Financial planning is a process that a Financial Planner will take you through in order to guide you to your financial goals. But goals can be a long ways off, so it’s not just a set-it and forget it activity. The space between “determining goals” and “reaching goals” is where the magic happens. A Financial Planner will follow a process to help you make the right financial decisions and ultimately perform at your financial peak during that period, resulting in achievement of your goals along your financial journey. So what does the process really look like?
Every Planner may work with you a bit differently, but likely you’ll see all or most elements of the CFP Boards’ Practice Standards:
- Establishing and Defining the Relationship with the Client
- Gathering Client Data
- Analyzing and Evaluating the Client’s Financial Status
- Developing and Presenting the Financial Planning Recommendation
- Implementing the Financial Planning Recommendation(s)
At Peak Wealth Advisors, we work with clients on a one-time basis, or ongoing relationship, but either way we start out the same way.
- Get to know you and your needs
In our initial complimentary discussion, we want to hear from you to understand what you want to achieve and the type of relationship you’re looking for. Some people want a retainer relationship so they can meet with us regularly to refine their plan, get help with the implementation and contact us whenever questions arise. Others just want help on one or two goals or issues such as setting up a college plan, or moving and structuring investments from a situation they weren’t comfortable with. During this stage we’ll listen to you and let you ask questions about our processes and services. If we both think it makes sense to move forward you’ll leave (or we’ll send it electronically if we’re having this meeting over the phone) with our Client Agreement and Form ADV. Once you sign the agreement and return it, we’re off and running and preparing for our next meeting.
- Exploratory Meeting
We’ll send you a list of documents that we’ll need, as well as an online questionnaire so we can capture the data we need to develop your plan. Once you submit those to us we’ll meet to clarify the information you sent us and dig into your details. We always have questions about what you’ve done and why, and typically your answers will give us more context about your goals and needs.
- Analyzing Your Situation and Plan Development
We get to work on developing your financial plan that may or may not involve investment management. We have investment management services where we’ll structure your portfolios to help you achieve your goals, but it all starts with a plan. We can’t provide qualitative advice on your investments unless we’re clear on your overall situation. We develop plans in a simple and easy to understand manner. We’ll show you your current situation over layed with your goals and show you where you’re on track or behind. In addition, we will go over the recommendations with you to help you understand them so that you can make informed decisions. If you have any feedback, we will revise recommendations as appropriate to address any concerns.
- Plan Implementation
Once you understand and agree to your plan, you’ll receive specific next steps to put your plan into actions, and depending on whether you want us to manage your investments, we’ll do some of the implementation for you, such as helping you open accounts and transfer assets. A next step could be as simple as “set up an emergency fund”, or it could involve a portfolio restructuring where we’ll provide you with recommendations and specific buy and sell transactions to set it up.
If you choose to engage us on an ongoing basis, we’ll set intervals to reconvene and review your progress. We’ll follow-up on your action steps to see if they have been completed, and we’ll review your current situation to see if any part of your plan requires an adjustment.
Please give us a call or book an appointment today. We’d be happy to discuss our service options and how we might be able to help you.