The economic ups and downs of recent years understandably may lead us to ask a simple but critical question about the future, "Will I be OK?" When it comes to your financial security, a comprehensive financial plan helps ensure that your answer is "yes."
A comprehensive plan points you in the right direction and helps you build a financial foundation for your specific needs and aspirations. Your financial plan provides a roadmap to follow, outlining the actions necessary to achieve your long-term goals. It evolves over time, adapting to your changing financial needs as you progress through life stages such as marriage, family, business ownership and retirement.
Northwestern Mutual uses a comprehensive planning process that is based on our commitment to develop enduring relationships, act in our clients' best interests and provide sound guidance through all life's stages. The process integrates both insurance and investments, with expert solutions selected to meet your specific needs and goals.
A financial representative acts as an advocate for you and your family, helping you think through potential challenges and examine areas where you may want particular focus. The comprehensive process includes several steps to collect critical information and determine the best approach for your unique circumstances:
- Build Trust
Trust is the cornerstone of a productive working relationship and essential in personal financial matters. You want to feel confident in your financial representative and in the company he or she represents. Northwestern Mutual is among the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies and has the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four major credit rating agencies.
- Assess Your Goals and Needs
Creating your financial plan involves sharing your goals and dreams, evaluating your specific circumstances, and answering tough questions about the journey ahead. A financial representative will ask you about your current financial assets and obligations, personal and professional aspirations, your desires for your family, and the legacy you want to leave.
- Understand the Risks
An integral part of our investment philosophy is to solve risk-based needs first, to be sure you and your family are protected from risks to your long-term financial security. This includes risks to your income – such as disability, job or health concerns – unexpected expenses that may tap your emergency fund, or the risk of premature death that would affect your family's ability to meet important goals.
- Identify Gaps
A representative will use the personal and financial information you provide to create a personal financial plan that identifies the gaps and specific options that could address them.
- Create Your Action Plan
As you consider options, budget and timelines in your financial plan, a financial representative will recommend the top priorities for your specific needs and goals. These may include addressing risks with disability insurance, life insurance or long-term care; developing a diversified, long-term investment strategy consistent with your risk tolerance and time horizon; or adjusting your retirement assets to manage the impact of taxes and inflation.
- Follow the Plan and Adjust as Life Changes
A plan must be implemented to deliver results, and consistency is the real secret to success. Once your plan is complete, implement the key action steps that will help you develop strong financial habits and stay on track. Review your plan with a financial representative each year, adjusting for any updates such as job, home or family changes. Continue to follow the plan as you accumulate wealth and proceed toward your retirement.
- Develop Your Distribution Strategy
As retirement approaches you'll need to change your focus from asset accumulation to asset distribution. A financial representative can help you evaluate your anticipated retirement needs, lifestyle, risks and assets to determine the best income streams and strategies to ensure you have consistent income for your lifetime.
Working with Northwestern Mutual to create a comprehensive financial plan will help you prepare for the future and weather challenging times. Talk to a financial representative about how your current approach might be improved to help you ease any worries and allow you to look forward to a lifetime of financial security.