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Master List of Goals

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Goal setting is fundamental to sound financial planning. Whether we are meeting with new or long-term clients, it is essential to identify and prioritize their objectives before making recommendations. Often, clients may have difficulty expressing and assigning precedence to their goals. Or, they may simply overlook a need or objective. As an advisor, we are tasked with the challenge of uncovering and framing clients’ goals.

In response to this challenge, we’ve created this “Master List Of Goals.” This resource is inspired by the work of Ray Sin, Ph.D.; Ryan O. Murphy, Ph.D.; and Samantha Lamas, who authored “Goals-Based Financial Planning: How Simple Lists Can Overcome Cognitive Blind Spots” in the Journal of Financial Planning.


These foundational questions help you expand our clients’ understanding and awareness of possible goals for them to consider, including:

  • Retirement and lifestyle goals

  • Tax planning & healthcare goals

  • Self-development and professional goals

  • Estate planning and wealth transfer goals

In today's fast-paced world, it's crucial to have a clear vision of your financial goals to ensure a secure and prosperous future. Todd Pouliot, from Gateway Financial, understands the importance of goal setting in financial planning and offers valuable insights in this blog post. Inspired by the work of renowned experts, Pouliot presents "The Master List of Goals," a comprehensive checklist that covers various aspects of financial planning. Whether you're planning for retirement, concerned about tax liabilities, or aiming for self-development, this checklist will help you navigate the complexities of financial planning and make informed decisions. So, let's dive into the four main topics: retirement and lifestyle goals, tax planning and healthcare goals, self-development and professional goals, and estate planning and wealth transfer goals.


Retirement and Lifestyle Goals:

When it comes to retirement planning, it's essential to make informed decisions about when and how to retire. Pouliot emphasizes the significance of deciding on an effective retirement date and considering factors such as social security planning, healthcare planning, cash flow, and tax planning. Additionally, he discusses alternative retirement options, such as early retirement or semi-retirement, and highlights the importance of feeling confident about your retirement income sources and financial situation. The blog post also delves into the emotional and psychological aspects of retirement planning, including discussions on changing residency and addressing concerns within marital relationships.

Family Goals: Family goals are an integral part of financial planning, and Pouliot recognizes their importance. The checklist addresses key family-related considerations such as adopting or having a child, saving for education, supporting family members with special needs, and caring for parents or other family members. The blog post emphasizes the significance of open communication within families and the need to discuss potential life changes, such as changes in marital status.


Self-Development and Professional Goals:

In this section, Pouliot sheds light on the importance of personal and professional growth in financial planning. He encourages individuals to strive for financial independence, improve overall financial health, pursue further education or certifications, and explore opportunities for professional advancement. The blog post also emphasizes the significance of optimizing employee benefits and compensation packages and even starting one's own business as a path to financial freedom.


Asset and Debt Goals:

This section focuses on the nitty-gritty of financial planning, discussing goals related to assets and debt management. Pouliot highlights the need to reduce market volatility, increase investment returns, improve cash flow, and establish or increase emergency funds. The blog post also stresses the importance of protecting personal and real property through risk management strategies such as insurance coverage and proper estate planning.


Tax Planning and Healthcare Goals:

Tax planning plays a vital role in financial planning, and Pouliot shares his enthusiasm for this topic. The blog post explores goals related to reducing current and future tax liabilities, supporting charities, and managing major asset sales. Additionally, Pouliot addresses healthcare goals, such as planning for disability, long-term care expenses, and future medical expenses. He also emphasizes the need to review and update health insurance coverage regularly.


Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer Goals:

The final section of the checklist focuses on estate planning and wealth transfer goals. Pouliot discusses the importance of providing gifts to loved ones during one's lifetime, protecting assets from potential risks, and ensuring a smooth transfer of assets to heirs. The blog post also highlights the significance of appointing fiduciaries, preparing for possible illnesses, and supporting charitable organizations.


"The Master List of Goals" serves as a valuable resource for individuals seeking comprehensive financial planning guidance. By addressing various aspects of retirement, family, self-development, assets, taxes, healthcare, and estate planning, this checklist empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their financial future.

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