At Integrity Wealth Advisors, we often explain to prospective clients that we are a financial planning firm. But what does that mean? “So you help people invest?” “Oh, so you’re a stock broker?” We do help people invest, but investment management and financial planning are two very different things. In this blog post, I will explain what financial planning is and how we help our clients remove the guesswork from their financial picture using our unique planning process.
According to Investopedia, financial planning is “A comprehensive evaluation of an investor’s current and future financial state by using currently known variables to predict future cash flows, asset values and withdrawal plans.” Simply put, financial planning encompasses everything in your financial picture. It includes, but is not limited to, investments. A good comprehensive plan will include a cash flow study, net worth statement, retirement planning, debt management, college planning, insurance to protect your family in the event of death or disability, estate planning, as well as investment planning. Your plan should work synergistically and efficiently so that all of the different components are propelling you to a bright financial future.
How is this done? When we work with clients and prospective clients, we start with clarifying what their financial goals are. What is important about money to you? What do you want your financial legacy to be? Are your investments aligned with your goals? Do you know what it will take for you to retire successfully, and remain successfully retired?
Using your unique information, we go into our “financial laboratory” and build your financial plan. At this point, we are positioned to share whether or not you are on track to reach your goals. If there are shortfalls or gaps, we will offer unbiased, objective strategies to help you achieve them. This is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. It is important that we meet with you often to monitor your plan and to make adjustments as your financial situation changes over time.
Many financial professionals identify themselves as “financial advisors/planners” but mainly do investment management or insurance, which is perfectly fine, as long as you know the difference. When choosing a financial advisor to work with, it is not only the questions you ask them that is important, it is the questions they ask you. At Integrity Wealth Advisors, every solution or recommendation that we give is in support of your unique financial plan. We do not use any “rules of thumb”. We understand how important our clients’ financial goals are to them. Nobody will work as hard, or care as much about, your financial success as we will.