12 for ’12: An Approach to Financial Confidence in 2012
Consumer Advocate Shares Key Components for Successful Personal Financial Management in the Coming Year
January 23, 2012 – As we start a new year many people are busy trying to keep all those New Year’s resolutions they made. However, when it comes to your finances, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP® suggests a more disciplined approach for personal financial success in 2012, one that ties all the components of your financial life together.
“Your finances aren’t a menu where you can order a la carte, deciding which items are most important,” Blayney says. “The path to financial confidence is a journey with a series of important and interconnected elements that all deserve attention.”
As a follow-up to last year’s launch of the “Let’s Make a Plan” public awareness campaign, Blayney and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) have developed the "12 for ’12 Approach to Financial Confidence.” This approach will feature a set of tips each month designed to help people address all the components and steps required for successful personal financial management. Throughout the year, Eleanor will address topics including: establishing realistic goals, tax planning, handling emergencies and risks, investing, retirement, debt management and estate planning.
For the month of January, Blayney looks at the first step in the evaluation of anyone’s finances: deciding when you need help organizing and managing your finances.
According to Blayney, the objectivity and expertise of a CFP® professional is called for in the following situations:
- When you are facing a major life crisis or transition – divorce, death of a spouse or family member, loss of a job. At these stressful moments, emotions can cloud your judgment. You want an expert – a CFP® professional – who practices by a fiduciary standard, putting your interests first ahead of his or her own.
- When you realize that you do not know what you do not know. Securities markets, financial products and tax laws are constantly and rapidly changing and without a professional who keeps current with these changes, you can easily miss financial opportunities or be exposed to significant risk.
- When a complete review of your financial circumstances is needed. You may, for instance, know you need to save more but are uncertain as to how or where to begin. A CFP® professional will look at your cash flow, tax liabilities and debt, insurance needs and retirement planning to help you find the most effective strategies.
If you do need help, notes Blayney, there are resources available for finding and selecting a qualified financial professional, like a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, who is obligated to place your financial needs first. CFP Board’s consumer website www.letsmakeaplan.org offers a searchable list of CFP® professionals that can be sorted by several criteria including geography, specialization and compensation method.
“Knowing if you need help and how to find it is just the first step,” Blayney says. “Our 12 for ’12 topics will provide relevant financial advice that everyone should consider no matter where they are in life.”
12 FOR ’12: AN APPROACH TO FINANCIAL CONFIDENCE: In January, CFP Board launched a new initiative called “12 for ’12 Approach to Financial Confidence” where all the components and steps for successful personal financial management are presented, one each month throughout the year including: establishing realistic goals, tax planning, emergency and risk management, investing, retirement, debt management, and estate planning.
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