Financial Planning

The Importance of Financial Planning

Creating Confidence in Your Future

Although it's exciting to see where life's journey takes us, sometimes we wish we had the foresight to predict the unknown. It goes without saying how valuable it would be if we could know, right now, answers to questions like:

  • How much money will I need if I want to retire a little early?
  • Will I be able to afford my child's college tuition?
  • Will there be long-term care needs that a loved one or I will be facing?

Well, as impossible as it is to predict the future, fortunately it's extremely possible to get a better handle on the future landscape of your financial situation - and put yourself in the best possible position to tackle any financial challenges that arise.

The key is putting together a sound financial plan.

Putting together such a plan – no matter how simple or complex – is an essential blueprint for building confidence and for understanding how your assets and investments can be best customized to support your short-term and long-term future. It's about creating a level of comfort, protecting what you have as well as those you care for. You can take advantage of Financial Planning to help you:

  • Examine your present financial situation
  • Protect what's important
  • Accumulate wealth
  • Review tax strategies
  • Plan for retirement
  • Leave a legacy

Understanding where you stand financially, where you want to be, and the most effective way of getting there is one of the most enlightening things you can do. A financial plan helps you envision a clear path of your financial future, and creates an invaluable bigger picture.

A smart, strategic financial plan helps make the unpredictable things in life a lot less overwhelming.

To learn more about Financial Planning, please call (678) 590-2702 or email

A Solid Financial Plan Isn’t a Luxury—It’s a Priority

Your financial plan is designed to prepare you for the road ahead by putting you in the best financial position possible. And like any good plan, it should be a resource to guide you through all of life’s expected and unexpected turns. Your financial plan doesn’t need to be complex or confusing, and putting it together shouldn’t be, either. But in order to make it your blueprint for building both your confidence and your future, you should ensure it is done right.

Together, we’ll create a proper financial plan designed to help you:

  • Examine your present financial situation
  • Protect what’s important
  • Accumulate wealthCreate an optimal tax strategy*
  • Plan for retirement
  • Leave a legacy

By taking into account your income, expenses, investments and debt, your financial plan will provide guidance on how to manage your money to help meet your short-term needs and long-term goals—all while protecting what you have and those you care for.

The Financial Planning Process

To help chart a course for your financial future, we’ll follow a time-tested process that is realistic in its approach and squarely focused on helping you achieve your goals.

Determining Your Goals

First, we will discuss your financial objectives to determine what you want to accomplish. Knowing where you want to go is the most important decision to make before taking any steps to get there.


Your current financial situation is the starting point for your plan. Determining your assets and reviewing your financial statements will help assess your net worth, discretionary cash flow, expenses, current asset allocation, risk exposure, tax situation and more.

Information Analysis

Evaluating the big picture of your finances allows for a better understanding of how the different elements relate to one another. Deeper analysis will help you visualize how different investment decisions may shape your future.

Formulation and Implementation

Drawn from our discussions, your personalized financial plan will be designed to help you pursue your stated goals, and will outline any immediate steps that need to be taken in an effort to start executing on the action items in place.

An Ongoing Relationship: The Heart of Financial Planning

The planning process is fluid and ongoing. It’s more than just gathering information, putting a plan in place and checking in every now and again. It’s our continued communication that builds trust in, and comfort with, the strategy we build together. Your involvement with the process is an essential element in its success.

Once your plan has been put into action, your progress will be regularly monitored. With each life event that occurs—the birth of a new child or one going to college, the purchase of a larger home or retirement—we will discuss the answers to your questions, talk through your options, and adjust the plan to ensure we remain focused on your goals and needs.

Our ongoing relationship, founded on trust, open communication and a mutual desire for your success, advances the process and can help you feel a greater sense of confidence in your future. You’ll find that feeling to be one of the greatest rewards of financial planning.

Financial Planning Specialization: The Flexibility to Grow with Your Needs

If at any point your needs should fall outside the solutions offered by traditional financial planning, we can draw on a team of professionals who can design and illustrate strategies to address unique and specialized situations, including:

Wealth Transfer Planning

Estate preservation and liquidity planning, revocable and irrevocable trusts, charitable giving, wealth replacement and intra-family transfers and gifting.

Retirement and Distribution Planning

Sophisticated cash flow analysis, and IRA and qualified plan distribution strategies.

Business and Succession Planning

Executive compensation, employee fringe benefits, arrangements, nonqualified deferred compensation, key-person insurance, and business succession planning.

Stock Options

Evaluation of various executive compensation plans including stock option plans and the tax ramifications of each.

Total Wealth Management

A holistic approach for financial planning and investing

  • Cash Flow
  • Tax Planning*
  • Investments
  • Retirement
  • Insurance
  • Estate Planning

Look to the Future with Confidence

Your financial plan is your window into the opportunities of the future. It can help you feel more prepared to capitalize on life as it unfolds, and make any surprises along the way easier to manage. Let’s discuss how putting together your financial plan can help you feel more confident about your future.

* Consult your legal and/or tax counsel for advice and information concerning your particular circumstances. Neither Cetera Advisors nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.

Professional money management cannot guarantee that investment strategies will be successful.

Advisory services may only be offered by investment adviser representatives in connection with an appropriate firm advisory services agreement and disclosure brochure as provided.

Steps of Financial Planning


Every journey begins with a starting point and a destination: what are you looking to accomplish?

  • Current and potential future income
  • Current and future needs and obligations
  • Current and future educational expenses
  • Retirement target dates and funding status
  • Other circumstances unique to you


I will work with you to understand the details of your financial picture, and may confer with your accountant, attorney, or other advisors for additional information.

