Get the latest investment articles in your inbox.

When you hear the term “financial planning,” do you feel anxious? Intimidated? Maybe even terrified? Creating a financial plan just seems so overwhelming.

It’s okay, I don’t blame you.

Most Americans do not have a financial plan. They think that they will have to meet with a lawyer, insurance agent, accountant and financial planner, and decide what their goals are for the rest of their lives—today.

It means they’ll have to confront the overwhelming and depressing reality about planning for retirement—that they need millions… or else get ready to eat dog food.

Then, they have to pick among thousands of mutual funds, stock funds or bond funds, commodities, gold, cash, and on and on. Not to mention their fears about stock market crashes and all sorts of economic bogeymen.

The good news?

Goal-based financial planning is much different from the average financial planning scenario. Its very purpose is to address your anxiety and provide true peace of mind that you will be able to achieve goals that are important to you.

What’s So Different About Goal-Based Financial Planning?

The difference comes down to this: Striving for perfection in the face of uncertainty in traditional planning. Or committing to a process of best guessing and adjusting as life unfolds ruled by what you value most, such as spending time with your family and doing the things you love.

Traditional financial planners recommend investing strategies based on risks and rewards. But goal-based financial planning focuses on the truly most important factor of any investing situation: what you value most.

The Process of Goal-Based Investing

The first step in creating your financial plan is simply to find out where you are and where you want to be. This doesn’t require a lot of work, math, or financial acumen. It’s actually a relatively simple process. But simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy— this process allows you to confront your fears about money and makes it amazingly clear whether or not what you actually do with money aligns with what is important to you.

Because it is reality-driven, goal-based financial planning can help you…

  • avoid overspending on household needs
  • gain direction and a sense of purpose
  • stay organized and productive
  • and more

There’s More to Financial Planning than Saving

Saving money is a wonderful thing. And more and more Americans are starting to realize that. An annual survey shows that U.S. adults improved their saving skills based on several indicators in 2014.

Still, all this fuss about savings obscures a more significant aspect of a goal-based financial plan:

Investing as a means of achieving your actual goals aligned with what you care about most.

Too many Americans still think that successful financial planning requires finding the best investment: if we just look hard enough, we’ll be able to identify the next hot stock or mutual fund. And who has the time or knowledge to do that?

People think the stock market is only for Warren Buffett. Or the rest of the 1%. CNBC just reported that half of Americans avoid the stock market—either by buying individual stocks or mutual funds, or through a retirement account such as a 401(k) or IRA. There’s nothing riskier than letting your savings spoil by not investing in stocks.

Remember, goal-based planning is all about relieving your anxiety. And nothing relieves more anxiety than earning money while you sleep from stocks of great companies to fund your most cherished goals.

The #1 Financial Risk You Face 

The #1 risk you face is not stock market volatility. It’s inflation.

If your savings aren’t in rising-income investments like businesses or shares of those businesses, you can’t possibly hope to outpace this pernicious force. And what could be more anxiety-inducing than that?

Remember, the question “how much have you saved for retirement?” is much different from “how much can you afford during retirement?”


Goal-Based Financial Planning at ValueAligned® Partners

I founded my company ValueAligned® Partners so that I could provide investors like you with goal-based financial planning that meets your retirement needs head-on.

Rather than recommend generic investing strategies, I work one-on-one with investors in Monmouth County, New Jersey and across the U.S. to identify what they need to be doing every day to reach their retirement goals.

If you’re ready to get started, I’m never more than an email or a phone call away at or 732-800-2375.

Image Credit: Jamierodriguez37 | morguefile