In my other life (my rich, fantasy one) my talents as a downhill-skier rival Wayne Gretzky’s hockey-playing skills. What set Gretzky apart and earned him his nickname, “The Great One,” was the advice he took from his father to “skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.” In our last post, “Time for a Spring Cleaning,” we covered how good it can feel to put your financial house in order by de-cluttering and streamlining your tax-efficient portfolio. But before you begin skating along with your lean, clean portfolio, it’s best to know where you want to go and how you expect to get there. That’s where planning, process and policies come into play.
The Discovery Meeting: Bringing Your Vision into Focus
Carl Richards of BehaviorGap.com posted an interesting Tweet recently: “You don’t hire a real financial advisor because you aren’t smart enough. You hire one because you aren’t an objective 3rd party.”
In other words, most of us are a little too close to our own money to be able to see it from every side. To help with that, we begin each new client relationship with a Discovery Meeting – a brainstorming session for considering all angles before we embark:
- Qualitative – Your goals, dreams, interests and relationships. What do you want your money to do for you and yours in the long run? Dreaming big is encouraged.
- Quantitative – Your financial assets and liabilities and how they relate to your desired lifestyle.
- Risks and Rewards – Your risk “fingerprint,” or how much market risk you can, should or must accept in pursuit of your greatest goals.
The Financial Planning Meeting: An Interactive Game Plan
Building on the results of our Discovery Meeting, we meet again to collaboratively create your financial plan. But our planning process is different than the usual stultifying PowerPoint presentation, followed by a thick binder, jam-packed with lackluster charts and boring fine print. Our goal is to liberate you from financial complexities, not weigh you down with more.
We’ve designed our planning meetings to be energizing and highly interactive – a shared conversation playing out on our office’s flat-screen planning board, where the future you imagine can begin to take shape.
- How will saving more, spending less, working longer and/or transitioning to an encore career affect your retirement plans?
- What happens if you buy that lake house today versus waiting five years?
- What are the financial worries that keep you awake at night, and how can we resolve them?
- How are your life’s plans applied to that efficient investment portfolio we mentioned in our last post?
- Are there insurance or estate-planning needs left unresolved?
Try exploring these sorts of creative questions meaningfully with a three-ring binder.
The Set-Up: Uniting High-Touch with High-Tech
When earning my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, little did I know that my high-tech interests would apply so well in my career as a financial professional. But it’s true. Equipped with the results of our personalized Discovery and interactive Financial Planning meetings, today’s technology tools help us:
- Compile what we’ve learned to form a concise Financial Plan and Investment Policy Statement, both easily updated over time to reflect the ongoing realities in your life.
- Secure and streamline data-gathering, file-sharing and signature/approval processes, saving us and you heaps of time (and paper cuts) during account set-up and maintenance.
- Offer you an interactive, online “client investment portal” where you can see all your investments—even your 401k investments at your employer—all in one simple dashboard, available to you 24/7. Check out this short video that goes over the highlights.
Ongoing Care: Going Where the Puck Leads
It’s important to emphasize that all this is only the beginning of a life-long process, which is why it’s vital that your wealth management be:
- Efficient – Optimized for regular monitoring and reporting.
- Strong – Solidly reflecting your goals, to help you stay on course when outside influences tempt you astray.
- Flexible – Readily updated when your life’s circumstances warrant a change: inheritances, new jobs, new goals, new babies, adult “babies” leaving for college … you name it.
It’s not that families aren’t interested in making the most of their money, it’s that they want to do so in a way that complements rather than competes against their busy, action-packed lives. With the right financial plans, investment policies and service procedures in place (and automated with available technology whenever possible), our aim is to help them do just that.
For more information or to set up a consultation, contact Pathway Financial Planning at 248-567-2160 or email email@example.com.