Our process of client engagement begins with a discussion of 'fit'. No two clients are the same. We have found that the ability to communicate effectively, in a manner the client chooses, is critical to a good long-term relationship. If there are communication-style or personality challenges, the success rate is lower. Having this discussion upfront allows us to set expectations and begin on the right foot.
Clients explore working with an advisor for many reasons. For some, it's their first attempt to build good financial habits and understand what is needed for retirement. Others have experienced life events (marriage, children, job-changes, etc.) that require further planning. While some simply want to change from another advisor because they moved, are disappointed in investment returns and communication plans, or simply want an advisor with a different skill level.
Our ideal client, is a busy professional or business owner, who wants to make good decisions for their family, but doesn't have the time to constantly stay up-to-date on the ever-changing financial and tax environment. They are successful because they are focused on their career or business and prefer to spend their free time with family, friends, and other worthy pursuits. They are currently saving some money for retirement, maybe have some benefits or own individual insurance policies, but feel uneasy about their situation and seek peace of mind. They want to make good decisions, but don't know how everything fits together. We can help you!
We generally engage with clients in two ways:
The first method is reserved for folks who have done considerable financial planning in the past; know how much they need to be saving for their goals and retirement; understand their cash flow situation; and are protected in case of income loss, illness, or premature death. They require some initial organization and analysis of their situation. We can then move quickly into focusing on their ongoing goal management.
The second type of engagement is more comprehensive, and requires us to craft the client's plan after determining their goals and current progress toward achieving them. We will need to analyze their cash flow and prioritize their goals. A formal plan will be created for the client. This is more time-consuming, but a highly rewarding process for most. We charge a small fee for this, depending on it's complexity.
Below is a graphic of our comprehensive process:
Below is another graphic that explains our overall philosophy to financial planning. It represents a re-thinking of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (Theory of Human Motivation, 1943) for financial planning. It is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization and self-transcendence at the top. We've developed the below graphic with the most fundamental financial needs at the bottom (base of the pyramid) and graduating to the estate planning + legacy formation phase at the summit.