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What is Financial Planning and Why Should You Start Now?

What is Financial Planning and Why Should You Start Now?

May 18, 2021

No matter where you are in life, you likely hope to achieve financial independence in the future. Many individuals and families share this dream yet have no comprehensive plan to achieve it. Whether you're taking your first steps into the workforce and want to get off on the right foot or have decades of accumulated assets, comprehensive financial planning can help you forge the path to the future you desire.

At Benefit and Financial Strategies in Flagstaff, AZ, our financial professionals take the time to listen to and understand your priorities and goals. We aim to provide the guidance, insight, and education that will empower you to make intelligent financial decisions and weather the unexpected while staying on track to achieve your financial goals.

What Is Financial Planning?

The definition of financial planning is straightforward, though its implementation is dynamic. Put plainly, financial planning is developing a plan for your future. Every financial plan includes the same core principles of goal setting, budgeting, and asset management. However, each financial plan will differ in its implementation.

Many financial professionals can offer advice for investing, but investing is only a tiny part of a comprehensive financial plan. When you work with a financial services firm, they'll begin by discussing your goals. Then, they'll gather and analyze data related to your current assets and financial status. These two activities serve to establish where you are and where you want to be, and your financial plan is the roadmap you follow to travel between them. Your financial planner may share tips to help you save money, work with you to establish a budget, offer financial advice for investing, and take on the work of managing and growing your assets.

The methods and products involved in financial planning are varied and broad. At every stage of life, economic barriers and unexpected costs can arise. When you find a financial professional to partner with for long-term financial planning, they'll take the unexpected into account so that temporary roadblocks don't throw you completely off course. A robust financial plan will also often include insurance products, estate planning, asset management, succession planning, and other diverse services to address life's economic realities.

When Should You Start Financial Planning?

When is the best time to start financial planning? As the proverb says, "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

By starting your financial planning activities early in life, you gain more time to grow your net worth. As you accumulate wealth and assets and your economic reality becomes more robust, it also becomes more complicated, making a comprehensive financial plan even more necessary.

Many Americans in Flagstaff, Arizona, and across the country begin to consider their financial future when they enter the workforce full-time and receive the option to invest in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Saving for your retirement is essential, yet it's only a piece of the financial planning puzzle.

Whether you've accumulated wealth or accumulated debt, when a tax and investment advisor creates a comprehensive financial plan, they take into account all of your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals, accounting for the realities you'll encounter at each stage of life. While every individual and family are different, they often share similar goals that can be achieved through careful financing planning.

Short-term financial goals:

  • Develop a household budget
  • Create a fund for emergency expenses
  • Save for a wedding and honeymoon
  • Start a business
  • Pay for childcare expenses
  • Pay off high-interest debt
  • Save for a down payment on a first or second home

Mid-term financial goals:

  • Get life insurance
  • Get disability income insurance
  • Save for children or grandchildren's college education
  • Pay off student loans
  • Finance home renovations
  • Manage debt and taxes

Long-term financial goals:

  • Eliminate remaining debt
  • Pay off mortgage debt
  • Grow retirement savings
  • Increase volunteerism and charitable giving
  • Business succession planning
  • Gifting to family

Why You Should Hire A Financial Professional

While many people know they should consult a financial professional for investing, they may not be aware of the wealth of other services their advisor offers. Many financial professionals partner with their clients to provide comprehensive financial planning services, including plans to help with saving, budgeting, insurance, investing, asset management, retirement planning, and tax strategies.

Beyond planning, financial professionals can also help implement your financial plan. They will check in to review and re-evaluate your plan on a regular basis to account for changes in your income, circumstances, and goals. There are no wrong reasons to begin working with a financial professional or wealth investment advisor, though there are circumstances and life events that send many seeking professional financial planning and guidance, such as:

  • Rolling over a retirement plan
  • Collecting disbursed funds from a retirement plan
  • Inheriting a considerable sum of money
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Planning for the birth of a child
  • Coping with the financial fallout from the death of a spouse or family member
  • Starting, or selling a business
  • Buying a home
  • Saving for education expenses
  • Experiencing a financial crisis due to a layoff or illness
  • Caring for an aging or disabled family member


While it may seem complex, financial planning doesn't have to be complicated. It starts with identifying your goals and assessing your reality, then developing a plan to bridge the gap between them. Just as you plan ahead before a long road trip, a financial plan gives you a map to get you where you want to go and help you get back on the road to financial independence should you encounter any roadblocks or detours along the way.

Are you ready to start planning for your financial future? Benefit and Financial Strategies offers financial and retirement planning services to help Flagstaff, Arizona individuals and families navigate the long road to financial freedom. We aim to provide comprehensive, person-first planning services that account for your unique needs and circumstances and to provide you the information and education necessary, so you're empowered to make the best financial decisions for your family.

We bring decades of experience to our work and are proud of the enduring relationships we've built with our Flagstaff, AZ clients. Families in Flagstaff have partnered with Benefit & Financial Strategies since 1988 to help them achieve their financial goals. Whether you're just starting out in your first job after college or have already retired and want to make sure your savings will last, Benefit & Financial Strategies can help. To learn more about how our financial services team can help you achieve your goal of financial freedom, contact us today.

We look forward to working with you.