The first step toward lifelong financial security is having a plan. And the best way to create a solid plan is with the help of an objective advisor.
Step 1: Determine your objectives Give some thought to your financial objectives prior to the session. Consider both your savings and your investment goals, including when you expect to withdraw the money you plan to put away.
Step 2: Gather financial records Gather records on any stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, or life insurance you own. Make copies of all recent financial statements.
Step 3: Think about your retirement Think about your retirement goals, including the age you hope to retire; what sources of income you expect to live on, such as a pension or Social Security checks; and what standard of living you hope to maintain when you're no longer working.
TIP: Educate yourself about money matters prior to your session by attending a financial seminar or using online tools and calculators.
Step 4: Assess risk tolerance Consider your risk tolerance when it comes to investing your money: are you willing to risk losing money in exchange for the possibility of earning more? If so, how much are you willing to lose?
Step 5: Seek objective advice Once you've figured out your financial goals and risk tolerance, seek the advice of a licensed financial advisor who is objective. You want to be sure that any recommendations are based on your best interests, not theirs.
Step 6: Follow through After your session, ask for a personalized report that recommends savings and investment strategies that will help you meet your goals. Then put that advice into action; you can always make adjustments later if your financial situation changes.
FACT: Less than half of American workers have calculated how much money they will need to live comfortably in retirement, according to a survey.