The process is vital when preparing a financial plan for a business leader.
An executive financial planning exercise often revolves around good questions One of the best questions from corporate business executives and professionals that clients and prospective clients for comprehensive wealth management services ask is, “What should I be thinking about”?
It is not surprising that corporate business executives and professionals ask good questions. After all, asking good questions is their life’s work! That question exemplifies a degree of wisdom that the biggest issues come from the surprises on the path to overall financial security, not the things that we know about. A comprehensive wealth management strategy integrates the best ideas in tax planning, investing, specific goal funding, financial independence and wealth transfer. Knowing how each part compliments the other is the differentiator between and an “okay” plan and a highly successful one.
While many claim to answer life’s most pressing financial questions, all rely on inputs from standard questions with solutions based on an average result. Business executives and professionals know better in their executive fiancial planning process than to rely on off shelf solutions to complex problems. Business executives and professionals know the key to any work but especially a personal executive financial planning process is the quality of questions asked.
In the post, “Wealth Management: Averages? Really?“, the notion of averages being the goal for all was challenged. It is easy to take someone else’s idea of what a goal should be and adopt it as their own. The maximum satisfaction comes from achieving one’s personal dreams. Once goals and dreams have been visualized, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of online calculators that provide numeric answers to the inputs supplied. Standard, packaged, advice is, by definition, good for a large number of people but clearly not all. Customized, individualized advice is tailored and crafted to provide optimum advice for you. You deserve your answer, not a generic “standard” that reflects somebody else’s notion of what you “should” accomplish. Executive financial planning needs to be able to consider many more options than a srtandard plan.
A financial planning process that is centered on you often has the following components:
- Cash Reserve Assessment: Cash is often not paid attention to in many plans. Why? Money invested pays the advisors, but in reality having the proper amount of cash set aside enables the investment plan to work. Cash is the foundation of every successful plan.
- Risk Assessment: It does no good to have a wonderful investment strategy if your net worth is unnecessarily exposed to property and liability risks.
- Financial Independence Assessment: Not everyone sees themselves as being retired. Yet many thrive with the knowledge that they are doing what they are doing for other reasons than survival.
- Tax Review: No one wants to miss a tax break or organize their finances in a way to increase a tax bill. Our 360-degree review with an internal CPA, CFP® and existing tax and legal advisors will increase your confidence that things are on the right track.
- Wealth Transfer Assessment: Few want to have the government receive more of an estate than absolutely necessary. That said, each plan must consider the unique and special needs of each member of the family for maximum impact.
- Investments: Yes, the investment strategy is important and needs to maximize returns for a given level of risk. Cookie cutter investment strategies will provide cookie cutter results. Volatility is critical to consider, especially as funds are used to fund the goals and dreams you have established.
- Coordination: Each element of a comprehensive financial strategy needs to fit with other components. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the finished deliverable needs to show you the complete and accurate picture when all the pieces are in place.
- Teamwork: No one person has all the answers. White Oaks has a competent, experienced team of CFP’s and a CPA that operate on a fee-only, fiduciary basis, and the “team” reviews each plan. External advisors such as tax preparers and attorneys are consulted when appropriate to bring their input to your plan. Will Rogers once said:”Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” Our team has over 75 years of combined experience. Teamwork brings out the most value in “what else should I be thinking about”?
A well-considered financial strategy crafted meeting the unique needs and opportunities for business executives and professionals by an experienced, credentialed team has value. Evidence for the value of financial advisors advice has been provided by Vanguard in their research entitled “The Added Value of Financial Advisors”, the IRIS in their work “The Value of a Fiduciary Advisor Reaches 4% in 2017”, Dalbar’s annual investors versus investments study and many others.
Engaging in a collaborative, comprehensive, wealth management design process focuses the minds of experienced experts on your specific needs and unique circumstances to sort through the multitude of potential solutions for the optimum ideas for you. Business leaders seeking executive financial planning advice ultimately will need to determine whether they are seeking “average” outcomes, or a strategy that is customized to them and their situation.