Financial planning is more than just a series of savings and investments you lock away and forget about. Your money doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your financial needs and priorities are going to change in response to the transitions that we all go through as we work, raise our families, and look ahead to retirement.
Managing these transitions is one of the keys to keeping your finances in balance, and to achieving a greater Return on Life™ (ROL).
It’s Better to Prepare Than Repair
When it comes to your financial future, it’s easier to prepare for what’s ahead than it is to repair mistakes.
With that in mind, we offer our clients a tool called The $Lifeline. It’s designed to help you prepare for life’s transitions by asking you to anticipate what’s coming up and the age at which you expect the transition to happen.
Then, you plot those transitions on your $Lifeline, and use a color-coded system to rate the transition based on whether it is a High, Medium, or Low priority for you. If you’re married, you and your spouse can plot both shared transitions and transitions that are unique to each of you on the same $Lifeline for a complete picture of all the milestones that will affect your household -- and your finances.
Each transition also includes links to additional resources that you can consult for more information. As your financial life guides, we’re eager to share helpful information with you during our in-person sessions and always available to answer questions. However, we also believe that you are best prepared for success when we equip you with the tools, and knowledge about how to best use them -- and for this you need to be empowered to keep learning and stay engaged in every aspect of your life plan.
Can you guess what people most often cite as the most impactful life transitions?
You don’t have to.
Here are the six $Lifeline categories and a few of the important transitions we can help you map out and prepare for:
- Expecting a child
- Special family event
- Assistance to a family member
- Child going to college
- Child getting married
- Empty nest
- Concern about an aging parent
- Concern about the health of child
- Concern about the health of spouse
- Family member with disability or illness
- Recent death of a family member
- Create end of life medical directive
- Contemplating career change
- Job re-structuring
- Expand business
- Start a new business
- Acquire / purchase a business
- New job training / education
- Downshift worklife
- Full retirement
- Changing residence
- Start receiving Social Security income
- Eligible for Medicare.
- Start receiving retirement distributions
- Refinancing mortgage
- Reconsidering investment philosophy
- Significant investment gain
- Significant investment loss
- Considering investment opportunity
- Receiving inheritance
- Stipend to family member
- Gift to children / grandchildren
- Develop / review estate plan
- Create a foundation
- Create or fund a scholarship
- Fund a cause or event
As you read through, were you were mentally checking off items on the list that are personally important to you now -- or in the future?
Transitions Change Over Time
Once we’ve plotted your anticipated life transitions on your $Lifeline, we can start discussing the transitions that are most important to you from an immediate planning standpoint. Maybe you need to understand the financial implications of taking care of an aging parent. Perhaps it’s figuring out how to pay for your kids’ education (or whether you even should). If you are expecting a pension from one of your employers, you’ll want to know the best time to start receiving pension payments.
Over time, as new transitions arise and old ones are checked off, we can add, remove, and re-prioritize transitions as often as necessary.
The easiest way to throw off your financial plan is to make a rash, emotional decision in the middle of a difficult moment. The $Lifeline, and our Life-Centered Planning process, will help you avoid reacting – or overreacting – to the ebbs and flows of your life by putting you into a more proactive mindset about your financial future.
You’ll be less likely to take on a risky second mortgage to pay for your son’s freshman year of college and your daughter’s wedding if you plan for those events in advance—something the $Lifeline helps you visualize.
At Blue Blaze, we believe every person deserves an optimal life. Life transitions, either those you look forward to or those that just happen, are often defining moments. Speak to us, and we can help you make them memorable.