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Blog

Impact of Financial Planning

Erik Nelson, CFP®, Wealth Management Associate Advisor | Ryan Richardson, Wealth Management Associate | March 8, 2018

We strive to make an impact in a number of ways at Weatherly. Your financial plan is an important component and roadmap to success developed with a team of professionals. Taking into consideration your current financial situation, goals and aspirations, and using well thought out and reasonable assumptions, we seek to create an accurate evaluation of your financial plan to help you to see the big picture, while we prioritize a short list for forward progression.

It is important to have a financial plan, but sticking to it during times of volatility can be critical. Having a plan built with accurate information and conservative assumptions takes into consideration periods of volatility, and makes our clients long-term goals a priority.

Each financial plan is customized with numerous factors, and by implementing the following steps, we are able to create an extremely in-depth analysis that addresses your specific goals and needs.

1. Ask.Share. Repeat.

Weatherly’s responsibility is to consider all relevant information to our client’s respective plans and seek out any additional information that could impact that plan. By asking the important questions, sharing information with your team of professionals, and repeating this process to keep the flow of information relevant, we create a foundation for planning.

2. Dialogue for Impact

We collaborate with each client on a personal level to drill down into your financial situation to become a part of your plan. Having an initial Dialogue for Impact, we seek to identify the main considerations to include in your financial plan including, but not limited to:

  • Financial statement preparation and analysis
    • Cash flow analysis and budgeting
      • mint.com is a great resource for consolidating financial accounts and creating and tracking your budget.
      • For a more simplified budgeting tool, use this chart to help understand and categorize your budget
    • Insurance planning and risk management
    • Employee benefits planning
    • Investment planning
    • Income tax planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate planning
      • Use this worksheet for your digital estate planning where you can securely store your usernames and passwords, and location of assets.

Your goals are important to you, and we want to help you reach them. Common goals to think about and make a focus in your financial plan include:

  • Emergency fund
  • Pay off credit cards
  • Retirement spending
  • College funding
  • Wedding funding
  • New house purchase
  • Car purchase
  • Home remodel or repair
  • Charitable giving
  • Leave behind inheritance

By having a deep understanding of your current financial situation, a Ripple Effect naturally occurs throughout, where each aspect of your plan affects the next. As a cohesive, fluid process, your financial plan becomes the driver towards reaching your short and long-term financial and personal goals.

3. Prioritize for Progress

Once we understand your current financial picture and your most important financial and personal goals, we are able to Prioritize for Progress by reviewing and analyzing the data that has been provided to us. We review current investments and asset allocation, cash flow needs, assets and liabilities, education funding, insurance needs, tax strategies, retirement needs, estate planning, and any other relevant information you have provided.

4. Developing flexible recommendations and/or alternatives

When creating a financial plan, we want to give you options and allow for flexibility for your goals and life expectations to change and evolve. We typically create a base case as well as 2-3 alternative scenarios to show how small changes in your plan can have a large impact on the success.

  • Base case: We take your current situation and project if maintaining this course of action will result in a successful plan. If assets are sufficient, what is your safety margin?
  • Alternative Scenarios
    • Whether the base case scenario succeeds or illustrates a need for adjustments, we typically show how various changes in the plan can affect the outcome. Some of these scenarios are things you can control while others are simply out of your control:
      • Longer life expectancy
      • Utilize primary residence for additional equity
      • Increased/decreased living expenses
      • Additional gifting

By making these assumptions and making your financial goals a priority, we begin to build a clear picture of what your plan will look like. By adding in alternative scenarios, we go beyond your base case, and plan for potential risks that may arise during the course of your life in order to protect your primary goals and to be prepared for the unexpected.

5. Implementing recommendations and working with your team of professionals

By working with your team of professionals, including attorneys and CPA’s we can help to implement the recommendations we have made. We have discussed the importance of working with your team of trusted advisors in our previous blog post focused on estate planning and how to leverage these professionals.

Please take a moment to print and fill out Weatherly’s Client Information Release Authorization Letter – CIRAL so that we have the contact information of your team of trusted professionals on file to help coordinate the important aspects of your life.

The process that we implement when developing financial plans for our clients is central to what our client’s ultimately take from those plans. By using accurate, yet conservative assumptions and illustrating the impact that various changes can have on the success of those plans, clients should understand how their long-term goals are influenced by different factors. Our ultimate goal during the financial planning process is for our clients to feel assured that market volatility, a below-average market year, or unexpected expenses are buffered into the long-term success of their plan.

By working with our team to develop and revise your financial plan, we hope that you better understand the big picture, feel as if you have a roadmap to stay on track to help create a Ripple Effect that extends beyond your individual situation.

** The information provided should not be interpreted as a recommendation, no aspects of your individual financial situation were considered. Always consult a financial professional before implementing any strategies derived from the information above.