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‘Financial you’ hits all bases, aligns with priorities, values

At the beginning of a new year, many of us look to get a fresh start in areas of our lives.

At the beginning of a new year, many of us look to get a fresh start in areas of our lives.

Among other endeavors, we try to get organized, sleep more, lessen the red wine consumption, eat better, start or restart a fitness regimen and develop business goals.

It’s safe to say a good number of us use this time to finally get ourselves on more solid financial footing. It’s time to take a big picture look – also known as financial planning.

Financial planning is a great way to get your financial house in order. The process starts with identifying life priorities and is designed to help identify gaps in your financial picture.

Once these exposures are identified, you can work with your financial adviser to address them.

Unfortunately, many financial advisers and planners offer what is known as “financial planning lite.” It’s a very cursory attempt at financial planning, often offered as an up-front enticement to convince a prospective client to let the adviser manage his or her investment portfolio.

This “lite’ version of planning typically deals only with the client’s basic goals and investment outlook.

So, what should a true, value-added financial plan include?

For most people, a thorough financial plan will have many of the following components. (This is not an exhaustive list; some situations may require additional analysis).

¦ Household budget – This calculates the difference between household income and expenses.

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