Financial Planning in Duluth, GA “Plans are nothing; Planning is everything.” ~General Dwight D. Eisenhower on planning for the Allied D-Day Invasion, June 1944A school teacher would never begin a year-long class without a lesson plan. Most would never start a long trip without a plan. A personal financial plan is the strategic financial plan for what is most important to you, your family. Starting wherever you are now, it the plan for where you want to be later. A common purpose is to get a second opinion on whether you are on track to where you want to be. Useful Documents It is the process of planning that provides the value; not necessarily the plan itself. The planning process will likely have a number of recommendations in all areas. This process is important because it can affect important decisions both for present and future like planning for home buying, children’s college, starting a business and future retirement. The planning process will highlight gaps, overlaps and shortfalls as well as alternate strategies for reaching your goals and attaining your dreams.A financial plan is a fiduciary relationship that is separate from any product or investment decisions. Financial planning begins with the engagement and is completed with plan delivery. Our process consists of four steps and begins before we ever meet:How do I know if a financial plan is right for me - check out the FAQ's below for more detail. Financial Planning FAQsQ: What is a financial plan?A: A financial plan tends to be a holistic review of current circumstances projected into the future using an agreed set of assumptions. Plans can be goal-based, cash-flow based or some combination of the two. They are generally 50 – 200 pages, depending on complexity and number of scenarios included in the plan. Alternate scenarios provide insight into outcomes based on changes to the input.Q: What type of planning software do you use?A: I typically use Money Guide Pro, the #1 planning software based on # of advisors using. It is a goals-based planning software; however, I also review budgets (cash flow) as part of my process.Q: What does a financial plan cost?A: Cost for a goals-based financial plan is $2,500 - $10,000. Most plans are $2,500; however, some plans may cost more due to complexity factors. I reserve the right to alter my fees based on individual plan circumstances. Simple budgeting is setting aside $1,000 to help a client construct and monitor a budget.Q: Who is a typical client?A: Typical clients – I have a diverse fee-based financial planning client base including those who have lost a spouse, new parents, educators, business owners and pre-retirees. Clients have included dual income parents, executives, business owners and professionals (attorneys, dentists and physicians). They range in age from mid-30’s to late 60’s.Q: Will I benefit from a financial plan?A: Three types of people benefit most from a financial planLife changes - Change is the common element motivating clients to seek financial planning. The loss of a spouse is overwhelming and complex with so much to consider. An addition to the family means new parents are thinking of the changes coming. A child enters high school and college is looming large. Turning 50 means thinking about retirement. Leaving a corporate job to start a business means rethinking your approach to becoming financially independent. Change is a motivator.Second opinion – Another common theme is getting a second opinion. Are there any blind spots we haven’t thought about? What should I do about my investments? Do we have gaps, overlaps or shortfalls? What do you think I should do?I’m too busy to do this myself – The third theme is someone too busy to bring order to a complex or chaotic financial situation. Decisions, decisions, decisions. What type of mortgage should I get? Is a 529 Plan the best way to save for college? Which type of insurance should I buy? How much do I need to save and where should it go? Can you help put all the pieces together?Q: Where do you meet with clients?A: Typically, I meet face to face in my office for Internet access, large screens and scanners/ copiers. My office located in Gwinnett Community Bank with offices in Duluth, Suwanee and Hamilton Mill/Dacula area. My office is located in the bank building, but not I am affiliated with the bank. I have clients from Florida to Iowa so meeting in the office is not always possible. I have met clients in their home – this is difficult because of distractions and travel time. I have conducted meetings via phone/Go-To-Meeting. Personal meetings in my office conference room are best. Meetings include: Data gathering/discovery meeting – This meeting requires all key stakeholders to be present and participating. (See document checklist for required documents) I’ll ask for all the named documents and then review them as part of the data gathering process. The discovery process is a series of questions about you: your values, your plans and your hopes and dreams. I want to understand what is important to you and why. After all, this is your plan. This meeting takes approximately 2 hours.Check point meeting – We will review input into the planning software. Have I missed anything? Have you forgotten anything? Changed your mind on priorities? Hopefully, the process will give you new questions to consider. We will also discuss alternate scenarios you would like to see built into the final plan. This meeting takes 1 – 2 hours. Face to face is best; though a phone or online meeting is an option.Plan delivery meeting – I’ll review your current plan along with alternate scenarios to determine how you can improve your goal attainment. There will be recommendations that fall into six areas: Cash flow, risk management, investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning and tax planning. You can prioritize these recommendations and implement with anyone you choose. I will provide the written plan and give access to the electronic version of the plan at this time.