Cents and Sensibility

Are You Celebrating Financial Planning Day?

Get excited, guys. Financial Planning Day is coming. It’s a glorious day when people recognize not only the importance, but also the value of financial planning for your long term goals, short term situation and general peace of mind. And if you’re lucky, you might be able to attend a free financial planning session when Financial Planning Day comes to your city (they run from October 6-28).

The Financial Planning Day initiative was created by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.®, Financial Planning Association®, the Foundation for Financial Planning, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in an effort to increase financial literacy and provide access to ethical financial planners to answer questions about money management. Each local Financial Planning Day event features Certified Financial Planners providing free advisement services on a whole spectrum of questions – getting out of debt, paying for education, building your savings, or even planning your retirement.

Regardless of whether or not you will be attending your local Financial Planning Day, I think it’s important that we take this opportunity to recognize the importance of solid financial planning. According to the 2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance, half of all Americans aged 50-64 have only 16 months or less in savings! You can imagine how difficult it might be if they encounter health problems, job loss, early retirement or a similar financial setback.

It won’t get any easier for young people today. Faced with a dismal job market and the possibility of financial safety nets like Social Security and pensions going away, it is even more important for young adults to stay out of debt and on top of their financial goals. Yet only 29% of Millenials are trying to grow their savings, according to a recent poll conducted by Ameriprise Financial.

Proper financial planning can make a huge difference in your ability to meet your financial goals. A by SunAmerica Financial Group showed that more people are turning to professional financial advisers for assistance. And those who have used the services of a financial adviser are 72% more likely to feel very financially prepared and 47% more likely to feel financially secure.

If you have some heavy financial planning questions, I highly advise that you attend your local Financial Planning Day event. If not, check with your employer to see if free financial planning is among your benefits – you’d be surprised at how many employers offer this but don’t really advertise it. At the very least, take some time this month to look over your credit report, bank accounts and sources of debt to create a plan to achieve your goals.

I know it doesn’t have the pyrotechnics of July 4th or the warmth of Christmas or even the fun, “Forget love, let’s get wasted,” attitude of Single Awareness Day. But I’m glad that as a country, we have recognized the need to better safeguard our finances for the future. I hope all of you take some time this month to celebrate Financial Planning Day in the way that works best for you!

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