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A financial planner is a professional who helps companies and individuals put together a plan to meet long-term financial goals. A financial planner might help you put together a plan for retirement that helps to match your retirement go als with your income sources.
A financial advisor, on the other hand, is a broader title for a professional who helps you manage your money, including investments and other accounts. A financial advisor might just help with managing your investments by putting together a portfolio for your taxable and tax-deferred accounts.
A financial planner is someone who uses the financial planning process to help you determine how to meet your life goals. A financial planner will help you formulate your financial goals, assess your financial health, and develop a personalized plan to meet those goals with the resources you have. Your financial planner can meet with you periodically to evaluate your current situation and future goals and revise your plan accordingly. The planner can take a “big picture” view of your financial situation and make financial planning recommendations that are right for you.
A financial planner is also an educator. Part of the planner’s task is to help you understand what is involved in meeting your future goals. The education process may include detailed help with financial topics. At the beginning of your relationship, those topics could be budgeting and saving. As you advance in your knowledge, your planner will assist you in understanding complex investment, insurance, and tax strategies.
While your financial planner may make a different recommendation based on your circumstances, it’s a good idea to see him or her once a year. You should also consider making an appointment in anticipation of life-changing events such as marriage, birth of a child, divorce, or after inheriting a large amount of money. Most people have an annual update that reviews how the plan is being implemented. The review also considers changing goals and circumstances.
Get comfortable with asking for their experience in any area you are concentrating on (i.e., college planning, retiring, home purchase, inheritance, etc.) A planner is acting in YOUR best interest.
Financial planning is the process of seeking to meet your life goals through the proper management of your finances. It is a dynamic process where clients work with a professional to identify goals, examine resources, and develop a roadmap to achieve their financial objectives. Financial Planning means much more than just investing. It can provide comfort in knowing how to stay financially on track throughout many stages of life. Financial planning helps you make advance provision for financial needs that will arise in the future. The objective of financial planning is to ensure that the right amount of money is available in the right hands at the right point in the future to achieve an individual’s life goals.
Some personal finance software packages, magazines or self-help books can help you do your own financial planning. However, you may decide to seek help from a professional financial planner if:
- You need expertise you don’t possess in certain areas of your finances. For example, a planner can help you evaluate the level of risk in your investment portfolio and revise your asset allocation;
- You don’t feel you have the time to spare to do your own financial planning;
- You know that you need to improve your current financial situation but don’t know where to start;
- You feel that a professional advisor could help you improve on how you are currently managing your finances;
- You have an immediate need or unexpected life event such as an inheritance or major illness;
- You want to get a professional opinion about the financial plan you developed for yourself.
Financial planning covers all aspects of a person’s financial well-being. This includes savings, investments, retirement and college savings plans, insurance coverage, and estate planning. Retirement planning covers only investments made for retirement. Financial planning is a general term that refers to planning one’s finances (either in business or personally) for everything from savings and investing to spending, budgeting, and more. Financial planners cover a lot of stages of life and retirement planning is only part of the discussion.
It is good to review the plan when there is a major life event or lifestyle change such as marriage, birth, death or divorce; you get a substantial raise; you receive an inheritance; you are at or close to retirement age; you are ready to take control of your financial situation. Any change in financial position should be evaluated. Most people have an annual update that reviews how the plan is being implemented. The review also considers changing goals and circumstances.
A financial plan should include a review of your goals and objectives, net worth, cash flow, investment portfolio, insurance, and taxes. These are the building blocks used to create projections and to design a plan for implementing strategies to achieve your goals. It can also include probabilities of success for meeting your goals to ensure the peace of mind for which we all strive.
Stay actively involved. Executing on your financial plan is a team approach. If you have someone managing your investments, they should execute on your investment strategy. There will be other things like managing cash flow, opening accounts, and saving or spending at the “planned” levels that will require your active involvement. Communication and follow up with your planner will help you adjust to the bumps (up and down) in your roadmap to maintain the lifestyle you choose.
Financial planning looks at a person’s overall financial picture. A financial planner will often ask a prospective client to fill out an extensive questionnaire in order to understand his or her financial needs and goals. The planner will usually put together a detailed, short-term 5-year plan designed to improve the client’s overall financial position. That may be followed by a long-term plan, along with suggestions about how to save and invest for retirement and a child’s college education at the same time. The planner will also look at ways to reduce current and future tax liabilities and protect assets by having the proper life, health, disability and long-term care insurance coverage in place. Finally, he or she may offer suggestions on estate planning.
