My father emigrated from Taiwan in the 1960s with only $17 to his name and the clothes on his back. Even though he was poor in the material and financial sense, he never considered himself poor. His mantra was that financial wealth alone did not represent one’s “true wealth.” He stressed the fact that he was rich in spirit and blessed with his education.
The most valuable financial advice that my dad bestowed was not to define myself by what I have, but rather by my accomplishments and education. He insisted that while money did not buy happiness, it did provide peace of mind, freedom, and flexibility. I learned that money should not be the sole determining factor in the decision making process. His financial wisdom and insight have allowed me to adopt a balanced, holistic approach to financial matters, for which I am eternally grateful.
This Father’s Day is bittersweet for me because it is the first one without him. My dad passed away earlier this year after his long, courageous struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
I hope to further my dad’s legacy and instill values of financial stewardship. As a CFP® professional, I’m passionate about helping clients plan to achieve their life financial goals. Financial planning is intellectually stimulating, emotionally gratifying, and financially rewarding—and it delivers positive societal impact to our community.
Here are some strategies to help you improve your money management skills, increase your savings and build wealth to keep you on the path to financial prosperity.
- Establish financial goals
Financial planning is the process of meeting your life goals through the proper management of your financial resources. Everyone wants to be "comfortable" in retirement and see their children attend a "good" school, but this means different things to different people. It’s important to recognize that financial planning is a process, not a transaction.
- Understand the impact of each financial decision
Financial planning helps you understand the impact that each financial decision has on other areas of your financial life. For example, increasing contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan affects your cash flow, taxes, investment portfolio, and retirement plan. The goal is to adopt a big-picture, integrative approach to your personal finances, which provides clarity and confidence to your financial decisions.
- Monitor your financial situation
Financial planning is a process, not a transaction. Your financial goals may change due to changes in your situation or circumstances such as the purchase of a home, marriage, birth, death, inheritance, divorce, or retirement. It is important to monitor your financial situation on a regular basis.
- Start now
The sooner you start, the more likely you are to reach your financial goals. By developing good financial planning habits such as saving, budgeting, investing and regularly reviewing your finances, you can adapt readily to life transitions and move progressively closer to your financial goals.
As Nelson Mandela so eloquently professed, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I believe that the desire for financial stability transcends all cultural, societal, and wealth boundaries and that financial planning can transform lives!