An independent CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner. Specializing in Retirement, Investment and Tax Planning Strategies for Individuals and Small Business Owners.
Is a dynamic process in which the financial planner and client work together continuously in an effort to determine the impact of a possible recommendation in one area (e.g., risk management) upon other areas (e.g., retirement and estate planning). Financial planning is an on going process in which the mix of recommendations may undergo modification as changes in the client's circumstances occur.
Generally, retirement income is derived from three sources: Social Security, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and personal savings. The current financial troubles of the Social Security system as well as layoffs and closing of large corporations highlight the need for personal retirement savings. Most individuals cannot rely solely on the income provided by Social Security and employer-sponsored retirement plans to meet their retirement goals; they must save for retirement. Therefore, accumulating and preserving assets to provide retirement income is an important part of the financial planning process.
The financial planner can provide help in understanding how the laws of intestacy and local procedures may affect the client's state planning objectives. In addition, the financial planner can assist in explaining how estate, gift, and income tax liability may affect the plan, as well as how wills and various will substitutes can be used to accomplish a stated objective.
The difference between saving money and investing funds often is generally explained by considering the time horizon and the financial objectives involved. Typical savings objectives are to build a fund for short-term needs and to establish an emergency fund for the unexpected. Investment objectives usually include accumulating capital or establishing a stream of income. To help a client formulate an investment program designed to meet specific goals, the financial planner must be aware of the variables in the accumulation, preservation, and distribution of wealth. All investment decisions are made within the framework of portfolio construction and management, a process that reflects the changing economic environment and client goals, attitudes, and resources.
The financial planner needs to be able to help the client identify risk exposures and help the client select an appropriate method to efficiently manage the risk.
Many clients would like to develop tax strategies; for this reason, taxes may affect most financial planning decisions. I feel it is important for a financial planner to have an understanding of fundamentals of tax law relevant to financial planning. Thus, the ability to design and implement a viable financial plan may be contingent upon understanding and applying fundamental tax law and management concepts in coordination with each of the other areas of financial planning.