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.