Have you ever worked with a Fee-Only financial planner before? You’re not alone if you answered “no” to that question. We work with many clients who have never worked with a financial planner and aren’t sure what to expect. Let’s dive into the details to give you a better idea of what you can expect when working with Spark Financial Advisors.
What You Can Expect
1. A complete and detailed picture of your financial life, including your net worth in an online client portal.
2. Exploration and clarification of your personal and financial ambitions (goals).
3. A review of your cash flow to assist you in identifying ways your cash flow matches with, or varies from, your priorities.
4. Presentation of possible scenarios to help you make the most of your financial assets & live your best life.
5. Analysis, discussion and recommendations on a wide variety of topics pertaining to your financial life (existing savings and investments, tax strategy, risk management, employer stock incentives, student loan analysis, college planning, charitable and estate planning).
6. A checklist with specific recommended actions and a letter explaining the “why” behind the checklist.
7. Ongoing financial planning support and investment management with unlimited access to your advisor, bi-annual plan reviews, and assistance checking off your “to do” list. Has something happened in your life? New job? New baby? Illness? We want you to call us. Let us help you re-calibrate your plan.
We will guide you through the process and help you stay on track. We strive to make the process as enjoyable, un-intimidating and straightforward as possible. Let’s take a closer look at the flow of our financial planning process.
1st Step: A Quick “Get to Know You” Call
We begin with a free 15-30 minute phone call. You can schedule this phone call directly from our website or click here:
During this call we’ll ask you to tell us a little bit about you. What prompted you to reach out to Spark Financial Advisors? What services are you looking for? What questions do you have for us?
If our services match your needs and you want to move forward, we will schedule a one-hour meeting or video-conference.
You will also receive an invitation to your personal financial portal. Through this portal you can directly link your checking, savings, and investment accounts. You can also link any credit cards or student loans you may have.
This portal will give you an up-to-date snapshot of your net worth, help you quickly and easily track your spending, and after your financial plan is complete you will have access to your plan information as well.
2nd Step: 1-hour Video Conference or Meeting
This is a relaxed and open meeting where we will be working with you to clarify your goals, dreams, and aspirations. We will talk about any worries and concerns you may have. If you have a partner, we will work through both of your perspectives on money and see how aligned you are regarding your financial values and dreams.
There are no right or wrong answers.
After this meeting we will ask you to sign a planning agreement if you haven’t already. You will also receive your first invoice from Spark Financial Advisors for your plan deposit.
3rd Step: Data Gathering
Now it’s time to start digging into your financial lives. You will receive access to a secure document sharing folder on Box.com so you can quickly and safely share your financial documents with me.
Now is a great time to take another look at your online financial profile and make sure all of your accounts are linked properly. We will also ask you to take a money philosophy survey so we can get a better idea of your feelings around risk.
We will comb through your documents and start building your financial plan. Your financial plan will reflect the dreams, hopes and fears we uncovered during our first meeting. Typically at this point in the planning process we create a list of questions for you and we may request additional documentation.
4th Step: Our Check-In Meeting
During our second meeting we will carefully review all of the data you have already provided us. We will talk about your spending plan and savings strategies. This is an opportunity to check for completeness as we craft your financial plan.
Typically, we have some follow-up questions which we will provide to you in advance of the meeting. We will go through these questions and talk about your current scenario. You may get some actionable advice to start working on between now and our plan presentation meeting. We will take your feedback and make any necessary changes to your plan.
5th Step: Financial Plan Presentation
We will check-in on your action items from the past meeting and go through your personal financial plan recommendations. We will discuss your optimal path towards achieving your goals; including investment and tax strategies, risk management recommendations, and any other areas of concern we previously identified.
Specifically, you will receive a checklist and a detailed letter. The checklist will identify concrete actions for you to take to make progress towards your life plans and goals. The letter will provide some additional background and the reasoning behind our recommendations. This meeting is another chance for you to ask questions about your plan and start deciding how you would like to implement your plan.
6th Step: Implementation
Our clients tend to see better results when we work together to implement their financial plan. It’s not that my clients can’t implement their plans themselves – after all we’re talking about successful and bright people. It’s simply that their success has made their lives hectic and it’s easier to outsource their financial strategy and implementation to a professional.
That being said, if you wish to implement your plan on your own you may use the checklist and letter to do so. Clients choosing this path will also have access to us for the occasional question or clarification for 3 months.
Let’s Get Started!
Why wait? Time is money. Let Spark Financial Advisors help you make the most of your money and together we can plan for success!
Questions for Lauren?
Financial planner and advisor, Lauren Zangardi Hayes, CIMA®, CFP®, works with families and couples in Williamsburg and Richmond, VA. She offers comprehensive financial planning services so you can live your dreams.
Lauren Zangardi Hayes