Seven Steps to Financial Wellbeing

Start Where You Are

It’s tough to know where you are headed if you don’t have a solid starting point. Before beginning down the road to financial wellbeing, it’s smart to think about your goals and what you are hoping to achieve through financial planning. An assessment of your current financial situation is necessary for making proper decisions regarding which financial planning services are appropriate for you. We need to know what you own, what you owe, where your money comes from and where it goes.

Document Gathering

Proper financial planning and investment advice can only be rendered after substantial data is collected and verified. Therefore, we have developed a questionnaire that through simple yes and no answers will lead you to identify the data to bring to a meeting with us. We will be happy to send it to you without any obligation. Click here to request the initial planning questionnaire.

Initial Meeting

The initial meeting is without cost or further obligation on the part of the client or D. Scott Neal, Inc. The meeting will be informative and instructional. We are here to ask the right questions and to truly listen to your answers. The initial phase in designing a personal financial plan involves accumulating and organizing facts about your current financial condition and identifying specific goals and objectives. This will be accomplished through a series of interviews and questionnaires. We also want you to consider the purpose of your wealth. Click here for a guide to finding your purpose. The initial meeting will include identifying services to be provided, full disclosure of compensation arrangements, and identification of our mutual responsibilities. You should set aside approximately two hours for this meeting.

Preliminary Analysis

In order to verify that we have heard you fully and accurately, we will verify the data, objectives, and assumptions with you. We may also provide preliminary recommendations at that time. At the conclusion of this meeting, which can be done in person or on WebEx, there should be a collective understanding of your current situation and financial goals. After we review the results of the preliminary analysis, a detailed analysis of your financial circumstances will be performed and recommendations will be drafted.

Recommendations

After our detailed analysis is complete, a detailed report with written recommendations will be presented. Like all other meetings, this can be done in person or via WebEx. During this meeting the final financial plan will be presented. All recommendations will be in writing and may include specific investment recommendations. You will be asked to accept or decline each recommendation. A timeline will be established for implementing each recommendation accepted, and responsibilities will be assigned for implementation.

Follow Up

Implementation assistance and follow up of each recommendation is included in the initial financial planning fee. Implementation assistance can take many forms, and it often involves meeting with product providers or assistance in moving accounts. A financial plan should be reviewed at least annually so that adjustments can be made for changes in personal circumstances and economic conditions. Annual reviews and updates will occur under a separate agreement and fee arrangement.

Investment Management Services

Some clients will then have us manage their assets as they make their way toward achieving their goals. The financial planning process gives us a good chance to get to know you well, including your risk profile. After we have gotten to know you and your goals, we are better able to direct you toward an appropriate investment strategy. We maintain five strategies; each has been designed for a different reason: 1) traditional asset allocation, 2) wealth preservation, 3) all equity, 4) income, and 5) mutual fund. We invite you to see our disclosure document for a more complete description of each strategy.

Every portfolio is unique to the client’s situation. We will want to know about family history, hopes, dreams, disappointments and fears. Of course, we will also want to know about future financial needs, risk tolerance and risk capacity. All of these factors go into the development of an investment plan and policy. That policy will guide future investment decisions and remind both you and us of the goals that we are working toward.

Once the investment policy decision is determined, we will select and recommend investments that we believe are in your best interest. We are always acting as a fiduciary to you and your family. Our recommendations are objective and independent. We do not accept commissions or contingent fees from any provider of products. We then listen to your feedback, and with your approval, help you set up accounts at a discount broker or no-load mutual fund company.

Unlike other managers of money, we encourage our clients to become as involved as they want to be in investment decisions. We welcome and even encourage collaboration. At the close of each calendar quarter, we produce a detailed investment summary. Our reports include investment performance and portfolio activity. If requested, we will provide our recommendations on investment assets held at other financial institutions, including bank CDs, annuities, and employer-sponsored retirement accounts. Our reports are written in clear language and are supported by graphics. We are available to consult with you as needed to discuss the report and its implications for your financial wellbeing. We assist you in any and all aspects of your investments. We are “on call” to answer questions as they arise about the portfolio.