After I had been a Certified Financial Planner™ professional for about ten years, my mom asked me, “If you are not the one investing and managing the money, what exactly is it that you do?” Evidently to her I had chosen a somewhat foggy and mysterious career.
There are different levels, approaches and areas of expertise in financial planning. It’s true that just about anyone who sells any financial or investment product can call himself a planner. Some charge a flat fee for a consultation; others, including Bragg Financial, offer ongoing services and charge an investment advisory fee. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, which promotes professional and ethical standards for the industry and oversees of the CFP® certification, defines financial planning as “the process of determining whether and how an individual can meet life goals through the proper management of financial resources.” This can be achieved through planning a client’s investments, taxes, retirement, estate, insurance and more.
At Bragg Financial we have two primary objectives when working with our clients:
There are many interconnected aspects to everyone’s financial life. For example, if you ask us how much you should be saving in your retirement plan, we will ask you a lot of questions before responding—What are the options offered by your employer? When do you plan to retire? How much can you spare from your budget? How much would you like to spend in retirement? What other assets do you have? Who else depends on you?
When you come to meet with us at Bragg, we’ll have many queries like these. You may think we are just nosy, but the reality is that for Bragg to serve as a great resource for you, it is important that we are able to see the full picture of your financial situation. We find it difficult to offer specific advice on a particular subject without knowing the larger context. It takes time to establish a relationship; it doesn’t happen in one meeting, or even one year. We consider financial planning the ongoing process of learning more about you and your finances, evaluating and analyzing your goals, evaluating investment options, factoring in tax laws, making suggestions and helping you to make appropriate changes.
As financial planners (eight team members at Bragg Financial have attained the CFP® certification), our relationships with our clients are ongoing and dynamic. Lives change—work status, health, family needs are constantly evolving. In addition, tax laws and financial regulations change frequently, and investment strategies also evolve. A friend recently asked me if there is an annual financial checklist. Below is a list of items that we will explore with you when you come to see us at Bragg. Just as with building a home, your financial well-being takes time, planning, decision-making, and maintenance.
We are grateful and excited to be able to help you with these questions at Bragg. Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more about how we approach financial planning or if you would like to explore or revisit a specific aspect of your plan. Our Financial Planning Commentary archive has many articles on various subjects in case you would like to read about one area in more detail.
Disclaimer: We are happy to share these ideas with you. Please know we do not practice law and we are not attorneys. We are happy to partner with you and your attorneys to help you accomplish your goals.