Get Started on a Personal Finance Strategy Now

By Brianne Hailey Killeen
Meadowlands Magazine Staff Writer

It’s never too early to get started on managing your personal finances, according to experts in the field, and it’s also never too late. To set sail on a sound financial direction, getting started with a plan in hand is all it takes.

There are several areas to include when mapping out a personal finance course, and it goes beyond setting money aside in a 401(k). There are different types of insurance and risk management to include in a comprehensive plan, and your personal philosophy, goals and objectives should be considered.  

Personal finance basics

Personal finance is not only critical to managing your daily cash flow needs but is also vital to planning your financial future. Your long-term financial goals have a better chance of fruition the sooner you get a handle on personal finance and spending habits, finance experts say.

For starters, don’t think about the economy at large and how Wall Street weighs in over the odds of an impending recession. The starting point when developing a personal finance strategy is looking at your own household economy.

At its most basic, personal finance encapsulates all facets of your money management – spending and saving habits; credit balances; long term investments; rainy day fund; personal philosophy; and more. A thorough strategy include planning for:

·       Cash flow

·       Investments

·       Insurance

·       Retirement

·       Education

·       Estate

·       Taxes

While people often think of savings and retirement when it comes to personal finance planning, insurance is an often overlooked but critical component, according to Joe Vanacore, Wealth Manager at Fortis Wealth Group, an advisory group with Fortis Group Advisors in Westwood.

Vanacore said that individuals should not “neglect how important life, disability and long-term care insurances are when it comes to personal finance.”

Not only is having various types of insurance plans financially important, “they are the foundational elements of any plan, and they provide important protections needed in a full-fledged financial plan,” Vanacore said.

Fortis Wealth Group aims to provide practical and comprehensive advice that is based on a thorough understanding of their clients’ wants and needs. As an independently owned firm, Fortis Wealth Group maintains absolute objectivity by not offering any proprietary products. The only obligation they have is to their clients and they formulate their advice based on your specific unique situation.

Vanacore’s advice is to clients is to “avoid putting all of your money into alternative investment vehicles.”

Always have intention

When mapping out your personal finance plan, make sure you do anything and everything with purpose and keep track of your path. Doing things without proper intention or starting without an outline can backfire.

“Know what you own and why you own it,” said Jeffrey M. Kobernick, managing partner and co-founder of NewEdge Wealth in Stamford, Connecticut.

Kobernick advises that during the personal finance journey people should set goals in the areas where they would most like to make progress.

“Draft a personal benchmark and work towards it,” Kobernick said.

NewEdge Wealth targets the needs of ultra-high net worth, family, office and institutional clients. The firm seeks to provide a select group of clients with personalized service designed to help organize and simplify their lives. NewEdge Wealth also provides access to an expansive menu of products and services and taps technology to serve as the connective tissue between the client with the advisor.

Seek Professional Advice

Personal finance can be hard to start and maintain without some professional guidance and at times discipline is needed to stay the course. Even when a plan is launched, it can also be hard for people to know who to trust when it comes time to get advice.

Because investing has become more easily accessible through technology, it’s not unusual for people to turn to app-based programs for everything.

“A lot more people are taking personal planning into their own hands,” Vanacore said.


While developing independence around investing and saving is great, the experts say that it’s wise to check in with a financial advisor to make sure that what you’re doing is effective for your goals.