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Do I Need A Comprehensive Financial Plan?

Updated: Apr 23

Financial planning is the process of understanding your entire financial picture, identifying your short- and long-term goals, and figuring out the steps to achieve them effectively. A financial planner can assist you with drafting a comprehensive financial plan to outline each recommendation and action item needed to optimize your finances and get on track for the life that you want for yourself.

I will say it again and again: Everyone deserves financial wellness and a real shot at achieving upward mobility and financial freedom. This includes access to a CFP® professional with the expertise on planning opportunities, and your best interests at heart.

So, broadly, everyone needs this kind of financial planning support, absolutely. But, some folks are ready to jump into working with a financial planner and building a comprehensive financial plan right away, while some are still in the preparation stage.

Let’s break down the indicators that you are ready to work with a financial planner.

1. You are prepared to work with a financial planner if you earn a healthy salary. The determination of what qualifies as a “healthy salary” varies a lot, by location, cost of living, lifestyle, etc. In San Diego, for example, this is usually you if you earn more than $100k as a single person or $150k as a dual-income household.

I have seen far lower salaries work just fine and leave room to capitalize on planning opportunities for folks who live low-maintenance lives. This typically means mindfully maintaining a low cost of living with minimal bills and expenses, and sometimes it’s luck or having a strong support network, through things like low housing costs, or having a partner or parents who subsidize your lifestyle and expenses.

Generally, you earn a healthy salary if you can cover your financial bases with ease and are ready to take that next step with your money.

2. You are prepared to work with a financial planner if you have a steady savings rate. To effectively implement a savings plan, you need to have something to work with, so to speak. Typically, if you are covering your bills and expenses without stress, living the lifestyle of your preference, and still have excess savings that you are not entirely sure what to do with, you would benefit from working with a CFP® professional.

Some exceptions to this are high earning new parents paying out the wazoo for child care, or with other temporary large payments (such as HELOC payments or other variable rate loans in this insane interest rate environment). We all go through slimmer financial seasons that can impact our financial stability. These latter folks often do need a financial planner sooner rather than later, to help them sort out priorities, opportunities and strategies today so as to strengthen their cash flow and ensure overall financial balance and wellness.

3. You are prepared to work with a financial planner if you have specific short- or long-term goals that you are working towards. Are you looking to buy a home in the next 1-3 years? Do you want to retire timely or early, take a sabbatical, or otherwise reach financial freedom to buy yourself the flexibility to choose how you spend your days? Are you thinking about starting your own business?

Do you know how you’re going to achieve these goals? This is where financial planning expertise is key to putting the pieces together to create a realistic plan of action and timeline to achieve your financial goals (and dreams!)

Okay, so now I have a better idea on whether I'm ready or not. What now?

The above sounds like you: Are you ready to feel better about and do better with your finances? I am here to help. I provide the financial planning expertise and tools to relieve stress around money, guide you on a path towards your goals, and to set you up for long-term financial success and, ultimately, financial freedom. Schedule a free consultation today to see how I can help you organize and optimize your finances to set you up for long-term financial success.

The above does not sound like you: There may be work to be done to strengthen your financial position. That’s okay too! There are other professionals available to help. For example, you may benefit from working with a financial coach or a career advisor at this time.

  • Hourly advising is available to those who have simpler finances and are just trying to get started with their financial planning journey. I have had success providing financial advising services and creating a simple financial plan in 3-5 hours of work with lower income and net worth households.

    • Is your income below 80% Area Median Income? For San Diego, that equals $84,900 for a single household. If this sounds like you, touch base with me about discounted rates on hourly advising services.

  • Financial coaches are somewhat like life coaches; they are professionals who can help with the early stages of financial planning, e.g. budgeting, building an emergency fund, managing debt, and building credit. A financial coach can help you build and strengthen your financial foundation to help prepare you for more advanced financial planning.

  • Career advisors and career coaches can help you realize your potential, build your confidence and personal brand, and put into practice those interviewing skills to prepare you for crushing that interview. Career coaches are far underutilized in my opinion. Years ago, I was looking to make a career field change and personally benefited greatly from attending presentations and mock interviews at a local career center. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions on my experience, I am happy to share my story if it can help you take that next step.

I’m always here to help, whether you are ready to work with me today or not. Reach out anytime. My virtual door is always open.

📌 Sage Financial Planning LLC helps young and mid-career professionals know and do better with their finances and work towards financial freedom. For more information on our holistic financial planning offerings, please visit our Services page.

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