COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL PLANNING
So many financial services companies are getting into the financial planning space and consumers are left scratching their heads wondering, “Which financial advisor is right for me?” This confusion is compounded when the term “Comprehensive Financial Planning” is used loosely by so many financial service providers who are not practicing truly comprehensive financial planning.
Comprehensive Financial Planning is more than the active management of investments. It is more than the creation of a retirement plan and it goes well beyond regular check-ups of a portfolio. Truly Comprehensive Financial Planning is the act of planning for, and prudently addressing life events. It addresses everything from running a business, to planning for a child’s education, preparing for eventual retirement or creating a plan for your estate. It should also addresses potential events that can drastically alter your long-term financial security. This is true Comprehensive Financial Planning.
So, you need to ask yourself, “Is my financial advisor truly comprehensive?” This sounds easy enough, but very few consumers know the questions to ask to make this determination. That is why FMN bases our services on the Certified Financial Planner's definition of the financial planning process. It consists of the following steps:
Complete financial planning & investment management
We provide financial planning and investment management services to help ensure our clients are making the most of their resources and to protect them from uncertainty. We take each of our clients through a unique five-step process called 360 Wealth Management.
Through questionnaires, meetings, and discussions, we will gather your financial information such as:
- Income and expenses
- Investment account statements
- 401(k) statements
- Life and disability insurance policies
- Auto and homeowner’s insurance policies
- Estate plan documents
- And much more
With this information, we can begin to develop a comprehensive overview of where you are currently. We don’t stop at where you are today though. We then help you determine what you are passionate about and the kind of lifestyle you desire. With this information, we will help you develop a vision statement for your life that will identify the purpose of money to you and guide our recommendations and strategies throughout our relationship.
Armed with all of your financial documents and goals, we then enter this information in a sophisticated financial planning program where we can generate cash-flow reports, net-worth statements, Monte Carlo simulations, financial graphs and charts. The most important and critical part of this process is our ability to run different “what if” scenarios. For example, through this financial modeling process, we can answer such questions as:
- If we help pay for our children’s graduate school tuition, how will that affect our own retirement?
- Should we invest our 401(k) more aggressively than our other assets?
- Does it make more sense to invest in a Roth 401(k) or a traditional 401(k)?
- If we make annual gifts to our children and grandchildren, how will that reduce our assets and affect the estate tax we will owe?
- What would happen to our finances if one of us suffered a prolonged long-term care event?
- Should I continue to pay for this life insurance policy or is there a better use for these assets?
Once we have analyzed your current financial situation, know your specific goals, and have run through the various “what if” scenarios discussed above, we can create a strategy for investing your assets. Not just any cookie-cutter strategy, but one that is designed and optimized just for you.
We view each client’s asset allocation and the managers that comprise it as a dynamic process. We will vigorously monitor your investments, suggest new strategies when appropriate, and provide quarterly consolidated performance reporting. In addition to investment consulting, we will work closely with your other professionals to make sure your wealth management plan is being implemented and optimized according to plan.
Bad things happen to good people all the time. Some things we just can’t prevent, but the purpose of this step is to make sure that if disaster strikes in your life, you have done what you can to protect yourself.
But what are the disasters we are protecting? Everything from premature death, disability, an auto accident, a long-term care event, a fire, and much more. This is a critical step in the 360 Wealth Management process, because the best investment plan in the world can become irrelevant in seconds unless you’ve protected yourself from disasters.
Through our analysis and through experts we utilize, we will make sure you are adequately insured in these areas:
- Long-Term Care
If you are underinsured in one or more of these areas, we will help you determine how much you need and where to get it. We will even help you get quotes and help you select the policy and company that is right for you.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS
The 360 Wealth Management process wouldn’t be complete without making sure that everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve is protected. We will analyze these factors and make sure we have protected you.
- LAWSUITS – We live in a country where you can be sued by anyone, for anything, at anytime. There are easy steps you can take to protect yourself from lawsuits. There are also more advanced strategies that may be appropriate.
- ESTATE PLANNING – Uncle Sam may take nearly 50% of your estate when you pass away. There are many things you can do to keep more of what you’ve worked your whole life to achieve.
- INCOME TAX PLANNING– For most individuals, taxes represent their single largest expense. When it comes to our investment strategies, we don’t just focus on a high return, but a higher after-tax return. It’s not what you make, it what you take home. We tax loss harvest throughout the year and work closely with our clients’ CPAs to ensure they have the necessary information to reduce your taxes.
- IDENTITY THEFT– In addition to protecting your financial assets, we also need to protect your identity. Identity theft is listed as one of the FBI’s fastest growing crimes. Millions of people are victimized each year. It can take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to recover. We will help you protect yourself by taking several precautionary steps.
- SECURITY – Our most precious interest is our family and ourselves. For certain clients, we work with security and privacy consultants to make sure their homes are physically secure and systems are established. For our clients who travel oversees extensively, we will also recommend kidnap and ransom insurance and preventative training. Our objective is not to scare you, it is simply to make you aware of the risks and take a few steps to ensure your safety. Not all clients will want or need to take all of these steps, but for those who do, we can work with you and experts in these fields to help ensure you are well protected.