If you are a typical young professional in your mid-30s you probably have a good idea where your career is headed, you are saving the maximum in your employer retirement plan, and you have at least one or two retirement accounts from previous employment. In short you have made some good financial decisions. However, you likely recognize there is more to be done such as establishing an emergency reserve, buying your first home or vacation property, and still have enough left over to save for your child’s college education.

My goal with every engagement is to create a financial plan that you can actually use. And guess what? We will not start with your investment portfolio. We will start with you and your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

When you think about life, what is most important to you? It can be anything. Retiring early, moving to an island, or sipping lemonade on the back deck with your kids playing in the yard. After we have uncovered what is important to you, then we start to look at all the pieces of the puzzle. The puzzle being your future financial picture. Everything is tied to one another. Taxes affect savings, which affect spending, which affect buying your vacation home, which affect qualify of life, and so on and so forth.

The takeaway? Build a financial plan that helps you reach your financial goals and, importantly, fits with your lifestyle and values.

Kelly Luethje is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and founder of Willow Planning Group, LLC. She provides financial education and guidance to help you live life on your terms.