Comprehensive Financial Planning
Trust, Investment and Planning Services From The People You Know
Now, more than ever, people need sound financial advice. Importantly, that advice should extend well beyond the realm of investments to include and be coordinated with other critical areas of your financial life such as the following:
- Estate Planning
- Retirement Planning
- Educational Funding
- Insurance (i. e. long-term care and life)
- Succession Planning
Is your financial life in order?
If not or if you are uncertain, now is the right time to schedule a consultation with one of our financial planning specialists. We have the credentials, experience, expertise, tools and other resources necessary to assess your present situation and, if warranted, devise a plan to address any deficiencies.
Elements of a Financial Plan
The elements of a complete financial plan are as depicted in the chart and described below….
A budget is a plan to allocate resources towards living expenses, debt payment, and savings. Its purpose is to allow the user to allocate resources in a manner that can achieve one’s financial goals and objectives. A budget should be simple yet specific, flexible but defined. The financial planner will review your current budget and/or suggest a new one.
Planning for the expense of college, whether for oneself, a child, or grandchildren is often the most pressing issue in financial planning due to the high (and rising) cost of a secondary education. The financial planner will help you determine the projected costs of attending college and suggest methods for meeting those costs.
Insurance planning considers the risks one faces in life (financial, personal, health, and property) and considers the many methods available to minimize those risks. The financial planner will review your current policies and help determine if you are adequately covered.
Investments can help us achieve our goals but they also carry their own unique set of risks. The financial planner will review your current holdings in light of your risk tolerance and objectives and will help you establish appropriate asset allocation targets. Depending upon the scope of the relationship, the planner will work with you to manage your investments.
Tax planning is a critical element of financial planning. The proper use of investments and planning tools can help to minimize the impact of taxes on an individual or family’s finances. The financial planner can work with your tax advisor to measure the impact of taxes on your finances and to offer suggestions to reduce that impact.
Other than planning for the expenses of college, retirement planning is often cited as the most important element that people are concerned about. Helping clients meet their goals and objectives for retirement is an integral part of the financial planning process. The planner will work with you to determine your ability to achieve your goals and objectives. The planner will thoroughly review your retirement accounts and offer suggestions for maximizing the impact those, and other, tools may have on your retirement.
Effective estate planning can help you control the eventual distribution of your assets in the manner that you desire and can help minimize the effect of taxes upon your estate. Without proper planning your estate could end up costing you more in taxes than necessary and/or end up being distributed in a manner inconsistent with your desires. While we cannot practice law, we can work with you and your legal advisors to make sure that your plans are carried out as you wish.
Financial Planning Process
Financial planning is the process of establishing a roadmap that will allow an individual or family reach their financial goals based upon their current situation and a set of expectations for the future. The ultimate attainment of those goals, however, relies upon the plan being implemented, monitored, and adjusted as time goes by. As such, the plan should not be considered a one-time, static tool but an ongoing, fluid plan that is updated as circumstances are warranted.
There are six steps to the financial planning process, and in order to achieve best results, all six steps should be followed. The process is depicted in this flow chart and the steps are described below:
Step One – Establish Relationship
In order to begin the financial planning process a relationship needs to be established between the planner and the client. The first step in establishing the relationship is to determine the scope of the relationship. Is the planner putting together a complete financial plan or just one element such as retirement planning? The relationship should be clearly defined so that the client and planner understand their respective responsibilities and the objectives that the planning process is attempting to achieve. The structure of the relationship, including costs, the length of the relationship, and how decisions are made and/or implemented should be understood and agreed to prior to entering into the formal planning process.
Step Two – Gather Data
The second step in the financial planning process is to gather data about, and from, the client. This data should be both objective and subjective. Objective data includes, but is not limited to, information such as bank and brokerage statements, wills and trusts, tax returns, and insurance policies. Subjective data includes the client’s goals and dreams, estate plans, and the client’s attitude towards financial risk. The information gathered needs to be accurate and up-to-date. The use of a fact finder will help facilitate the gathering process. This step will likely take some time and will likely involve ongoing discussions between the planner and client.
Step Three – Analysis of Data
The third step in the process is to analyze and evaluate the client’s current financial condition. This will allow the planner to determine where the client is in relationship to his or her goals and objectives. The analysis will reveal the client’s ability, or not, to achieve those goals and objectives and a road map will begin to develop that will show the path necessary to achieve them. This process will take some time and will likely entail client/planner discussions to make sure the planner has the information necessary to put together a workable plan.
Step Four – Develop Plan and Alternatives
The fourth step in the financial planning process is for the financial planner to develop a plan or road map that will allow the client to achieve his or her goals and objectives. The plan should be comprehensive but understandable and based on the information provided to the planner in Steps Two and Three. Alternative plans should be developed as necessary to offer the client choices in how the client would like to work towards achieving the goals and objectives. The plan and any alternatives should be presented to the client for review and updates can be made after the client has a chance to review the plan.
Step Five – Implement Plan
The fifth step is perhaps the most important part of the process as a plan can only work if implemented. By putting the plan into action, a client can work towards achieving the goals and objectives outlined in the earlier stages of the financial planning process. Implementing the plan may be done by the client, the planner, or both as determined in the first step and may involve purchasing or selling assets, buying insurance policies, or updating estate planning documents among others.
Step Six – Monitor and Review Plan
While the sixth step in the process may seem like it is the last step, it is really just the next stage in the relationship between the client and the planner depending upon how the relationship was defined in Step One. The client and planner should meet periodically, but no less than annually, to make sure plans are on target and to review where things stand. Whether or not any changes will need to be made due to client or economic circumstances will be determined as well. As noted in the flow chart above, the process doesn’t end here but continues.
Please refer to the “Our Wealth Management Staff” tab for more information on our Wealth Management Professionals.
To learn more, please contact us at (608) 798-1515.
|Are Not FDIC Insured||Are Not Bank Guaranteed||May Lose Value|
Not all investment products are FDIC insured; Non-Deposit Investment Products (NDIPs) are not a deposit or other obligations of, or-guaranteed by, State Bank of Cross Plains; Non-Deposit Investment Products (NDIPs) are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested.