Life is the culmination of stages. Within each stage, unique milestones exist that call for careful planning. Goals, desires, and priorities can shift and evolve. At the most basic level, early on, your focus is on asset accumulation. As you near your retirement, that focus shifts to growing and preserving those assets — for your later years and for your family's future generations. Once you've entered retirement, carefully allocating your wealth is essential.
These will become very familiar topics with your wealth management advisor. You'll talk about your goals, and your manager will help you build a plan that incorporates everyday desires and major milestones, such as:
- Paying for your children’s or grandchildren’s education
- Purchasing a home or paying off a mortgage
- Starting, building, or selling a business
- Emergency savings
- Tax and legacy planning
All of this requires sound advice from financial planning experts. Learn the goals to set in your discussions and everything you can expect in the wealth management planning process.
3 Goals of Financial Planning in the Wealth Management Process
There are three main goals of financial planning: accumulation, preservation, and distribution. Let's review these goals in more detail.
During your working years, you prepare for milestones and future goals. Any investments now should be in support of those goals. At this time, an advisor assesses the years left until your retirement and your unique risk tolerance. Portfolio allocation emphasizes more on aggressive investments with a focus on growth in the short term — these investments aren't held for long periods. The proper allocation concentrates on growing wealth for future plans while also supporting your current endeavors.
Growth & Preservation
Growing your wealth builds financial security — an asset in itself that needs protection. As you begin closing in on some of your established goals, a knowledgeable advisor rearranges certain aspects of your plan, including:
- Increasing portfolio stability
- Minimizing effects of near-term fluctuations
- Improving investment predictability
- Reducing exposure to volatility, inflation, and taxation
This rearrangement allocates your investment dollars toward assets or other ventures with less risk than the accumulation period. You'll also have several insurance alternatives to cover you in the event of an unexpected loss.
The above two goals are essential — they pave the way here, and the wealth you've accumulated can last for your lifetime or longer. For instance, you may have philanthropic efforts, want an assured income stream throughout your retirement years, and have directives to ensure loved ones' financial stability. A trusted wealth management advisor works to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.
The overall wealth management process has six stages that work in tandem with the above three goals.
The 6 Stages of Wealth Management
Wealth management is a process that involves:
- Gathering financial data
- Establishing financial goals
- Auditing and analyzing the portfolio
- Recommending a financial plan
- Implementing the plan
- Monitoring and reporting on the plan
Gathering Financial Data
The first stage of the wealth management process is the foundation for everything that comes afterward. You'll spend about an hour during your first initial meeting with a wealth manager. This is typically a free, no-obligation consult that offers you the opportunity to explain what you need from a financial advisor, your financial goals, and the type of planning you've done up to this point. This first stage establishes for you and the wealth manager if the relationship is mutually beneficial. If you both agree, you can move into stage two immediately.
Establishing Financial Goals
This is where you get to outline your dream scenario — your in-a-perfect-world goal sheet. Give your wealth manager as much information as possible about your current finances, circumstances, and risk tolerance. Provide all recent statements, insurance information, and current investments so your financial advisor can evaluate your estate as a whole — policy values, terms, benefits, and more. Offering this information upfront helps tailor your planning process according to your unique needs.
Auditing and Analyzing the Portfolio
Once you've shared all your information, your wealth management team examines your current strategy and determines what's working and what's not. They'll also review the implications of any potential changes to arrive at an updated strategy. If you're curious about why your wealth manager really wants to understand your risk tolerance and retirement timeline, it greatly influences your asset allocation model.
Recommending a Financial Plan
When you reach this stage, your financial advisor schedules a meeting with you to provide the results from the previous stages. They'll outline how effective your current investment strategy works, discuss potential tweaks, and together, you'll build a portfolio and design the plan most appropriate to guide you toward your goals. It's important that you're honest in all stages, but it's imperative here. Your sincere consideration is necessary to ensure your financial advisor has all the necessary information to design a plan unique to you and your goals.
Implementing the Plan
The implementation stage involves several steps itself, but this is where the gritty details are worked out. When you meet with your wealth manager, you'll listen to their advice and offer your thoughts. This is where your plan comes together. Your advisor can then work toward assuring your wishes are carried out accurately and on a schedule that works for you.
Monitoring and Reporting on the Plan
The last step of the process is an ongoing part of the process in which you'll attend regular meetings with your wealth manager. The cadence of these meetings is something you and your advisor can work out together. Regular reviews keep you updated on your plan's progress, performance, and anything else that may develop. Having access to an elite team of wealth managers in between review meetings is also important. If you have updates or questions, reach out to your team, and your advisor should also contact you when they have questions or updates.
How to Start the Wealth Management Process
You can make better life and financial planning decisions when you're on solid ground. Reaching your financial goals depends on having an elite team of wealth managers on your side, and Plancorp can assist you throughout the wealth management process.
If you're curious about what your financial plan might be missing, you can start by taking our two-minute financial assessment.
If you're ready to learn more about what you could do with a wealth manager on your team, dig in on the Plancorp Process and get started today.