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Getting Your Financial House in Order

While investing is the focal point to achieving and maintaining long term financial security, investing should not be viewed in isolation of other important financial matters.

For many individuals and families, financial planning can be daunting because it is complex and requires dealing with multiple issues related to lifestyle, family obligations, and legacy. Planning ahead can provide a simple blueprint with key steps to the next stage of your life.

Whether you do-it-yourself or work with an experienced financial adviser, with careful planning, you can move steadily closer to attaining your financial goals.

Getting Your Financial House in Order

1. Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship - The financial adviser explains or documents the services to be provided and defines his or her responsibilities along with the responsibilities of the client. The adviser explains how he or she will be paid and by whom. The adviser and client should agree on how long the relationship will last and on how decisions will be made.

2. Gathering client data and determining goals and expectations - The financial adviser asks about the client's financial situation, personal and financial goals and attitude about risk. The adviser gathers all necessary documents at this stage before giving advice.

3. Analyzing and evaluating the client's financial status - The financial adviser analyzes client information to assess his or her current situation and determine what must be done to achieve the client's goals. Depending on the services requested, this assessment could include analyzing the client's assets, liabilities and cash flow, current insurance coverage, investments or tax strategies.

4. Developing and presenting the financial planning recommendations and/or alternatives - The financial adviser offers financial planning recommendations that address the client's goals, based on the information the cli