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Don't Go Forward Without a Plan

by Stephanie Jacobs, MBA, AFIM®
Senior Wealth Advisor, Midland Wealth Management



As a Wealth Advisor, the majority of those who take my recommendation for financial planning are within 10 years of retirement. They want to know if they can retire or more specifically when. For those who go forward with a plan and heed advice of an experienced advisor, the answer is usually good news or at least expected. Unfortunately, there are some, more than I care to see, who didn’t plan soon enough or have already retired and are now concerned they may have to go back to work. One health issue or one financial downturn is all it takes to start the panic.

I’m also seeing a trend for those much farther from retirement, where those in their 20s and 30s are buried in debt, bad credit, and living paycheck to paycheck. They’re wanting to purchase a car or a home and unfortunately, they don’t qualify. They’re looking for a quick way to get what they want, but there’s no easy fix. It just takes time – and not months, but sometimes years.

Then there are those in their 40s and 50s who are making every effort to keep up with the Joneses. They don’t have enough to retire at a normal retirement age. Buying bigger houses, paying for college for children, all the while neglecting the need to plan, budget, and save. And as the trend continues, I can’t help but wonder where would they be if they had gone to a Wealth Advisor earlier in their lives to create a financial plan.

So, what is a financial plan?

Simply, a financial plan is a type of map that shows where you are financially and where you are going. It is a long-term strategy for managing your finances, accomplishing your goals, and preparing for financial pitfalls that you may encounter throughout life. It’s not a one-and-done, but rather a fluid document that changes with you as your needs and goals change.

So, why is a financial plan important?

  • First and probably most importantly, it removes emotion from important decisions. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by what we want, that nothing else matters. You may want a new car, for example, but how will it affect your ultimate goal of saving for child’s education or preparing for retirement? Is now the time or should you wait? Maybe choosing a less expensive option may be necessary. A financial plan can help give you that guidance.
  • A financial plan helps you reach your goals on time. No more wondering if now is the time to start your own business or sell a current one or maybe just change careers. You can do it with the confidence knowing you made plans ahead of time to ensure financial security through life’s transitions.
  • A financial plan can help you create better savings and spending habits early. Most people will tell themselves that they don’t have enough money to save. This is simply not true. Disciplined spending habits are the key to saving. And putting away smaller amounts can make a huge impact on your goals. Just ask anyone who saves their change in a jar – eventually, it all adds up.
  • Financial planning can help you decide the best investment portfolio for you. After looking at your entire financial picture, you can gauge how to position your finances to grow them in a way that will help you meet your goals on time. Investing may increase the opportunity to grow those assets faster.
  • Financial planning provides solutions that you may not be aware exist. As you accumulate wealth and your financial landscape becomes more complicated, you may need more complex solutions. Sometimes an advisor can provide you with the customized or different solutions, once they more about the details of your situation and what you want to accomplish.
  • And finally, working with an advisor to create a financial plan can give you the peace and confidence that you will achieve your goals. Having a written plan allows you to track your progress to goals, confirming you are making the correct decision. It also allows plans to be made should an unexpected event occur, preparing you for potential future obstacles.

At Midland Wealth Management, we can help design a financial plan that aligns with your values and goals. Contact us today at (815) 231-2710 or go to, and at the bottom of the screen, go to Let’s Connect.