Financial planning and needs-based analysis are similar in that both require you to have a thorough understanding of your financial situation. Although they have significant overlap somewhat, they differ in some important ways and are used for different purposes.

Comprehensive financial planning is a fee-based process that examines your entire financial situation in detail and then identifies strategies to help meet your long-term goals. If you're concerned about reducing your tax obligations and leaving an inheritance to your family, for example, financial planning may be the route for you. Working with a Financial Planner, you'll monitor your progress over time and adjust your plan when your family circumstances change. Learn More.

Needs-based analysis responds to specific concerns with product solutions, such as using life insurance to help replace household income in the case of the death of a breadwinner. A financial professional would determine, for example, what type of annuity would help you create the right income stream during retirement. Learn More.