“Have you looked at your financial plan lately?” With 40 percent of Americans viewing financial planning “like a medical checkup,” advisors already know that many clients see financial planning as “not my favorite thing in the world but know it needs to get done.” Although clients may not be jazzed about planning—just 18 percent are “excited and inspired” by financial planning, according to a recent survey from Northwestern Mutual—a majority of Americans know their plans need improving.
That’s in part because just 16 percent of Americans describe themselves as “highly disciplined” planners, while 37 percent are “informal” planners and 14 percent are “not” planners.
Many Americans may feel too locked in by their plans, which might be a sign that a “checkup” is in order, said Emily Holbrook, director of planning at Northwestern Mutual. With 79 percent of Americans in agreement that financial responsibility means sticking to a budget and never deviating; financial plans might need a little more wiggle room.
“A good financial plan should be flexible and adapt to your life,” says Holbrook. “It shouldn’t be approached as an overly rigid or static exercise.”
“It’s important to remember the aim of a plan is to allow you to live the life you want to live,” she added, “not simply to demand sacrifice or delay your hopes and dreams.”