By Bryan Trugman, CFP®
With a world of information at our fingertips, we can find reviews, history, product specifications, and more details than we’ll ever need about anything we want to buy. In other words, before making a major purchase, we can arm ourselves with information to make the best choice possible.
While creating a financial plan is in a different category than buying a car or putting an offer on a home, we believe it’s just as significant of an investment and you should know what you’re getting before you pay a penny.
At Attitude Financial Advisors, we develop custom financial plans for each client, so it’s no easy task to provide one without working with you extensively. However, we wanted to share what your potential financial plan could look like so you can picture the depth of our analysis and how this understanding can benefit your future financial life. If you choose to work with us, here’s what you can expect.
What Does a Financial Plan Include?
First, you may be wondering about what goes into a comprehensive plan. Financial plans often address a myriad of concerns and goals, from college planning to retirement income strategizing. Depending on your needs, your plan may narrow in on one element or address multiple goals you’d like to achieve over time. Whatever you choose to focus on, your financial plan is designed to serve as your road map, helping you navigate the years before, during, and after your transition to retirement.
We believe a good financial plan should give you a detailed, complete view of your current financial situation, a thorough modeling of where you want to be, and the actions you need to take to reach those goals. It should address all the pieces of your financial puzzle, from stresses and fears to your values and dreams, and include risk factors, cash flow, retirement, estate planning, taxes, education, and income strategies to help bring you clarity and guidance. It is through our planning process that we can help you prepare for life’s expected and unexpected circumstances.
We understand that financial planning can seem overwhelming at first glance, but we want to assure you that throughout the entire planning process, Attitude’s collaborative and team approach makes the experience seamless and meaningful.
Questions & Answers
When we meet, we will first develop a thorough understanding of you and your life, walking you through some questions that will become the foundation for your plan. You will also have a chance to ask any of your pressing questions and hear our objective answers based on your information and our experience.
Questions we ask:
- What’s prompting you to seek financial guidance today?
- What financial goals do you have?
- How much of your children’s college costs do you want to be able to pay for?
- At what age would you like to retire?
- Do you anticipate a change in career or income?
- Do you have life and disability insurance? Do you carry this coverage through your workplace benefits?
- Are you able to save money?
- Are you happy with your lifestyle and current spending?
Questions clients ask:
- How much should I invest? How much should I be saving? What should I invest in?
- How much of a home can I afford to buy?
- How much money do I need to accumulate in order to retire? Am I able to retire early?
- How do I compare to your other clients?
- How much can we spend on a wedding for our children?
- How much life insurance should we have?
- I heard long-term care insurance is expensive. What are my options?
- Doesn’t Medicare cover long-term care?
- Should I purchase some of the benefits offered to me through my job?
The goal of both these questions and our comprehensive process is to design a simple yet powerful blueprint to guide you toward financial freedom.
Let’s Take a Closer Look
Here is a sample financial plan that reflects our planning process. It looks at a fictional client’s lifestyle income plan and how we developed it, including identifying their goals, creating a balance sheet, reviewing their cash flow, and more.
Keep in mind that this is only a hypothetical plan presented to illustrate what a client’s plan may resemble should they work with us. The characters and circumstances are completely fictional and are for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to seek the advice of a qualified professional for your particular situation and not rely upon any of the information herein to make personal financial decisions.
We provide an overview of your current situation. With just one glance, you can see a big picture of your financial life, including assets broken down into specific categories and short-term and long-term liabilities. We also include a detailed breakdown of all your financial resources.
When it comes to investments, we will analyze your current investment holdings and compare your current portfolio with our recommended portfolio to see the difference it could make in the long term. We tweak different variables in our software—retirement age, Social Security strategy, goal spending, savings amounts, and others—to come up with a plan that has a high probability of success and feels good to you.
Because our plans leave no stone unturned, we will narrow in on your different goals to create a strategy to reach them. For example, if you plan to pay for some or all of your child’s college education, we create a funding and expense summary so you can know if you are on track or make changes to your overall financial plan to ensure your goals are funded when they need to be.
An important factor in the success of any financial plan is cash flow. Knowing what is going in and out will help you see areas for improvement and opportunities for increased saving. In this specific report, you can see that there is a surplus of $9,740 for the year. This tells us that the client is saving more than the planned amount of $53,500 per year, or that they have underestimated their expenses and really are not saving an additional $9,740 per year, or perhaps they have overstated their income. This type of information is invaluable as you work to stay on track and adjust your plan as life moves on.
Finally, in addition to a detailed study of each of your goals and a clearly mapped-out plan to get you there, we also create a risk management plan to cover your bases and help give you increased confidence. The end result? An actionable implementation list and a road map for your future.
Get Started on Your Plan!
We know this looks like a lot, but you’re not alone in this process. Every step of the way, our team will walk with you and help you see the big picture of your finances. While we take care of the details, you can get back to doing what you love.
If you want to see even more features of our financial plans, download our full sample plan here. Once you’ve taken a look, reach out to us at Attitude Financial Advisors today to schedule a no-obligation introductory meeting by emailing email@example.com or calling (516) 762-7603.
Bryan Trugman is managing partner, co-founder, and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) practitioner at Attitude Financial Advisors. With more than 13 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.