The Financial Planning Process


Coming up with a solid financial plan means doing some homework—both on your part and ours. From examining your current situation, to setting goals, to deciding how to measure your progress, we are uniquely qualified to take you through the financial planning process.

In six steps, you and our team will:

1. Agree on how to work together

We will explain the services we will provide; define each of our responsibilities; explain in detail how we are compensated for our services; and, we will discuss how we will make decisions together.

2. Gather information about your finances and set goals

You and members of our team will talk about your current financial situation and gather any necessary documents. Together, we'll define your personal and financial goals, including timeframes., and we will discuss your comfort level when it comes to taking financial risks.

3. Analyze and strategize

We will take all your finances into account and determine how to meet your goals.Our analysis will review your current assets, liabilities and cash flow, insurance coverage, investments, tax strategies and estate planning goals.

4. Develop recommendations

Next, we will deliver our customized financial recommendations, explaining the rationale so you can make informed decisions. We will address your questions and concerns and revise our recommendations based on your feedback, if necessary.

5. Put your plan into motion

Once you have become comfortable with our recommendations and fully understand how we will help you reach your financial goals, we will begin to implement your personal financial plan.  With your permission, we will also coordinate our strategies with your other financial professionals, such as your tax professional and attorney.

6. Monitor your progress

We will continually monitor the financial markets, your investment portfolio, and changes in tax and estate laws to make sure you are staying on track towards your goals, and will make any necessary adjustments to our recommendations, as needed.

 

You are ultimately in charge of your finances, and the results you get from working with Oakwood Capital Advisors depend on your commitment and understanding of the process. These tips can help you avoid some common mistakes and get the most out of financial planning:

Set measurable financial goals

Create specific targets for what you want to achieve and when you want to see results. Everyone wants to be "comfortable" in retirement and see their children attend "good" schools—but what do you mean by comfortable and good? Clear goals are easier to aim for and measure.

Understand the effects of each financial decision

Remember, each piece of your financial life is part of a larger puzzle. For example, an investment decision may have tax consequences that are harmful to your estate plans. Or a decision about your child's education may affect when and how you meet your retirement goals. Your financial decisions are interrelated.

Re-evaluate your financial situation periodically

Financial planning is a dynamic process. Your financial goals may change over the years due to changes in your lifestyle or circumstances such as an inheritance, marriage, birth, house purchase or change of job status. Revisit and revise your financial plan as time goes by so you stay on track to meet your long-term goals.

Start planning as soon as you can

The earlier you begin, the more likely you are to achieve your financial goals. By developing good financial planning habits such as saving, budgeting, investing and regularly reviewing your finances, you will be better prepared to handle emergencies and life changes.

Be realistic in your expectations

Financial planning cannot change your situation overnight—it's a lifelong process. Remember that events beyond your control, such as inflation or changes in the stock market or interest rates, will affect your financial planning results.

  • Get help from a qualified expert Just as you seek a doctor's expert opinion for medical issues, there are times when you need a qualified professional to provide financial planning advice. A CFP® professional can help you on your journey to a healthy financial future.
  • Take charge of your financial life If you're working with a CFP® professional, be sure you understand the financial planning process. Provide all relevant information about your financial situation. Ask questions about the recommendations offered to you, and play an active role in decision-making.