Real financial planning goes so much further than just the investments. My detailed research on the subject began in 2019 as my wife and I were preparing for the birth of our son, J. Investments were certainly a piece of puzzle, but nowhere near the top of my list of concerns. Things like health insurance, cash flow management, estate planning, and saving for college were so much more important to me. This research gave my family the confidence to drop down to a single income as the world entered the pandemic and uncertainty in everything else hit an all time high. My mission, through Janus Financial Planning, is to bring this confidence and flexibility to other families and professionals. And the only way to achieve this mission is to move well beyond "what should I invest in".
In the 20th century, as the “pay for product” model took root and flourished, financial advice became all about asset selection, except for the very wealthy with enough assets to command personalized, holistic advice as an additional service. With the rise of the fiduciary, fee-only model, a new wave of service offerings and client relationships in the financial advice industry are focused on a more holistic approach – and they are available to everyone.
In today’s complicated world, the total value that financial advisors can bring to the table is significant. Financial advice expands beyond selecting products for an asset allocation and can include assistance with tax planning, insurance reviews, goal setting and prioritization, and cash flow management. On the investment side, advisors can now build portfolios across a much broader spectrum of assets.
In this article, we break down a few ways this new style of advice brings value to clients at all stages of life.
A Prioritization of Personalization
The advent of consumer-centered technology has changed everything about our lives. Shopping, eating in or out, consuming media, dating, travel -- all the big things we do in life – have been rebuilt from the ground up, and the new model is better. Money has not been left out, from the rise of robo-advisors to the mortgage and insurance industries. But the problem with money is that it remains very personal and individualized attention is critical to getting a good outcome.
The new model for financial advisors incorporates technology to provide more personalized advice. Advisors can leverage tech to put money to work cost-effectively. They can build allocations that work for clients’ personal situations and risk tolerances, whether they use active or passive investments. Using this technology to streamline formerly very labor-intensive work means that advisors can provide a broad range of advice – to investors across the income and asset value spectrum. Great, holistic financial advice is no longer the province of the very rich.
The independent, fiduciary, fee-only model means that advisors can be a trusted ally. New tools let advisors keep client portfolios updated in real-time for changing situations. This allows advisors to provide more contextual, human-centered advice across the whole of a client’s financial plan – which is really a life plan when it comes down to it.
Technology solutions can help new, young investors get started on their financial journey, but as life gets more complicated, so do the decisions and the implications of those decisions. Working one-on-one with an advisor allows you to share your life goals, your financial fears, and more, allowing them to provide better, more customized advice.
More Than Just Investments
Whether it’s planning how to save for your children’s education, planning for travel, or figuring out how to fund a new business venture, financial advisors can help you build a plan to get you where you want to be. In times of financial stress, an advisor can help talk through concerns and ultimately find the necessary solutions and provide a clear path forward. Financial advisors are well-equipped to provide advice in many areas of personal finance, ranging from the basics of investing to tax planning and cash flow management.
A Focus on Education
It’s no longer enough for an advisor to simply state the best financial decision in a situation. It’s becoming more important to provide the “why” and explain what led to making that decision. This creates confidence and an overall sense of knowledge around decisions being made.
As client needs become less investment-focused and more life-focused, financial advice has begun to evolve and take on a new form. Working with an advisor to re-focus your finances can help bring clarity and confidence to some of life’s most important decisions.
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