Whenever I tell people about my job as a financial advisor, the conversation inevitably turns to how hopeless they feel when it comes to dealing with money. More than once, they've begged, "Just tell me what to do."
It's no surprise that even my most successful friends feel confused or paralyzed. Even if they have a shelfful of personal finance books, they don't have time to make sense of all the information available. They don't just want good advice, they want the best advice-so rather than do the "wrong thing," they do nothing. Their 401(k) and bank statements pile up, unexamined or maybe even unopened.
What they don't realize is that bad calls about money aren't failures; they're just what happens when emotional creatures have to make decisions about the future with limited information. What I tell them is that we need to scrap striving for perfection and instead commit to a process of guessing and making adjustments when things go off track. Of course we're going to make the best guesses we can-but we're not going to obsess over getting them exactly right.
The fact is, in a single page you can prioritize what you really want in life and figure out how to get there. That's because a great financial plan has nothing to do with what the markets are doing, what your real estate agent is pitching, or the hot stock your brother-in-law told you about. It has everything to do with what's most important to you.
By now you may be wondering, "What about the details? How much do I need to invest each year, and how do I allocate it? How much life insurance do I need?" Don't worry: I'll cover those topics and many more, sharing strategies that will take the complexity out of them.
The most important thing is getting clarity about the big picture so you can cope with the unexpected. Maybe you'll lose the job you thought was secure; you'll take a financial risk that doesn't pan out; you'll have twins when you were only budgeting for one. In other words: Life will happen.
But no matter what happens, this book will help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.
"In a world where financial advice is (often purposely) complicated and filled with jargon, Carl distills what matters most into something that is easy and fun to read. The true measure of a brilliant book is whether the material is as relevant to an industry expert as it is to a layperson. The One-Page Financial Plan unquestionably is. Buy two copies--one for yourself and one to hand to the nearest pundit."
--Morgan Housel, columnist, The Wall Street Journal
"There are very few financial writers who have been more influential for me than Carl Richards. Carl has done more to simplify the investing process than anyone else in America. His trademark combination of wit and illumination make The One-Page Financial Plan an instant classic in the genre. Don't invest another cent before you've digested this highly readable lesson."
--Joshua M. Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management and author of Backstage Wall Street
"No one in the financial industry communicates like Carl Richards. And this is a skill especially evident in The One-Page Financial Plan. If you're skeptical that an effective plan for your life and your money can be limited to a single page, I encourage you to put Carl's process to the test. I'm confident that, like mine, your time and effort will be well rewarded."
--Tim Maurer, wealth advisor for Buckingham Asset Management and Forbes contributor
"Feeling tormented by your finances? Read this book. Now. The One-Page Financial Plan helps you identify what you truly want from life, get crystal clear about the financial position you are starting from today, and develop a simple, actionable plan to narrow the gap between the two."
--Manisha Thakor, Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham and the BAM ALLIANCE