Money

Your Guide to Celebrating World Financial Planning Day

Dave Humphrey sits down every quarter with his wife, Stacie, to update her on the family’s finances. They cover everything from where key documents are stored to the plan for when Dave, 78, passes away. Their adult son who lives out-of-state also gets an annual update.

“We also keep a second set of the documents, always updated, plus our will in the safe deposit box and I think there’s a third set in the safe at the house,” Stacie Humphrey told “Advisors Magazine.” “There [also] are very explicit written instructions for me to follow during the confused, grieving widow time frame – until I get myself in order.”

The Humphrey’s are not normal when it comes to money – probably because Dave is a finance professor at Florida State University and a former Federal Reserve economist. Other families rarely talk so openly about their finances. Most financial advisors “Advisors” has spoken to over the past decade say that many families fail to adequately prepare for the unexpected. Yet, families can always start, and the Financial Planning and Standards Board Ltd. will hold World Financial Planning Day on October 2 to get people looking toward their financial futures.

FPSB manages, develops and operates certification, education and related programs for financial planning organizations to, “Benefit the global community by establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards in financial planning,” according to its website. The organization also owns the certified financial planner designation and trademark outside the United States and has a large global presence in dozens of countries.

FPSB puts on World Financial Planning Day, now in its third year, with support from the International Organization of Securities Commissions. The event aims to raise awareness of financial planning, literacy, and getting ahead of the unexpected before it happens.

“We are proud of events like World Investor Week and World Financial Planning Day that highlight the value of investor education and the work being done by securities regulators and others to increase investor financial literacy,” said José Alexandre Vasco, Chair of IOSCO's Committee on Retail Investors. “By recognizing financial planning as a global citizenship skill, World Financial Planning Day has the potential to help millions improve their futures and financial well-being through savings and investments.”

The FPSB hopes that events like World Financial Planning Day – which has its own hashtag #WFPD – will encourage young people to take charge of their finances.

“On World Financial Planning Day, the FPSB network and thousands of CFP® professionals around the world will help raise awareness of the value of financial planning, of having a financial plan and of working with a competent and ethical financial planner who puts clients’ interests first,” said FPSB CEO Noel Maye.

And while getting university students interested in financial planning might sound difficult, a large number of youths do want to know how to plan for their futures.

“[College-aged young people] typically have a higher financial literacy interest than one might think,” said Kristy L. Archuleta, associate professor of financial planning, housing, and consumer economics at the University of Georgia. “Many of them either want to do better than their families or want to retain the lifestyle of their families. However, in my own observations, students who are not financially responsible for anything while in college tend to have less urgency to learn about financial matters.”

For those urgent to tackle their finances, here are five ways to “celebrate” on October 2.

Check your credit score
An easy first-step for someone to get control of their finances is to figure out where, exactly, they stand. Regular credit checks also allow the soon-to-be financially secure to flag misreports and problems, understand what is helping and hurting them, and removes the element of surprise from loan and mortgage applications. There are many free services that check credit scores online.

Consider debt
Take some time on World Financial Planning Day to reexamine your debt and develop a plan to pay it off. For would-be millennial investors burdened by an average of about $35,000 in student loans, debt is an especially thorny problem that delays home purchases, reduces credit scores, and forces them to stay in unfulfilling jobs to meet their monthly payments.

Know yourself
Sit down and ask yourself who you want to be in retirement and when you expect that day to come. The first step to developing a financial plan is to determine what your goals are – the amount of money you will need to retire, what you want to do in retirement, what obligations you may have then, all of these are worth thinking about.

Make your first payment to yourself
Always pay yourself first, the old adage goes. Putting aside a small portion of each paycheck can really add up over time. Saving even 10 percent of each paycheck, for example, can result in thousands of dollars in savings in just a single year. There’s no better time to make your first payment into your own piggy bank than now.

Talk a financial advisor
For those who have already thought about where they want their financial future to take them, it might be the right time to start talking to a financial advisor. Before you reach out to a prospective advisor, however, take time to familiarize yourself with what a fiduciary is and how to determine whether the financial professional you are talking to fits the bill. Also consider what questions you want to ask when you meet that advisor for the first time, because even a good financial planner cannot serve every client’s unique situation.

In addition to the five steps above, if you’re a parent, take some time to start a conversation with your kids around financial literacy. After all, kids who grow up understanding the value of a dollar tend to become wiser savers and spenders when they enter adulthood.

“Students who have families who have talked openly about their money management and have helped their children learn positive money management habits or behaviors definitely have higher financial literacy,” Archuleta said. “All of this aligns with research around financial literacy.”

Further details about the video contest, WFPD and FPSB's network-wide programs and events are available on FPSB's Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as on worldfpday.org.

 

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