Because life and financial planning are principle-driven, I believe the "Law of the Farm" appropriately fits within the financial counseling process. We prepare the soil, we sow the seed, we cultivate the crops, we gather the harvest, and we store it in a way that protects it.
The same can be said about the financial planning process: we gather critical information to determine an appropriate strategy, we implement the strategy, we monitor it on an ongoing basis and make adjustments, and we utilize risk management strategies to preserve the accumulated wealth.
Working closely with clients, I follow a seven-step process:
During the first meeting with my client and their spouse or family, we evaluate whether or not financial planning would be helpful, determine the costs, and decide whether or not to proceed.
The goal of the second meeting is to gather financial information, discuss client objectives, and clarify client family attitudes. During this interview, we review the Data Information Form, legal documents, employee benefit statements, and any investment summaries, along with an extensive discussion of client goals and family attitudes.
During this step, we review plan objectives and financial data and determine risk attitudes. We also discuss the client’s investment attitudes, the initial balance sheet, and cash flow summary report.
During this step, I present the situation analysis, determining where the client is headed and measuring the extent of problems or shortcomings. After testing some alternative solutions, I develop a formal strategy.
Report Delivery Session
Once I’ve created a formal strategy, I meet with the client again to review all of the initial financial planning recommendations, extensively discussing any concerns or questions the client may have. Here, we’ll also determine any other professionals who will assist in the implementation, such as a CPA or attorney.
Following, I conduct additional analysis, if necessary, to accomplish the tasks required to implement the strategy, including meeting with the client’s other advisors.
Once the strategy is implemented, we review the implementation and monitor on an ongoing basis. We’ll have periodic meetings to review the performance of investments and any changes in personal or economic circumstances.
I want clients to feel confident with their strategies, which is why I offer a “Financial Plan Assurance.” At the end of this process, if a client isn’t satisfied with their developed strategy for any reason, I offer them a 100% refund of their planning fees.