Q: If a client is making a plan to invest, does that cover "financial planning"?
A: Not necessarily. Financial planning should focus not only on the accumulation of wealth but also on its preservation and distribution. It is important to establish your goals and then determine if your plan of investing will, in fact, help you towards those goals. Determining how much to invest, how often and which investment vehicles to utilize should be considered when making a plan.
Q: What are the key areas of distribution that a plan should take into consideration?
A: In my experience, clients' number-one fear is outliving their money. So when planning for your distribution phase, we need to consider your living expenses, inflation, cost of long-term care, taxes and the importance of leaving a legacy.
Q: Is this side of planning something that's commonly overlooked?
A: With establishing any investment account, planning has always played a role in the process. In the past several years, the industry as a whole has improved its focus to capture all areas of a client's financial situation. At Red River Investments Group, our goal is to continually enhance the financial planning process, tailoring plans to each client's circumstances and goals.
Q: Is this a type of planning that Red River Investments Group has always done?
A: Yes, we've always taken a holistic approach to our clients' investments needs. That approach grows and evolves with new technologies and our advisors' continued education. While the investment marketplace overall may seem to be increasingly automated and impersonal, our clients are getting more and more personalized planning and service.
Q: Is the process time-consuming?
A: Because of our experience and technology, we're able to be very streamlined and efficient. At the same time, the importance of our clients' financial planning merits an investment of time. In the beginning, we work together to establish goals, gather comprehensive financial information, analyze that information and review results. The process, on our end, is continuous, and our advisors will want to review the plan periodically with clients to see that we're on track and making appropriate changes. The biggest step is deciding to start the process.
Q: What can a client do to get the most from an initial financial planning meeting?
A: In preparation for the first meeting, we encourage clients to bring a financial statement if they have one, but if not, to bring statements on all bank and investment accounts, 401k statements, life or long-term care insurance policies, a list of assets such as real estate and business ownership and a list of their liabilities. At the initial appointment, we try to uncover specific needs and wants in regards to financial goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Those are the core elements of getting the financial plan started.

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