What is the Difference Between Financial Planning and Retirement Planning?

What is the Difference Between Financial Planning and Retirement Planning?

23 May 2022

Contrary to popular belief, financial planning is not exactly the same as retirement planning. Individuals of all income levels need both, but there are important distinctions between these metaphorical roadmaps that provide pathways to their respective destinations. 

Let’s take a quick look at how financial planning differs from retirement planning to be better financially prepared now and in the future. 


Ready to get started? An Akron-Canton Financial Advisor at McGervey Wealth Management takes a proactive, holistic approach in all planning.


The Basics of Financial Planning

Financial planning is more immediate in context than retirement planning. 

Financial planning has a shorter timeline, focusing on the weeks, months, and years ahead as opposed to the destination of retirement. A financial planner will help you plan for the now and short-term of life. Alternatively, a retirement planner will help you prepare for the end goal of retirement in accordance with your selected timeline.

The best financial planning professionals help clients establish strategic plans considering factors ranging from their current financial position to their financial goals in the short term and the inevitable setbacks that are bound to arise. In short, financial planning is a guideline for budgeting income in terms of spending, saving, and investing.  

Our fee-only, fiduciary CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional (CFP®) are here to make strategic investments on your behalf, help you budget your paycheck, and enjoy a high quality of life in the “now” and also in the future. We take pride in assisting clients to develop sound financial plans and retirement plans that reinforce one another.  

A logical and reasonable financial plan accounts for resource allocation, risk assessment, spending within reason, and needs that will arise in the future, setting the stage for the creation and execution of a retirement plan grounded in financial reality. 

Read: How to Build Wealth—Comprehensive Financial Planning for Business Owners

The Basics of Retirement Planning

If you’re retiring this year, take these steps to get started. Retirement planning paves a path toward rewarding golden years after decades in the workforce. The best retirement plans are characterized by active investment management performed by fee-only CFP®s with a fiduciary duty to you, the client. 

Our retirement planning specialists are fiduciaries, meaning we owe you a duty of care. This ensures the decisions we make on your behalf and the services we provide are rooted in the advancement of your financial interest as opposed to our own. We perform detailed financial modeling of each client’s unique life situation accounting for current earnings as well as prospective earnings and the prospect of bull and bear markets to develop a sound retirement plan.

These efforts include consideration of all the ways inflation might affect your retirement planning efforts

Your retirement plan is essentially your post-work life plan. Making this plan a reality requires financial and investment expertise along with a willingness to abide by the guidance as detailed in your custom-tailored financial plan for the short term. 

Holistic retirement plans also extend to lifestyle choices such as when to enter retirement, where to spend your golden years, and how to ensure your money outlasts you after exiting the workforce for good. The most comprehensive retirement plans account for lifestyle alterations, including downsizing from a large house to a ranch, traveling domestically and/or internationally, shifting to a new location, and ultimately getting the most out of life.

The initial step of a retirement plan is creating retirement goals. If you are like most people, you have dreamed of retirement using your mind’s eye, yet you might not have specific retirement goals. 

Meet with our fee-only, fiduciary financial professionals, and we will help you establish reasonable retirement goals based on your current financial nest egg, projected earnings, and desires for life during retirement. Our team is here to review your current savings and investments as well as anticipated Social Security payments, pension earnings, estimated expenses, and more. 

Read: Choosing a Retirement Plan for Your Ohio-based Business

Recognize the Importance of Financial and Retirement Planning

If you have established a financial plan or a retirement plan but don’t have both in place, recognize that your financial roadmap to success is incomplete and be proactive. Our Akron-Canton, OH, fiduciary CFP® is here to help guide you toward financial success in the short term and the long term.  

Accountability Matters

We’ll help you create and stick to your financial plan centered on budgeting, spending, saving, and investing in the months and years ahead while also developing a retirement plan that provides lasting happiness. Both plans are fundamental to overarching financial success and security.  

Your financial plan and retirement plan begin with an initial financial assessment. An initial assessment develops an understanding of where you currently stand in terms of personal finances and retirement. We will review the best financial strategies for your plans in the short term and across posterity, helping you select the optimal strategy for your personal situation and aims.

The end result of your financial assessment will be the synthesis of your plans. Your unique financial plan will pertain to the work-life period in which you accumulate assets, helping you establish a reasonable financial target so you can live comfortably in the future. It also ensures you save and invest at the optimal rate to transition to living the good life during retirement eventually. 

A Plan That Helps You Outlive Your Money

The overarching retirement plan we customize specifically for you will zero in on your expenses and life quality after departing the workforce, factoring in all the nuances of your idiosyncratic financial situation for a truly comprehensive picture. The objective of every retirement plan is to ensure individuals’ money outlasts them without sacrificing quality of life.  

The challenge lies in determining how to reach such a level of financial comfort without sacrificing the niceties of life during your career and after reaching your golden years. Our comprehensive financial planning specialists help you do exactly that with a retirement planning process that makes the complex simple.  

Our team consists of fee-only CFP®s, meaning we won’t peddle financial products or services designed to advance our bottom line. Rather, we steer clients toward investment strategies and vehicles that are most likely to help them amass money in the short term and in the decades ahead.  

Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. 

What’s your next plan of action? Call McGervey today to get help with strategic financial & retirement planning moving forward.

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More About the Author: Matthew McGervey, CFP®, MBA

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Matthew has a broad knowledge of personal financial planning strategies and solutions.