When you want to achieve an objective, you make a plan.
From simple lists that help you remember essential items while running errands to the detailed arrangements you make when traveling, well-laid plans help you get from one destination to another.
When it comes to reaching your goals and dreams in life — whether you want to buy a home, start a family, reduce personal debt, fund a college education, start a business or change careers, care for elderly parents, travel extensively and/or retire comfortably — it takes a financial plan.
A long-term process, financial planning helps you wisely manage your financial resources so you can achieve your goals and dreams.
According to a recent survey comparing consumer attitudes and habits today, in the wake of the worst recession since the Great Depression, with 1997 when unemployment was lower and consumers were more optimistic, those with a financial plan report faring better than those without one.
“Having a financial plan increases one's confidence and effectiveness in managing, borrowing and saving money,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, which partnered for both surveys with NationsBank and Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
For those who need a little help getting started, to those who do not necessarily have the expertise, time or desire to actively plan and manage the financial aspect of their life, financial planning experts can set you on the right path, ensure you stay focused and follow through with your plans.
“The best plan is one with a focus or strategy, whether you are currently accumulating wealth or looking to use it for various lifestyle or retirement needs,” said Marc Ruiz, partner with Oak Partners. “While it’s best to start out young, you should ideally have a financial plan in place at least 3 to 5 years prior to retiring.”
Like good trip planning, financial planning should always be flexible. After all, just as destinations can change while traveling, life is a journey with new goals and dreams added along the way.
“At Oak Partners we provide face-to-face planning on a personal level,” said partner Jason Urbaniak. “Much of what we do centers around educating people. Along with hosting informational meetings that provide a forum where you can ask questions and hear from other people like you, we strive to keep our clients informed, not just about what’s been happening, but also about what they can expect moving forward. That’s extremely important when it comes to achieving financial goals.”
Once you establish goals, the next step in the financial planning process is to assemble and assess your available resources. Just as you need a road map or GPS to help you plot a course when traveling, you’ll need to gather some data.
“In order to get started, you need to consolidate your financial life,” explained Fred Ruiz, partner with Oak Partners. “Many people don’t realize the impact of all their financial resources until they put them all together. These typically include different sources of income, current financial assets and liabilities, insurance, estate planning and even the anticipated expenses of achieving your goals.”
With all of this information gathered in one place, you can now chart a course based on the facts — keeping in mind that time and financial resources are finite.
“At Oak Partners we want to help you make the most of your dollars through smart tax planning, sound budgeting and wise spending,” said partner Fred Ruiz. “Then, you can look at saving in lower-risk assets to build an emergency fund or reduce debt, and investing in higher-risk assets to fund expenses down the road like a college education, wedding or retirement.”
Plus, when something unexpected occurs, like a detour or inevitable traffic jam, you will have resources including a cash emergency fund plus the right amounts of insurance (medical, long-term, disability and life) as well as important resources such as wills, powers of attorney and a trust for loved ones.
“It’s so important for you to be involved in every aspect of your financial plan,” added Mike Barancyk, partner with Oak Partners. “It’s far from a one-time event. That’s one of the key reasons why we employ a team approach here. Not only do you work closely with your personal adviser, there’s a team with three or four licensed advisers working on your behalf that you’ll get to know as well.”
In addition to prudent planners, Oak Partners often works with clients when a specific life event triggers the need for a financial planning expert.
From the new wave of baby boomers who want to make sure their money will last during retirement or are interested in rolling over their retirement plan, Oak Partners offer free initial consultations to people who are handling the inheritance of a large sum of money or other unexpected financial windfall, preparing for marriage or divorce, planning for the birth or adoption of a child, facing financial crisis due to serious illness, layoff or natural disaster, caring for aging parents or a disabled child, funding education, or buying, selling or passing on property or a business.
“When it comes to your overall financial needs, at Oak Partners we certainly have the expertise to keep you on track,” said partner Mario Ruiz. “Every plan we oversee is always highly customized for the client, but what really sets us apart is the personal service you receive every step of the way. We’ve been a local business since 1993 and look forward to celebrating our 20th year in 2013. We service over $400 million in assets for approximately 2,000 client households. Everyone in our office – whether they are creating a plan or managing accounts – specializes in service to meet all of your needs.”
Securities and Advisory Services offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC and a Registered Investment Advisor. Oak Partners, Inc. and SII Investments are separate and unrelated companies.
Oak Partners Inc.
55 West 94th Pl
Crown Point, Ind.