Recently, while meeting with a prospective client, I was asked what value comprehensive financial planning adds to the wealth management process. It’s a good question—and a common one.
Comprehensive financial planning includes a review of where you are today, a discussion of where you want to be, and a path laid out for how you are going to get there. In other words, comprehensive planning is the grand strategy for achieving your financial goals. Through the planning process, your advisor will help you determine what’s working well, what isn’t working at all, and what can be improved.
Here are just a few of the kinds of questions that we cover:
- Are you saving enough in your 401k or retirement accounts?
- Do you have insurance to offset major risks (life insurance, disability, or Long Term Care)?
- Are your legal documents so outdated that your former sister-in-law is the trustee of the trust for your grandchildren?
- Are your will and various power of attorney documents current?
- With mortgage rates so incredibly low, are you missing out on the cost savings of a lower rate and paying 2 to 3 times more in interest on loans that you took out for your daughter’s college expenses?
- Is your investment portfolio sitting with too much cash on the sidelines because you are afraid to invest?
- Are you invested too aggressively because you feel you’re behind the 8 ball when it comes to saving for retirement?
- Should you consider funding a Roth IRA or doing a Roth IRA conversion?
- What opportunities are you missing to enhance your after-tax income as a retiree?
- Can you spend more now and enjoy life while still meeting your goals of leaving an inheritance to your children and grandchildren.
Without this big picture view and an intentional direction, reaching your long-term goals may be difficult. The fact is, you could stumble through retirement on your own, and you might get lucky enough to find a successful outcome, but the odds are not with you. Given how important this part of your life is—not just for you, but also for those who depend on you—why wouldn’t you want to work collaboratively with a wealth manager who will empower you to make intentional decisions about the use of your financial resources?
Comprehensive planning helps you balance your enjoyment of today with your goals for tomorrow. Following a financial plan doesn’t mean you have to live an austere lifestyle—in fact, with good planning you might discover that you’re living below your means.
In short, comprehensive planning provides you with an experienced and knowledgeable partner to craft a personal plan informed by your desires and designed for success. This isn’t a one-time event, but involves the ongoing work of adapting to the many new challenges and opportunities that life offers. If you’re serious about achieving your life’s financial goals, why not maximize your chances of success with an experienced wealth manager?
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