Creating A Long Term Comprehensive Financial Life Plan

CREATING A LONG TERM COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL LIFE PLAN

 

JAMES L DRUFFNER

CPA/PFS, CFP, CMA

 

 

 

Remember that song Que Sera Sera? (Kal Ho Naa Ho in Hindi.) My favorite line is “The Future’s Not Ours To See.” That’s certainly true; we can’t see the future. But suppose we tweak that a bit: “The Future Is Ours To Create.”

Long term comprehensive financial life planning is a simple idea: it is the matching of your long term goals with your resources to create your own happy, fulfilling, and secure future. Goals + Resources.

We will prepare a long term comprehensive financial life plan for a flat fee of $4,000, payable at the beginning of the engagement. We will cover tax planning, estate planning, insurance planning, investment planning, retirement planning, and whatever else comes up that impacts your long term financial security and happiness. We’ll tell you the optimal time to apply for social security. We’ll help you understand Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage. We’ll even cover elder care, college financing, or both if you are part of the sandwich generation. It’s a very holistic approach because we connect all your dots.

The centerpiece for most people is the retirement income projection. We put your future on our “crystal wall” and, by examining how various actions impact the achievement of your goals, come up with a plan that, if properly implemented, has a high probability of success in achieving your goals. Think of it as a road map. You tell us where you want to go; we (that includes you!) create a plan that has a high probability of getting you there. For most people, “there” is enjoying life without any fear that they will run out of money before they run out of life. Or phrased another way, “there” is your long term happiness.

The whole process involves at least two, but usually more than two, meetings (and a lot of work in between). Before the first meeting, we will send you a series of questionnaires to help us (that includes you!) understand who you are and to make you think about the future and your goals, perhaps more intensely than you have ever thought before. In the first meeting we discuss and expand upon our understanding of your goals and values. We will ask questions. We will listen. We will make you think. We will learn what makes you happy and what makes you afraid. We will write the last chapter in your book.

In the second meeting we will examine your resources and offer suggestions for improving the odds that your resources and your goals match. We will suggest ways to increase your resources, primarily through tax and investment planning. But we might also suggest that you look carefully at your goals. Retiring early and seeing the world in 5-star hotels might not be realistic.

If necessary, we will have additional meetings (at no extra charge, of course; there’s no clock in the conference room) to make sure that your plan is being implemented. (As we say in the profession, a financial plan is worthless, it’s the implementation that is priceless.) One important meeting will focus on investment options. We will help you choose low cost investments such as ETFs and/or mutual funds that are consistent with your plan (and with the times we live in), free of those big fees charged by sales reps at banks and brokerage houses. If creating an estate plan is part of your financial plan, one of us will attend your first meeting with the estate planning attorney to make sure that the estate plan is consistent with the financial plan.

We would be happy to explain the process and the benefits in greater detail, as well as address your questions and concerns, in a free “meet & greet.” Just send us an e-mail if you would like to get together to learn more. Also, I recommend reading some of my many blogs on financial planning topics:

http://www.lotusfinancialsvcs.com/Blogs.4.htm

If, after careful consideration, you want to move forward with the process, I will send you an engagement letter and some questionnaires to get us started. Sign and return the engagement letter to us, answer and return the questionnaires to us, set up a date and time for the first meeting, and then give yourself a round of applause and a big pat on the back for taking control of your future. Que sera is for you to decide.

Thanks!

Jim