Financial Planning Successful financial planning is achieved by starting with a clear picture of a client’s financial needs and objectives. The financial plans we develop for clients help us eliminate much of the guesswork in achieving the financial plan and independence the client desires by simplifying these financial alternatives. For the client, such quality time invested by the Company on the front-end solves problems and manages future concerns.Financial Planning CompositionFinancial planning is an evaluation of the investment and financial options available to a client based upon their defined economic criteria. Planning includes: (i) attempting to make optimal decisions; (ii) projecting the consequences of these decisions for the client in the form of a financial plan – a working blueprint; (iii) implementing the protocol to achieve the objectives of the plan; and then, (iv) comparing future performance against the working blueprint.A financial plan can be coordinated – a mutually defined review of a client’s personal financial life needs – or targeted – a review, analysis and evaluation of one core area of financial need. In general, financial planning encompasses one or more of the following areas of concern:Personal – Family records, budgeting, personal liability, estate information and financial goals.Education – Education IRAs, financial aid, and state savings plans including 529 plans, grants and general assistance in preparing to meet dependents continuing educational needs through development of an education plan.Taxes & Cash Flow – Understanding the impact of various investments on a client’s current income tax and future tax liability.Death & Disability – Cash needs at death, income needs of surviving dependents, estate planning and income analysis.Estate – Reviewing estate planning documents, including wills and trusts, to determine if a client should seek the assistance of an estate planning attorney. Reviewing powers of attorney, nursing home and assisted living agreements, living trusts, and Medicare/Medicaid benefits.Retirement – Analysis of current strategies and investment plans to help you achieve your retirement goals.Investments – Analysis of investment alternatives and their effect on a client’s investment portfolio(s), including a risk and return analysis. Assessment of a client’s risk tolerance profile.Real Estate – Analysis of real estate investment opportunities.Insurance – Review of existing policies to ensure proper coverage for life, health, disability, long-term care, liability, home and automobile.MethodologyOur financial planning methodology follows the six (6) steps specified in the Financial Planning Practice Standards established by the Certified Financial Planning Board.Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship.Gathering client data identifying both financial and personal goals and objectives.Analyzing and evaluating the client’s financial status.Developing and presenting financial planning recommendations and/or alternatives.Implementing the financial planning recommendations.Monitoring the financial planning recommendations via annual reviews for those clients who hire the Company and sign both an investment advisory agreement and a planning agreement.These standards build on serving the complete financial need of the client by implementing specific measures to solve problems and establish financial objectives that are in the best interest of the client.Preparing the Financial PlanThe Company prepares the financial plan in four (4) phases. These phases are defined as follows:Phase I – EvaluateThrough the detailed assessment process, the Company learns about the client and what the client wants to achieve. This is accomplished through personal interviews and profile questionnaires , which are designed to address all of the financial planning disciplines discussed above. The client has the opportunity to prioritize their objectives and to remove from the process any areas that are not applicable to their circumstances.The time we invest in the detailed assessment process to listen and cater to the client’s desires is critical for developing a strong financial planning foundation. Such time helps to:Define and narrow the client’s objectives and investment options;Stimulate creative thinking;Identify areas of greatest concern;Create a unique picture of the client’s overall financial personality; and,Provide an effective and efficient way for us to address each client’s unique financial needs and objectives.After the interview process, we will conduct a meeting with the client to begin formally documenting their goals and objectives. Then, we will prepare a “Short Plan”, which is the foundation for the coordinated plan. It formulates a preliminary plan concept tailored to each client’s financial picture, objectives and goals. From this meeting, we will update the short plan by documenting the financial planning process disciplines, which the client wishes to address, and detailing the specific objectives under each discipline. Redrafting of the short plan (or preliminary plan) while repeatedly meeting with the client until the client is completely satisfied. Lastly, the coordinated plan is finalized and delivered. Depending upon the engagement, different levels of financial reporting will be undertaken. At a minimum, the short plan will include a statement of financial position and a “retirement stair step income analysis”, designed for financial planning use only.Phase II – IntegrateWe define the financial plan as a series of blueprints designed to take the client from where they currently are financially, to where they want to be financially. This is the creative portion of the process. There are usually many different ways to accomplish a given goal. The objective, however, is to formulate a plan that the client will be comfortable executing. In some cases, the drafting of the plan reveals the need for us to help the client reconcile the gap between their expectations and their financial realities. Once a viable plan has been drafted, it is presented to and reviewed with the client. The draft and review process may be repeated until the client is satisfied with the financial plan.Phase III – FormulateA financial plan is of limited value if it is not put into action. Accordingly, we place a premium on implementing and monitoring the plan. The implementation overview provides the client with a list of tasks and deadlines designed to ensure that the plan is put into action. The following are some examples of implementation: (i) drafting of appropriate estate documents (performed by an estate attorney); (ii) purchase of various insurance policies; (iii) investment advisory services, including preparation of a Investment Policy Statement and Client Profile and asset allocation strategy (performed by the Company, or another investment adviser/broker-dealer of the client’s choice); (iv) adoption of a personal budget; and, (v) income tax planning (prepared by a CPA).Phase IV – DelegateOnce the plan has been built and the recommendations have been implemented it is critical that these recommendations be monitored on a continuing basis to assure that they remain consistent with the Investment Policy Statement. This process requires periodic rebalancing of the portfolio to assure that our client’s original objectives are maintained. Continued monitoring of established personal budgets and the continued effects of taxation on the plan are assessed regularly and continually for clients who have hired the Company and have signed both an investment advisory agreement and a planning agreement.