Secrets of 6 top financial advisers

Some of the financial planning profession's most respected veterans reveal their favorite strategies for tough times.

7 of 7
BACKNEXT
The secret to balancing goals
The secret to balancing goals
Years in business: 14
Client assets: $40 million
Known for: Wrote "The Young Couple's Guide to Growing Rich Together"
Make long-term targets No.1

Jill Gianola - The family's helper
Gianola Financial Planning, Columbus, Ohio

I start with clients' longest-term goals first - usually retirement - and see what it would take to fund those. Then I work backward. Their second-longest- term goal is often their children's college. The furthest goals are usually the big ones; if you don't start working on them now, you're not going to make it.

People are willing to rearrange their short-term goals - "Okay, we can't buy the house for another couple of years" - but they don't necessarily want to postpone retirement. You have to make progress on several fronts to make sure you get to the finish line.Start with the minimum. With a 401(k), the minimum is to get the match. For me the minimum on a credit card is what it takes to pay it off in three years. If you have enough to meet both goals, you're good to go.

More galleries

Last updated December 10 2008: 1:46 PM ET
More Galleries
The 13 most WTF gadgets From the weird to the gross, these 13 gadgets will make you wonder why the even exist. More
Best-loved cars in America These cars and trucks topped J.D. Power's APEAL survey, which measures how much owners like their new vehicles. More
America's most powerful cars A new 'horsepower war' has erupted among U.S. automakers and these are the most potent weapons in their arsenals. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.