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THE FIRST STEP

17

you will also know what additional savings are needed, if any. Since we can’t predict what the stock market will do, it’s important to update your plan fairly regularly, especially once you get close to retirement. Knowing your financial situation in regard to your retire- ment is essential to achieving the kind of retirement you desire. It’s better to know sooner rather than later what you need to do to make sure that you can live the way you want.

Retirement planning also addresses any job changes you have had or are planning to have. If you think you will be leaving your job, or already have, you will have to make a decision about what to do with your retirement benefits from that employer. Since for many people this is the largest amount of money they have handled, it’s essential to consult with your advisor, who will help you choose the right investment vehicles and tax strategies for your retirement money. Your financial plan will address your specific concerns and help you pave the road to a successful retirement.

Estate Planning You may be thinking that you don’t need any type of estate planning because you don’t have that much money. If that’s the case, then you would be mistaken. Estate planning isn’t just for the extremely wealthy. You may have a potential estate large enough to require the special information that your financial plan can provide. Besides, don’t your goals include having enough money and assets to make your estate very large?

It’s important for you to know what will be available to your heirs when your estate is settled. Additionally, you want to make sure that estate transfer costs and estate taxes are as low as possible. Estate planning is a highly specialized area that your financial plan will cover. Your advisor will help you plan to ensure that there is enough estate liquidity to meet estate settlement costs, as well as address any other key estate planning concerns.

IS A FINANCIAL PLAN REALLY WORTH IT?

People neglect financial planning for a number of reasons. Feeling that they have insufficient assets or income is one reason. Another is that

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