Choose a Life-Planner

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA® Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Choose a Life-Planner
Are you in the market for a financial advisor? Or perhaps you are looking ahead and starting to think that you could use a little help? Or maybe, you are currently with an advisor and aren’t getting exactly what you want? If any of that applies to you, then this article should help. We are going to discuss the difference between a bare-bones financial planner and a life-planner. Life-planners are those who will be looking at you as more than a bank balance or a set of yearly goals; they want to know you as a person and understand both who you are and where you want to be. A life-planner will want to know more about you as a person, your family, your career, and then create a personalized plan for you. The goal is to make your fantasies into realities. 

Do you know what you want? 

Before you can share your fantasies with a planner though, you need to know what they are. To do that, you need to start looking ahead and ask yourself what you want. How much longer do you want to work? Where do you want to live in retirement? Do you have kids heading to college? What does your spouse want? Your parents? Before you can sit down and tell a planner what your goals are, you need to take the time and answer the questions as best you can.

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If you want to retire at 60 and move to Europe, for example, that gives your planner some very specific goals and timelines. If you have a few kids to get through college, or perhaps an ailing parent, the planner can start looking at options. The more you know you want, the better the planner can design a plan to get you there.  

Making Plans 

With a life-planner on your side, you can make plans for so many parts of your life. Setting up a trust for a new grandchild, for example, or finding the funds to finance a new business venture or a child’s wedding. A good life-planner is invested in more than your portfolio but you as a whole person, with goals and hopes that may change with time. Your idea of retirement at forty may look very different at sixty. You may have wanted to stay in the family home, but for one reason or another relocating may be a better option. You may want to do a late-career change, or even go back to school. Whatever it may be, your planner can assist in modifying the plan and putting you on the best path. 

Preparing for the Unexpected 

Of course, reality has a way of dashing plans, but this is also where a life-planner can be of help. The more your planner knows about you, the better they can help you to reach your goals in the face of the unexpected. Creating long-term goals that can weather storms and adapt to unforeseen obstacles. A divorce, a job loss, a death. These things can be catastrophic both emotionally and financially. The life-planner can be a life raft in situations like these, and help you adjust the goals and get back on track when it seems all hope is lost.  

Peace of Mind 

The first goal of financial planning is building wealth, but it isn’t the only goal. You want that wealth to provide the lifestyle you desire, to support your hopes and dreams, to provide for your family, and to leave a legacy when you are gone. Regardless of your tax bracket, a life-planner can help you maximize your investments and create budgets and plans to get you on the right track. The goal is peace of mind to live your life to the fullest. Removing financial worry can be an immense relief allowing you to focus on what is more important: your family, your career, and your passions. 
So, when in the market for a financial advisor, look for one who sees you as more than a bank balance and a 401(k) but as a whole person. Life-planners will ask about your job, your family, your hobbies, they want to have a relationship with their clients. They care about the whole person. If you don’t feel your advisor is invested in you as a person, then it’s probably not the best fit. You want an advisor that you can grow old with, that your changing needs and goals can be adapted to, that understands you. You deserve a teammate. Please reach out to the team at Flourish Wealth Management for more details and perspective on our approach to helping clients identify their long-term goals and build a plan to reach them.

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About the Author

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.

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