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Chapter 22. Getting Help > The Areas of Financial Planning That Need to Be Incl... - Pg. 225

Getting Help 225 · Provide written recommendations and solutions to your problems.You and the planner may decide there is a need for a complete financial plan, which may be a lengthy document. Or you might just opt for a review of your portfolio, so the written recommendations should be custom- ized to your immediate needs. A financial planner should explain and educate you on the "what- ifs" and the "whys" of the recommendations. Planners are finding that they do more segmented planning for their clients who don't want a complete plan. Clients just want help with a part of what would be a complete plan. But a planner should review your total financial picture even if she will make recommendations on just a seg- ment. For example, you inherit $200,000, and you want some help making investment decisions. A financial planner needs to know and understand your goals and time horizons for this money. But to help you make good decisions she will need to know other things, such as if you have significant credit card debt, if you've done retirement planning, and who will inherit this money if you should die. · Help you implement the advice she's given you.You should not be sitting and staring at your financial plan and wondering how the heck you are can accomplish this. For example, if the planner recommends a need for a new estate plan, she should oversee the process of inter- viewing and engaging an attorney and coordinating your estate planning. · Review your plan with you periodically.Often an individual wants a one - shot deal. To benefit from a relationship with a planner, the relationship should be ongoing, with periodic check-ups just as you would with your dentist or your doctor. You should let the planner know about any financial changes in your life so she can help. Changes would include a death in the family, a divorce, marriage, birth, and so on. Remember, financial planning is a process. What a Planner Expects of You To provide good service, your financial planner expects participation and honesty from you. You need to be straight about your situation and give the planner all of the facts--even if some of them are painful or embarrassing. When asked to fill out forms and worksheets, do your homework. Guessing on the facts or asking the planner to fill them in for you really won't do. A financial planner may "fire" you as a client as a direct result of your lackadaisical attitude. When working with a planner, you're creating a partnership. The Areas of Financial Planning That Need to Be Included A planner should review six areas of financial planning with you. The areas are all interrelated. Working on all of them at the same time will provide you with the best advice, for they are not mutually exclusive. What affects one area impacts the others as well. If nothing else, you should be aware of these areas and how they impact your financial strategies. 1. Organization--You have to have a starting point, and organization is the best place. A planner should help you get organized. Sometimes, this alone is worth the price of visiting him. A planner will ask you to organize your important documents so they can be reviewed. But that may mean you have to find them. Often times, important papers get put somewhere safe, and you forget just where that someplace safe is. There are many "Shoebox Sallys" out there who use old shoeboxes as their filing system. Canceled checks fit perfectly in a shoebox. Risk management--Risk management is a fancy term for using insurance to protect your assets from a loss you couldn't afford. When you purchase an insurance policy, you're pur- chasing a financial product that provides you with peace of mind, as well as the assurance that if you suffer a loss the insurance company will try to make you whole. A planner should do an insurance analysis on all of your insurance needs to be sure that you have your life, job, and assets properly insured. 2.