Saving for the future in the 21st century doesn’t look like it did for our parents or grandparents. Americans may not be able to count on a traditional pension plan to take care of them after retirement, leaving saving and planning for the future up to the individual.
When left to our own devices, long-term savings don’t rank too high on our priorities list. “Financial planning is not tangible. You can’t drive it, eat it, sleep on it—and people don’t equate it with the same value,” says Theodore Massaro, CLU, Chartered Financial Consultant and owner of M Financial Planning Services. “People think they can deal with retirement planninglater on, but then it becomes later and later, until they are in their mid-50s and sometimes realize what they have isn’t going to get them too far.”
Taking the first step to getting your finances in order is the hardest, but also the one that shows commitment.
Why a financial planner matters
Financial planning is not just about saving for retirement or building a college fund for your children—it encompasses much more, including planning for taxes, your estate, health care expenses and risk management. Many people feel they lack the knowledge to manage such important decisions on their own, while others may prefer to handle it themselves with online resources. A financial planner is a beneficial resource in both cases.
“We help folks get organized with their situation and bring order to their financial lives,” says Ed Garruto, MBA, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. “We try to bring an objective view to the situation that can hopefully lead to sound and rational money decisions. For those who have been doing things themselves, it’s nice to put a check on things and help make sure nothing has been missed.”
One thing online resources can’t provide is a personal relationship. “This is my 43rd year in the industry and as much as technology has advanced, when dealing with finances, things can get emotional, personal,” says Massaro. “Our clients value the type of relationship that shows a deep understanding of their needs, which is be- yond what an online solution can provide.” A financial planner can identify options clients may not have thought about. Retirement, for instance, can last up to 30 years now that people are living longer. By looking at a client’s plan, M Financial advisors can determine how to most appropriately plan toward replacing their paycheck in retirement using social security benefits, a pension (if available) and personal assets to help sustain their standard of living.
Couples should also ask themselves when they last evaluated their will, says Garruto. “For many couples their last review was when their children were minors. Lifestyle changes and medical instructions should be updated.”
Women and financial planning
Women are being especially encouraged to take an active role in their financial futures, and may even need to save more than men. Catherine Allen-Carlozo, RICP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, says there are several rea- sons for this. “Statistics show 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for financial decisions in their lives, whether as a result of divorce, being widowed or as a single person,” she says.* “It’s important for women to have an education about their financial house.”
At M Financial, Allen-Carlozo is a re- source for women, helping them become more informed about investing and more confident in their decisions. “A lot of times women let their spouses handle the financial stuff and don’t get too involved, but I’ve had too many stories of women being blindsided in divorce or death by the husband’s financial activity,” she says. “We try to prepare for the unexpected, and remind them to put money away for themselves as well.”
Clients of M Financial know they are in capable hands, which is why the firm’s reputation in the community is so respect- ed. “We have established relationships going back decades, spanning multiple generations,” says Massaro. “More than half of our clients have been with us over 20 years, and that’s a testament to the trust people have in us and how comfortable they feel having their questions answered and services addressed.”
M Financial Planning Services, Marlton
(856) 810-7701 | MFinancialPlanningServices.com