Time horizon refers to the amount of time a person has to save for a particular event. For example, the time horizon for a college savings account might be 10 years for the parents of an eight-year old child, but 15 years for the parents of a three-year old. Likewise, the time horizon for a 30-year old saving for retirement might be 35 years, whereas it might be 15 years for a 60-year old who started saving late in life.
Financial planning is a common-sense approach to managing your finances to reach your life goals. It cannot change your situation overnight; it is a lifelong process. Remember that events beyond your control such as inflation or changes in the stock market or interest rates will affect your financial planning results.
The best plan is useless unless it is put into action. Your financial planner will assist you completely in implementing the plan, if and when you desire.
Just because you’re not at a point in life where you’re ready for a comprehensive financial plan doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some expert financial advice. Because of that, I offer Targeted Sessions. In this session we sit down and focus on your most pressing needs or 1-2 goals and offer my insight and expertise. I then follow up the session with an email detailing what was discussed, the different options available to you, the recommendations based on the information provided, and the next steps that need to be taken in order to achieve your goal(s).
Information for Financial Plan
Consider a visit to your doctor. Without complete and fully accurate details, your doctor cannot prescribe the best course of action. The same applies to financial planning. In order to obtain the best service for your “financial health,” all details and specifics must be disclosed.
Typically, information regarding investments held, number of dependents, income and expenditure details, savings and financial planning needs, etc. The more accurate information you give, the better the quality of advice given.
Evaluating your insurance needs is part of personal financial planning. Insurance takes care of your unpredictable needs, and because these needs can arise at any time, insurance is extremely important. Investments take care of your predictable needs and ideally should follow after your unpredictable needs are addressed.
It is important that financial plans are tax efficient. Your financial plan should help you in minimizing your tax liability and maximizing your after-tax returns from your investments. Some financial planners help their clients in preparing and filing their tax returns.
I have years of professional experience in business and personal financial planning. I hold degrees in Accounting, Business, and Finance. I am currently pursuing certification as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a CHARTERED FINANCIAL CONSULTANT®, which means I received additional education in the specifics of Retirement, Insurance, Investments, Education Planning, Taxation, and Behavioral Finance.
- What does it mean to be a CFP®?
Less than 25% of all financial advisors in the industry hold the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation. Anyone can call themselves a financial planner, but in order to be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, an advisor must meet several criteria including:
- Complete comprehensive financial planning education including:
- General Principles of Financial Planning
- Insurance Planning
- Investment Planning
- Income Tax Planning
- Retirement Planning
- Estate Planning
- Behavioral Finance and Interpersonal Communication
- Professional Conduct and Fiduciary Responsibility
- An undergraduate degree
- 3+ years of client-related financial planning experience
- Pass rigorous exam (historical pass rate of 55-60%)
- Complete continuing education requirements of 30 hours every two years
- Adhere to strict ethical standard outlined in CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct
When you work with a CFP® professional, you can rest assured that you are receiving high-quality, expert advice in your best interest. You’ll know that you are working with a well-educated advisor dedicated to the profession and the highest ethical standards. Visit the CFP® Board Website to learn more about what makes CFP® professionals different.
Becoming a Client
The first step is to schedule an initial consultation so you know what services you need. If you still have questions about what services are beneficial to you then book a discovery call. After this meeting, if we mutually agree to move forward and become a client, then we will start the financial planning process. This involves reviewing your financial goals and planning for them.
Yes, I am a fee only planner, meaning that I am only paid by clients through the services offered on my website. I received no other compensation based on products or investments that are recommended.
Through the miracle of technology! There are full virtual meeting capabilities, so we can meet from the comfort of your own home.
I work with clients in all stages of life. Whether you have a little bit of money or a lot, I am here to help and guide you through your financial planning journey.
At this time no, but I can help you get your accounts set up that align with the recommendations from the financial plan. Or we can review the places your accounts are currently held.
No, not at this time. Discovery Calls are $50. If we proceed further with any services then the $50 will be credited to your service.
No. I believe that everyone should have access to high-quality, fee-only financial advice, and do not impose any account minimums.
Fiduciary means to hold a confidence or trust. A financial services industry professional who has a fiduciary responsibility to his or her clients must put a client’s needs and interests ahead of his or her own. Financial Planners have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and must only act in the best interest of their clients. While stockbrokers and insurance agents are regulated and licensed, they do not have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. The recommendations they make must only meet the “suitability standard.” In other words, the risk level of the product must be suitable for the client based on income, assets, risk tolerance or another standard that is specified in the prospectus. Advisors with a fiduciary responsibility are less likely to push products that earn them a quick buck.
Yes. This means I only make decisions based on the best interest of the client(s). Not simply because it’s a legal requirement, but because it’s the right thing to do. Fiduciaries must act with a higher standard of care and I take this obligation seriously.