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Financial Planning Process

Financial planning consists of the following six distinct steps. When it's comprehensive financial planning guidance you want, these are the steps that should guide your planner. Be familiar with them. They'll help you get the most out of the process. And remember, it's this big-picture approach that sets financial planners apart from all other financial advisors who may have been trained to focus only on one aspect of your finances.

1. Establish the client-planner engagement
  Your planner should:
  • Explain issues and concepts related to the overall financial planning process that are appropriate to you.
  • Explain the services he or she will provide and the process of planning and documentation.
  • Clarify your responsibilities as a client.
  • Clarify his or her responsibilities as your planner. This should include a discussion about how and by whom he or she will be compensated.
You and your planner should:
  • Discuss the scope of the client/planner engagement.
  • Agree on how decisions will be made.
2. Gather client data and determine your goals and expectations
  Your planner should:
  • Obtain information about your financial resources and obligations through interviews or questionnaires.
  • Gather all the necessary documents before giving you the advice you need.
You and your planner should:
  • Define your personal and financial goals, needs and priorities.
  • Investigate your values, preferences, financial outlook and desired results as they relate to your financial goals, needs and priorities .
3. Clarify your present financial status and identify any problem areas and opportunities
  Your planner should:
  • Analyze your information to assess your current situation (cash flow, net worth, tax projections, etc.).
  • Identify any problem areas or opportunities with respect to your:
    • Capital needs
    • Risk management needs and coverage
    • Investments
    • Taxation
    • Retirement planning
    • Employee benefits
    • Estate planning
    • Special needs (i.e. adult dependant needs, education needs, etc.)
4. Develop and present the financial plan
  Your planner should:
  • Develop and prepare a financial plan tailored to meet your goals and objectives, values, temperament and risk tolerance, while providing projections and recommendations.
  • Present the plan to you and establish an appropriate review cycle.
You and your planner should:
  • Work together to ensure that the plan meets your goals and objectives.
5. Implement your financial plan
  Your planner should:
  • Assist you in implementing the recommendations discussed if you want. This may involve coordinating contacts with other professionals such as investment funds sales representatives, accountants, insurance agents and lawyers.
6. Monitor the financial plan
  Your and your planner should:
  • Agree on who will monitor and evaluate whether your plan is helping you progess toward your goals.
If your planner is in charge of the process, your planner should:
  • Contact you to review the progress of the plan periodically and make adjustments to the recommendations required to help you achieve your goals.
This review should include:
  • A discussion about changes in your personal circumstances and how they might affect your goals.
  • A review and evaluation of the impact of changing tax laws and economic circumstances.
  • A review of your life circumstances and an adjustment of the recommendations if needed as those circumstances change through life events such as birth, illness, marriage, retirement, etc.
Stirling has received the Certified Financial Planner designation in 2000, and in the last four years of his career with the CIBC, and he and Teresa were Senior Financial Advisors with responsibility for $80-90 million portfolios. Using a disciplined asset allocation approach, they were able to steer their clients through the adverse years while giving them good returns in the years prior. It is this approach to balancing the risk and reward of an investment account that enabled them to greatly increase the number of clients and assets in their respective portfolios.

With CSA, we continue to use the disciplined approach to asset allocation, employing our own experience and sophisticated software to find the optimum risk/return for your portfolio. Because we are fee-based, we have no biases of how you invest your money. We may, for instance, recommend that you pay off a mortgage rather than hold an investment, or restructure your debt to make the interest tax-deductible.

We can be in regular contact with your investment advisor who actually handles your investments, your accountant who can verify and implement tax strategies, your insurance broker who can maintain protection for you and your family, and your lawyer who will implement some of the solutions we advise on for you.

Our goal is to increase your net worth year-over-year. This is achieved through proper diversification, debt reduction, and proper insurance protection. With our established contacts in the various industries, we can refer you to a wide range of professionals and Financial Institutions if you have that need.

We are your partner in goal-setting and goal achievement, and look forward to working with you.

# 307 - 1656 Martin Drive, Surrey, B.C., V4A 6E7, Canada
Tel: ( 604 ) 538-1838     Fax: ( 866 ) 432-3769
Toll Free in North America: 1-877-285-3143  Email: info@claytonshultz.com