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Financial Planning

What is Financial Planning?

Financial planning is the gathering of information relating to the financial health and well being of a client. Through an interview process, a client’s financial concerns and future goals are established. The information gathered is then analyzed and compared with the client’s stated goals. From this comparison, recommendations can be made to help a client adjust their current financial behavior so that any gaps can be filled and/or any current plans can be altered to meet goals. Or, best-case scenario, it can simply validate the path they are currently on is the correct one.

Is a Financial Planner right for me?

Whether one has very limited resources or a sizable estate, they can benefit from the services of a financial planner.

Today, it is almost impossible for anyone not working in the financial field to keep up with the rapidly changing financial products, tax laws, and the volatile economy.

Financial product information and planning ideas abound... each claiming to be the best. We are given financial advice in articles, radio talk shows, and advertisements, but this information is often fragmented and not related to one’s total, personal, financial situation.

Putting all this information together into a workable plan can be a daunting project for individuals. We strive to explain one’s options in easy to understand terms showing how each option could affect them.

The busier one is, the less time one has to devote to sorting out these issues, and yet, a comprehensive financial plan can be the key to your financial success. Good planning always costs less than good reacting.

Benefits of working with a Financial Planner?

The benefits of taking some time and sitting down with a financial professional to create that financial planning road map are numerous and will depend on one’s individual circumstances. However, one of the key benefits of a well-laid out financial plan that is implemented and reviewed is that it will generally help allow one to reach financial independence sooner than if they had not formulated a plan of action.

Financial independence can mean different things for different people but for many it means the ability to cease regular employment knowing that they have enough assets and retirement income to maintain a certain lifestyle for the rest of life and provide for their beneficiaries after death.

Since every one has different goals and objectives and everyone has different facts and circumstances, it is conceivable that one current financial decisions are not compatible with one’s true goals and objectives.

What are the Services to Expect from a Financial Planner??

At Financial Directions Group we take the time to get to know our clients, their financial situation, financial goals and risk tolerance. When someone decides to work with us, they should expect to receive these services:

Personal attention: We take the time to go through a full interview, asking questions to get to know a client’s entire financial situation, risk tolerance and goals before setting up a customized financial plan.

Help develop an asset allocation strategy: Help develop an asset allocation strategy: Once they’ve worked with us to determine their risk tolerance, we help the client allocate their money based on a mix of asset classes with varying degrees of risk that fit their time horizon and comfort level.

Advice on specific investments that match your goals: Advice on specific investments that match your goals: When our clients are comfortable with their financial plan and have determined an asset allocation strategy, we then make specific recommendations on the types of securities that will best meet their needs. We also provide research supporting our recommendations.

Answers to your financial questions: If the markets become volatile, we are available to help our clients understand the reasons behind the instability. If they hear of an interesting investment opportunity or a new stock offering, we have the knowledge to research and investigate these opportunities and to help our clients decide if they fit into their overall plan.

Proactive management of your account: We also bring investment opportunities to our clients’ attention, based on detailed knowledge of their financial plan and goals. Furthermore, we help them manage their expectations by explaining the rewards and risks of any investment.

Regular check-ups: We call on a regular basis to see if a client’s financial situation has changed. If they’ve gotten married, switched jobs, had a child or purchased a home, their financial plan may need to be adjusted to account for these changes. At least once a year, we review our clients’ accounts with them and make any adjustments necessary to ensure their plan continues to meet their situation and goals.

What is the Personal Financial Planning Process?

The financial planning process can be thought of as a science, where a logical step-by-step process is taken to assist a client in achieving their financial goals. Our primary focus will be to coordinate all areas of their total planning picture, giving result to achieving the highest level of outcome for all concerned - emotionally and financially.

1. Initial Interview: We will meet with our client to discuss how our company will be able to impact their personal, family and business goals.

2. Data Gathering: We spend time with our client in a fact-finding interview This conversation provides us with sufficient information to conduct an accurate analysis. We begin to discover more specifics about their goals and values, and their current financial situation.

Examples of the information that will be gathered includes:

  • Current income taxation
  • Investment and Asset Management
  • Wealth Accumulation or Preservation
  • Income/Cash Flow Planning
  • Financial Independence
  • Business Continuation or Disposition
  • Estate Planning and Gift & Estate Tax Planning

3. Analyze and evaluate your financial status: We evaluate the data collected to gain a better understanding of one’s situation and their unique requirements in order to create their Financial Plan. All the information gathered in Step 2 will be incorporated and its time to start the process of determining if they can meet their stated financial goals and objectives. If they are unable to meet their goals then current problem areas will be identified that are hindering them in meeting these goals.

4. Recommending a Plan: This step simply involves meeting with us to discuss the analysis and plan recommendations. We determine the direction of plan development and prioritize issues to resolve. We are here to help our clients with the accomplishment of their goals in the way they desire and see fit.

A client should ensure that they understand and are comfortable with our recommendations presented. That is, they should feel that you would have the ability and discipline to execute the recommendations on a current and on going basis if required.

5. Implementing the Plan: is absolutely crucial to ensure that the recommendations in Step 4 are put into action so a client can commence their journey to achieving financial independence. At this time our client will have a solid understanding of what needs to be done to help maximize income and assets in order to have the greatest impact on their desires, goals and dreams. This will act as the implementation guide as well as a benchmark for reviewing the project as we all move forward in time. As a point of service, often noted in the financial plan are future implementation strategies that will come up for review. Comprehensive planning is always an ongoing process and we are here to help and serve.

6. Reviewing the Plan for changes and progress: We conduct periodic portfolio reviews and maintain ongoing personal communications to keep our clients informed and involved. We also invite our clients’ input, encouraging them to keep us informed as any questions, concerns or significant financial developments occur. We may recommend investment adjustments when their situation or objectives change or when an opportunity arises to help maximize investment performance.

Click here for more detailed information on the financial planning process.

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