When I changed careers to become a financial planner, I didn’t really know what it would look like and what my day-to-day activities would be. I just knew it was something I was drawn to – a gut feeling. So, after considering the possibility and doing a lot of research, I made the decision to move forward. It has been a fantastic journey of learning, teaching, and helping.

And now these many years later, there’s one thing that is clear now that I didn’t understand at the outset – a lot of people don’t really know what financial planning is, what it entails, or how it can help them. So, here’s my perspective on those questions.

I like to think of life as a journey – a very long trip with lots of decisions and unexpected detours along the way. While on this journey, there will be many questions about which direction to take and how far to go on the current path. I think of financial planning as the process of planning ahead for the trip and making sure that you have enough financial resources to get you where you are going. If you have enough resources, you get to explore the fun side roads and beautiful valleys along the way. If you run low on resources, the journey is much more difficult, and maybe you’re stuck just getting by, or worse.

Here are a few truths about the road you’re on: 

1. Everyone is at a different point in the journey – your current challenges are not the same as anyone else’s.

2. Some roads are straight, most are not. It might take you longer to get to your destination. 

3. There are typically certain milestones in your life that raise questions about what path to choose on your journey. There’s almost always a financial component that goes along with these questions.

Financial Planning is the process helping you find the answers to these very important questions about your journey — questions about your life and your future, with answers that are unique to you.

You may be asking yourself these questions from time to time. Or maybe you are afraid to ask these questions (this is more common than you might realize). Here are just some of the important questions you should be asking yourself:

  • How do we pay for our children’s education?
  • Why are my taxes so high?
  • Is there anything I can do about high taxes in future years?
  • Will my loved ones be ok if I die?
  • Will I lose everything if I can’t work due to illness or injury?
  • Can I afford to travel around the world?
  • What will happen if I change careers?
  • What if I get laid off before retirement and can’t find another job?
  • When can I retire?
  • How much will I need to save for medical care in retirement?
  • Will I outlive my money?
  • Can I leave a legacy for my philanthropic interests?

To answer these questions, there are other questions that you will need to answer, such as… am I saving enough? Is my spending reasonable for my goals? Am I invested the right way? Like most things in life, there are many possible answers, and no guarantees. It’s a journey with lots of twists and turns. But the more you do now to plan for the future, the better your chances of enjoying your “work-free” years with the peace of mind that comes with financial security.

So. Many. Questions. As a financial planner and wealth manager, I help you find answers that make sense for your life and your goals.

After a successful career in high-tech, Sheila McGinn, CFP® followed her passion and became a fee-only Financial Planner, where she helps clients navigate complex financial decisions and reach their financial goals.

Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. For advice specific to your situation, consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Brightview Financial Solutions, LLC, and all rights are reserved.