What is Financial Planning?
If this is your first time visiting our site, this is a great place to start. As you may have read in our about section, our firm is focused on serving Gen X and Gen Y clients. This typically means our clients are between the age of 25 and 55. No matter the age, there seems to be a consistent question that I get: What is “Financial Planning?”
It seems that even though the profession has been around since the early 1970’s, the industry has not done a good job differentiating between different fields in the financial industry. Sometimes I feel like the industry has done this on purpose to keep people confused but who am I to say?
To attempt to explain all the confusion is beyond the scope of this post. The point of this post is to explain what we do at KIS Fee-Only Financial Planning so you, as a potential client, can have a clear understanding. Before we get into that, let me tell you what we’re not:
We do not sell insurance or insurance products. We do not sell whole life insurance or any of its varieties. (Universal Life, Variable Universal Life) or any other financial products. (Quick Tip: NEVER buy insurance that someone tells you is an investment).
We don’t sell you investments with commissions.
The only thing we sell is: advice.
We help you make decisions regarding your finances and implement them for a fee. Just like you would pay a lawyer or accountant. We feel full disclosure of all fees paid is in the best interest of the client.
You may hear about ‘financial professionals’ that don't charge any fees. Please know this is not in your best interest as you will be paying somewhere. It may be either a back end fee or a commission of some sort. You will never know if the agent did what was in your best interest and will never know how much they are really making off of you. Hint: it’s probably a LOT more than you think. At KIS, as investment advisers, under federal law, in particular, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, we adhere to the fiduciary standard of care. To learn more about this, click here. This means we are legally bound to act in the best interest of our client.
Back to the reason for this post. The accepted definition of financial planning is “Financial planning denotes the process of determining whether and how an individual can meet life goals through the proper management of financial resources.”
The financial planning process involves six steps:
Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship;
Gathering client data, including goals;
Analyzing and evaluating the client’s financial status;
Developing and presenting financial planning recommendations and/or alternatives;
Implementing the financial planning recommendations; and
Monitoring the financial planning recommendations.
If this seems complicated, please don’t feel overwhelmed.
Essentially, we do a thorough analysis of your goals, dreams and financial situation and help you create a plan to get where you want to go and also let you know what adjustments must be made if any. We then monitor the plan through regular client meetings to update and adjust as necessary. Our intention is to develop a life-long relationship with our clients.
We see your financial plan as a living document that is meant to serve you, your family and your values.
We aim to do this in a manner that is clear and understandable for our clients and as our firm initials signify, we Keep It Simple. Our goal is to make your financial plan as simple as possible, but no simpler.
If you do not need full-service financial planning, we can also help with specific issues for a smaller fee through our Quick Start program or by the hour as needed. If you need investment management services, we can also help.
We also provide “workplace financial wellness” programs for clubs and businesses. Our programs are tailored to your audience and/organization on many financial topics.
You can check out our different program offerings here.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to set up a free 20-minute initial consultation to see if we would be a good match for each other.