When you consider joining a financial planning firm, one of the most important considerations is your alignment with the firm’s planning philosophy. You must understand the type of practice you want to run and choose a firm that supports you and your practice goals. While every firm has its unique take on financial planning, most operate within one of three models:
- Insurance Based
- Investment Based
- Planning Process Based
Consolidated Planning has refined a planning process over 40 years, and our advisors lead with strategy rather than a product. Our firm’s planning philosophy is firmly rooted in a comprehensive approach that goes beyond industry standard insurance only and investment only business models. This allows our advisors to become their client’s go-to person for all financial needs.
We’ll define how Consolidated Planning does financial planning and outline the tenets of our planning philosophy for you. We want you to have all of the information you need to know if our firm is a good fit for you, because ultimately the choice is up to you.
What Is Financial Planning?
Financial planning is the ongoing and comprehensive evaluation of someone’s financial situation using a defined process. Let’s break that down further.
- Financial planning is a verb, not a noun. Planning, then, is not a thing but an ongoing action.
- Financial planning is comprehensive. Planning involves the complete financial picture, not just a portion of it.
- Financial planning follows a process. Planning takes place within an established framework that provides quantitative measurements for progress.
Most of the financial services industry does not act like planners – even if their marketing would try to convince you otherwise. Unfortunately, the siloed nature of our industry and its historical focus on products is still the prevailing model today. Because of this, it’s helpful also to examine what financial planning isn’t.
What Financial Planning Isn’t?
Most of the industry focuses on insurance only or investments only. It’s easy to tell when you are dealing with one of these advisors because they have a premeditated agenda when meeting with clients and will pitch products in the first client meeting. This is not planning; it’s product sales.
If a client doesn’t buy in the first meeting with a product sales advisor, that advisor moves on to the next prospect. If the client does buy, the advisor likely never talks about the client’s complete financial picture including protection, cash flow, savings, and wealth management. This is not comprehensive planning; it’s narrow-focused product sales.
How Does A Planning Philosophy Benefit A Financial Advisor?
Financial planners that embrace a planning philosophy stand out in the financial services industry. Most financial services companies focus on selling one or two product lines, often insurance or investments. Most people have relationships with three financial professionals, but people need to coordinate or plan the big picture. A planning philosophy allows you to step up and meet this need as a true planning advisor.
Your planning philosophy guides your actions as an advisor. It will dictate the types of strategies you recommend and the service model you implement. As a planner, you must be comprehensive, not transactional and your practice must have processes in place to facilitate the deeper level of work you do for your clients.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that your planning philosophy will guide every action you make as an advisor. Your planning philosophy defines how you help clients. It’s the core of who you are as an advisor. As such, it’s essential that you are fully aligned with your firm’s planning philosophy.
What Are The Tenets Of Consolidated Planning’s Planning Philosophy?
If alignment with your firm’s planning philosophy is critical, you’d probably like to know Consolidated Planning’s philosophy before you change firms or change careers. Four key tenets of our planning philosophy guide our actions with all of our clients.
Become A World Class Saver
Consolidated Planning advisors help clients become the best savers they can possibly be. Maximizing savings through organization and cash flow efficiency is critical for clients of all income levels and stages of life. We define a world class saver as someone saving a minimum of 15% of their income.
Budgeting is not savings. Investing is not savings. Savings is a habit and a mindset that must be developed over time through practice. As an advisor, one of your jobs is to coach clients to become world class savers using the appropriate strategy.
Fully Protect Today Before Planning For Tomorrow
As an advisor at Consolidated Planning, you’ll help clients clearly define their goals for the future. Once you’ve fully fleshed out your client’s hopes and dreams, you’ll begin looking for threats to those goals. As you identify what could disrupt your client’s progress toward their goals today, you’ll recommend strategies and products to protect, reduce, and eliminate risks.
Consolidated Planning is protection first. Protection is a crucial tenet of our planning philosophy as a firm. While it is certainly not the most exciting element of our work, it is undoubtedly the part of our work that clients are most thankful for when tragedy strikes.
Deal In Maximums, Not Minimums
Consolidated Planning advisors plan for their clients in terms of maximums. Whether it’s the most income, savings, or protection, clients deserve and should want things to be the best they can possibly be. This change in mindset shifts away from the survival approach that viewing the world from a “least” perspective creates. This shift is essential to achieve big goals.
Most financial advisors don’t deal in maximums. Instead, they rush to find the least amount their clients need. What’s the least amount of income, the least amount of savings, and the least amount of protection ? Clients should want more than just survival, yet most financial planning software is wired to the least amount possible.
As an advisor, embracing this tenet of our planning philosophy allows you to expand the realm of what’s possible for your client in ways that most advisors simply can’t.
Don’t Ask The Client Questions They Can’t Answer
Many advisors ask clients questions like “how much money will you need in retirement?” There is no chance on earth that the client knows the answer to this question. It’s unlikely that you know the answer to this question much better than a guess. So why ask?
Consolidated Planning advisors don’t ask clients questions they can’t possibly answer because the answers are useless. Think about it. If you ask your client how much money they will need in retirement, they will answer you with a guess. That guess may be terrible, but it will become the central point of the plan you put together to help them get to that guess. That makes no sense.
You know that clients don’t know how much they will need. You also understand that they will want the most possible, so plan for that and leave the guesswork out.
How Will Consolidated Planning’s Planning Philosophy Change My Practice?
Consolidated Planning’s planning philosophy is central to how our advisors interact with clients and run their practices. It provides a framework to grow a thriving financial planning practice that delivers high quality advice when implemented. At this point, you have two decisions to make.
The first decision is whether CP’s planning philosophy is right for you. Our philosophy has been tested and refined over 40 years, but it’s not the only one. If you don’t agree with the basic tenets of our philosophy, you should continue looking until you find one that aligns with your beliefs. But if you agree with our philosophy, you have another decision to make.
The second decision is how you will choose to implement this planning philosophy. The easiest way is to talk to our recruiting team, join our firm, and let us coach you through it.
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