The Vision Map: Our Planning Process

R. Scott Walker |

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Our five-step “Live Your Vision” planning process guides you through the development of a unique financial blueprint that addresses core areas of income, investments, taxes, risk, healthcare, long-term care, and legacy.


Step 1: Vision

Our process begins by simply meeting for the first time. This is the “Vision” meeting. I have discussed vision in previous blog articles. Your vision is why you do what you do. It is your passion. During our first meeting with you, we are interested in discovering your vision. Understanding your vision is key to being able to plan and invest with purpose. We will explore your goals and concerns, discuss your investment and tax beliefs. We will introduce you to our process. If you choose to move forward with us, there will be homework for you. This includes gathering financial information such as income, expenses, savings, investments, and other information that is important in helping us build your financial profile. The more accurate your financial profile, the more accurate is our assessment of your current situation, and the more purposeful is the financial and investment plan that we will design and build for you. Ultimately, our plan will only be as good as the information you give us.

Step 1.5: Pre-Assessment

As you collect and provide us with the needed financial information for your profile, we will conduct one or more meetings by phone or internet. We will build a draft of your profile and review it with you for clarification and accuracy. We may request more information to complete the profile before moving on to step two.


Step 2: Assess

Step two of our process involves assessing your financial profile. We build your financial profile based on information that you provide us. We look are your current situation and consider what the future may look like for you if you remain on your current financial path. Creating and assessing your financial profile will allow us to share key issues and concerns, design plan design goals, and address any outstanding questions that you may have.

At the conclusion of the assessment meeting, you will have a decision to make before we move to step three. Do you want to engage us as your financial and investment advisor; thus, becoming a client? This could mean opening accounts to rollover funds from orphaned employer plans, consolidating existing investments, or simply getting started with your first investment account and making monthly contributions.


Step 3: Design

In step three, we start strategizing. Using your financial profile, we create various scenarios designed to seize opportunities, address concerns, and avoid possible shortfalls. We start with a “big picture” approach and become more detailed as we go. We will address the income, market, and tax challenges that people face when working to achieve their desired lifestyle and to protect themselves against the unforeseen. We will present you with a strategy and make our recommendations. In some cases, there may be more than one path to success, in which case we will discuss your options and help you make good decisions.

We believe that people do not suffer so much from bad investments as they do from bad investment advice, whether that advice comes from family, friends, or financial professionals. Every investment has a purpose. The key is finding the right investments that are in line with your investment objectives, your risk comfort level, and is financially suitable for you. It is important that all investment products and services are on the table as we design your plan. We are working in your best interest. Keep an open mind!


Step 4: Build

Step four is where concept becomes reality. The strategy is finalized and agreed upon. Implementation begins. Investments may be transferred into other investment products and services to achieve specific goals, protect against risk, and overcome challenges. This step of the process can take longer that the previous phases to complete as we want to proceed at a pace for which you are comfortable. Trying to do too much too quickly can be overwhelming.

We conclude the building step with completing money transfers to the appropriate investments, establishing online tools, and finalizing your investment portfolio. We will establish benchmarks for future actions and needs.


Step 5: Live Your Vision

This is the ongoing step. We will begin by formulating an agreed-upon communication plan. How often do you want to meet with us to review your financial and investment situation? What methods of communication are preferred? Regarding communication frequency for reviews, if you are more of a “I’ll call you if I need anything” person, please know that we want to meet with you no less than once per year. Semi-annual or quarterly reviews are recommended.

Depending on your age, current financial situation, and the time horizon for achieving your vision, some parts of your plan may not be implemented for months or years; therefore, having a “big picture” plan is important, as it will help you stay focused and determined over time. Career changes, injuries or illness, and family status changes happen, which will require adjustments to your plan. Your objectives or timeline may change. Certain situations will require that we meet more frequently for planning and implementation.


Conclusion

That covers our five-step “Live Your Vision” planning process.

The journey begins with taking the first step.

Live Your Vision. Invest With Purpose.

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