When most people think about a financial advisor, they primarily consider investments and asset management, but there’s so much more to cover. While a comprehensive financial planner will definitely manage or give advice on investments, they will also consider many other aspects of your life. Thinking about cash flow and goals, education planning, risk management and insurance, retirement planning, estate planning and many other topics are all things that can be addressed. Not everyone needs advice on every topic, and your stage in life helps dictate how much time is spent in certain areas, but a good planner will take input from clients and focus on the most important things. In the image below you can see the huge range of topics we can consider, and each individual circle can go way more in depth depending on how it applies to your unique situation. This is the beginning of how we blend your goals and priorities with needs I identify to come up with a plan built specifically for your life.
Many professionals you will work with at some point in your life are focused in depth on one particular aspect of your situation. A CPA for taxes, an attorney for estate planning, an insurance agent for different insurance needs, and many other examples. A financial planner looks broadly at all these things and works to tie them together and ensure everything important is covered. For this reason, a lot of people think about the financial planner as the quarterback of your financial team, making sure everything is working together towards the big goals in life. A financial planner looks at the entire situation, and then works to coordinate all the different aspects into a unified plan. This involves bringing in other professionals when necessary or working with the ones you have an existing relationship with. My goal is to think broadly about all the different possibilities, but then narrow things down and personalize it for each person’s unique situation.
I don’t think a financial plan is ever truly complete. Like life, things change and evolve over time, and adjustments have to be made along the way. You’ll never get a big, 100-page document from Ankeny Financial Planning because as soon as it gets printed something is out of date. I like to start with new clients by just learning the big picture about where they stand currently and set that as a baseline of where we’re starting. From there we work together to think through possibilities and eventually come up with prioritized goals and actions to take. As we meet over time, we continually reprioritize work to ensure we are always progressing on the most important and impactful items in your life. The work is never complete, but the goal is to gradually improve and increase your comfort level with everything in your financial life as time goes on. If you would like to have a conversation and get started with taking action on your own situation, feel free to schedule an introductory meeting.