financial planning

Financial Planning

Managing Your Personal Finances


There are five areas of Fully Comprehensive Financial Planning: Cash Flow, Investments, Insurances, Legal and Tax. Under the watchful eye of your Trusted Financial Advisor, your team will design your custom written lifetime financial plan, put your plan into action, monitor your plan, and meet with you regularly to keep you on track. This is done to ensure that your financial planning will always be in perfect order and stays that way.

See the videos below about MyBlocks. The software used for comprehensive financial planning that helps ensure all areas of your financial house are in good order.



Financial planning shouldn’t be intimidating. MyBlocks is an online planning tool that makes planning for your financial future easy and fun. By breaking up key topics into easy-to-understand “blocks” (including retirement planning, protecting your family, and more), you will increase your financial literacy as you define a financial plan for your future.

Watch the video below to learn more.

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Watch this short video to learn more about the power and ease of MyBlocks planning software.

Retirement Planning

Retirement planning determines retirement income goals and the actions and decisions necessary to achieve those goals. It includes identifying sources of income, sizing up expenses, implementing a savings program, and managing assets and risk. Future cash flows are estimated to gauge whether the retirement income goal will be achieved. Some retirement plans change depending on whether you’re in, say, the United States or Elsewhere.

This is ideally a lifelong process. You can start at any time, but it works best if you factor it into your financial planning from the beginning. That’s the best way to ensure a safe, secure—and fun—retirement. The fun part is why it makes sense to pay attention to the serious and perhaps boring part: planning how you’ll get there.

Clicking this link will bring you to “MoneyGuide Pro” planning software. For your protection, you will have to register for a FREE account to keep your information private.


U.S. Financial Literacy Statistics

According to 2022 study, not all Americans feel they are financially prepared.

Americans who say they don’t have anyone they can ask for trusted financial guidance.
Percentage of Non-retirees who didn’t think their retirement savings were on track in 2021.
In 2021, adults reported “just getting by financially” describes them completely or very well.

Spend or Borrow?

The question of how to pay for a large purchase is tied to a series of either/or choices. Cash or credit? Save or borrow? Now or later? Many people believe they should save up before buying to avoid debt. Unfortunately, experts say there is actually no easy, one-size-fits-all answer to the cash-versus-credit question.

Saving up to buy a big-screen television or washing machine often makes sense, because by not going into debt you avoid interest that adds to the item’s bottom-line price. But what if you need that washing machine right away because your current one just broke down? What if after a year of saving, the washing machine has gone up in price more than the interest you would have paid to charge it? What if the washing machine is on sale, and the store’s offering no money down and zero percent interest for 12 months?

Clicking this link will bring you to “MoneyGuide Pro” planning software. For your protection, you will have to register for a FREE account to keep your information private.

Education Planning

Putting children through college is one of the largest expenses most families will ever face. Recently, education costs have dramatically outpaced inflation. According to the US Department of Education, the average annual cost of public school increased 6.5 percent each year over the last decade. This means that by 2030, annual public tuition will be $44,047. The total cost for a four-year degree from a public, in-state university will be more than $205,000. 1  Proactive investing can make paying for education easier. There are several ways to optimize savings for education. 

Education funding options include:

  1. 529 Savings Plan
  2. Coverdell ESA (formerly known as Educational IRA)
  3. Custodial Account (UGMA/UTMA)
  4. Trust

​The most popular way to save for educational expenses is by investing into a 529 Savings Plan. Each of these options has advantages and considerations that require evaluating your specific goals and situation. When you consider financial aid programs, scholarships, and family contributions; saving for university expenses becomes quite complex. At Financial Plans & Strategies, we can help you evaluate your options and develop a plan to provide for your education or the education of your children or grandchildren. Contact us today to learn more.


(1) “How Much Will You Need to Send Your Child to College in 2030?”, US News & World Report

Clicking this link will bring you to “MoneyGuide Pro” planning software. For your protection, you will have to register for a FREE account to keep your information private.

Ready to Hire a Financial Advisor? Contact Me Today

You can easily utilize the MyBlocks software for your financial planning. For more in-depth analysis and to keep yourself held accountable, consider hiring me as your financial advisor. I would be happy to explore the options with you. Click below to set an initial phone appointment.

