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Financial Planning  Guide

Achieve Your Financial Goals with Big Picture Financial Planning

What Is Financial Planning?

Financial planning is the process of creating a comprehensive plan to save and budget money for your future. 


It involves proactive planning for some of life’s major financial events like funding education, buying a home, starting a business or retirement.


Usually, the ultimate goal of financial planning is to ensure you have enough savings to live comfortably when you retire.


It requires taking a long-term approach that includes evaluating your financial situation, setting long-term goals and then taking steps to accumulate money through budget-setting, savings, 401(k)s, IRAs and more.

Why Is Financial Planning Important?

Financial planning is important because it can provide peace of mind and financial security for you and your family. 


It’s a way of taking ownership of your financial future and leaving less to chance. By educating yourself about money, becoming more aware of your spending habits and patterns, you can wisely manage your income and be more financially independent.


Financial planning helps you be better prepared for impactful financial events that often come with related expenses. These events include marriage, having kids, a death in the family, divorce, a recession, starting or selling a business, major health events and more.

Are you prepared?

Financial planning helps you be prepared for:


  • marriage

  • having kids

  • funding your kids college education

  • death in the family

  • divorce

  • recession

  • starting a business

  • selling a business

  • major health events

  • buying a house

  • buying a vacation property

  • downsizing or selling a home

  • retirement or a work-optional lifestyle

Financial Planner vs. Financial Advisor 

Although they are often used interchangeably, the difference between a financial planner and a financial advisor is often in the type of service provided and the certifications they carry.


A financial planner typically helps create a holistic plan that addresses all aspects of a client’s finances, including day-to-day budgeting and retirement planning. A financial advisor generally provides management and guidance on specific investments to help clients reach their financial goals. 

A financial planner may also carry certain certifications such as CFP™ (Certified Financial Planner) or CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). Both professionals usually work with their clients over a long period of time, periodically revisiting plans and investments to ensure the client is on track to meet their goals.

Financial Planning vs. Wealth Management 

Financial planning and wealth management are both terms that come up when discussing an individual’s financial picture. 


But they differ in the scope of services offered and the type of client served.


Financial planners assist their clients with improving or maintaining their standard of living through financial services like budget planning, setting savings goals and investment planning for retirement. Anyone can and should utilize financial planning to build a more secure future. 

Wealth management on the other hand, is broader in scope than financial planning and tends to focus on higher net-worth individuals and families who want a holistic, integrated plan to preserve and grow their wealth through services like investments, tax planning and estate planning.

5 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

Why should I choose you over another financial advisor?
What is your firm’s investing philosophy?
Who owns your company?
How does your firm get paid?
What will the all-in costs for your services be?

What to Expect from a Financial Advisor 

Financial advisors offer a range of services to help you manage various aspects of your finances. 


Some of the things you can expect from a financial advisor include: 


  • comprehensive financial planning

  • retirement planning

  • investment advice

  • tax planning

  • risk management

  • ongoing support

  • reviews


As long as your financial advisors are fiduciaries, you also can expect them to act in your best interest, disclose any conflicts of interest, and be transparent about their service and investment fees. Not all financial advisors will offer all of these services, and their qualifications, certifications and areas of expertise may differ from firm to firm.

Financial Planning for Retirement

It’s never too early to begin the process of financial planning for retirement. 


Simply put, the earlier you start planning and saving, the more likely you are to reach your goals and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle when you retire. Through the power of compounding, when your investments generate earnings, those earnings generate more interest, creating a snowball effect of growth.

Common Questions

The three steps in 360 Financial's LifeWealth Process are: Discovery, Design and Deployment.


Once the plan is deployed, we monitor performance and adjust as needed, or when circumstances change.

What are the three steps in financial planning?

This depends on your personal preferences and goals.


While a robo-investor may cost less, you may end up receiving more generic, “one-size-fits-all” recommendations, which could compromise the long-term performance of your investments. Working with a financial advisor ensures a more personalized plan that’s aligned with your unique situation and life goals.

Should I work with a financial advisor or a robo-investor?

Portfolio management is a service where people hire financial advisors to manage their investments over the long term with the goal of maximizing their return.


Portfolio managers utilize various investment strategies based on their clients’ goals and risk profiles. 


They monitor the portfolio’s performance, periodically adjusting and rebalancing investments as market conditions change. In general, portfolio management is for clients who prefer a more hands-off approach to investing and would rather entrust their money to an experienced professional.

What is portfolio management?

In general, cryptocurrencies are an extremely volatile investment.


We recommend focusing the majority of your portfolio on a diverse selection of more proven investments. If you do decide to invest in crypto, it’s best to keep it a small percentage of your total portfolio and you should only invest what you’re willing to lose.

Should crypto be part of my financial plan?

Most financial planners will charge around 1% of the value of the portfolio.


This may not include investment fees and some investments may have costs over and above what you pay for financial advice. At 360 Financial, we are always transparent with our service and investment fees. We recommend you always ask an advisor about the all-in cost of their services.

How much does it cost to work with a financial advisor?

Big Picture Planning with 360 Financial

At 360 financial, we believe money is a tool. 


The life it enables you to live is what truly matters.


We know you’ve worked hard for your money. We’re dedicated to providing the guidance you deserve to help protect your assets and put your big picture plan to work. 


Whether you want to travel the world, fund your children’s education, or ensure your estate provides for your loved ones, the 360 Financial team is here to help.


Our staff includes seven advisors with more than 200 years of combined experience as wealth managers, financial advisors, and planners with CFP®’s (Certified Financial Planner™), MBA, CLTC, and fiduciary investment credentials. 


The team specializes in investment and asset management, cash and debt flow planning, college planning, risk management, insurance planning, estate planning, retirement and income planning, business planning, and tax strategies.

360's Financial Planning Services:

  • Big Picture Planning to Align Life Goals, Money and Values

  • Comprehensive and Long-Range Wealth Management and Financial Planning

  • Education Planning and Funding (College Planning)

  • Estate and Estate Tax Planning

  • Generational Wealth

  • Investment Advice and Management

  • Philanthropic Planning and Charitable Giving

  • Retirement Goals and Planning

  • Risk Management

  • Specialist Referrals

  • Tax Planning and Strategies

Financial Planning for Business Owners 

Financial planning for business owners requires the expertise of specialists who understand the unique needs and challenges of business owners. 


Doing what’s right for the business and balancing that with what’s best for your personal goals is an art. At 360 Financial, we help business owners and entrepreneurs create greater synergy between their long-term business and personal financial goals.

Our Services for Business Owners Include:

  • Business Owner Cash Flow Planning

  • Retirement Savings and Tax Strategies (such as implementing retirement plans – 401(k)s, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs)

  • Risk Management

  • Succession Planning

  • Investments

  • Legacy and Estate Planning

Schedule a 15-minute call with a 360 Financial advisor to find out if we're the right fit, how we can help you, and how the process works. 

Speak with a Fiduciary Financial Advisor

Get the best financial guidance for your exact situation and goals.

No more cookie-cutter solutions or high-cost products.

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