Key Steps for Successful Financial Planning
investing-my-money | Read Time: 4 minutes
By Garrett C. Spangler, J.D., LL.M. | Published: November 2022
Even the most ardent savers question whether they are doing enough to achieve financial success. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of planning and saving for your financial future, now is a great time to focus on your finances. There are several steps that you should take to ensure you have a sound financial plan.
- Create a Plan - Getting started is often the biggest challenge in developing a financial plan. To begin, create a list of your short, intermediate, and long-term financial goals. These goals may include building an emergency fund, purchasing a house or vacation home, saving for college expenses, paying for a wedding, funding your retirement, or leaving a legacy to heirs. Even if you have already established financial goals, it’s important to revisit them periodically to ensure you are on track and determine if there are any new goals that you want to start saving towards or goals you have already met so you can focus on others.
- Make a Budget - With your goals in mind it’s time to check your spending and track where your money is going. No matter your level of income, creating a budget to identify what your monthly spending includes will allow you to see a snapshot of your current finances and allocate the funds necessary to be more efficient with your income. Sometimes all it takes is mapping out your expenses to determine where you can save a little more to fund your other planning goals.
- Analyze Debt - Once you have a handle on your finances, the next step is to assess your debt. If you have high interest debt like credit cards, prioritizing a portion of your budget to tackle it helps tremendously over the long term by avoiding high interest charges. Low interest debt, such as mortgages or securities backed loans, can often be helpful so paying them off may not be a priority, especially if the interest rate is below what you may expect in returns from long term-investments.
- Fund Your Goals - Now it’s time to start funding your savings goals. Allocating a portion of your income to savings and investment accounts regularly through automatic transfers is a great way to set yourself up to be successful in meeting your goals. When contributions are automatic you are less likely to overspend and miss the targets you set for yourself.
- Review Insurance and Estate Plans - It’s also important to analyze your insurance policies and estate plans. Review insurance policies for your home, vehicles, life, business and investment interests periodically to ensure the coverages are appropriate and that you aren’t overpaying. If elements of your life have changed, adjust whenever needed to minimize the cost, balancing your premiums and deductibles while maintaining the coverage appropriate for you and your family. Along with insurance, if you don’t have an estate plan or haven’t updated your estate plan recently you should review this as well. We all experience changes in our lives and ensuring our estate plan is appropriate and up to date will make the transition of the wealth you accumulate over your lifetime appropriate and efficient for your loved ones.
- Consult an Advisor - While taking these steps will set you on a path to a successful financial future, it can be invaluable to confirm the goals you set are realistic and will provide the lifestyle you expect in retirement. Working with an investment advisor and financial planner will help tremendously by offering guidance and providing analysis on your financial health. Ensuring your investment portfolio is constructed with an appropriate level of risk and taking advantage of opportunities to be tax efficient on both an annual and long-term basis will further assist you in meeting your financial goals.
Regardless of what you may be saving for, it is important to go beyond simply saving money. Take time to create a comprehensive financial plan based on your personal goals. Establishing and revisiting your financial plan are equally important to achieve financial success. Taking steps to ensure you are on a path to help you meet your financial goals is paramount to build confidence today for a more secure tomorrow.
About the Author – Garrett C. Spangler, J.D., LL.M.
Garrett Spangler is West Capital Management’s Director of Wealth Planning and leads West Capital Management’s Planning Committee. In his role, Garrett works with clients on a variety of planning areas such as trust and estate planning, wealth preservation, and income tax and liability exposure. Prior to joining West Capital Management, Garrett was an associate at The Erb Law Firm, PC practicing tax, estate, and business succession planning, with a focus on non-citizens and international planning for those with foreign assets. Garrett earned his law degree (J.D.) and Masters in Taxation (LL.M.) from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business.
This communication is provided by West Capital Management (“WCM” or the “Firm”) for informational purposes only. Investing involves the risk of loss and investors should be prepared to bear potential losses. Past performance may not be indicative of future results and may have been impacted by events and economic conditions that will not prevail in the future. No portion of this commentary is to be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell a security or the provision of personalized investment, tax or legal advice. Certain information contained in this report is derived from sources that WCM believes to be reliable; however, the Firm does not guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of such information and assumes no liability for any resulting damages. Any reference to a market index is included for illustrative purposes only, as it is not possible to directly invest in an index. Indices are unmanaged, hypothetical vehicles that serve as market indicators and do not account for the deduction of management fees or transaction costs generally associated with investment products, which otherwise have the effect of reducing the performance of an actual investment portfolio.
WCM is the business name of WSFS Capital Management, LLC. It is an SEC registered investment adviser that maintains a principal place of business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Firm may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed or qualifies for a corresponding exemption from registration requirements. For information about WCM’s registration status and business operations, please consult the Firm’s Form ADV disclosure documents, the most recent versions of which are available on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov. WSFS Capital Management, LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WSFS Financial Corporation.
For Retirees, Some Welcome Social Security and Other Benefits Increases to Help Ease Impacts of Inflation
With inflation at multi-decade highs, retirees are feeling the squeeze as they grapple with the effects of rising prices on gasoline, housing, medical expenses and groceries, to name a few. With the Federal Reserve aggressively fighting inflation by raising short term interest rates, both the stock and bond markets have experienced substantial declines, adding further stress to an already stressful environment.Read More
Understanding Current Tax Implications for Real Estate Investing
With stock market volatility continuing, many investors are looking for alternative strategies. Limited supply and Americans looking for more space or new locations during the pandemic led to red-hot housing markets, leading many investors to consider real estate.Read More
Market Minute: The Latest on the Markets and Economy
The markets and the economy are ever-changing, making it hard to keep up sometimes. Let WSFS help you make sense of it all. Tune in to our Market Minute update from Andrew N. Davis, CFA®, Director of Research at West Capital Management, a subsidiary of WSFS Financial Corporation.Read More
Managing Your Retirement Plan in a Down Market
Investing in a down market can be a challenge, especially when it comes to your retirement plan. As humans, we often follow two intellectual thought patterns – avoiding losses and following the crowd.Read More
Small Business Corporate Retirement Plans
In today’s highly competitive recruiting and hiring environment—especially for small and mid-size employers—a retirement plan at work is an indispensable benefit that employees expect.Read More