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What is Life Planning...and Why?

| August 08, 2016
Life Planning

Most of the people we talk with believe that “retirement planning” deals exclusively with money and this is true… to a certain point. Experience has taught me that effective retirement planning is about much more than money: it is about all areas of Life. Retirement only occurs – for most people – one time and on one specific date. Life, however, occurs before that date and continues to happen after retirement. Life Planning is a means with which to recognize and address the issues you will face throughout every stage of your Life. I have frequently stated that, “It’s what you don’t know that you don’t know that will hurt you.” And though that might sound like double-talk, Life Planning is centered on the questions that you don’t know to ask that need to be answered. Just as a doctor asks questions that you haven’t considered in order find an explanation for your illness and prescribe a plan for healing, it is important to find someone to ask pointed questions about your Life and help you design a road map to fit your unique situation.

There are 8 Life planning issues that various experiences we have shared with our clients over the years have shown are most important for families to address. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Business Succession Planning Issues
  • Charitable Gifting Issues
  • Family Support Issues
  • Insurance Issues
  • Investment Issues
  • Legacy Planning Issues
  • Liability Issues
  • Tax Issues

When and if these issues become priorities is not the same for every family, so I have found that it is incumbent on me as a member of the overall life planning team to take a disciplined approach to help each client manage these issues. Moreover, every family is unique and there is no cookie cutter approach to implementing a Life Plan. Therefore, we strive to know our clients well enough that we can not only help them anticipate when these issues will become priorities, but provide them with very customized and relevant ideas instead of the alternative, which is merely generic information.

Do you know the questions to ask yourself pertaining to each topic? Do you know which individuals, professionals and advisors should be involved; and possible ideas, suggestions and alternatives to address the subject?

Over 35 years of working in various fields of Life Planning has shown me that most people don’t plan to fail –they just fail to plan. And one reason behind this procrastination is that they are overwhelmed by the complexity of the task. I feel it is very important for every family to seek help and take the time to focus on the questions that need to be addressed. I encourage you to be proactive as opposed to reactive. The individuals we work with tell us that going through this process gives them peace of mind and helps them sleep at night, knowing that they have a plan in place so that they can focus on and enjoy what they do best, living life on purpose.