Choosing to work with a financial planner is a huge step in your personal finance journey. It can be overwhelming to think about the process, especially if you don’t have a clear idea of what it actually entails. At Horizon Planning Group, we strive to provide our clients with the information they need to make the best financial choices possible, including choosing the right financial planner to work with. In this guide, we will walk you through our client-focused process and how it’s used to create a custom financial plan tailored to your needs.
Our Client-Focused Process
For over 35 years, our clients’ goals have been at the center of every recommendation and strategy we implement. Our process consists of six intuitive steps honed over decades of experience working with clients. When you sign on with Horizon Planning Group, this is what you can expect:
- First, we establish your goals. We sit down together to figure out where you want to be. When do you want to retire? What do you want your lifestyle to look like? Are there any other financial goals you would like to accomplish along the way?
- Next, we evaluate your assets. What investments, financial accounts, real estate, and other personal property do you already have in place? How can these be utilized to meet your long-term goals?
- Once we know where you want to be and where you currently are, we take a look at the space in between to determine how to mind the gap.
- Next, one of our dedicated financial planners presents detailed recommendations outlining how to reach your goals. These recommendations are entirely tailored to your needs, and you will have the opportunity to ask as many questions as necessary to feel comfortable with the plan. You can accept or reject the recommendations at any time.
- Once the recommendations have been accepted, it’s time to take action. We help you implement the strategy we’ve developed together and keep you on track along the way.
- Lastly, the plan is never truly set in stone. We monitor the plan over time to track investment performance and stay up to date as your life and financial needs change. The process is ongoing to account for new goals, changing circumstances, and the latest planning techniques.
What Does a Financial Plan Include?
Now that you’re familiar with our general process, you may be wondering what goes into a comprehensive plan. We believe a good financial plan should give you a detailed, complete view of your current financial situation, a thorough model of where you want to be, and the actions you need to take to reach those goals.
Our financial plan addresses all the pieces of your financial puzzle, from stresses and fears to your values and dreams, and includes 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 help you prepare for life’s expected and unexpected circumstances.
The result is a simple yet powerful road map to guide you toward financial confidence.
See a Sample Financial Plan
We’ve developed a sample financial plan that reflects our planning process. It looks at a fictional couple, Mr. and Mrs. Valued Client, as they plan for things like building an emergency fund, saving for their children’s education, and planning for retirement.
First, we created a balance sheet and reviewed their cash flow to assess the strength of their current financial situation. As you can see in the graphic below, we found that these clients had a surplus cash flow of $19,055 per year which they could put toward their financial goals.
Next, we outlined several key goals including emergency savings, education savings, and retirement savings to illustrate where the clients are and where they want to be.
We found that this client could increase their savings rate in all three areas to better improve their ability to meet their goals. In terms of their retirement savings, we also found that if they improved their portfolio return by 1% (from 6.21% to 7.21%), they could greatly improve their retirement outlook.
Based on this information, we put together a portfolio analysis that accounted for their retirement time horizon and unique risk tolerance. We found that the clients had a higher risk tolerance than their current asset allocation suggested, so we modified their portfolio from 74% stocks to 80% stocks. Not only did this align better with their willingness to take on risk, but it also makes more sense for their long-term growth needs.
This is only a section of the 68-page plan we put together for clients, which includes disability and life insurance analysis and a detailed breakdown of retirement spending.
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.
Get Started Today
To see our full planning process, take a look through our entire sample plan here. You’ll see how our client-focused process helps you pursue your goals and find financial confidence. Once you’ve reviewed it, give us a call and we can discuss further how we can create a tailored financial plan for you. Schedule an introductory meeting online or reach out to me at (770) 627-4157 or Scott@MyHorizonPG.com to get started.
Scott Bechely is financial advisor at Horizon Planning Group, a full-service fiduciary financial planning firm committed to always doing what’s right for their clients. Scott uses his more than 15 years of experience to help his clients create a retirement income plan that aligns with their goals and helps them live the retirement lifestyle they dream of. He believes that everyone should have a chance to obtain financial independence, and he strives to help his clients design a plan that helps them sleep better at night knowing they’re on track for their ideal future.
Scott is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, focusing on finance. Outside of work, he can often be found spending time with his wife, Sara, their daughter, Anna, and their dogs, Ginger and Bailey. He loves sports and enjoys playing in his baseball league and golfing. He gives back to his community by supporting his favorite dog rescue organizations: Adopt A Golden and Golden Retriever Rescue. To learn more about Scott, connect with him on LinkedIn.
This is for educational and informational purposes only and is not research or a recommendation regarding any security or investment strategy.
The information given herein is taken from sources that IFP Advisors, LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), IFP Securities LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), and its advisors believe to be reliable, but it is not guaranteed by us as to accuracy or completeness. This is for informational purposes only and in no event should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or products. Please consult your tax and/or legal advisor before implementing any tax and/or legal related strategies mentioned in this publication as IFP does not provide tax and/or legal advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and do not take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs of individual investors. This report may not be reproduced, distributed, or published by any person for any purpose without IFP’s express prior written consent.
Securities offered through IFP Securities, LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through IFP Advisors, LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), a Registered Investment Advisor. IFP and Horizon Planning Group, Inc. are not affiliated.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.