By Bryan Trugman, CFP

Financial advisors offer a range of services, including investment advice, investment management, financial advice, financial planning, and wealth management. While these terms are often thought to be interchangeable, they actually represent distinct services with different processes and outcomes. 

In this fourth installment of our Investing Basics 101 series, we explore the difference between financial planning and investment management and provide insights into what you can anticipate when you choose to collaborate with Attitude Financial Advisors.

Financial Planning vs. Investment Management

According to the CFP Board, financial planning is a collaborative process that helps maximize a client’s potential for meeting life goals through financial advice that integrates relevant elements of the client’s personal and financial circumstances. Essentially, it’s a holistic process that looks at all parts of a client’s financial situation to create a customized plan to achieve their financial goals. It includes the following subject areas:

  • Retirement planning including Social Security & Medicaid planning 
  • Investment management
  • Tax planning
  • Cash flow analysis
  • Estate and legacy planning
  • Risk management and insurance analysis and planning
  • Education planning

Investment management, on the other hand, aims to meet particular investment goals for the benefit of clients whose money a financial professional has the responsibility of overseeing. It is a siloed service that does not necessarily incorporate the other aspects of a client’s unique financial situation. Financial planning usually includes investment management, but investment management does not automatically include financial planning.  

Our Financial Planning Process

At Attitude Financial Advisors, our team focuses on several key areas: retirement planning, legacy and estate planning, education planning, and tax planning—to name a few. While other advisors often do a few of these things, they typically don’t do all; and many times they only focus on investment management. 

Throughout our process, we put all hands together to design a customized, strategic approach to your affairs. We base our strategy on the comprehensive financial planning process and we always keep your most important goals and values in mind. Below is an outline of the steps we take with each and every client

  1. Consultation: During this discovery meeting, we learn more about your needs, provide a high-level overview of Attitude Financial Advisors’ services, and identify which are the best fit for you. This is also when you have the opportunity to ask questions and bring up lingering concerns.
  2. Leading up to the Discovery Meeting: We request that you complete our prospective client questionnaire and gather recent investment and retirement account statements, which we use to prepare questions and inform us ahead of the discovery meeting.
  3. Evaluation and Review: Our team then uses the next few weeks to collect a comprehensive set of both quantitative and qualitative data. We then evaluate the readiness for your financial objectives and initiate the formulation of recommendations. 
  4. Observations/Recommendations: The final step is a deep-dive “State of the Union” type meeting that reviews previous conversations and looks forward to the financial planning recommendations. It includes suggestions from all relevant key areas listed above and covers referrals in areas where you may need additional assistance. This interactive process involves your input and conversations about how the plan may change.

At the end of this process, we have created a living document that can be updated over time as your financial goals evolve. The process doesn’t stop just because the plan is completed. Comprehensive financial planning is an ongoing service that allows us, as planners, to truly maximize your ability to successfully pursue your long-term financial goals.

Create a Clear, Comprehensive Plan

No matter what kind of financial guidance you’re looking for, our Attitude Financial Advisors team can help—from a one-time plan to ongoing advice. We know each situation is unique, so we provide three offerings based on the individual’s needs and goals, including an all-encompassing financial plan with a focus on strategic investment management. We pride ourselves on our holistic wealth management approach, and we’re committed to supporting our clients in revolutionizing their financial attitude and realizing their long-term financial goals. 

Remember that we are fiduciaries for all clients, which means we put your interests first, always. To begin the process, I invite you to reach out to me via email at or give me a call at (516) 762-7603 to set up a free consultation.

About Bryan

Bryan Trugman is managing partner, co-founder, and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner at Attitude Financial Advisors. With more than 15 years of experience, Bryan specializes in addressing the financial needs of new parents as they seek to realign their finances, assisting divorced individuals as they navigate an unforeseen fork in the road, and strategizing with those seeking to accrue a dependable retirement nest egg. Bryan is known for being a good listener and building strong relationships with his clients so he can help them develop a customized financial plan based on what’s important to them. He is passionate about helping his clients experience financial confidence so they can worry less and play more. Bryan has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering with a minor in mathematics from State University of New York at Binghamton. He has served on the board of the Financial Planning Association and continues to be actively involved in the national organization. He is also a member of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Chamber of Commerce and has served as its vice president and as a board member. When he’s not working, you can find Bryan on the ballroom dance floor or engaged in a fast-paced game of doubles on the tennis court. To learn more about Bryan, connect with him on LinkedIn. Or, watch his latest webinar on: How Much Is Enough? A Surprisingly Simple Way to Calculate Your Retirement Savings Needs.

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