Analysis

Getting Your Comprehensive Financial Plan Together – What Do I Need?

Analysis

As fiduciaries, IFA takes the responsibility to give our clients the most prudent advice that we can for each particular financial situation. While our advisors are supported by a dedicated staff with expertise in everything from wealth management and planning to investments and taxes, a caveat exists in building any complimentary and unique financial plan. 

Simply put, the value of our advice is only as good as the data that we have available at any given time. Along these lines, our planning process is designed to give IFA clients access to resources and tools to tackle a wide range of different financial issues. Questions our advisors are trained to confront include everything from paying for college and maximizing household cash flows to managing retirement income during retirement.

In fact, one of the technologies we use is a relatively comprehensive wealth planning package, eMoney. It enables our advisors to develop different scenarios around a wide range of individual financial situations. The software helps us to project results for clients who want to consider different options in making savings and investment-related decisions.

We also use this tool to add clarity about choices relating to health care, Social Security and taking out loans or managing debt payment schedules. For some business owners, we can also use such tools -- along with support from our IFA Taxes division -- to build scenarios around Solo 401(k) and SEP-IRA plans or stock option plans. 

By it's very nature, though, building and maintaining a holistic wealth plan must be a collaborative undertaking. So, we've developed a sort of tip sheet to show what types of information  a client can provide to assist as much as possible in the IFA planning process. Below, we've listed items that people might want to gather and bring with them when meeting on a complimentary basis with their IFA advisor.

(An important note about this list: Depending on the depth and scope of how people like us to assist with their financial affairs, some of these documents might not be applicable. Please don't feel like all of these docs must be made available prior to meeting with your IFA advisor in order to create a basic financial plan.) 

Cash Flow

  • Total monthly/annual expenses. Do you have a budget worksheet? Or, you can use our calculator

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Do you foresee any major one-time expenses in the future?
  • Do you foresee any one-time receipts of income in the future?
  • Do you foresee having to care for your parents/adult children in the future?

Insurance Policies

Latest documents for the following:

  • Life Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Liability limits on auto and home insurance

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Do you feel like you will have adequate health insurance in retirement beyond Medicare?
  • Have you discussed the role of long-term care in your overall financial plan?
  • Have appropriate beneficiaries been assigned?

Investment Accounts & Savings

We will need the latest statements, including current positions, for the following:

  • Taxable Accounts (individual, joint, trust accounts).
  • Retirement Accounts, including Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, pensions, and cash balance plans.
  • Stock Options and vesting schedule.
  • Annuities
  • 529 College Savings Accounts.
  • Personal Checking and Savings Accounts.
  • Charitable Giving Accounts.
  • If possible, documents showing any employer match and employee contributions to 401(k) or other workplace retirement savings plans.
  • In addition, any information regarding contributions to personal IRA accounts, either traditional and/or Roth. 
  • Estimates or documentation of contributions to tax-friendly educational savings plans such as a 529 plan. 

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Have you taken the IFA Risk Capacity Survey?
  • If you have outside accounts, have you contacted those institutions about how to get all of the pertinent documentation listed above?
  • Do you take advantage of eMoney Organizer, which allows you to add accounts that will automatically update account values each day?
  • Do you regularly re-balance, re-allocate and use tax-loss harvesting strategies?
  • Have you assigned proper beneficiaries to each account that is consistent with any trust documents?
  • Have you formulated specific financial goals for your investments including retirement, travel, education, charitable giving, etc.?
  • What are your annual contributions to each account listed above?
  • Do you have an emergency fund? If so, do you regularly keep your emergency fund at a 3 to 6 month living expense target?
  • Are you using a Roth or traditional 401(k) account in your employer sponsored retirement savings plan?
  • Do you make any additional contributions to non-IRA or employer retirement plan accounts?

Property

  • Real Estate, including personal residence, rental properties, farms, undeveloped land and second homes.
    • Current Market Values.
    • Cost Basis.
    • Year purchased.
    • Original purchase amount. 

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Are you planning on selling or acquiring any property in the near future or in retirement?
  • What is the net income from rental properties?
  • Are ownership documents consistent with Trust documents?

Businesses

  • General information about ownership structure, beneficiary, and financial statements

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Do you have a succession plan in place?
  • What are long-term goals of the business as it applies to your personal finances?

Taxes & Income

  • Personal and Business Tax Returns for previous five years
  • W2 and Form 1040
  • Loss carry forwards
  • Sample of pay records for work salary and other income, including any average bonus amounts
  • Examples of documents showing any pension-related data and what type of survivor benefits are available (if any)
  • Any documentation of withholdings in terms of taxes and required minimum distributions. 

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Are you current on your taxes owed?
  • Are you anticipating any substantial changes in your taxes?
  • Do you plan in the future, or have you already done, a Roth conversion? 

Estate Planning

  • Basic Will, Durable Power of Attorney (Financial), Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, Trusts, and a Letter of Instruction

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • When was the last time you reviewed these documents?
  • Do you anticipate any major changes in these documents?
  • Are each of your insurance policies, investment accounts, and property consistent with each document?
  • Do any family members have a disability that may impact your estate plan?
  • Do you have Guardianship for any minor children?

Social Security

  • Social Security statements with projections for ages 62, 66 and 70 years of age. 

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Have you checked the Social Security Administration site (www.ssa.gov) to find information such as your estimated benefits at different ages.
  • Have you started to take any social security benefits?
  • Would it be possible for you to defer any benefits for a later time?

Liabilities

  • Documentation and/or examples of data related to any mortgages, personal loans, business loans, student loans, home equity loans, lines of credit, credit cards, etc.

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • The interest rate for each loan and monthly payment amounts.
  • Length of loan (when it ends and when it started).
  • What is the balance remaining on each loan. 
  • With a mortgage loan, what is the P&I (Principal and Interest) amounts?
  • Is it a fixed-term or variable-term loan?
  • Do you currently have a plan to pay off these loans?
  • Have any been renegotiated recently?

Key Decision Makers

  • Contact information for any CPAs, attorneys, insurance representatives, etc., that are key decision makers in your financial affairs

Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Which key decision makers do you prefer to be a part of IFA's ongoing financial reviews and planning process?

After an initial consultation, there may be more information requested by your IFA wealth advisor. You should update your financial plan with your IFA advisor as needed and you should agree upon a defined communication plan with your IFA advisor throughout the year.

As referenced above, part of our service offering is to provide our clients with complimentary access to eMoney. This software allows people to electronically organize all of their financial affairs in one location. You will be able to upload important documents such as insurance policies, wills and tax returns into this tool's online vault, which you can share with your IFA wealth advisor.  


This is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, product or service. There is no guarantee investment strategies will be successful.  Investing involves risks, including possible loss of principal. Performance may contain both live and back-tested data. Data is provided for illustrative purposes only, it does not represent actual performance of any client portfolio or account and it should not be interpreted as an indication of such performance. IFA Index Portfolios are recommended based on time horizon and risk tolerance. This is intended to be informational in nature and should not be construed as ta advice. IFA Taxes is a division of Index Fund Advisors, Inc. Take the IFA Risk Capacity Survey (www.ifa.com/survey) to determine which portfolio captures the right mix of stock and bond funds best suited to you.  For more information about Index Funds Advisors, Inc, please review our brochure at https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/ or visit www.ifa.com.