If I Engage in Financial Planning, Will I Have to Change from My Current Advisor and/or My Investments?

Although this question does occasionally get asked, I find it interesting and here’s why: If your current advisor had answers to your questions and you were confident in your current plan, then why would you be seeking my advice? Chances are, if you have concerns about your investment portfolio, your instincts are correct.

About 80% of the time, I will be recommending adjustments towards a more effective path to achieving a client’s goals. If I’m able to provide a strategic path that can reduce various threats to your financial stability and increase the likelihood of success for your financial goals, then it is only logical to implement such changes, correct? That’s what my clients hire me to do!

Occasionally, people might ask if they can take an investment plan I create and implement it themselves or take it to another advisor to implement the recommendations. It’s a valid question, and although my clients aren’t contractually obligated to implement a plan with me, it’s virtually worthless if we don’t work together in executing and managing the details. That’s because If I happen to recommend investment strategies, they will be from a professionally designed and managed plan. They will be tested in your scenario before they are recommended and will only be selected if they improve your plan. Quite frankly, I’m the only one qualified to execute the plans I’ve created.

So, let me explain why I’m the best person to put the plan into effect:

First, I will have taken the time to know you and your ambitions. Through the discovery process, I’ll have become familiar with all aspects of your financial picture. I start with listening and learning. I learn what my client’s concerns, values and goals are for their money. From there, I’ll look at your current financial picture and project into the future to build a plan to meet your individual needs. Quite simply, the invested time and resources in understanding your overall situation, gives us both an edge in working together to achieve your goals.

Our financial plans entail detailed analysis and stress testing. We look at how everything fits together, and sometimes, doesn’t fit. Our plans may call for a managed market-based portfolio to improve risk management or growth potential. A managed portfolio will offer targeted asset allocation, tailored for a specific risk tolerance or goal. It is re-balanced as needed and may change over time as your goals change. It’s difficult for most people to apprehend the level of detail and complexity that goes into a financial plan. We even rely on advanced technology in the development and testing of these plans.

Beyond that, my road maps go beyond just growth projections and risk management. They include distribution plans, social security, tax strategies, healthcare and wealth transfer strategies. None of these individual items operate in a bubble, they all impact each other. Therefore, my recommendations are often complex and strategically balanced.

Many professionals that sell investments or insurance products are unable to offer the array of services that I provide. Some may only provide insurance products, while others may only provide mutual funds/ stocks/ bonds. They are not able to look at your entire picture or advise you on the tax implications of each decision. With limited tools, it would be near impossible for such an advisor to duplicate the results my plans seek. Sometimes, I’m able to provide an edge in fulfilling a specific client need with a custom portfolio that includes a mix of market-based investments and insurance products.

Finally, monitoring is a part of the success of a financial plan. Implementation is only the beginning. Most people will agree, it’s great to know that you have an advisor to rely upon, year after year to keep things on track. And when circumstances change, whether it’s a drastic market shift, financial windfall, healthcare issue, or the loss of a loved one, it’s important to have a trusted advisor to help navigate these stressful periods. This is where the relationship will not only be important to you, but also to your family someday.

My hope is that you aren’t just seeking a financial plan, but a relationship with a professional that you can count on. I want to earn your trust before we ever engage in the planning process. I wouldn’t want to accept a planning fee from someone that would be reluctant to utilize my services for the plan’s execution. If that were the case, it might mean we weren’t a fit for planning together. And although unfortunate, it would be more of a waste of money and time to create a plan that ends up not being effectively implemented and managed. It’s important to me that my clients get the most value for their money, not just in a one-time plan, but as a professional they can rely upon for years to come.