Broker Check

Overcoming the Overwhelm of Starting Your Financial Plan

June 29, 2023

Let's face it; we all love to be on top of things. Whether we are a planner or not, we love when things are in order, especially our finances. After all, who doesn't enjoy the added confidence of knowing that you have minimized the financial gremlins that might surprise you along the way?

But perhaps the biggest issue is getting started. For example, where do you begin? You dread pulling all the data together…and once it's together, how will you make sense of it? And if you seek professional help from a financial planner, won't they judge you about your past financial decisions?

So how do we overcome the overwhelm?

Start with these six categories and you will be on your way!


  • Provide copies of your financial statements—including those from your banks, brokerage firms and retirement account custodians—and your tax documents.


  • Be prepared to talk about your income, regular expenses and monthly cash flow.


  • Provide a summary of your debt. Include your mortgage, credit cards, student loans, car loans and other debt—and the interest rates and terms on the loans.


  • Provide your insurance and estate-planning documents. Prepare to talk about any financial risks that are or are not currently covered.


  • Start thinking about your short-term and long-term goals. Do you want to buy a house in the next few years? Are you saving for your kids’ college? When would you like to retire?


  • Make a list of questions you want to ask. Write down the areas of your finances that worry you the most. Jot down concerns about various risks, such as market volatility or loss of income.

Now that you have the list outlined, over the next 30 – 60 days, watch your mail and email for the latest statements or paperwork. You might be surprised at how quickly the items will come to you… as opposed to you having to chase them down.

Finally, once you've overcome the initial overwhelm of gathering the data, it's time to make sense of it. That's what we do with clients every day. So, don't be overcome by the overwhelm…it may not be as overwhelming as you think!

As always, if you want to talk more about the data needed for your plan, please reach out, and let's schedule a time to talk.

Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Stonegate Financial is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Any opinions are those of Stonegate Financial and not necessarily those of Raymond James.  Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.  The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax of legal matters with the appropriate professional.

*The tax advice and/or services of Trey Stilley are independent of RJFS.