a plotted course – and no household/family can contemplate a successful financial journey, especially across more than one generation, without some sort of comprehensive financial, investment and estate plan.” – Nick Murray.
Financial planning is not easy. It takes discipline. Laws are constantly changing. Our wants and needs change. What is valid today may not be valid tomorrow. Daily your financial journey often requires that you make financial decisions. There are three types of decisions you face:
Decisions you know the answer to.Decisions you don’t know the answer to.Decisions that you don’t know that you don’t know the answer to.People often don’t ask for advice on the decisions that really matter until the last minute – if at all. Unfortunately this lack of advanced planning often leads to critical errors in decision-making and action-implementation. Errors that reduce their long-term wealth.
Comprehensive financial planning is a long-term, dynamic process designed to help you make smart money decisions, when you need to make them. It requires knowledge of a mixture of complex and interrelated areas:
AccumulationRisk Management & InsuranceRetirement & Distribution PlanningTaxationEstate & Legacy PlanningBusiness Planning (for business owners and executives)Because these areas are not mutually exclusive, sound financial planning also requires knowing how these areas interrelate. Decisions in one area can drastically affect the outcome in another area. This could mean the difference between arriving safely at the end your financial journey – or not. Each person/family is different. Your journey is unique. Your destination is unique. Your plotted course will be unique. Staying on course, once the course is plotted, may be the toughest decision you make.
The comprehensive financial plan is dynamic and is as dynamic as a ship sailing the ocean towards a predetermined destination.
Determining your destination – Explore and prioritize your financial goals and dreams.Looking at the port your ship is currently docked in – Analyzing your current financial situation.Plotting your course – Employ strategies that will help you achieve your dreams, given your individual situation.Setting sail – Implementing the plan.Periodically check the gauges – Periodically monitor the plan.Evaluate the ship’s position and readjust the sails as necessary – Reevaluate your financial position relative to your goals and make changes to your plan as necessary.A disciplined financial planning process is just that - a process. It continually evolves and changes as you change. It's value is dependent upon your commitment to adhere to the process. Commitment to the process can create more value, and more wealth, to you than any individual specific investment/tool. It helps you make smart money decisions.