We help people set goals and budget toward them. Because we were founded as a credit counseling agency, the number one goal we help people achieve is debt reduction. But we also encourage sound money management and financial planning.
What is a financial plan, you ask? When you hear about financial planning in the media, it tends to be in reference to retirement. That’s the number one task of Certified Financial Planners. (Incidentally, the CFP designation was created by the late Loren Dunton, of the Institute for Consumer Financial Education.)
But financial planning includes more than just retirement. Getting out of debt, saving for homeownership, paying for college; these are all things we are intimately involved with, and all involve creating a financial plan.
We’ve partnered with the NFCC in offering the Sharpening Your Financial Focus program to help people create a financial plan for all areas of their lives. Whether one needs to get out of debt, save for retirement, or wants to own a home, a financial plan is a must.
A financial plan is simply a set of goals and behaviors that one undertakes to manage personal finances. We strongly believe having those goals written down in concrete form makes one much more likely to succeed in achieving them. Many people are working to save for retirement without a financial plan, but simply setting money aside isn’t enough. Decisions have to be made: what kind of life do I want to have in retirement? When do I expect to retire? What financial goals must I meet along the way?
Answering those questions is part of a financial plan, and that’s essential to avoiding financial mistakes. A recent NFCC poll found that personal finances topped the list of poor decisions among respondents. This is the kind of problem that can be avoided by creating a financial plan, and Sharpen Your Financial Focus is a great place to start.
Of course, we can help too, with student loan counseling, credit and debt counseling, housing counseling, and more. Whatever your financial concern, we have certified nonprofit counselors here to help.