Following is a general guideline of how we typically work with new clients. The process may be slightly different depending upon your specific situation.
Also, you do not have to be local or come into our office to work with us. We have the technology to help you out no matter where you are. Visit our Tech Center to learn more.
Your first meeting with us will be a “get to know you session” that we call our Introductory Meeting. During this meeting, we will simply learn a little bit about each other. You will learn about our services, how we typically work with clients, and we will provide you with our fee schedule (we don’t think fees should be a mystery). And we will learn about what you are hoping to accomplish, your current financial strategy, and we will try to get a feel for your past experiences.
If you decide to move forward and work with us, then we will determine whether you wish for us to just manage your investments (Investment Only Clients) or whether you wish to engage us in our combined financial planning and investment services (Planning Clients).
For Investment Only Clients, we will need to obtain some basic information to set up your accounts. That’s it.
But for our Planning Clients, we ask that you fill out our Financial Planning Questionnaire and track down various documents for us.
Read on to learn more about our process for Planning Clients.
Data Gathering Meeting
At your next meeting, the Data Gathering Meeting, we will review the questionnaire and any requested documents that you were able to find. We will then start the process of identifying any goals, risks, or concerns that you may have. After the meeting, we will take all of the information you provided and begin work on your personalized Comprehensive Financial Plan. It will take us approximately 1 week to complete at which point we will schedule a third meeting called our Plan Presentation Meeting.
Plan Presentation Meeting
During the Plan Presentation Meeting, we will review the Comprehensive Financial Plan that we prepared for you. We will also discuss the recommendations that we have for you as they pertain to your unique situation. Our recommendations are meant to get you on the right track as well as protect you, your family, and your assets.
The Comprehensive Financial Plan that we create is at no upfront or out of pocket cost to you. We want you to be completely satisfied and comfortable with us, the plan, and the process prior to hiring us. This is similar to test driving a car. You wouldn’t buy a car until you first got behind the wheel and we wouldn’t expect you to hire us until you’ve seen what we can deliver.
If you are satisfied with our process and desire to be a client, then we will prepare the necessary paperwork to begin the transfer of your investments so that we can manage them for the benefit of your goals, risks, and concerns that were previously outlined. If for some reason you are not satisfied with the financial plan or process, then you are free to walk away having spent nothing but your time.
If our process sounds intriguing to you then feel free to contact our office to see about setting up an Introductory Meeting.
Depending on the complexity or time constraints of your situation, we may shorten the number of meetings or have some meetings virtually (i.e. over the phone and/or computer). Please visit our Tech Center to learn more about how we make technology work for you.
Our Ongoing Process
Whether you are an Investment Only Client or a Planning Client, we will proactively reach out to you annually so that we can review everything. Even if nothing has changed in your life, we still want to connect because maybe something “should change”. Our annual reviews also serve to refresh your memory of all the moving parts in your financial life. It’s often times easy to forget what you own, what your goals are, or what we discussed in the past, which is why we think annual reviews are necessary.
Why do we only meet with you annually? Well, realistically, if you want to meet more frequently we certainly can. But in our experience, people are extremely busy and time is a precious commodity. So, the way we handle it is we put you in an annual review cycle, but if something arises we can always have an interim meeting.
What Does a Comprehensive Financial Plan Look Like?
We’ve talked a lot about developing a Comprehensive Financial Plan, but what exactly is it? Before we go down that path, it will be important for you to have a basic understanding about what comprehensive financial planning is. Comprehensive Financial Planning is simply a process to help you make sound financial decisions. In the most basic sense, the purpose is to help protect you, your family, and your assets. For a more thorough explanation, please read our blog titled What Is Comprehensive Financial Planning? Due to the confusion associated with what comprehensive financial planning is, see our Sample Comprehensive Financial Plan for an example of what we routinely create for our clients. This is a basic plan that gives you an idea of how we work with our clients. Every client’s situation is unique and some plans may require more detail. If you have any questions at all, please let us know.