One of the newer phrases to find its way into the vocabulary of today’s more progressive financial planners is “holistic financial planning”. So what does it mean and why now? Also is this newer type of all inclusive financial planning something that you can benefit by?
In broader terms, holistic financial planning identifies and takes into consideration the entirety of a clients financial situation both present and on into the future. When the client receives completely inclusive or complete holistic advice, they are far better able to make decisions that insure that their total objectives are more realistically obtained.
In the past far too many financial planners and their clients took a far more narrowly focused approach to Financial Planning. Each consideration was held out and dealt with separately. One by one increments or facets of a person’s finances would be analyzed and dealt with as a singular unit. In the end it was felt that all the pieces would fall together correctly and they often did.
How Holistic Financial Planning Works
With holistic financial planning however, all aspects of client’s finances, goals, lifestyle and ideals are brought together at once and analyzed as a whole. A much “bigger picture” is viewed, if you will and also other peripheral aspects and factors such as client’s principles are entered into the equation as well. Something that was rarely done in the past.
Holistic financial planning begins with a preliminary financial advisory process that includes an initial fact finding stage. This initial stage of the process is geared towards assessing a clients likes and dislikes, general opinions, goals both short and long term. Also during this initial fact finding stage, information such as a clients risk tolerance is also gathered and filed for analysis. Then after the necessary preliminary information has been gathered, it’s on to the next phase.
This secondary stage would be the strategy recommendation stage, where all of the data gathered is used to formulate an inclusive and objective strategy that takes all into account. In this stage the clients objectives and goals are prepared and laid out with a focus on creating wealth, debt management, taxation plans, estate planning and of course risk.
While this process may sound simple on the surface, it’s not. In fact in some cases the entire preliminary review can involve several meetings and in the end what is arrived at must also be approved by the client. As these meetings and review sessions unfold, often times a client will be given several options to choose from, such that in the end the final plan meshes seamlessly with their principles and values.
The final phase of the holistic financial planning process involves the monitoring/review process. As previously indicated, this a continuous and ongoing function in which benchmarks the applied overall plans outcomes and performance levels, factored against the clients perceived goals and objectives.
This ongoing process includes periodic portfolio value assessment reports, workshops and seminars, portfolio review meetings and strategy sessions and of course the end of year pre-taxation strategy and planning sessions. So hopefully now you can see that it’s a system that provides holistic advice for clients geared towards growth, security and peace of mind.