Financial planning is more than simply investing in stocks and bonds. It includes a holistic approach to the finances of your life. This can include investment, retirement, tax, insurance, and estate planning. Each of these facets play a significant role in your life and it’s the careful coordination of these factors within your life that we as planners are most interested in. Extracting synergies between these facets can pay dividends today and in years to come.
When individuals think of financial planning they immediately think of stocks and bonds. Investments comprise a large portion of the planning process because they constitute the main driver of returns. More important than the selection of the investments is the overall direction of the strategy. A carefully devised strategy will incorporate investor risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity concerns, and account objectives. In addition, the integration of the investments with the individual’s other assets is essential in the holistic financial planning picture. Therefore, investment planning is more complicated than simply choosing stocks and bonds, and is an integral part in long term financial success when executed properly.
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The most widely held financial goal of many Americans is a comfortable retirement. Each individual has a different view of what their retirement looks like and therefore must have a plan that mirrors their strategy. Retirement planning involves the use of coordinating retirement and brokerage accounts, annuities, and personal savings with existing social security benefits, pension benefits, and employee contribution plans (i.e. 401(k), 403(b)). The implementation of a well conceived retirement plan can help make an average retirement into a comfortable one.
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As your income increases, so does the need to manage your tax bracket. In many cases, there are opportunities for tax deductions or tax advantaged strategies that individuals can leverage for their benefit. Some common examples of tax advantaged vehicles include Roth IRAs, Life Insurance contracts, and Annuities. The proper use of these and other investment tools can improve a financial picture and bring you closer to achieving your goals.
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Although insurance does not carry the same cache that investments do, it is no less important in the planning process. Insurance is the risk management tool used by many planners to protect clients from the uncertainties in their lives. Life, disability, health, automotive, and homeowner’s insurance are just a few vehicles used to protect an individual from onerous financial burdens. If investments are thought of as the “offense” of financial planning, insurance is the “defense.” Without a careful eye on insurance, any gains achieved through investing can quickly be erased with a medical bill, house emergency, personal injury, or untimely death. It is for this reason that we account for a stable insurance foundation which supports the retirement, small business, and personal financial goals of our clientele.
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The importance of delineating where your assets will be held once you pass away cannot be understated. Identifying who will receive retirement funds, real estate, savings, and collectibles is essential in making sure you have a say in who receives your hard earned assets. Life insurance also plays a large role in assisting the surviving spouse or family member to pay debts and afford daily expenses. Careful estate planning today smooths out the transfer of assets and can alleviate headaches and unnecessary stress in the future.
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Financial planning is not formulaic. It is an ever-evolving process that is unique to each individual. Like your health, a solid financial plan must be monitored and maintained throughout your life. The facets discussed above will always need to be addressed, and will vary in their significance as your life changes. We at Orazio Financial Services seek to maximize your potential as an investor by revisiting our planning process during each review. Your success is our success and we look forward to helping you accomplish your goals.