By Andrew Gipner, MS, CFP®
NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor
Happy New Year!
So with it being 2015, I had some major goals this year. Not to brag too much but based on the conversations I’ve had with the infamous Dr. Emmett Brown and his partner in crime, Marty McFly, I have successfully saved for a goal to not only have a hover conversion to my car, but also purchase an auto-adjusting/auto-drying jacket. Marty also mentioned something about the Cubs winning the World Series this year – I’ll believe that when I see it.
Wait, hold on there! Are you telling me that something has changed in the space-time continuum? Makes sense. While the Cubs are in the conversation to be a great team in 2015, I would say they are at least a couple years away from being in the World Series.
Great Scott! What about my goals?!?
As you can see with my fictional conundrum here, not only am I taking the movie Back to the Future Part II a little too serious but also something has changed with my plan. I’m here to say that’s just fine. Things that we can and cannot control sometimes re-route the roadmap that is our financial plan. Essentially, that’s the purpose of an ongoing financial plan – whether it’s a desire to travel more after completing a preliminary plan, or even a disruption in the space-time continuum.
Last year at Longview, we changed something about the way we think in terms of ongoing financial planning. We moved from a financial planning software that is cash- flow based to one that is goals-based. Jargon aside, the final results of our new and updated plans will be focused more on the likelihood you are able to achieve those goals you set out for as opposed to how much in assets you have remaining at the end of your life. This by no means takes away the importance of cash-flow; it’s still the backbone of any good financial plan.
“But Andrew, I don’t really know what my goals are right now!”
I have heard that from a few clients, and that’s OK, too. Again, this is where the ongoing financial planning thrives and is an ideal opportunity to explore the possibilities through various scenarios. While the plan still begins by having a firm understanding of the nuances of your situation (e.g. – How much are you spending? How much are you saving? Is your insurance coverage sufficient?), the plan can then move toward a number of “what if” questions that leads us right to the solution. That solution in itself can be the goals you determine after seeing the updated plan.
So is this a paradigm shift in terms of planning? Sure, maybe a little. But even if you don’t know all of your goals today, we know that there is a plan in place that allows us to include a few of those “trips to Europe” or “gifting to my favorite charity” and seeing what’s possible.
And as always, we will continue to review the plan at least once a year and complete updates to the plan periodically.
OK, all done. Cue the Huey Lewis song with lyrics narrating this blog post.
Have a great 2015!
Andrew Gipner is a part of the planning team at Longview Financial Advisors in Huntsville, Alabama. He is a graduate from the University of Alabama with a Masters in Financial Planning. Andrew is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) Professional as well as the Membership Director of NAPFA Genesis, a sub-group of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), dedicated to the professional growth and development of financial planners age 33 and younger. Visit “Our Team” to learn more about him and other team members at Longview. Andrew can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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