with Your Financial Planning Partner
by Cindy Diccianni, Financial Advisor
articles have been written on how to select
a great financial planner and advisor, but little
has been written about the other side: how to
be a great client. Since financial planning
and advising is a process, hopefully a lifelong
one, it is important that the planner and client
work together effectively to achieve the client's
financial goals. Here are some things you can
do to develop and maintain a successful relationship.
all the information the financial planner requests
more accurate the information you provide to
your planner, the better the planning process
will go. The information needs to be complete
and detailed to allow an effective evaluation
of your current position. That way, problems
can be identified, solutions created, and proper
implementation taken to ensure corrective action.
honest about your financial goals and plans
need to sit down and assess your financial goals
and determine exactly what you want and need.
There are many factors to consider including
your risk tolerance, your relationship with
money, and your understanding of the investment
process. A great planner will evaluate these
as well as your current financial snapshot,
your financial literacy, and your short and
will develop a customized plan that will work
given your set of circumstances. Prioritizing
your financial goals is very important. If you
want to retire earlier than 65, then tell your
planner and be prepared for what that will mean
for your lifestyle. Remember it is your financial
plan; it needs to work for you given your current
circumstances and your desires for the future.
of experiences you or a family member may have
had in the past, you may have an aversion to
a particular type of investment. There is more
than one way to achieve investment results that
are successful. So if your planner knows you
would prefer not to select a particular investment,
this can be factored into your customized plan,
and will be reflected in their recommendations.
is no such thing as a stupid question. If you
do not understand what your planner is telling
you, ask questions. It is vitally important
that the planner understands the knowledge base
that you have. After all, if you were an expert
and had the time to do it yourself, what would
you need a planner for? It is your job to tell
the planner just what you know and what your
level of understanding is.
you receive the written financial plan, if it
is not accurate or does not reflect your current
situation, tell your planner so that adjustments
can be made.
new financial plan should be a starting point
in the process. It can and should be modified
as your situations change. Most financial advisors
who do planning charge a fee for their services.
This is money well spent to get your financial
future moving in a forward direction.
a client is not sure when he or she wants to
retire and wants to run several different scenarios.
Your financial plan should reflect your values,
goals, and desires for the future based on your
current situation and the potential for positive
growth of assets. Think through what your goals
really are before meeting with the planner or
advisor. Once you have seen the results, the
plan can always be modified.
other words, the plan is only as good as your
follow through. You need to implement the planner's
or advisor's recommendations in a timely manner.
If your planner advises you to update your Will,
for instance, it should to be done in a timely
fashion. Life can change so quickly; it is important
for your own peace of mind that you have all
of your documents and plans in the best order
agreeing to work with your financial planner,
you should have investigated his or her expertise.
Your financial planner is your partner with
regards to your estate. You need to feel confident
and comfortable with this individual as they
will remain an important ally in the course
of your life. When the planner gives you advice,
follow it. If you have questions about the advice,
discuss it at the time the plan is presented
your planner informed
your planner with any life-changing event. A
marriage, divorce, birth or a child, sudden
illness, inheritance, new home purchase, can
certainly change your life forever. Keep them
abreast of any major decisions in your life.
Most financial planners and advisors are very
well networked and know the right person for
your needs. Take full advantage of these services
and resources, not only can they save you time
but they can make your life much easier.
not to wait until the last minute to ask for
help. Once you've informed your planner or advisor,
give him or her the time to solve the problem
or resolve the issue for you. If however, your
planner or their staff is not responsive in
a timely fashion, this is a legitimate complaint.
Let them know your expectations so that they
can meet them or else you may need to find someone
who more adequately suits your needs.
need for a regular review of your plan is essential.
A review should occur yearly unless there is
a life-changing event. The initial written plan
is only the very first step in the financial
planning process. Your plan for financial success
will require reevaluation along your journey.
a successful partnership with your financial
planner or advisor requires due diligence on
your part and yet your future depends on it.
If you're not sure how to best use your financial
planner, ask. Financial planners are really
more like life planners - they aid you in designing
a financial picture that allows you to reap
the rewards of all your hard work. You need
to make your money work hard for you. Your financial
planning partner will do that for you.
Diccianni is a Registered Nurse,
a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), a Registered
Investment Advisor, Certified in Long Term Care
(CLTC) and a Registered Representative with
Leigh Baldwin & Company member NASD and
SIPC. She is affiliated with Ortner, O'Brien
& Ortner Advisory Group, Inc. and co-founder
of Nurturing Your Success, Inc. Her passion
is assisting clients in creating the financial
freedom they dream of. You may visit Cindy at
or write to her at Cindy@nurturingyoursuccess.com.
You may also call her directly at (610) 251-9393.