A financial plan is a map of where you are trying to go. It encompasses where you are today, your goals, resources, and your desired future state.
If the financial plan is a map, then the role of the financial planner is to be the guide in the changing landscape of a client’s life.
Once a financial plan is created, the only thing we know for certain is that the plan will change. A financial planner understands that uncertainty equals reality. We don’t know for sure what the future holds. We can’t know, and that’s okay. The only thing guaranteed is that changes will happen to our goals, family, careers, health, and markets over time
The way a real financial planner acknowledges uncertainty is to consistently meet with clients to update and adjust the plan. This does something very powerful. It narrows the range of potential outcomes and keeps you on target to reach your goals.
The upfront work of building an initial financial plan or map still matters. We can still make educated projections about the future. However, we must acknowledge that they are still just guesses. So are all the other assumptions we have to make to build a plan. Returns, inflation, taxes, saving rates, future income, future health, healthcare costs, date of death… all guesses. Goals are guesses too. As you age and your life changes, so will your values and goals.
The job of a real financial planner is to engage in planning. Planning is not an event, but a never-ending process. I would view a financial planner as your lifelong guide.
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