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Week of October 2-8 highlights importance of financial planning

A special week has been set aside to highlight the importance of financial planning. Mississippi will join the rest of the nation in observing Financial Planning Week October 2-8, and members of the state chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) are preparing for an eventful week.

“We are excited to celebrate the fifth-annual Financial Planning Week,” said chapter president Randy Mascagni. “It’s a way to educate the public and increase awareness of financial planning. I think the general public benefits from the observance and can learn how financial planning can help them reach their goals.”

The chapter will have a Financial Planning Week supplement inserted in next week’s Mississippi Business Journal, and members Rita Parker and Danny Williams will appear on local TV programs to promote the week, according to chapter coordinator Ann Caves. Other members will address various groups in the area.

“Financial Planning Week brings together those who need, support and deliver financial planning,” she said. “During this special week, FPA strives to create and build the public’s awareness of the financial planning process to enable them to make prudent financial decisions.”

The chapter has 107 members that include certified financial planners, attorneys, CPAs, retirement plan specialists, insurance agents and bankers. Caves said this diversity allows the group a big umbrella with which to work. “Our members can call on the expertise of others in the chapter.Networking is strong,” she said.

Mascagni, a certified financial planner and president of Mascagni & Company in Clinton, says people think more about financial planning this time of year and that’s why it’s a good time to observe this week.

“We’ve had the opportunity to promote the week locally and done more for the last few years,” he said. “A lot of people don’t like the subject of financial planning. I’m not sure why but it may have to do with issues in their situation and they want to avoid it. It also could be that they don’t like dealing with numbers.”

Tara May, a CPA with Horne LLP in Jackson, is serving as chairman of Financial Planning Week and says the observance will allow professionals in the industry to have a specific time to come together and pool efforts to better emphasize the importance of financial planning.

“Those of us in the industry do financial planning every day and work towards helping people meet their personal financial goals, but by having a certain week of the year set aside to promote the importance, we can work together to focus our efforts in meeting the same common goal of helping others,” she said.

May also hopes the organization will be able to better foster the public’s awareness of the importance of proper financial planning.

“We work on special projects and programs jointly to educate the public on each of our specialty areas during this week,” she said. “There are so many areas to financial planning and, individually, we tend to focus on our specific area on a daily basis. For example, I specialize in providing consultation services to businesses on qualified retirement plans. My area of expertise is just one area of financial planning. This week allows experts in all the areas to come together and educate the public.”

A past president of FPA, May feels people are undereducated as to the importance of financial planning and don’t think about it until it may be too late. That’s why the association hopes to increase awareness by professionals united during this week.

“We hope that by everyone coming together and bringing their expertise for their niche service, we can provide a total solution for an individual that will encompass the entire realm of financial planning,” she said.

Mascagni says financial planning offers many benefits. “It helps clients make good decisions; reduces stress in marriage, family and business; reduces or minimizes critical mistakes that many times one cannot recover from if they happen,” he said, “and provides organization and order to someone’s situation when many times they don’t have the desire, time or knowledge to do it themselves.”

Many times, he said, depending on a client’s situation, the certified financial planner, CPA, attorney, banker and others will work together as a team of professionals to best help and advise clients.

“As the U.S. population has gotten older, we are typically seeing clients dealing with an aging parent, retirement planning, establishing a qualified retirement plan for their business, evaluating an early buy out offer from a long-time employer, managing a portfolio of investments that may be trying to recover from the three year bear market, selling or merging their family business or divorce, caring for the surviving spouse or estate planning,” he said.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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