A Fluid Process

When it comes to financial planning, many people place too much emphasis on the plan itself.  As the plan is delivered, there is a feeling of finality.  Here is the plan for your future, hopefully nothing changes.  This feeling can cause us to prepare or ready our lives for the process, as if we need to represent our best.  We wait until we finish a transition, let an issue resolve itself, or get our budget back to normal.  We want to be ready for the plan.

The planning process should be fluid and continuous.  Life is going to throw us curveballs.  A week after your plan is delivered, you might find out you are expecting twins or lose your job.  To many people, this would be considered a game changer, and at the very least, cause them to deviate from the original plan.  Where do they go from here?  Is it time to get another plan?  The answer is that their original plan was just a starting point.  Adaptability and understanding that financial planning is an ongoing and fluid process are the two most important parts of any financial plan.  Not every assumption will be right.  The market might not cooperate with you.  Your children might decide to continue their education past four years.  You could receive a windfall, or your job changes.  These are all parts of life and why a financial plan can only be accurate for a moment in time, until things change.

You need someone there along the way to help make the decisions which arise when those curveballs are thrown.  The value in having a financial planner is revealed through the compounding of good decisions.  This is why having a financial plan and having a financial planner are much different things.  Expect life to change, actually, plan on it.