Broker Check

What does a Financial Planner actually do?

September 22, 2017

There is a line in one of my favorite movies, Office Space, where a consultant named Bob is grilling an employee about his role at the company. The employee keeps evading the questions and finally at his wit’s end, Bob asks the employee, “What would you do here?”

Sometimes I get the sense that new clients would like to ask us that question - of course phrased more delicately. They know they need help with their money, which is why they hired us to design their financial plan, but they don’t know what to expect their financial plan to look like, or how to use it.  

We developed our DBT360 financial planning process to stand in the middle of our clients’ lives and to look out in all directions at what they want to achieve, how they can do it, and what can trip them up while they are on their journey. Our process has five steps:

Purpose: We figure out what you need from your Plan, since no two plans are ever the same. What do you expect from your money? What do you want out of life?

Potential: We analyze where you are now and how far you are from your goals, as well as which goals should be prioritized ahead of others. Goals without means are just wishes- We are going to determine every source and advantage that you can use to get there.

Pitfalls: Once we lay out your “best case scenario” for reaching your Purpose, we set out to poke some holes. Life always has surprises, but they are easier to deal with if you have thought about how to handle them ahead of time. While every person has a unique Potential, there are some fairly common Pitfalls that may apply to everyone, and hiding from them is not a solution.

Plan: A plan that will be implemented is one that can be implemented. We deliver a thorough written report to our client with specific recommendations on each part of his or her financial life that we explore. For example, a general recommendation of “increase life insurance coverage” is not likely to get our clients any closer to having the correct amount of life insurance. A recommendation in a DBT360 Plan will be ready to implement: “Secure $550,000 20 year term life insurance policy on Nancy to complement her existing whole life policy, so the combined death benefit will be able to fund the expenses of paying off the current home mortgage, and the outstanding college expenses for three children.”

Proof: All of our financial lives change daily, so we collaborate with our clients through the online platform that we use to design their plans. They can see a daily update of all of their finances, and we can help them monitor their spending, set up alerts when they achieve goals (or fail miserably at them), and identify current priorities. If requested, we can reconvene to adjust the goals and update the Plan to reflect changes in any area.

We know that Data + Wisdom = Clarity + Action, which is why we combine today’s technology with strategic personalized recommendations so our clients can move forward in their financial lives. CLICK HERE to watch a short video about one of the platforms we use to design, stress test, and monitor our DBT360 Financial Plans.