CEOs do it’ athletes do it; in fact, anyone who needs to be able to achieve a certain level of performance in order to achieve a specific goal constantly assesses where they are in relation to where they want to be. This is to ensure that available resources are being utilized optimally at all time. It may seem OK to overshoot the goal, but if resources are being utilized in the wrong way – too inefficiently, too costly, too risky (or not the right kind of risks) – it will likely undermine the long term prospects of achieving it. And, you certainly don’t want to undershoot the goal because that could be disastrous. A gap analysis, a sort of snap shot of your current situation, will tell you what adjustments need to be made in your plan to get you on track.
In the realm of investment advice, value is defined by what you receive from your advisory relationship that meets or exceeds your expectations. For most clients, it has much less to do with pricing or investment performance, than it has to do with the fulfillment of promises and commitments made at the outset of the relationship. But the commitments will only have value if they are based on your stated needs and expectations.
You should expect your financial advisor to have in place a clearly defined process for working with you to develop and implement your investment strategy. You know you’ve found the right financial advisor when that process includes, at a minimum, these five elements:
Until recently, many retirees have been able to rely upon the three-legged stool of retirement income sources: A defined benefit pension plan that guarantees a lifetime income, their own savings, and Social Security. Within the last couple of decades, the first leg of the stool has all but disappeared as many defined benefit plans have been replaced with defined contribution plans such as a 401(k) plan. This has shifted the responsibility for creating a retirement income source to the individual. With expanding life spans and increasing retirement costs, it will require serious retirement planning to ensure that your income will last a lifetime. Here are the four essential elements of a sound retirement plan:
At the core of any successful financial enterprise, be it a household or a business, is a sound an effective budget plan that is used to drive all cash flow decisions, large and small, on a daily basis. Businesses have profit goals, and families have savings goals, both of which require budgeting and cash flow management to meet them consistently. Using the tools that are available to you online and in software packages will give you the ability to budget like a pro and manage your surpluses to increase your savings.