What Comprehensive Financial Planning Means to Me, a Professional Planner

You might hear the term “comprehensive financial planning” thrown around, to the point where you wonder if it’s just a buzzword or stands for something truly valuable.

Hey there my name is zach spainauer i’m an lpl advisor and enrolled agent and in this video i want to give you a 30 000 foot view of what comprehensive financial planning means to me now i really want to clarify because that sounds like a buzz word right like what does that even mean it can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people or it might

Be nothing to you at all so in this video i want to tell you what it means to me and how i approach that process when someone hires me but before i dive into anything i want to clarify one thing who is this video for this is for the accumulators people in their 20s 30s and 40s who are in their prime working years of life who are primarily focused on building up

Their family their career and their assets so when i am doing a plan for somebody typically what i found is it’s a three pillar process it’s retirement education and survivorship let’s go through each one first it’s retirement retirement might be a far away abstract concept and that’s okay that’s completely normal we’re talking decades from now if you don’t have

A clear picture of what that looks like that is fine working with me starts by clarifying what that might look like one day so we start with the end in mind by setting some goals and clarifying some very important questions when would you and your spouse like to be done working one day when you clock out for the last time and that paycheck stops where will your

Retirement paycheck come from and factoring in things like inflation in the long term how much does that retirement paycheck need to be maybe we want to aim to have all debt paid off by the time you retire to reduce that distant need or maybe that’s unnecessary the truth is it depends on your situation but i can tell you right now that some of the most successful

Retirements that i have helped steward had that as a priority so if that’s important to you how do we go about achieving that once we’ve gone through this exercise it’s time to lay the groundwork once we’ve set some goals that are realistic what do you and your spouse need to be putting away on a monthly basis to make that goal a reality one day and furthermore

Where should we be saving and investing that money i’m not just talking about investment strategy i’m also talking about how those hard earned assets will be taxed too because the world’s best rate of return can be rendered meaningless without thorough and thoughtful tax planning with the decades ahead in mind pillar number two is education now this pillar is only

Really relevant if you either have kids or plan on having kids one day and want to help them out with the cost of higher education it’s no secret that college tuition can cost a fortune especially if you have more than one kid if helping them out with this one day is important to you then we have to make it a priority and carve it out as a pillar of your plan like

Every financial goal we have to start with the end in mind let’s be honest if you have young kids for example there are so many unknowns around education how will the cost of education change over the course of time will they even go to college and if they do will scholarships financial aid or gifts help cover that cost and what exactly do we want to help them

With do we want to plan on helping them go to trade school community college a four-year private or public university or something even more than that or maybe thinking earlier than that maybe it’s important to you that they go to a private school for k-12 that’s something that we can plan for because that too can be very expensive and if plans inevitably change

Or they just don’t go to college how do we make sure those funds that you’ve set aside are available to be re-prioritized to another financial goal maybe that looks like helping them with the cost of buying their first house one day instead or helping them with the cost of their wedding or maybe it means shifting those funds to give a little boost to you and your

Spouse’s retirement the truth is there are a lot of possibilities but we have to make sure we have flexibility in mind with how much uncertainty comes in planning for this and remember this i know it’s not ideal it’s a hot topic in our nation but your kids can always borrow to go to college but you cannot borrow to fund your retirement last but not least the third

Pillar is survivorship probably the most somber topic we’re gonna cover it involves some hard conversations and coming to terms with some unpleasant what-ifs the first is premature death or disability of you or your spouse i know it’s an unpleasant topic no one wants to think about that possibility and i hope to god that it never happens to you or your family but

In your working years if something like that happens it can be financially devastating heaven forbid if you or your spouse don’t make it home from work one day or you make it home from work in a wheelchair and you can no longer perform your job duties how does that affect you and your family’s finances in the short and long term in thinking longer term when you

Do pass away one day and i hope that’s a very distant day in the future do you want to leave a legacy behind or do you just want to make sure that you and your family are covered in your prime working years where you guys have a lot to lose this is probably my least favorite part of my job but it’s a conversation that we must have and beyond that it’s about making

Sure that your estate planning documents are in order and that you understand how your assets will transition to your family if you or your spouse pass away one day or become incapacitated to be honest most people put this process off it’s not really until we have one of those oh crap moments in life that we realize how important all of this is but the earlier

We get it taken care of the better it’s peace of mind so that’s a 30 000 foot view of how i approach planning for families in their accumulation stage of life now of course there are topics that fall outside of the scope of what i’ve discussed in this video like how do i make the most of my employer benefits or how do i make the most of equity compensation at my

Job or maybe it’s how do i cover the cost of health care if i want to have an early retirement but this is the bulk of it for most people and that’s why i developed this three pillar process so i can break it down as to what exactly we’re gonna cover and last but not least planning is not a static process as i’m sure you know life rarely goes according to plan

Goals will change and life will throw us curveballs and that’s why planning works best when it’s an ongoing dynamic process that we monitor and adjust over the course of time as we need to so that’s all for now thanks so much for watching and i’ll see you on the next one bye for now you

Transcribed from video
What "Comprehensive Financial Planning" Means to Me, a Professional Planner By Zachary Spainhour