At FPC, we believe that financial planning is not a one-and-done type of process. As a rule, it is not advisable to focus on any one element of your financial life at a time. This is because money touches pretty much every aspect of who we are and what we want out of life. When working with our clients, we use a dynamic method of financial planning that focuses on combining the different pieces of your financial puzzle to help achieve your goals. Let us dig into what elements should be present in your financial plan, and how to make them all work together as you move toward your goals.
Markets change, financial situations change, family situations change, change is universal. Yet most financial advisors base their client relationships on rigid financial plans created at the beginning of the relationship. We do not believe that this one-and-done method of financial planning is the best option for our clients whose lives and goals are constantly evolving. Instead, we focus on creating, and regularly revisiting, a financial plan that changes and grows with you.
Whether you are using a financial planner now, or you are do-it-yourselfer, it is critical to check back and review your plan regularly to ensure that you are still moving toward the life you want. Performing annual check-ups can help you by making small tweaks or large overhauls as circumstances warrant.
Along with planning and investing, tax expertise is a critical tool in helping clients achieve their goals. As licensed tax practitioners, we weave expert tax consulting directly into our wealth management service – and in doing so, this gives clients an advantage few other advisors can offer.
The truth is that tax planning should not only happen during tax season, rather it is a year-long process. This could mean making tax-friendly financial decisions throughout the year (like tax-loss harvesting) or looking at how taxable events impact their goals (like executing a stock option). Your goal should be to look at tax strategy as part of an ongoing financial planning process. We work with our clients and, when applicable, their third-party tax professionals (like a CPA or Enrolled Agent) to minimize the impact taxes have on their wealth. Tax planning and implementation on an ongoing basis can produce some significant savings when tax-time rolls around.
Wealth Management has various meanings and definitions. We like the meaning offered by Russ Alan Prince, a contributor to Forbes. “Wealth management is the consultative process of meeting the needs and wants of affluent clients by providing the appropriate financial products and services. Wealth management entails coordinating a team of experts to address the needs and wants of affluent clients.”
From our perspective at FPC, Wealth Management is a process whereby you utilize a team of professionals that includes a financial advisor, an attorney, a tax preparer, and others to assist in managing your financial estate toward your personal financial goals. Based on the collaboration of your team, you acquire and utilize various financial products and services to implement your financial plan on an ongoing basis. These products and services can include insurance, investments, brokerage accounts, IRA’s, wills and trusts, mortgages, tax preparation and many, many more. At FPC, we believe in this holistic approach, and ultimately, Wealth Management is about reaching your goals and living the life you want to live. You should manage and invest in such a way that aligns with your values, risk comfort, lifestyle, retirement timeline, and long-term legacy. The result of this process is that you have a better chance at optimizing and achieving your financial goals and aspirations.
Your estate plan is another element of your dynamic financial plan. Although your estate plan may not need to be as frequently updated as your tax or investment strategy, it is still critical to work with professionals who can help you to create a plan for leaving a legacy you are proud of and protecting your beneficiaries.
Although we do not claim to be estate planning professionals, we do help clients collaborate with their estate planning attorneys to ensure that every piece of your financial life is represented in your estate and your strategy to pass on your wealth.
Set Yourself Up for Success
As you move to create a more dynamic financial plan, it is important to make sure that all the different parts of your life are equally represented in your strategy. At the end of the day, your plan should help you feel organized and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have checked every box.