Holistic Planning: What's the Process? 🧘
Financial planning is a pretty nebulous term.
What does it really mean? What services are actually included?
This page is here to help you answer those questions!
There are three different stages of work: the decide-to-work with me stage; the first-year onboarding stage; and the ongoing stage. Details on each stage are found below!
🤔 Deciding to Work Together: The Process
1. Hold Initial Fit Meeting
In this 30 minute meeting, we’ll discuss what’s on your mind. What challenges are you looking to address? What would success look like? Why is money important to you? What do you enjoy spending money on? If we both agree it seems like a potential fit, we’ll progress to step 2.
2. Preliminary Data Gathering
I want to give you some ideas of how I’d focus our work together. For that reason, I’ll ask you to enter some financial information in the Elements mobile app. This information will enable me to share some immediate actions for you to consider.
3. Hold Exploration & Initial Ideas Meeting
This is the first step in the Life Planning process, where we begin to define what your great life looks like. I’ll also share some initial ideas on how you can improve your financial health (based on the information you shared in step 2). You’ll get a clear idea of how we’d focus our work together.
4. Agree to work together.
Or decide it's not the right fit for you.
The goal of this process is for you to learn what you need to make an informed decision.
After going through this process, you might decide you don't want to work with me. And that would be totally okay!
The entire point of this process is to help you reach that decision. And to help you be confident and clear that it's the right decision for you.
Excited to get started? Great, me too!
First-Year Onboarding Process 🧱
The first year is a little different than subsequent years as we get to know one another, and we ensure that all big pieces of your financial life are cared for.
But first, Life Planning
Before we dive into financial planning, we finish the life planning process that we began with the Exploration meeting.
We put Life Planning first because we need (yes, NEED) a great vision for your life - your core why, the thing we’re building toward. The two meetings in this process are the Vision Meeting followed by the Obstacles Meeting, which you can read more about here.
I’ll always be here to help you make important financial decisions as they come up. And sometimes there are urgent matters we need to address right away.
Whatever the issue — buying a home, deciding to lease or buy a vehicle, taking on additional debt, evaluating college admission, mission-critical practice matters — we'll get it sorted in a timely manner.
Core Financial Planning Roadmap
After the Life Planning process, there are six core financial planning meetings held in the first year. These focused conversations are scheduled to take place roughly every other month.
During the alternate month, we might meet to discuss action items we both have. Or we might simply check in quickly via email. The right approach depends on you. We'll figure that out in the beginning of our work together.
These six meetings are a combination of (i) inventorying and organizing; (ii) educating and coaching; and (iii) explaining and implementing recommendations.
Below are the six primary meetings listed in an order which generally works well. However, we may skip - or change the order - of certain meetings to best fit your needs.
1. Get Organized
We round out the inventory of your financial life, including key details of your private practice, tax preparation strategy, your relationship to budgeting & savings; discuss primary assets you own & debts you owe.
Inventory account structure and retirement plan compliance. Assess current debts and plan for repayment (including student loans). Initial review of appropriateness of current investments. Ensure adequate money set aside for required tax payments. Review income & spending estimates; evaluate what (if any) budgeting or spending tracking tool is right for you.
3. Business Practice
Assess your practice’s ability to support your great life; review plan for bookkeeping, KPI reporting, profit distributions and tax payment & preparation. Assess legal compliance plan, including business entity housekeeping and employment law.
4. Wealth Enhancement
Align how your wealth is structured; refine account structure (bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement plans and other tax-advantaged accounts); discuss investment philosophy; draft an “investment policy statement;” determine the right investment management plan for you; assess progress toward making work optional.
5. Risk Management
Review & recommend appropriate insurance policies for you and your practice. Review credit report and implement identity theft monitoring plan. Review fit of business entity choice and corporate housekeeping plan.
6. Legacy Planning
Review these sometimes-confusing tools (wills, trusts, powers of attorneys) and build a plan to ensure your loved ones, private practice and cherished causes are cared for in the event of your passing or incapacitation.
Does this all seem like a lot? Maybe a little overwhelming? Don't stress! We don't do it all at once. And I'll walk with you every step of the way.
Ongoing Financial Planning Stage 🗓️
After we build a solid foundation in the first year, we move into the ongoing stage.
- Our monthly meetings will be replaced with standing quarterly meetings, where we dedicate time to a key piece of your financial life. These are an invitation, not an obligation. Some clients find collaborating asynchronously and meeting less frequently works better for them. We'll figure out the right cadence for you.
- I’m always accessible to help you navigate any big financial decisions when they arise - both in life and in your private practice.
- I actively monitor and report back to you, using my 60+ point checklist to ensure that every essential element of your financial life is attended to in a thoughtful and proactive manner
- We collaborate through the Elements financial health monitoring app to make sure you continue to be on the right track.
- You might decide to add-on monthly coaching and accountability to maintain your momentum.