Kick off Financial Literacy Month with a Strong Financial Plan

Posted 4/1/24

(BPT) - By: Konda Pollard and Brent Suriano, Synovus BankAccording to recent research, while 74% of Americans engage in financial planning, only 15% have a written plan and 30% lack any long-term …

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Kick off Financial Literacy Month with a Strong Financial Plan

Posted

(BPT) - By: Konda Pollard and Brent Suriano, Synovus Bank

According to recent research, while 74% of Americans engage in financial planning, only 15% have a written plan and 30% lack any long-term financial goals. With April being Financial Literacy Month, many people are seeking advice on how to get their finances in order. With a well-laid and continually updated financial plan, people can feel more in control of their financial future and more confident in meeting their goals.

Over the past few decades, financial products have become more accessible to the public, which has led individuals to have more bank and investment products than ever before. Between bank accounts, credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and multiple investment accounts, it can be tough to begin organizing. Together with a financial advisor, taking a holistic look at where your money is going may help you find places to cut down on spending and save money toward your goals.

To implement a financial plan that works for you, consider the following:

  • Find the right advisor for you. Start by asking yourself, “Do I have the time and energy to be the best financial advisor for myself?” The answer may be no, which is why experts are readily available to help. A Synovus financial advisor can help you build out a goal-based plan. It is simple to aim to “save more, spend less,” but a trusted advisor can help you highlight specific goals to work toward, which will strengthen your emotional connection to achieving those goals. For example, envisioning saving up for a tropical family vacation or buying a luxury item can strengthen your commitment to a financial goal more than aiming to save a certain dollar amount.
  • Work backward to arrive at a plan. Consider where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, and then discuss what you need to start today to get yourself on track. Discuss short-term and long-term priorities with your advisor, and work toward setting realistic goals. Planning for retirement, which may be several decades away, can feel daunting, but working with the end goal in mind can provide perspective for the short-term goals.
  • Consider your life stage. There is no “one size fits all” plan for achieving financial goals. Someone who is fresh out of college will have vastly different goals and cost outlays than a 50-year-old with a family. Working with trusted experts will help craft a plan that is unique to you, your life stage and your individual goals. Once you have your financial plan in place, make sure it evolves with your lifestyle, needs and family dynamics. Aim to meet annually (or more often) with your advisor to ensure your plan is staying up to date with any lifestyle changes, such as a new job, new home, marriage or children, and is maximizing your money given the economic conditions at that time. Having regular check-ins to make small updates will be much less mentally taxing than updating a financial plan that hasn’t been reviewed in several years. And remember it is never too late to get started.
  • Celebrate wins. Create milestones in your financial plan and celebrate when they are achieved. Big or small, recognizing progress will give you an emotional boost to keep striving for the next goal.

Life is full of uncertainties, but your financial future doesn’t have to be one of them. Financial Literacy Month is a great time to take a closer look at your finances and assess your goals with a trusted advisor that can help set you up for success in April and beyond.

Konda Pollard and Brent Suriano are directors of private wealth at Synovus Bank.