In My Perfect Financial Planning World

My job as a financial advisor is tricky, because not one family is the same. There are an infinite number of circumstances, personalities, and complexities I could come across. That’s why the advice I give one family might be very different from advice I give to another family. I give the advice I believe to be in that family’s best interest.  

That said, I certainly have financial planning ideals that I generally go by. I’ll call it my baseline from which I pivot in numerous different ways based upon a family’s needs.  

Here is an order of events I would like a family to focus their financial attention on in general. I will disclaim again – what works for some might not work for you.  


Prioritize Long-Term Financial Plans in This Order:


Accumulation Phase:

  1. Get a 3 – 6 month emergency savings account 
  2. Save in their 401(k) up to their employer match 
  3. Pay off high interest debt (not their mortgage or a low rate car loan) 
  4. Begin saving in an extra savings account or brokerage account for short and midterm goals (think roof replacement, next car, etc.) 
  5. Check in on family education savings goals and needs 
  6. Max out 401(k) savings 
  7. Pay extra towards the mortgage 
  8. Increase savings in the brokerage account but for long term/retirement use 


Decumulation Phase:

  1. Nearing retirement, restructure investment accounts using bucket strategies for funding near term living expenses 
  2. Determine how family, friends, and endeared charities will be treated in the future 
  3. Monitor portfolio withdrawals using a guardrails philosophy 
  4. Manage and max out those low tax brackets via gains harvest and conversions  



Have you done these things yourself yet? Do you think any of them should be done in a different order? If you are wondering what else you should be doing in your perfect financial plan that you may have overlooked, check out my Financial Planning Checklist.   


Join my inner circle: