What's Missing From The Financial Plan You Offer?


Whether it is an American trait or a human trait, it is an expectation that we want to receive everything we can receive when we are offered services or products we purchase. When we are told a service or product comes with an additional cost, the thought process gets complicated.

When an advisor offers to set up a financial plan for a client, there is a boilerplate list of services advisors regularly offer. It may be proscribed by their provider, or it may be something the advisor has created through years of service with clients.

But the truth of the topic is that investors believe they should receive a smorgasbord of services in their financial plan. It is only when the cost of a complicated, extensive financial plan is discussed that those investors being to parse what they truly need in their financial plan and what they are willing to pay for beyond a basic plan.

Spectrem’s study Defining Financial Planning is a sister study of sorts to its 2018 study Defining Wealth Management. Investors have opinions as to what those two terms mean and what services they should include, even though the financial advisory industry has no set definitions for those terms.

Approximately three-quarters of investors with a net worth of at least $100,000 (not including the value of their primary residence) have a financial plan. Ninety-two percent of those investors have a financial plan that is customized to some degree, and 36 percent say their financial plan is completely customized.

Some providers offer a financial plan to investors as part of their client fees, while others charge a flat fee for a financial plan. Still others charge a fee based on the complexity of the financial plan. Such fee structure is best put forward initially when a financial plan is first introduced to a client.

“Retirement planning (81 percent)’’ and “investments (79 percent)’’ are the two components most often claimed in a financial plan among those investors who have a plan in place. However, that means that 19 percent of investors have a financial plan that does not include retirement planning, and likewise 21 percent of investors have a financial plan that does not include investment services.

Many investors who have a financial plan created their own plan. As a result, investment advice (for instance) might not be included in a financial plan they create on their own. But it is imperative that advisors who offer a financial plan include retirement planning and investments  as part of their initial conversation with clients.

Sixty-five percent of investors with a financial plan receive a statement of net worth in their financial plan. That is a component that can require a great deal of paperwork and number-crunching, but most investors (92 percent) consider a statement of net worth to be a critical option in the specifics of a financial plan.

Approximately half of investors with a financial plan receive a household financial statement and a cash flow analysis in their plan, but more than 90 percent believe that should be in a financial plan. Those are two more categories to consider when offering clients the benefits of a financial plan.

The Spectrem study notes that there are several components investors believe should be in their financial plan which very few investors actually receive. For example, only 11 percent receive education funding strategies in their financial plan but 72 percent believe it should be included.



©2019 Spectrem Group



Keywords: financial planning, wealth management, investors, advisors, Spectrem, retirement, investments