By Cory Howes

coryAn effectively executed, comprehensive financial plan delivers savings in multiple ways: improved investment returns, lower taxes, lower fees, more efficient wealth, and more stable income. Perhaps just as importantly, the process of financial planning addresses what may be on your worry list.

We all have our own worry lists, which contain things like running out of money, family strife, unexpected losses and making financial mistakes. Proper financial planning also includes a comprehensive approach to your estate plan. You can provide for the management and distribution of your property while you are alive and healthy. You can even plan for your incapacity, your death, and for your loved ones after you are gone.

Financial stress can take a huge toll on your health and emotional well-being, as well as that of your family. When you work with a financial advisor, you can not only accomplish the stated task—getting your personal financial affairs in order—but also alleviate worry and get better control of your life. Engaging in proper planning with financial professionals and estate planning attorneys can provide tremendous peace of mind for you and your family.

Money is the cause of great worry for many people. We live longer, and health care costs, especially for long-term care, continue to rise. We know that our retirement savings must last longer and stretch farther than many of us have anticipated. Many people who previously thought they were prepared for the road ahead are now afraid of of running out of money, especially for their surviving spouses.

We see many families still recovering from Great Recession-era market losses and career adversity. Credit card debt levels remain at all-time highs, and we know that college costs only grow year after year. And as we’ve written before, many in today’s workforce are in the “Sandwich Generation,” with reason to worry about caring for both their children and their elderly parents.

Worry about financial matters can negatively affect your health, leading to unhealthy coping behaviors like drinking, smoking and overeating. Many people cut back on their own healthcare in order to save money, allowing small health problems to fester and grow into more threatening conditions. If you have trouble sleeping, your mood, immune system and cognitive functions can be adversely affected. As we all know, greater stress can cause friction within the family, affecting spousal relationships and those with your children.

Let’s fix this! Planning is an essential activity for your financial, mental, and emotional well-being. Comprehensive planning incorporates budgeting, income planning, tax planning, retirement analysis, insurance, and estate planning. And don’t just plan—execute! Expect to work with a team of professionals to bring your plan to fruition: a financial advisor for planning and investments; an estate planning attorney to help you design and implement your estate plan; a certified public accountant to implement tax strategies; and an insurance agent to utilize appropriate insurance products to meet your current financial goals and properly fund your estate plan.

Many avoid planning due to uncertainty about their assets and income. If your resources are insufficient or uncertain, you should simply be open to changes that will alleviate financial stress and help you meet your financial priorities. Let these advisors take care of you and guide you through what may be some difficult decisions or lifestyle changes. For example, you may need to move to a less expensive neighborhood or geographic area. Your children may need to go to a perfectly adequate state school, rather than a private university. A parent may need to live with you rather than receive in-home care.

Regardless of the answers, whether you want to hear them now or not, the sooner you take action, you can stop worrying and live a fuller, less stressful life.