Discussing a Million-Dollar Plan


While some millionaires were born, and others have quick-picked their way to riches, many more have started with less and worked their way to seven-figure status.

Effective money-saving habits can help boost your wealth little by little, year after year. But more importantly, a habit of steady saving along with financial planning can help you on your way to your future.

"For many millionaires in the making, it's all going to start with reviewing and assessing your plan on a regular basis," says JJ Montanaro, a certified financial planner ™ practitioner with USAA. "Believe it or not, sometimes slow and steady does actually win the race."

The Advantage of a Helping Hand

Once you've made the decision to build your nest egg, productive conversations with a financial adviser can help you toward your financial goal. Building your financial footing can happen over time, and a financial adviser can help you to maneuver around and through life's unforeseen challenges.

Your adviser should get to know you, your family and your financial goals and be a sounding board for your wealth-building ideas. Together, you can discuss the types of choices you'll need to make to compile a portfolio that is designed to grow steadily. He or she should ask you for some information that some might feel is personal. Topics will certainly include income, debts, employer's retirement choices and any investments. Your financial adviser should get an idea of your current financial picture and your ideas for how you envision growing your family's wealth in the years to come.

Think of your financial adviser as a coach, helping you work toward your financial objectives. He or she can serve in several different ways as you strive to accrue wealth. Some of these roles may include:

  • A voice of reason: You may need help identifying your specific financial goals. An adviser can lend an ear, as well as help decipher some of the fine print that explains complicated topics like 401(k) or IRA rules.
  • Motivator: A financial adviser can help make sure you stay the course for your savings goals. If you ever lose sight of your long-term goals, and think about abandoning your saving habits, your adviser can remind you that your wealth-building ideals are not in vain, and that your sacrifices now are designed to pay off in your later years.
  • Prioritizer: With all the different ways that you can spend your hard-earned paycheck, a financial adviser can help you determine necessary spending from nonessential spending, helping trim the fat in your budget. He or she should understand the need to use some income for recreation, and can help you budget that need into your spending, while helping you keep in mind that your long-term financial goals can be attainable with discipline and an effective set of priorities.

Your adviser can help you discover components to address your financial needs. With your continued contribution to your accounts and the advice from your financial adviser, a well-thought-out plan is important.

"One of the hardest aspects of wealth building is having the patience to let your plan unfold and know that overnight success isn't what you're shooting for," explains Montanaro. "Having a relationship with someone who can keep you grounded in this reality can be critical to keeping you on track during those times when things don't go as you expected."

In order to pick the right adviser for you, know that a reputable professional will have no qualms about answering your questions about his or her credentials and compensation.

"People are often hesitant to ask the important details about their adviser because they fear it will come across as offensive," says Montanaro. "I say, 'Ask away!' If you're going to entrust someone to guide you on such an important journey, it's not asking too much for you to get an understanding of what makes them qualified to help you."

There are different ways to become a millionaire, but discipline, patience and some financial planning are tactics that can help achieve that goal. Talking realistically about your financial ambition and plotting your path are steps in the right direction toward earned wealth.

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