Lately I’ve been engrossed in the world of watching my LinkedIn feed. Now remember LinkedIn is supposed to be the anti-Facebook social media website. Anti-social media in the sense that for busy professionals, it’s a way to share their expertise in a given area, congratulate other professionals on their success in regards to awards and promotions and even learn something along the way with tools such as LinkedIn Learning. However, lately, it’s been a barrage of me watching some of my bolder brethren in the Financial Planning community completely destroy individuals claiming to be “Financial Advisors” and “Financial Experts” but are really licensed to sell insurance and are pitching Bank on Yourself and/or some variation of Whole Life or Universal / Variable Life Insurance. Payday Lenders to the middle class.
They are right to try and discredit those salespeople and steer individuals away from listening to these so-called experts because they’re pushing products that will keep people stuck in neutral in terms of wealth building, while their friends who take the advice of Dave Ramsey and Ramsey Solutions, roll right on past them during every bull market, by executing the Baby Steps and staying away from that horrible acid that is anything but term life insurance. All that to say, how can these individuals call themselves Financial Advisors? Have they passed their Series 65 or Series 7 exam? In many cases no, just an insurance license. Do they have an advanced designation such as the CFP®? Do they have an advanced degree with specific training in financial planning and investment management, such as an MBA in Finance? The answer in most cases with these individuals is no.
And that’s what makes it very hard for you as a consumer. If you want a comprehensive financial plan completed by a true professional, who has demonstrated expertise through rigorous education, training, and ethical standards, then you need a CFP Professional.
Through Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers, we can access a CFP professional through our relationship with Sue Chesney and her firm Delegated Planning. Sue not only has a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning, but she also obtained her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER designation over 10 years ago and is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). She has experience working with clients with net worth ranging from $250,000 to $50 million in net worth.
Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers has access to Sue and her team of professionals should a client want a holistic and comprehensive financial plan done by a CFP professional. This service costs $250 / hour, and the expected amount of work to be done is 10-15 hours. One of the Financial Advisors at Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers would deliver the plan and discuss next steps, if applicable. This is not to be confused with an essential retirement plan that ensures you’re on track with retirement and executing your Baby Step 4 correctly. That is an essential service we provide clients as part of their onboarding and continual relationship with Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers, for no additional cost (above our cost to manage assets for you professionally). The comprehensive Financial Plan takes much longer and gets much deeper into the weeds of your personal balance sheet. Through the remainder of this article, let's discuss what that process may look like, should that service interest you.
Understanding Your Goals and Objectives:
The first step in creating a comprehensive financial plan is ensuring the Financial Advisor and Financial Planner understand your goals, aspirations, and unique financial situation. Our team leverages our experience along with our technology-based questionnaires to initiate a detailed discussion to gain insights into your short-term and long-term objectives, such as retirement planning, investment growth, education funding, debt management, and estate planning. By grasping the bigger picture, our CFP practitioner, through Delegated Planning, can tailor the plan to suit your individual circumstances.
Gathering Financial Information:
Once the goals are established, our planner delves into your very unique and personalized financial details. This stage involves collecting data on income, expenses, assets, liabilities, insurance policies, tax returns, investment portfolios, and any other relevant financial documents. One essential item to note when having a comprehensive Financial Plan done: It’s a junk in, junk out type of situation, which is to say that if you don’t have the time, desire, or ability to gather the necessary financial information and answer the questions, then the plan may be incomplete or lack the data set required to be as comprehensive, as you’d like it to be.
The planner will assess your current financial position, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Analyzing and Evaluating the Financial Situation:
With the gathered information, a CFP performs a thorough analysis, evaluating your current financial standing and identifying potential risks and opportunities. By using financial planning tools and techniques, they determine the client's net worth, cash flow, risk tolerance, and investment performance. This analysis enables our planner to identify gaps, provide recommendations, and suggest strategies to optimize your financial situation.
Creating a Tailored Financial Strategy:
Our planner designs a customized financial strategy based on your goals, financial data, and risk tolerance. This strategy encompasses various aspects such as budgeting, debt management, tax planning, investment allocation, retirement planning, insurance coverage, and estate planning. While formulating this strategy, the planner will consider your preferences, time horizon, and risk appetite. The plan is designed to be adaptable, considering potential life changes and market fluctuations.
Implementing the Plan:
Once the financial strategy is finalized, a Financial Advisor at Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers will walk you through the process of implementing the recommendations made by our planner. At this point, you’ll decide if you want to hire the team at Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers to implement the recommendations made in the plan or if you’re just here to pay for the advice and then you’d prefer to handle the implementation. If a client is a DIY investor, they may want a CFP Professional to review and analyze their situation and are more than willing to do pay one to do so, however, they’d like to maintain control over the day-to-day management of their investment strategy. While this is uncommon, it is the desire of some clients.
The implementation may involve reallocating investments, setting up retirement accounts, establishing emergency funds, refinancing debts, and optimizing tax structures. If hired on an ongoing basis as a Financial Advisor, the team at Whitaker-Myers will assist in coordinating with other professionals, such as Whitaker-Myers Tax Advisors, outside attorneys for any estate planning recommendations, and Whitaker-Myers Insurance Agency, in ensuring seamless execution of the plan. As a reminder, the team at Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers believes in the teachings of Ramsey Solutions, therefore, no implementation advice will be given that is not consistent with what you’d hear Dave, Rachel, Dr. Delony, or any of the other team members at Ramsey Solutions.
Just recently a prospect hired Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers to perform a comprehensive financial plan. The plan identified retirement contributions that were being made in error by a very large national private bank. The client, because they were hiring Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers for ongoing services, scheduled a meeting with the client’s tax professional team, who were not in lock step with the private client team at this large bank. The client was saved numerous future tax penalties by fixing the error and now had the ongoing coordination of their tax professional and financial professional, all brought together through the implementation of their comprehensive financial plan.
Regular Monitoring and Review:
Creating a comprehensive financial plan is not a one-time event; it requires ongoing monitoring and periodic reviews. If desired, our planner can regularly assess the progress of the plan, tracking performance against set goals. They will make adjustments as necessary, considering changes in the client's circumstances, market conditions, and legislative updates. If desired, the Financial Advisor can ensure regular communication. Therefore, they can update our financial planner to ensure that the financial plan remains aligned with your evolving needs. It is estimated updates to the plan may require 2 – 5 hours of work, therefore making them economically feasible for your budget every few years.
A comprehensive financial plan is a roadmap to financial well-being, and a certified financial planner serves as the navigator. By understanding the client's goals, analyzing their financial situation, and crafting a tailored strategy, a CFP empowers individuals to make informed financial decisions and achieve their objectives. With ongoing monitoring and periodic reviews, a CFP ensures the plan remains relevant and effective in the face of life's changes and economic fluctuations. Investing in the expertise of a CFP can provide invaluable guidance, enabling you to build a solid foundation for your financial future.
CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL PLAN FROM A CFP PROFESSIONAL
July 1, 2023
Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers is an SEC-registered investment adviser firm. The information presented is for educational purposes only and intended for a broad audience. The information does not intend to make an offer or solicitation to sell or purchase any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers reasonably believes that this marketing does not include any false or misleading statements or omissions of facts regarding services, investment, or client experience. Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers has a reasonable belief that the content will not cause an untrue or misleading implication regarding the adviser’s services, investments, or client experiences. Please refer to the firm’s ADV Part 2A for material risks disclosures.
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