Feel Confident in Your Financial Well Being!

Minding the Gap

Did you know: Women report less confidence in their finances yet are less likely to seek professional help?

We don’t like the idea of women being left behind in their financial goals and objectives. With all the additional challenges that women face in today’s financial landscape, we want to share steps you can take to understand and navigate the obstacles women face. 

Click the button to download our whitepaper “Minding the Gap” to see how you can narrow the gap and take control of your finances.

The Book “Values Based Financial Planning”

The Art of Creating an Inspiring Financial Strategy

Written by Bill Bachrach, this book is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to create a life based on their core values. In the grand scheme of things, money’s not that important. It’s important only to the extent that it allows you to enjoy what’s important to you. And not worrying about your finances is critical to having a life that excites you, nurtures those you love and fulfills your highest aspirations. If you want to make smart choices about money, based on what is important to you—your core values—this book is for you.

This informative and well-written book will help you build a financial strategy, starting with your own unique values—what is truly important to you. By defining these unique values, you can create a plan that not only looks good on paper, but spurs you to follow through and achieve your goals. Click here to order your own copy.

What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

The CFP designation remains the most widely known certification for financial planning. It is awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. There are four requirements to receive the designation: education, a comprehensive exam, work experience, and ethics. Here is an explanation of each of the four “E’s”.

The Four “E”‘s

  • Education: CFPs receive a rigorous education in financial planning. You must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university to begin the initial coursework in a CFP Board-approved program. Then you must complete approved courses that cover topics including retirement, estate planning, and insurance. The education doesn’t stop once you’re certified. To maintain the certification, you must complete continuing education (CE) programs every two years.
  • Exam: After the education portion, you must take a CFP exam. This exam stretches over a few days and covers financial planning, professional conduct and ethics. Passing this exam shows that you’re qualified to develop financial plans, provide useful recommendations and handle client-advisor relationships.
  • Experience: You must also have three years of experience in the finance industry to be eligible to earn this certification. This level of experience shows that you know the ins and outs of the industry, rather than just the general idea.
  • Ethics: Lastly, the ethics requirement consists of a background check and a standards code. Before granting you the certification, the board reviews any potential violations, like previous misconduct. This is to ensure that you adhere to the standards of the CFP Board. Being able to follow the rules of conduct and exhibit professionalism are keys to being a successful financial advisor.

What is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)?

In 1982, the ChFC designation was introduced as an alternative to the CFP designation. It’s awarded by the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The ChFC is less known than the CFP, but still stands as a distinguished certification in financial planning. The biggest difference between the two is the process of becoming certified.

The education portion for a ChFC is lengthier, comprising nine college-level courses. But at the core, it is a similar education to the CFP education. Courses focus on financial planning, covering topics like investing, insurance planning, and retirement planning. There are also courses that focus on planning with different types of clients, such as divorcees or special needs families.

These courses are self-paced and can be done online. There is no final, comprehensive exam, as there is for the CFP designation. Instead, you take a final exam at the end of each course.

To enroll in the program, you must have at least three years of experience in the finance industry. Having a degree in finance or business will help you in the courses and can count as one of your years of experience. Again, you must subscribe to a professional pledge and a code of ethics.

OnGoing Education is Key

The Advisor must continue to earn CE credits to maintain the designation. This involves taking courses and participating in programs to keep them current on financial planning practices.

Meeting all of these requirements leads to a ChFC designation. These high standards ensure that a ChFC is prepared as a financial advisor to give knowledgeable and helpful advice that suits clients’ needs. In turn, clients will be assured that an advisor with this designation knows what they’re talking about.

Bottom Line

From a client standpoint, the differences between a ChFC and CFP are minor. Even with the educational differences, they are fairly similar in practice as financial advisors. Both still require extensive education and experience that prepares advisors to give the best financial advice. So, when it comes to choosing an advisor, it is better to judge an advisor on an individual basis, rather than based on which one of these two designations the advisor holds.

Peter Catalano received his Chartered Financial Consultant designation in 1999 and his Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2001. He continues to hold the designations by completing the required continuing education and ethics training every two years.