Dollars and Sense: Financial planning necessary for every life stage

Editor’s Note: “Dollars and Sense” is a new column in the Robson Ranch Pioneer Press dedicated to financial issues. This column is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subject of personal finances. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or other damages. As each individual situation is unique, questions relevant to personal finances and specific to the individual should be addressed to an appropriate professional to ensure that the situation has been carefully and appropriately evaluated. Robson Publishing, a division of Robson Communities Inc. is not liable for information contained in these articles.

Derrick Kinney

Just like there are four seasons in a year, there are different seasons of financial planning during your lifetime. Financial planning can help you gain a better understanding of where you are financially, how to prepare for challenges that may be ahead and how to plan for where you want to go.

Of course every situation is unique, including the age and circumstances under which you begin implementing a financial strategy. And what suits you at age 25 is typically different from what meets your needs at age 55.

In a nutshell, the stages include:

Building assets: At the beginning of your career your financial focus is typically on accumulating your assets. Your ability to earn income may be your most valuable asset, so investing in your career is critical. It’s also important to establish an emergency fund, build your personal savings and pay off student loans.

Investing for the future: When you grow more successful financially, you will increase your discretionary income. During this stage you’ll start planning and saving for future goals such as a child’s college education and/or a comfortable retirement. Make sure you have a well-balanced and tax-diversified portfolio to provide potential growth opportunities.

Planning for retirement: As you near retirement, planning for it often becomes your financial priority. Begin by thinking about your retirement goals and dreams. Then create a detailed plan that will help you get there. You’ll want to make sure you have the flexibility to take income in tax-efficient ways that will enable you to continue your lifestyle and be prepared for the unexpected in retirement.

Generating retirement income: Once it’s time to enter retirement, begin implementing your retirement plan and enjoying the assets you’ve accumulated. After a few months reevaluate your plan and make adjustments so you stay on track.

Leaving a legacy: As you become older and more financially secure, leaving a legacy becomes paramount. Legacy is about the impact you’ll make on people, charities and causes that are important to you. It’s also about making sure you have the right beneficiaries in place to protect your assets.

Of course there is some overlap in each of these stages. For example, you may take steps to get the right protection in place while laying a foundation to grow your assets. Or you may take retirement income while planning ways to transfer your wealth.

Regardless of the stage you’re in, it’s important to make sure that your legal and financial documents are properly structured to ensure the most efficient and effective transfer of your assets including property, personal belongings and investments in the event of your death. Doing so can give you the added peace of mind that comes from knowing your family is financially stable no matter what happens.

Derrick Kinney is a Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Arlington, Texas. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 20 years. To contact him, call 817-419-6001. Primary office located at 700 Highlander Blvd, Suite 335 in Arlington, Texas or visit