One of the most common questions we’ve heard from prospective clients over the years is “If I become a client how will you help me?” It’s a good question and reveals the fact that it can be very hard to understand the services that a comprehensive wealth advisor will provide or the process they will follow.
Vast Array of Issues
You can think of our process as a 150-point inspection. That is the number of potential strategies and issues that we will consider, ranging from when to take Social Security to how to reduce income taxes to determining if your estate plan is aligned with your intentions.
This vast array of planning issues is organized into eight broader categories which all fit together like a puzzle:
Now, let’s look at the category of Retirement Planning as an example and consider the range of strategies and topics that fall within that broader category:
We’ve got 20 potential issues being inspected just in this one category of retirement planning. As you repeat this process for each of the other categories, you can imagine how the full inventory of issues materializes.
Of the 150 total strategies, there may be 20-30 that are highly relevant for a client at any given time and others that don’t apply. The remainder are items that will be important later on in the relationship – whether that is in 6 months or 6 years from now.
This process is similar to a car inspection in that it is designed to identify problems before they occur. Hiring a mechanic to fix a car that is having problems is good, but having that mechanic identify those problems before you are broken down on the side of the road is better.
One personal financial scenario similar to the car with mechanical issues is an estate plan that is disorganized and scattered. If the financially savvy spouse dies first, the surviving spouse will likely be overwhelmed with trying to figure out dozens of pieces of account information and actions to take.
One of our 150 points for this person would be to create a family financial organization plan for them in advance that preempts the chaos by providing a clear and detailed road map and structure ahead of time. Click here to download our Family Organizational Plan.
An Ongoing Process
Of course, there are always limitations to metaphors and this one is no exception. A car inspection is all completed at one time whereas our process is never “complete”.
Far from being a simple checklist of items to process in one setting, it is a vast inventory of strategies that will evolve and change over time. The value of planning is in its dynamic nature as a living document that changes and adapts along with you and your family.
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