Failing to plan is planning to fail. We plan so much of our lives. However, most Americans do not have any type of financial plan. Given that our finances are such an important part of our lives, it makes sense to understand the need for having a complete financial plan. Many traditional investment firms such as brokerage houses claim to offer financial planning, but when reviewed closely, one of the first disclaimers on the document states it is in fact not a financial plan at all. This creates confusion and leads to the questions: What makes up a financial plan? Who is a financial planner?
A financial plan should entail more than a retirement account with projected returns and possible distributions. A complete financial plan should encompass all aspects of your financial life. According the CFP® board, this should include the following:
- Financial statement preparation and analysis (including cash flow analysis/planning and budgeting)
- Insurance planning and risk management
- Employee benefits planning
- Investment planning
- Income tax planning
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
A financial plan should also be prepared by an expert with the proper qualifications. Stock brokers and insurance agents sometimes prepare rudimentary plans but to be sure your financial plan includes all the subjects listed above, you may want to consider working with a CFP® professional. While anyone can call himself or herself a financial planner, only CFP® professionals undergo a rigorous training process and testing in the areas of financial planning to become certified and eligible to use the CFP® marks. A CFP® professional must also complete ongoing continuing education to stay up to date with the changes in the financial planning world. A CFP® professional must also adhere to a strict code of ethics and act as a fiduciary and place the client’s interests first. You can feel more comfortable about the advice and counsel you are receiving when working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.
At Nissim & Gavidia Wealth Management & Financial Planning, LLC, we take a unique approach to serving our clients. A client works with both a full time CFP® professional and a dedicated portfolio manager. This approach allows us to put together a complete financial plan for our clients and manage their assets while remaining fiduciaries.