  • Savings and investment account statements
  • Bank and credit card statements
  • Mortgage statements
  • Life and insurance documents
  • Pension plan and IRA statements
  • Estate plans and wills
  • Other assets/liabilities unique to you


Drawing on the above documentation, I will analyze:

  • Total assets and future asset flows
  • Current liabilities and debts
  • Current savings
  • Future financial obligations vs. future assets
  • Retirement goals and plans vs. retirement savings


After my analysis and in light of your objectives and obligations, I will develop a master financial plan designed to help you pursue your goals. The plan may be developed in partnership with your accountant or attorney, and will usually include:

  • Debt management and reduction
  • Tax management and possible reduction
  • Insurance coverage
  • Saving and investing
  • Education and other special goals
  • Charitable giving
  • Legacy planning


Once the plan has been written, reviewed and adopted, I will work with you to implement it.


To ensure your ongoing financial well-being, I will regularly review and monitor your plan, ensuring it keeps pace with any changes in your life. If a change is warranted, we will use the six-step process to determine the optimal course of action.

To keep you updated on the progress of your plan, I will communicate regularly through:

  • Quarterly updates on investments, savings, and education and retirement funds
  • Annual meetings to review your current financial situation and plan
  • Updates as needed to your accountant, attorney and other professional advisors

Financial Planning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the qualifications of the financial advisor with whom I will work?

Your financial advisor, also known as an investment adviser representative, must meet certain industry and regulatory standards. He or she must act as a fiduciary in your financial best interest.

Is there a fee for financial planning? If so, how is it determined?

Generally, a financial advisor may require a fee for professional guidance and analysis. Each financial advisor may develop a different fee model, and you should discuss and clearly understand the fee (if applicable) before you begin the process. It’s important to note that some advisors charge hourly or flat fees that cover a variety of planning-related services, including:

  • Data-gathering and analysis
  • A customized asset allocation
  • Periodic communications with you
  • One or more comprehensive reviews of your plan and portfolio
  • Related services, such as evaluating retirement plan choices, coordinating year-end investment results with your tax advisor, and communicating changes made by your portfolio manager(s)

What qualities should I look for in a financial advisor?

Many planning clients cite the following as key reasons for their satisfaction with their advisor:

  • They feel they are being listened to
  • They are given recommendations that fit their unique needs and desires
  • They receive help creating a financial foundation to pursue the goals and future they want
  • They feel they know, trust, and have a personal relationship with their advisor
  • Information is presented in a way they can understand

What is the advantage of creating a customized asset allocation program through the planning process?

Asset allocation is a discipline that can help diversify your portfolio and guide sound investment choices over time. Your advisor can help you use its structure to set goals, temper risk, monitor progress, and make adjustments as your needs change.*

You can choose among several types of asset allocation programs, from the more standard to the highly custom, depending on your risk tolerance and investment time horizon. Developing an asset allocation through the financial planning process, with the support of your financial advisor, can increase your confidence that you understand its benefits and that it is a good fit for your objectives.

What is the purpose and value of including “What if” scenarios and simulations in my planning?

By observing how different asset classes and investment combinations have performed historically, one can gain insights into how much risk they represent and the diversification, appreciation potential and income they might provide. “What if” scenarios and simulations can incorporate this information to help you and your financial advisor develop a plan you are comfortable with. These hypothetical scenarios are based on simplified assumptions. They should not be considered a guarantee of future performance of any particular asset or a guarantee of achieving overall financial objectives.

“What if” scenarios can also help you evaluate trade-offs in allocating your financial resources, and how those trade-offs might affect your ability to reach your goals in your planned time frame. You can explore what might happen if you save more, delay your goal, reduce your goal’s target, reallocate your portfolio to potentially earn a higher yield or return, or a combination of some or all of these. “What if” scenario planning can give you more confidence that the strategy within your financial plan is the right one for you.

What special planning needs can my planning address?

You may request specialized analysis to help you address:

  • Insurance needs and adequacy including life, disability income and long-term care insurance
  • Budgeting your monthly expenses to help you pay down debts, reduce fixed costs and free up more money for savings and investing
  • Stock options and restricted stock for managing or hedging concentrated stock holdings in employer stock or other securities
  • Estate planning to provide for a surviving spouse and heirs, while arranging an orderly and tax-efficient distribution of your assets
  • Retirement planning to help you determine when you can afford to retire
  • Retirement plan evaluation for making the most of your 401(k) or IRA while working and then choosing a rollover or distribution strategy that eases your transition into retirement
  • Education funding analysis to increase your confidence in meeting constantly rising costs of college tuition while fully utilizing available tax advantages and financial-aid resources

Is software used in creating and analyzing a plan?

Most financial advisors use software, especially to evaluate asset allocations and perform “What if” scenarios and simulations. Planning software also helps streamline a customized process (including some of the special needs listed in the previous question) efficiently, with the analyses delivered in consistent, easy-to-read formats. Of course, no software program can replace the experience and training of a financial advisor.

Will the planning analysis be documented?

Yes, documentation is important for several reasons. In addition to helping you communicate with your financial advisor and spouse or partner, it will make it easier for you to discuss your plan with trusted family members and any other advisors with whom you may wish to share information. Documentation also helps in determining whether a specific investment strategy is still suitable for you should your objectives change due to any number of life events, such as a marriage or divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, an inheritance, or the like. As your needs change over time, the analysis and documents should be periodically updated.

* Asset allocation, which is driven by complex mathematical models, should not be confused with the much simpler concept of diversification. While asset allocation may help reduce volatility and risk, it does not guarantee future performance.

Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisors LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGA Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC. Investments are: • Not FDIC/NCUSIF insured • May lose value • Not financial institution guaranteed • Not a deposit • Not insured by any federal government agency. Advisory services may only be offered by investment adviser representatives in conjunction with the firm advisory services agreement and disclosure brochure as provided.