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May 21, 2024

The Financial Planning Process

"A thoughtfully designed financial plan is a blueprint for building personal prosperity. Whether your goal is a more secure retirement, better financial protection for your dependents, or improved investment performance, planning your finances will help you avoid common pitfalls and reach your objectives."

Personal financial planning encompasses seven core areas - retirement, investments, taxation, insurance, cash flow management, estate planning, and educational funding. Each area is governed by its own analytic, legal, and psychological factors, and each offers numerous opportunities to enhance one's position through planning.

Retirement - Setting saving goals, optimizing benefits, and navigating complex tax rules on distributions are important elements of success in planning for retirement. Implementing a carefully developed, individualized retirement strategy is a necessary prerequisite to accumulating and preserving the capital needed to retire comfortably.

Investments - As financial markets have grown more complex and volatile, the task of evaluating investment opportunities and managing one's portfolio has become increasingly challenging. The financial planning process helps create a solid foundation for success by systematically assessing risk tolerance, developing appropriate investment goals, and designing a portfolio with the right return and risk parameters to reach one's long-term financial goals.

Cash Flow and Debt Management - Thoughtful management of cash flow and liabilities can make it possible to increase long-term savings and reduce interest costs. An in-depth analysis of income, expenses, and debt structure is a key step in taking control of one's finances.

Tax Planning - Income taxes are the single largest expense for most physicians. Sound tax strategies, conceived within the context of an overall financial plan can make it possible to reduce taxes and keep more of your pay.

Insurance - Adequate insurance is a crucial part of managing personal financial risk. An objective assessment of your insurance needs will allow you to optimize your coverage while controlling premium costs.

Estate Planning - Wills, trusts, and other estate planning techniques can help you protect your assets, and leave a legacy to your children. Early planning helps ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, while minimizing estate taxes.

Educational Funding - Changes in state and federal law have created new opportunities to save and invest for a child's future college costs. Making use of appropriate tax-advantaged savings programs facilitates meeting this important financial commitment.

If you would like help in developing a financial plan to address any of the above areas, please contact a pre-screened MFN financial planner. You can find an MFN financial planner in your area by using the "Find an Advisor" referral tool on the home page of this website. Or, you may call us at 1-800-765-0353.
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