ST. PAUL, Minn. - If the thought of crunching numbers or taking a close look at your finances freaks you out, try this analogy.
"It's like stepping on the scale for somebody that wants to lose weight," explained financial advisor Laura Seymour. "You have to know what the number is before you can realize where you're going."
Great, finances are like weight loss, yet another thing to worry about.
But the one thing to free you of that worry is something likely already known. Financial planners said there are very few who follow through in keeping track of their money.
"What are they bringing in? What are their debts?" questioned financial advisor Nate Wenner.
"(People) need to understand what they're income sources are and what their outflows are," said Seymour.
"You either have enough money to do the things you need to do today, or you don't," explained advisor Kevin O'Laughlin.
In one way or another, all three advisors agreed you have to know what you have right now in order to plan for later.
While that may sound easy enough on paper, to properly prepare your future self for retirement, there are all sorts of questions that tend to follow.
"How should I invest my money now?" Wenner said is a question that he gets a lot.
"Is my 401k allocated appropriately?" followed Seymour.
"Looking at where you spend your money today, how that might change in the future?" said O'Laughlin.
Answers to those questions are as complex as each person's financial situation.
However, how you spend money, even on the smallest of things, can make a huge difference down the road.
It's important to prioritize and determine what you really need and cannot live without because retirement isn't getting any cheaper.
At one time $1 million would practically guarantee a retiree a pretty nice lifestyle. That's no longer always the case.
"There's no crystal ball in all of this," said O'Laughlin.
But like weight loss, only with a plan is there even an option for success.
You're not alone, there is help and free advice is available this weekend in St. Paul.
The Twin Cities Financial Planning Day is Saturday, Oct. 5th at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation at 451 Lexington Parkway North in St. Paul.
For more information click here, go to www.financialplanningdays.org/TwinCities
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