Wealthramp Network Advisor Bob Carroll Discusses Family Planning

As a young single adult, your financial plan can be relatively simple; you pay your bills on-time and start building wealth by taking advantage of your employer’s tax-deferred 401(K) program. But as you transition from carefree single adult to a family-centric lifestyle, you’ll likely find your money decisions will become more complex. Instead of renting an apartment on your own, you may have enough saved to consider owning your first home. Not only will brand new priorities arise while others fade, but you’ll probably notice your spending habits change as well.

A truly solid, albeit simple, financial plan is designed to adjust as your priorities and circumstances change. The right plan can help make life transitions much smoother. Having the right plan relieves financial stress and allows you to feel confident so you can concentrate on what matters most – your family.

You may be wondering what exactly is family financial planning? Traditional financial planning is often performed individually or as a couple.  As the name implies, family financial planning broadens the scope of planning to consider the impact of your plan on the whole family. Life can get complicated with kids, blended families, and aging parents.  This dynamic can create varied constituencies with divergent needs and interests.

Family financial planning is an outline of your family’s financial goals and a comprehensive strategy to help you save, manage and invest your money to accomplish those goals. It can be as simple as designing a realistic budget as a roadmap to help you save or pay down high-interest debt.

But a comprehensive family plan will also be holistic and include a blueprint for investing for your retirement at the same time you’re investing for your children’s college education. It’s an important game plan for your family’s finances that will help keep you on-track and provide a disciplined approach to get to your desired financial results faster. Remember, most of us never grew up learning how to deal with money. When you adopt a financial plan early in your adult life, you gain another important benefit: the gift of financial literacy that will pay dividends throughout each phase of your life.

Benefits of Holistic Family Financial Planning

  1. Create a comprehensive plan that addresses all of your family’s current and future spending and saving objectives.
  2. Help you realistically estimate whether your sources of retirement income will provide enough money for your desired lifestyle both now and into the future.  
  3. Help you choose an appropriate college savings option for your children and guide you through the financial aid application process.
  4. Suggest resources to help your children increase their financial literacy.
  5. Considers the impact of your plan on each generation as well as broader family interests.

Biggest Mistakes of Family Planning

  1. Building a plan that fails to consider the needs and interests of the whole family. While you and your immediate family are still the primary focus, it is critical to think through how your plan may impact others either directly or indirectly. 
  2. Failure to align the various components of your financial plan around your goals. The goal is to create synergies across the various components such as investment management, cash flow needs, tax planning, and estate plan. Too often these areas are treated as “silos” that are managed independent of each other. This approach can lessen your chance of success.
  3. Failing to create an estate plan that specifies how you want your assets to be passed to your heirs.
  4. Not seeking professional and objective advice. Navigating these issues can be difficult. Add family dynamics into the mix and it brings an added layer of complexity. Seek out qualified assistance to help you navigate these complicated issues.

Creating a family financial plan isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem. I was working with a new client of mine who was going into their second marriage and starting a blended family. Blended families can be extremely challenging to navigate as there are two different branches of families with dual interests involved.

The new couple had a ranch in ski country they wanted to pass along to their children, but they had not thought about whether or not the children actually wanted to keep and maintain the property. Would they be able to afford the mortgage payment? There were a lot of factors they had never considered, so taking the time to walk them through all of their options was imperative to helping them formulate this family plan.

The plan ultimately involved updating the estate plan to make sure that the property passed to the next generation as intended (i.e., ownership rights, maintenance costs, usage).  It also entailed the use of life insurance to help fund costs to ensure that any debt on the property could be paid off without sacrificing long-term financial security. 

This is just one example of why family planning is much more encompassing than just your typical financial plan as there are many factors and various people involved that need consideration. To get the most out of your family plan you should bring a list of questions to ask your financial advisor on things you are most concerned about or that you consider to be important when creating your plan.

Examples of Commonly Asked Questions

  1. Are we on track to meet all our financial goals?  
  2. What can we do to help our parents when they’re no longer able to make financial decisions on their own?  Is our long-term planning sufficient and realistic?
  3. When is it a good time to bring our kids into a discussion of our financial plan?
  4. Which college saving plan makes the most sense?
  5. How can we ensure that our assets are passed along to our children in the most tax-efficient way?

Whether you’re about to start a new family or looking for financial advice for your current one, family planning is extremely beneficial to any family looking to save and smartly manage their finances. Just remember that family planning can take time and will need a holistic consideration of all aspects and parties involved. When you’re ready to take the first steps to building out your plan, be sure to consult a fiduciary financial advisor who is legally obligated to put your interest first.

Bob Carroll is an Investment Advisor Representative of Carnegie Investment Counsel (“Carnegie”), a federally registered investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Some information herein was obtained from third party resources, and Carnegie deems the information to be reliable as of the original date of publication. Carnegie does not provide legal, insurance, or tax services. The information provided is for general informational purposes only.


Thank you Bob for this extremely informative and timely guest post, we greatly appreciate the information! Bob’s advice couldn’t come at a better time. If you don’t currently have an advisor or if you’re interested in another perspective on your current investment strategy, be sure to check out Wealthramp’s quick survey that will match you with three fee-only, fiduciary financial advisors in your area. The first advisor meeting is always free and you’re under no obligation to hire any professional. Learn more about the Wealthramp process and be sure to check out Wealthramp’s other resources to help you navigate your finances.

Related Posts

Feb 26, 2024
Which Financial Advisor Credentials Matter Most?

Type in ‘fee-only financial advisor’ in a Google search and you’ll see pages of financial advisors. Most with a dizzying […]

Feb 09, 2024
New Year… New Tax Planning

The stock market continues to rally, but interest rates and inflation are still running high. At this moment, our attention […]

Jan 29, 2024
Do you have to pay taxes on your Social Security income?

When it comes to tax season, the abundance of complex forms and intricate calculations can be overwhelming. Organizing your personal […]

1 2 3 27

Sign up for our newsletter

We’ll share news and tips on the topics you care about and deliver them straight to your inbox.

Stay Connected

TermsADV Part 2Privacy PolicyClient Relationship SummaryAdvisor Login
©2022, Wealthramp Inc. All Rights Reserved.

©2024, Wealthramp Inc. All Rights Reserved.