What is the value of a Certified Financial Planner?

 

Imagine yourself navigating through an unknown forest. You have the option to navigate the trip yourself with various resources and maps. Your second option is to pay a guide who has trecked this landscape many times. The first option may be fine, but the chances of success, sense of security, and degree of efficiency may be higher with a guide. I view our value in similar fashion. Vanguard, one of the largest investment companies, concluded in a study that a good financial advisor can lead to a 3% in total additional value per year1. Below are some common discussion points that reinforce our value through financial planning, and investment management:

Value proposition: “Help you avoid the large mistakes, create efficiencies through ongoing management, and most of all, provide comfort and a sence of security”

Financial planning:

· Do you have time to consistently review your financial plan? Is it worth your time? Do you have the knowledge and expertise?

· Have you noticed how your mortgage, investments, taxes, income, and insurances are largely tied to one another? Having someone review this relationship can help.

· Does your current investment provider manage assets with understanding of your specific tax situation and other accounts? Are you efficiently taking advantage of everything that you can from a tax perspective? We will work directly with your CPA to help manage your finances with respect to your specific situation.

· Is your plan properly diversified from a tax perspective? The landscape is ever changing and having different buckets of assets with different tax flexibility can help lower your retirement tax rate, lower your tax rate now, and provide a more efficient passing of your estate to loved ones.

· Have you considered various account titlings/ownership and those consequences of each from a tax, marital future, and estate perspective?

· A good financial planner meets regularly and asks questions to understand how needs change. Is your current investment provider being pro-active or reactive? Sometimes, you may not even realize how your life changes present opportunity within the financial plan.

·  In your old age, it is very important to have someone helping you manage your financial plan and coordinate with your loved ones.

· Do you have a financial plan on how to setup assets for efficient distribution in retirement? There are many considerations here.

· Does anyone help you review your employer benefits? This includes many categories for employer stock plans and compensation plans, 401(k) plans, insurance options, as well as more considerations for business owners.

· Do you have other assets such as rental properties and are curious how those numbers affect your plan?

· Do you have a plan for social security benefits?

· Do you have a plan for rising long-term care costs?

Investment management programs:

· We are operate on an independent platform which means we are not limited to any one investment company and there for providing a boundless investment menu to find stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, REITs, UITs, MLPs, CDs, buffered products, annuities, and more

· We have access to institutional class investments, both exchange traded and non. The traditional retail investor does not have access to most of these on their own.

· We have access to numerous institutional money managers to manage your portfolio if need be. This allows us to be unbiased when evaluating our own performance to hire and fire ourselves and various managers.

· Tax awareness—many providers claim to provide tax aware investing. The truth is that this is impossible to do if they do not understand your specific tax situation from year to year. We provide tax loss harvesting, offsetting, and other services in coordination with your tax advisor.

· Are your assets properly diversified? Using a financial planner, may allow you to get far more diversity than a basic investment provider.

· Is your investment provider active or reactive? Because we limit our amount of clients in our practice, we can consistently review financial plans and portfolios and actively make adjustments based on your situation and the economic environment as opposed to a reactive 800 number.

· As the markets fluctuate, there may be ways to increase or decrease distribution risk, take advantage of opportunity, or adjust the financial plan.

· The Vanguard study mentioned prior1 and other studies have suggested a strong relationship between investor emotion and performance. By simply having a degree of separation between you and your investment decisions, we can help filter out emotional decisions in favor of numerical decisions.

 

What is a CFP®?

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification is considered by many to be the gold standard of financial planning continuing education. Many consider themselves a financial planner, but the truth is that other than basic licensing, there is no pre-requisite certification of skills. The CFP® board is geared toward fixing this problem. Some of the reasons to consider using a CFP® for your financial planning needs are the following:

  • A CFP® must complete the following:
    • 6 individual modules and examinations and demonstrate competency in 6 key areas: professional conduct and regulation, general principles of financial planning, education funding, personal risk management & insurance analysis, investment planning, tax reduction strategies, retirement savings and income planning, and estate planning.
    • Must complete a 'capstone' which is a detailed financial planning case study that demonstrates competency in the areas addressed above.
    • Must pass a final examination
    • Must pass a background check and is continuously reviewed
    • Must meeting minimum experience requirements
    • Must have a bachelors degree
    • Must put clients needs first and adhere to a fiduciary standard
    • Must disclose certain information to clients that others are not required to

To learn more about the CFP® standard, you may visit the CFP® website at www.CFP.net. To learn more about the code of ethics CFP®s are held to and the standards of conduct, please click here.

 

Marcus Luckender is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor.  Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. CRN-2738972-092019

1—Source: According to Vanguard's study based on their Alpha frame-work. Putting a value on your value: Quantifying Vanguard Advisor's Alpha, Vanguard Research, 2014