What is the financial planning process?
Financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important things: (1) An in-depth review of your current financial situation, and (2) an outline of steps you will need to take to achieve your goals and objectives for the future.
It is important to remember that financial planning is a process not an event.
How do we start the process?
First, we focus on your goals, objectives, priorities and values. For instance: funding a quality education for your children or grandchildren may be an intermediate goal, and enjoying a secure financial future in your retirement years is likely to be one of your most important long-term goals. You may already be on the road to meeting these objectives and simply need a new strategy, professional insight, or to fine-tune your plan. You may just be starting out, or you may be somewhere in between. Whatever your unique situation may be, everyone needs a periodic assessment of where they are on the road to meeting their financial goals. That’s why we do an in-depth review of your current financial situation.
Next, you need to know how you can set about achieving, or continue working toward, your financial goals. By focusing on cash flow, investments, taxes, pensions and retirement plans, Social Security analysis, estate planning, insurance issues, savings opportunities and other general financial matters, we design a customized financial plan for you.
Finally, to achieve the intended results, you must implement and monitor your plan.
To get started on this process contact our office to schedule an initial Introduction Meeting.
Who can benefit most from your services?
Anyone seeking financial peace of mind can benefit from our services. We serve people at all income levels and from all walks of life. However, we do not require that you have a minimum level of investment assets to work with us. After the initial engagement Clients have the flexibility to work with us on either an Hourly basis or as a Retainer Client.
If I have a lot of credit card debt, loans and cash flow issues would your services meet my needs?
Financial fitness doesn’t come from having a large income; instead it comes from managing the money that you earn and learning to manage your expenses and starting a savings plan.
Some financial planners do work with clients who have issues with debt management and spending. However we do not feel that Balanced Financial Planning, Inc. is a good resource for people dealing with spending issues. Instead we recommend you consider checking with your church, local Better Business Bureau or community college for resources that provide financial education, budgeting, debt management and counseling services. You may want to consider non-profit credit counseling services such as MyFinancialGoals.org as a cost -effective way for you to access resources that will help you learn to manage your finances.
What is Fee-Only financial planning and why should that be important to me?
Because we are Fee-Only financial planners, all conflicts of interest regarding compensation are removed. We do not accept sales commissions; we work solely for our clients. Because we do not sell financial products such as investments and insurance, there are no third-party relationships or outside influences to color our thinking and financial recommendations. For more information on Fee-Only financial planning, including our Code of Ethics, Fiduciary Code and member requirements, please visit www.NAPFA.org.
In addition, our firm is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA); as such, we must comply with a host of regulations designed to protect the consumer. One important question you should always ask when considering a financial planner’s services: "May I please have a copy of your ADV Part II?" This document contains important information about the planner’s qualifications, fiduciary duties and history of any past violations.
I understand the benefits of working with a Fee-Only financial planner, but I might need to obtain financial products. How will I be able to do that with your firm?
While we do not sell financial products, we will offer specific recommendations and opinions regarding the purchase of the various financial products that may be appropriate for you. So, if you need to obtain an insurance policy or a new mortgage, or find an estate planning attorney or tax professional, we can direct you to the resources you need and help you obtain these products and services. If appropriate, we can help you implement your plan and set up your investment accounts.
My spouse and I are just beginning to build for our financial future. There is so much to learn! We need help and guidance to get started. Will you accept us as a client?
Yes. Some firms have income levels and net worth minimums but at Balanced Financial Planning, Inc. we realize that everyone has financial planning needs and will work with people from all income levels.
I have already accumulated substantial assets and think I am doing quite well. But as I progress and build for the future, things seem to be getting more complicated.
Yes. People who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice will find our services appealing and beneficial. If you have a desire to simplify your financial affairs, we can provide whatever scope of ongoing services that is right for you.
If I use Balanced Financial Planning, Inc. to develop a financial plan, am I obligated to purchase the recommended products?
No, absolutely not. We will offer recommendations which in our professional opinion will meet your needs and objectives, but you are under no obligation to purchase them. In today’s competitive market, it makes sense to shop around for the best available product or service. For instance, if you need to obtain a life insurance or disability policy, we will suggest the kind of policy, which riders and what amounts may be best for you. We will then direct you to a choice of companies that can provide a quality product at competitive prices for you. If you wish, we can help you set-up your brokerage accounts and make the recommended purchase trades with your authorization.
What types of securities does your firm provide advice for?
We provide advice for all types of securities, including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, bank deposits, and variable and fixed annuities. We also provide advice on mortgages, 401(k), 403(b) and other retirement programs, stock options, life and disability and long term care insurance, etc. If it has to do with money and finances, we can provide counseling, guidance and resources for you. We want our clients to know that they can call on us with any and all of their financial concerns. Clients are encouraged to contact us when they have a major life event, such as a new job, a baby, a marriage or divorce, or if they are planning to buy a new home or start their own business. We also encourage our clients to contact us with more common everyday questions, such as: "How should I invest within my 401(k) or 403(b) plan?" "How can I reduce my taxes?" "What advice can you offer on refinancing my home?" "When should we start our Social Security benefits? "
Tell me about your investment philosophy.
As financial planners and investment consultants, we believe in the following fundamental principles with regard to designing an investment portfolio and making specific recommendations:
The purpose of a client’s investment portfolio is to fund current and/or future financial objectives. The design of the portfolio must take into account the client’s financial objectives, tolerance for risk, their portfolio’s risk capacity, needs for current income or liquidity, and special considerations such as income and estate taxes. The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future. It is difference of opinion that makes a market and investment and economic experts provided with the same information often come to different conclusions.
We do not suggest that we can, or that any of the money or mutual fund managers that we recommend, will make the correct decision every time. We do believe, however, that studying the historic trends and relationships of investment classes and the philosophies and approaches of successful investment managers can provide valuable insight. The appropriate allocation of investment assets for your goals and risk tolerance is the most important component in developing an investment portfolio. We believe that having a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, following long-term investment strategies, and having patience will increase the likelihood that you will achieve your long-term financial objectives.
How do you select investments for a client?
Before we recommend any investment, we consider the current economic conditions, the outlook for that asset class or type of security and how this investment fits within your portfolio given your objectives and tolerance for risk. For equity investments, we focus primarily on the philosophies, experience and track record of the management team. With fixed income investments, we look for the best yield available for a given quality of security and where on the yield curve to invest. As fiduciaries for our clients, we strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet your objectives, while being very conscious of total expenses and risk exposure.
Once my financial plan is completed, will our relationship end?
After the Initial Engagement that depends on you, but the majority of our clients choose to maintain an ongoing relationship either as an Hourly Client or as a Retainer Client. Because financial planning is a process, not an event, we offer ongoing services, periodic reviews and day-to-day consultation as requested or needed. Please visit the Services tab for more information on our services.
How would we get started?
The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Call us at (913) 677-1090 or go to the Book A Meeting here. We offer an initial no-cost, no-obligation Introduction Meeting, either in our office or by phone