Do You Know Enough About Comprehensive Financial Planning?

21 Jul 2015

My daughter was nearing graduation at the University of Portland and was concerned that she and her classmates didn’t know enough about finances. She asked me to speak to her class about —loans, loan consolidation, and interest rates—“and how do I make sure that I am successful financially?”

Of course, I agreed. I presented a 90-minute talk, followed by about an hour of questions and answers. Afterward, one of the graduating students told me, “I’ve been here four years, and no one has ever talked to us about money. That was the best class I’ve ever been to.”

The public needs to know more about what a financial planner should do and why every family needs a good one. If I were to ask a hundred people their definition of financial planning, I would get a hundred different responses. Most would talk about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds management. Few would get to the core of it.

The financial media have conditioned the public to believe that financial planning is synonymous with stock market investing and performance. Yes, investing is an important element of financial planning—but it is only one of five disciplines in a truly comprehensive strategy. You also need to manage risks, plan for life in retirement, develop a comprehensive tax plan, and put in place a plan to help your family after you are gone. Don’t let the media scare you or mislead you, find a professional to guide you in the right direction.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult with an advisor about your specific situation.


Brad Berger
Brad Berger

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