It’s easy to talk about the positive, sometimes life changing value that financial planning can provide. That said, however, there are a few things that financial planning can’t do.

1. Financial Planning can’t make you a saver. Many of the prospective clients we see are way behind in saving for their financial future. The planning process can help point out the dire need to save, but even confronted with compelling evidence, many individuals still find it difficult to change spending and saving habits formed over many years.

2. Financial planning can’t fix you without your active commitment and participation. Financial planning is not like surgery, where the surgeon repairs damage while you are asleep; Financial planning only works if you are willing to take action steps towards your life goals.

3. Financial planning can’t make markets less risky. Financial planning can help you understand the nature of the capital markets and why you likely need these long term premium returns. Financial planning can also align market risk with your long term goals. However, the inherently risky nature of the markets remains.

4. Financial planning can’t make the future knowable. There will always be uncertainties and that is at the core of the planning process. Financial planning is contingency planning with the main contingency being if you will be here days or decades. We are not in possession of that information, and neither is anyone else. There will always be “unknown unknowns”.

5. Financial planning can’t totally remove emotions from financial decisions. As humans, we are bundles of emotions and poorly equipped for financial decision making. Financial planning can help provide a rational framework for making choices. An advisor should also be able to inject discipline into the process. Within this context, discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.

Financial planning is a structure; financial planning creates a framework; financial planning is a belief. Even so, financial planning can’t change anything…. without you. Ready for a real conversation?

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