Saturday we had Financial Planning Day in the Twin Cities. Nationally, there will be Financial Planning Days in 31 cities during the month of October (19 sessions are scheduled throughout the rest of the month). The day is an opportunity for consumers to get their questions answered by financial planners and other financial professionals—for free and with no obligation. For more information about a Financial Planning Day near you, check out the website:

In the Twin Cities, we doubled our participation from our inaugural event last year. As I talked to the financial planners, I learned they were impressed by the preparation done by participants. If they had a question about their progress, they came with information about debts and investments. If they had a question about a product, they brought information about the product. That kind of preparation is not necessary, but it can help participants to get a more accurate, more helpful answer.

Participants ranged in age from their twenties to their seventies. I was particularly happy to see as many thirty-year-old participants in the retirement planning seminar as I saw fifty-year-olds. We all know the old saying about starting early. I reinforce that message by pointing out that if you have ten years to your goal and can earn 7% on your money, you have to contribute 75% of the goal and earnings provide the other 25%. If you have forty years to your goal and can earn 7% on your money, you only have to contribute 20% and earnings provide the other 80%. Whatever your goal, if you start saving sooner you will have to contribute less.

The most popular topics for questions were investment planning and retirement followed by budgeting and taxes. Health insurance and long term care planning were the areas of most concern among people planning for retirement. Realistic investment options were concerns of young people who had begun to save and wanted more effective places to put their money.

What are your financial concerns? Come to Financial Planning Days in your community. Financial planners stand ready to help you plan to meet your goals.

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