At CWEA, we routinely receive requests to prepare detailed financial plans for both existing clients and those who have been newly introduced to our firm. Essentially, fee-based planning, fee-for-service planning or planning-only service is of interest to people seeking comprehensive advice and counsel on any number of financial matters while preserving the freedom to eventually implement the plan with any advisor they choose.
For a pre-determined fee that recognizes the time and expertise required, a financial plan is tailored to go beyond addressing the client’s most pressing questions, to providing clear guidance on the steps required to achieve their goals.
It is important not to confuse planning-only services with “product-based planning”. The implementation of any investment or insurance product should always be made within the context of relevant planning to ensure the new product meets your objectives.
In contrast, planning-only service may or may not include a recommendation of specific product solutions, instead focusing on delivering an understanding of clients’ current financial trajectory relative to their mid- and long-term objectives.
Who is planning-only service best suited to?
Some people enjoy being DIY’ers (Do-It-Yourself) who simply need help identifying the direction, strategies and financial vehicles that will best help them achieve their goals. Others have pre-existing relationships with financial institutions, insurance or investment salespeople who are not qualified or not interested in offering fee-based planning services.
In either case, the qualified advisors at CWEA can provide a clear and concise roadmap to whatever financial destination an individual is seeking.
Upon completion of the plan, the client then takes their plan home, to their financial institution, to their financial services representative to put the plan into effect. Some clients choose to deepen their relationship with us by having us oversee the implementation of their plan, and that’s fine, too.
How is the planning fee determined?
The amount of time and level of specialized research required to prepare a financial plan varies with the nature and complexity of the information being pursued. The preparation of an Education Savings Strategy is typically less demanding than the compiling of a Comprehensive Financial Plan that provides guidance on retirement, savings targets and estate matters.
Prior to engaging our services, we recommend a complementary meeting during which we gain an understanding of the scope of our clients’ planning needs. By the end of that meeting, we will have enough information to determine the appropriate fee for the work required.
We want the comfort and confidence that a sound, tailored financial plan can offer to be affordable to the people in our community. Our menu of planning services–and associated fees–is readily available. (Download a PDF of our fee-based planning fees »)
What outcomes can you expect?
In most situations, planning is initiated to explore the answer to important questions, and the plan brings clarity by presenting a heightened awareness of the client’s current situation and what their future might look like. If that future needs to be re-written, the plan offers options and the impact of alternative courses of actions based on the client’s current resources and capabilities.
The planning process brings to light the answers and action steps to whatever questions our clients may have, including:
- How do we allocate our current retirement resources to optimize our lifestyle once we stop working?
- Should I take my pension as offered by my employer, or request the commuted value and invest it myself?
- How do we maximize the financial legacy to our children, while enjoying the retirement lifestyle that we want?
- We have a family corporation. What additional options does this offer us toward paying for our kids’ education or drawing income in retirement?
- One of our children lives with a disability, and we want to be sure he’s provided for once we’re gone. What are our options?
- We have been successful in accumulating wealth and we want as much as possible to survive us intact. What can we do to minimize the erosion of our estate assets?
If you would like to explore more about how planning-only service may help you achieve your financial priorities, contact us. If you are currently a CWEA client, contact your advisor to arrange a complementary preliminary session. If you don’t have an advisor within CWEA, contact our office and we will be happy to arrange for you to meet with one of our certified planners.