The Scope of Financial Planning

February 12, 2016

What is Financial Planning Is It for You?

In the fog of financial uncertainty, consulting a financial planner can turn out to be a wise decision. Having an expert voice guiding you through the trails of the puzzling financial world, irrespective of your financial worth, can be reassuring.

Financial Planning is not rigidly defined and can cover a variety of financial services under its umbrella usually, it involves investment planning, tax planning, estate planning, asset allocation, and other such services.

Though not a legally defined term, financial planner implies an individual capable and authorized to suggest and make financial decisions. Depending on the kind of services offered by a financial planner, they must hold the relevant credentials. They should also be licensed/registered for the relevant services they provide; for instance, a financial planner acting as an investment adviser must be licensed as one and is bound by a fiduciary duty.

A competent financial planner should keenly comprehend their client’s goals and after taking into account the client’s financial picture, and to make decisions aligned with the best interest and needs of the client.

Which Financial Planner Should You Approach?

Financial Planning is a daunting business and can overwhelm even the most intelligent people. Ironically, choosing the right financial planning expert can itself be just as arduous.

But this decision can be simplified by asking yourself a predefined set of questions to identify your needs, whereby you can figure out the type of financial planner suitable to your requirements. Some of these critical questions can be:

  • What purpose can a financial planner serve for you; is it designing plans and strategies to achieve your financial goals, or only giving you advice on the relevant investment products?
  • Do you need the financial planner to focus on a few topics or to develop an all-inclusive financial plan?
  • What will be the extent of your participation in managing your financial affairs?
  • Would you like to pay for the financial planning services through a fee, commissions, a percentage of your assets, or a mix of these?
  • Should your financial planner be legally obligated for functioning in your best interest and communicating any possible conflicts of interests?

How to Know whether a Financial Planner is Right for You?

Once you have identified your needs and know what you’re looking for, you can reach out to a financial services provider. To be sure that the financial planner you’ve contacted matches your preferences, it is almost crucial that you ask them some fundamental questions.

  • Which financial services do you cover?
  • Do you have the relevant credentials for the services you offer?
  • How do you receive your compensation?
  • Will you receive commissions from any other party for recommending me certain investment products?
  • Are you legally bound to act in the best interest of your clients?
  • Is there going to be a possible conflict of interest in your services? If yes, would you reveal such conflicts of interests?

Only after you are assured that a particular financial planner is a perfect fit for you, you must entrust them with your financial management.

‘Fee-Only’ Financial Planning and How it Shields You

‘Fee-only’ financial planners, as obvious from the name, charge a fixed amount of fee. They have a legal obligation to always act in your best interest, and since, they don’t receive any commissions for recommending any product to you, there is no intrinsic conflict of interest in their services.Such conflicts of interests, however, inevitably arise while working with commission-based financial planners.

Zehnder Wealth Management exemplifies the ‘Fee-Only’ financial services. We address the needs of every client individually.Unlike some of the other financial planning firms, we reject one-size-fits-all policies and treat each client in the backdrop of their unique circumstances.

We also have a number of retainers in place, each tailored to meet the requirements of a particular bracket of clientele. You can explore our website further to familiarize yourself with various retainers we have in place.

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