Making a plan for your finances

April 16, 2013 

Whether building houses or wealth, building without architecture or without a plan can lead to a real mess.

There are three major goals to keep in mind when developing a plan:

First, the architecture needs to be family driven. The goal is to support and enable the family.

Second, the architecture needs to be a top-down plan. Moving from higher levels of abstraction down to more detailed directions. Think of how a building is designed through architecture. We don't start with the bathrooms in the architectural plan. We start with the gross building features and move to greater levels of details as we progress.

Finally, it needs to be structured and coordinated across the disciplines of tax, legal, insurance and investments. It needs to flow appropriately and be vetted by the complete team of subject matter ex


As just mentioned, the first thing to do when starting down the path of building our Ideal Life is to make sure everyone understands exactly what the family is trying to achieve.

This goes beyond just knowing the current stage of life, whether retired, divorced, or starting out, investors must understand, specifically, what drives the family. That means understanding the family's values and employing them in the strategies designed to reach those goals.

Of all the things financial professionals can do to help families, understanding their values will arguably provide the biggest bang for the buck. The scare resource today is not information but rather attention. Our clients are bombarded by information and they need to have a process by which to filter out the noise so they can utilize their limited time and attention to focusing on what is truly important. By helping them understand their values, financial advisors better learn how to guide them and keep them accountable to pursuing the goals they establish at the onset of an engagement.

Chaos is bad in building your financial house. Strategies implemented willy-nilly will surely provide some level of security, but certainly not in the most efficient and effective manner. Investors need a plan. All of the strategies, solutions and tools to work together holistically. Financial advisors need to understand how to support the family in pursuing their goals while making sure that vital principals and assets are protected appropriately.

Gardner Sherrill, MBA, is the principal of Sherrill Wealth Management, LLC. Reach him at 941-462-2255.

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