I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked: “What exactly do you do?” It’s a fair question, and one that is sometimes difficult to answer due to the complexity of the issues in which I often find myself involved. My practice's name - Craig S. Wright, Financial Guidance for Educators - provides an overview of what I do: I provide guidance. Perhaps the following explanation will help deepen your understanding of “what I do:”
Unfortunately, "financial planning" has become a somewhat meaningless term in our world today. Anyone from an insurance salesman to 403(b) sales representative to a stock broker might claim to provide “financial planning.” So what do I mean when I talk about financial planning? I'm referring to four key elements.
First, It is a Formal Process
A farmer doesn’t wander across a field planting seeds without purpose or a plan. He follows a process and may even use a GPS to help him maximize the precision and spacing of rows to achieve greater efficiency and yield. Similarly, I follow a strictly formatted process. Does every client need this level of planning? No. However, every client deserves to know that all areas of their financial well-being have been explored and strategized to their maximum potential. Take a look at this diagram to see the process I utilize with clients.
Second, It is Fee-Based
When was the last time your dentist told you, “I do the work and get paid by my supplier.” What about your doctor or attorney? When you work with professionals, you expect a higher level of professional conduct. You’re not paying them to sell you something. You’re paying them for professional, objective advice and for that, they deserve to be compensated. This is the same with my planning practice with one exception: if after completing the planning process you feel you haven’t received professional advice or are dissatisfied with the plan, I refund your money. Why? It’s simple. Planning is about relationships.
Once we agree upon a plan, if you to decide to implement your planning with me, we will discuss together all fees, commissions or a combination of the two prior to implementing your plan.
Third, It is Comprehensive
As someone offering financial guidance to educators, I find this to be one of the most troubling areas educators face, and often, they don’t even realize it. You likely have an insurance agent, 403(b) representative, attorney, banker, and other professionals with whom you work. To complicate matters, your spouse (if you’re married) has multiple financial products and folks with whom he or she works. Who is coordinating all of those approaches and striving to help you maximize your potential? That is the advantage of a comprehensive, third-party approach. You remain the owner of the team, but I serve as your team’s manager, enabling you to make prudent decisions to enhance your future.
Fourth, It is Continuous
Life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Farmers plant their seed, but pests can attack their crops, a lack of soil nutrients can cause reduced production, and weeds can threaten to overtake the fields. This is why the wise farmer examines his fields regularly to keep things moving in the right direction. Likewise, periodic reviews help keep your planning on course, quickly reacting to unforeseen circumstances as they arise.