Demonstrating Value with an Annual Planning Calendar
by Craig Callon, CFP®, Financial Planning Consultant
In today’s increasingly competitive environment, it’s important for advisors to deliver comprehensive financial planning services tailored to the needs of clients, structured in a way that is operationally efficient and scalable. One way to demonstrate value and rise above the competition is to provide clients with a planning calendar around planning topics that are relevant to a client’s financial life throughout the year.
What is a Planning Calendar?
The planning calendar is a schedule of financial strategies that align with life patterns and client engagement activities, which helps provide clients with a roadmap for the types of services clients can expect from their advisor year in and year out. The calendar may vary by practice and may even be highly unique if the advisor is focused on niche clientele with specific needs. It’s a great way to help clients understand the value offered by a financial advisor while also illustrating the breadth of solutions offered by the practice.
Benefits of a Planning Calendar
Implementation of an annual service calendar helps ensure that critical areas of clients’ financial plans are addressed. Other benefits include:
- Regular Opportunities for Client Interaction: A service calendar with predetermined financial planning topics makes it easier to schedule regular meetings based on clients’ current needs and send meaningful pre-meeting communications to them. At the conclusion of each meeting, the advisor can schedule the next meeting on the calendar and assign “to do” items for both the client and advisor. This ensures the client and advisor are actively engaged in the planning process.
- Framework for Strategizing with Clients: Detailed financial planning typically requires a full view of the client’s assets. This process may help uncover opportunities to identify gaps in their financial plan and offer personalized solutions to address them and deepen the financial relationship with clients.
In addition, understanding a client’s workplace benefits allows advisors to introduce insurance solutions that supplement their benefits to ensure appropriate coverage. These meetings are also an opportunity to get introduced to a client’s other centers of influence, including CPAs, attorneys, and property & casualty insurance brokers. This may allow advisors to have a more wholistic view of a clients’ financial situation and build a partnership with these other professionals.
- Practice Simplification: A service calendar makes it easier to get organized and systematically work with your clients. It allows for clarity on the planning process and demonstrate services offered to both clients and supervisors. Calendar based support allows advisors to address impromptu issues and concerns for clients without losing track of other important components of their overall financial plan.
- Clear Demonstration of Value: One of the major benefits of an annual service calendar is that clients know exactly what to expect and what they are receiving for advisory fees paid to their advisor. It also helps distinguish an advisor’s firm from others that only provide money management or insurance services. Regular planning reviews following this calendar help a client better understand what to expect from the advisory relationship, and help clients identify and explain the benefits of the advisor’s services to colleagues who can also benefit.
Example of an Annual Service Calendar
The following is an example of an Annual Service Calendar, focusing on financial planning and client engagement activities:
- Gather previous year tax documents (W2s, 1099s, etc.)
- Complete IRA contributions for prior year
- Address tax concerns & strategies for new year
- Review all accounts to update beneficiaries as necessary
- Review estate planning strategy
- Update wills as necessary
- Verify Power of Attorney status
- Review & update trust documentation & strategies
- Review goals, timeline, & account options (529 v UTMA)
- Track progress & update investments
- Confirm insurance needs (Life, Disability, LTC, Home, Auto, Liability)
- Review existing policies & beneficiaries
- Monitor any permanent insurance for performance & cash value
Cash Flow Analysis
- Assess inflows & outflows
- Confirm savings rate & destinations
- Assess short-term debt & reduction strategies
- Review & provide feedback workplace benefits options including HSAs
- Assess workplace insurance offerings (Life & Disability)
- Confirm integration of benefits into financial plan
- Confirm goals, timeline, & funding sources
- Assess tax efficiency
- Review Social Security & Medicare
- Verify target amount
- Review liquidity and allocation of funds
- Review yearly performance of investments
- Confirm risk tolerance & adjust investments as necessary
- Plan for any Required Minimum Distributions
- Review year-end tax saving opportunities
- Consider & implement Roth conversions
- Explore opportunities for tax loss harvesting
A properly implemented Annual Service Calendar can benefit the client and advisor, setting clear expectations for both sides and ensuring regular meetings to fully address all areas of the client’s financial life.
For more information on creating and implementing an annual service calendar, please contact Craig Callon, CFP® at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-859-1726.
To learn more about Momentum Independent Network, contact Wealth Management at WealthManagementInfo@hilltopsecurities.com or 833-4HILLTOP.
The paper/commentary was prepared by Momentum Independent Network (MIN). Momentum Independent Network Inc. is a registered broker-dealer and registered investment advisor that does not provide tax or legal advice. MIN and Hilltop Securities are wholly owned subsidiaries of Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTH) located at 717 N. Harwood St. Suite 3400, Dallas, TX 75201 (214) 859-1800, 833-4HILLTOP. Member FINRA/SIPC