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BAM Intelligence

Finding Your Vision — Stephen High

By Stephen High, Kraft Asset Management, Nashville, TN

Financial success starts with defining clear long-term goals

Do you have a vision for your future? Without a clear view of your personal, family and professional priorities, it is almost impossible to put a financial plan in place to achieve those goals.

As a wealth advisor, I think it’s critical to give serious thought to what financial success looks like for you and your family right now — and five, 10 or 20 years from now. Without a clear vision, you are selling yourself short. Essentially, you are saying that you are OK with whatever life imposes upon you. We’re not satisfied with the “come what may” approach because of what we’ve seen when helping clients — good planning can improve your present and future.

To a large degree, most goals are dependent on having financial resources. So, we talk with clients in great detail about where they want to be financially. Together, we determine: 1) what you want, 2) why you want it, 3) when you want it and 4) what it will mean to you.

Then, we write it down. This vision is a key map for your future, one you should refer to and build upon throughout your life. Having it on paper is important for you and for those close to you. Sometimes, the answers are obvious. Other questions require more thought.

So, we start the conversation at where you are today. How long you plan to keep working and when you want to retire are the places to start. Then, we move the discussion to visualizing where you want to live and how you’ll spend your time after you retire or stop working. That’s something we talk about at length.

We hash out how much you’ll have to save and invest each month to reach your long-term financial goals and that includes what kind of return you will need on investments to build the wealth you expect. Finally, we talk about the legacy you wish to leave.

These are subjects most people seldom think about because they can be difficult to answer, and they require you to envision circumstances that may seem out of reach. Still, it is important we consider them. The greater the clarity you have regarding your long-term financial future, the faster you will likely realize it.

Transforming your vision of financial success into reality likely will require the assistance of more than just a wealth advisor. A solid team brings together a wealth advisor, CPA, attorney, insurance expert and others, depending on your situation. Your wealth advisor, along with your other advisors, can help you develop an overall written plan to complement your vision. The plan should be highly personal, based on conversations you’ve had about your specific values, goals and assets along with your ability, willingness and need to take risk.

One of an advisor’s most important responsibilities is to help you implement your plan and monitor it. Even more, your advisor should keep asking questions as you go through personal and career changes.

It will take passion, resolve and living with intention to weather the journey, but your vision of financial success can become a reality. Make some time to develop your vision. It will be worth the effort.

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The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of the BAM ALLIANCE. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice.

© 2013, The BAM ALLIANCE

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Stephen High, CPA/PFS, JD is chief manager of Kraft Asset Management, LLC, an independent member of the BAM ALLIANCE.

Prior to taking over Kraft, Stephen served as member-in-charge of KraftCPA’s Columbia office, focusing on personal financial planning, small business consulting and tax practices. Before joining KraftCPAs in 1990, Stephen practiced law.

Stephen is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Financial Planning Association. He holds a law degree, MBA in finance and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

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