No financial goal is too small, and it’s never too late to get started — everyone can benefit from having a plan
When Sam Shepard, a Primerica representative in Atlanta, Ga., first sits down with someone to talk about their financial goals, that initial meeting is already a win in his book.
“A lot of people get confused or intimidated, almost shut down, when they begin to think about financial planning,” he says. “They feel like they don’t have the knowledge or it’s something only for upper-income folks, but it’s for everybody.”
“The first — and best — thing a person can do is just get started.”
National Financial Literacy Month is a great reminder that you don’t have to wait for the perfect time to develop a plan for budgeting, saving, investing and protecting what you have. You can get started immediately with what you have today — and acting now will get you closer to achieving your long-term goals.
Primerica is founded on helping middle-income families improve their financial security through a suite of financial services products, as well as the personalized guidance its representatives share with clients. For more than 40 years, Primerica has taught the principles of personal finance, helping to empower families to create a financial game plan and make more informed financial decisions.
Primerica is focused on training and helping license thousands of financial professionals like Shepard who are deeply rooted in their communities. There, they build face-to-face relationships to address families’ financial needs, provide education and offer solutions.
Shepard says that while many middle-income families worry they have a knowledge gap when it comes to finances and don’t know where to start, the steps to overcoming that gap are attainable for everyone.
“What we try to do at Primerica is bring it all down to common sense,” Shepard says. “We just want to walk you through it all and let you take away a greater level of financial knowledge.”
One example that Shepard and Primerica often share is for people to “pay yourself first” with each paycheck. In other words, prioritizing your own long-term financial needs is just as important as paying off your bills. Even if it’s just saving or investing a little per paycheck, this mindset builds a habit of factoring your financial future into your budget and decisions.
One of the first things Shepard does when meeting with a new client is a Financial Needs Analysis, or FNA, to determine the amount of money needed to reach their financial goals. Whether it’s shoring up a rainy-day fund, having adequate life insurance to protect loved ones, or looking to buy a new home or car, purposefully examining and addressing your finances can put you and your family on the track for success. This tactic also underscores whether you need to increase your earning potential in order to get there — or if, for the time being, you need to recalibrate your plan.
“Just like a great athlete has a trainer, we are going to be there to coach you,” Shepard says. “We’re going to come up with a game plan that helps you reach your goals. It may not always be easy, but we’ll get you there.”
These frameworks help middle-income families better understand their financial situation and know they are in control of their future. And it’s never too early or too late — Shepard has worked with people in their 80s who continue to build upon their financial plan. “You just need a belief that in time everything will work out if you’re diligent,” he says.
For those hesitant or confused about how to draft a financial plan, Shepard’s recommendation this month is simple: Before April ends, commit to creating your own financial game plan. And if you’re struggling, consider reaching out to a financial professional for an assist. Even if you’re only putting aside a few dollars per week, striving for a financial goal becomes much easier once you have a plan. In fact, tax refund season can be the perfect catalyst to get started.
Important Disclosure: In the U.S., Primerica representatives market financial products including term life insurance underwritten by Primerica Life Insurance Company, Executive Offices: Duluth, GA, (except in New York) and by National Benefit Life Insurance Company (Home Office: Long Island City, NY) in New York State. Securities are offered by PFS Investments Inc. (PFSI), 1 Primerica Parkway, Duluth, GA 30099-0001. PFSI is a registered broker-dealer and investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a member of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Primerica and PFSI are affiliated companies.