Being a True Quarterback of the Planning Process: Governing by Time and Responsibility Charts & Financial Action Checklists
Somewhat akin to the idea of recruiting in the appropriate allied professionals where needed and integrating those professionals for matters that extend the financial advisor’s realm of expertise it is imperative that the Financial Advisor doesn’t lose sight of the now necessary role of serving as a sort of traffic director or quarterback. The advisor has to keep in mind that a client may be more comfortable if the Financial Advisor accompanies or assists the client in the process, they are about to undertake with many of the allied professionals—be it estate planning document creation from the Trust & Estates attorney, asset protection planning from the same or different attorney, insurance matters from the insurance professional or tax strategy planning from the CPA. While the Financial Advisor is not going to be the subject matter expert in the discussion(s), the Financial Advisor needs to serve as the client advocate—sometimes asking the questions the client doesn’t know or is hesitant to ask for, whatever the reason. Sometimes the Financial Advisor needs to serve somewhat as a translator of how this proposed specialized solution relates to or even impacts the plans already in place. And above all, the Financial Advisor must make certain that the integration of the specialized solution set weaves well into the already existing circumstances without compromising areas the client may have never contemplated being affected by what is seemingly totally disconnected in the client’s mind.
Client advocacy is seeing the panoramic picture of the client's circumstances in order to first identify what, if anything might be presenting a potential financial or economic detraction or economic landmine. Together with the expertise of an allied professional with the specialized acumen and skillset you collectively address the concern or objective. This part of our process we have found serves to help the client reduce the web of complexity that financial and economic arrangements can begin to play in a client’s life, even clients of relatively modest wealth. Keep this in mind: classically clients have sought and implemented advice prior to finding and then working with a wealth management firm on their own over more than a few years and sometimes decades. What has been instituted all with different professional service providers, during times when wealth and family circumstances differed dramatically can become very disparate and disconnected planning arrangements. These sometimes-disparate plans are luckily in concert and more likely, in opposition. When the client is having to ferret through their affairs independent of some sort of quarterback working alongside them it is not unusual that the arrangements end up lacking integration. We cannot blame the client. In fact, many times we can applaud the client for having the instinct and inclination to move their financial affairs into better order, but often that same client does not always enter discussions with a service professional adequately equipped. We have a saying in our office: that unless the client possesses the 4 “T’s” they are unlikely to get the results they could or should have achieved. Time, Temperament, Training & Tools. Most clients who are working on successful wealth building do not ordinarily have the luxury of the Time to invest in assessing their circumstance and then the reasonable time required for evaluating the options to address improvement or refinement. Even if the client ends up possessing the time as years have gone by and success more securely achieved, it is still unlikely that the client has the Temperament or inclination to spend their time enmeshed in affairs of sufficient financial detail to do a good job that quite frankly, many find unappealing in the end. I have to admit that more than a few prospective clients have arrived at our door and met with us in our conference room where these clients possessed the time and inclination to invest themselves adequately in independent planning of their own financial affairs. They are just arriving for confirmation that they have it right and are looking for that second opinion without a committed working relationship. However, where these same clients pull up short usually occurs in not having the current and sufficient Training to understand the subtle aspects of the planning as thoroughly as is required. This can lead to not fully appreciating just how impactful some of the contemplated decisions could be to the current and future generation(s). Absent some sort of process to test, measure and verify the components of a financial decision such as impact to cash flow, impact to tax flow and ultimate net worth trajectory is to fly blind. Not having the Tools that assist with conducting the analysis in any meaningful way leaves the pilot unable to see the activity ahead. Tools such as financial planning software, financial calculators even financial simulators are all necessary to assess more fully the implications of before and aftereffects of potential decisions under consideration. Purchasing and owning the software is one thing, however it does not mean one becomes a master technician in running scenarios to crunch the data adequately. This is where, Time, Temperament, Training, and Tools all intersect to pull together a cohesive analysis process affording client and advisor alike the insights to make better informed decisions.
This can work, but only to a certain degree since life and plans are fluid and dynamic. Things change and keeping current is vital with our financial arrangements.
The Financial Advisor and the Advisory Firm best serve their clients by spotting issues, amplifying analysis to either clean up or improve existing circumstances, assisting clients with evaluating optional approaches and then helping the client see the planning steps through to completion with some sort of time & responsibility charting that monitors progress.
Ken Chrenow and Ray Valencia are registered with and securities are offered through Kovack Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. 6451 N. Federal Hwy. Suite 1201, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 (954) 782-4771. Ralph Adamo, Ken Chrenow and Ray Valencia offers Investment Advisory Services through Kovack Advisors, Inc. Integrity Wealth Management is not affiliated with Kovack Securities, Inc. or Kovack Advisors, Inc. California Insurance Licenses: Ralph Adamo #0804010 / Ken Chrenow #ODO9152/ Ray Valencia #0G57332