What is Holistic Financial Planning? 18 Points to Consider

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Holistic financial planning is just the latest buzzword (buzz phrase?) to take over the industry, and these days it seems like every financial advisor and wealth manager is preaching it in their communications.

Cedar Point_holistic financial planning_750.jpegDon’t get us wrong—as a fiduciary planning firm built on a holistic approach to wealth management, we think it’s great that mainstream advisors are starting to ask about more than your risk tolerance and investing goals. But we wonder how many actually understand what it means to serve clients in a holistic way

For us, holistic financial planning is a dual commitment:

  • First is a genuine interest and commitment to learning about every facet of our clients’ lives, from your financial goals to your personal passions to your human capital.
  • Second, it’s about leveraging our expertise in a range of financial disciplines to provide comprehensive guidance and service, tailored to your specific point in life.

Many firms trying on the holistic financial planning title offer one or the other, but you will achieve the most success with an adviser who can do both. We pride ourselves in focusing on just that, bringing both to every relationship.

If you’re curious what kinds of services and skillsets fall under the rubric of holistic financial planning, here’s a quick list of 18 things to start—and there’s probably more we could add if we had the time. Whether you see what you’re looking for or not, reach out and let’s talk about how we can help you build your life well-lived.  

What is Holistic Financial Planning?

Financial Literacy & Coaching: Good financial knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions for your life, and we believe that we should all be continuous learners. As a fiduciary adviser, we work to empower our clients so they understand not only what is in their best interests, but why.

Behavioral Finance: Our financial decisions are (all too) often influenced by our emotions, especially at times of extreme turmoil. By understanding you as a whole person, our team can help you anticipate emotional challenges or obstacles—and offer advice on how you can respond to them in a way that stays true to your future plan.

Goal Setting and Prioritization: Defining your short- and long-term goals, like buying a house or saving for retirement, is crucial if you want to transform your dreams into realities. Prioritizing them helps allocate your resources effectively. Our team can work with you to identify your biggest goals and help you decide on a route to make them happen.

Investment Strategy: By understanding your risk tolerance/capacity, investment timeline, and financial goals, we can create a strategic outline that explains how and why you should invest to achieve those goals. Our status as a fee-only fiduciary means that our advice is focused exclusively on your best interest—not our sales quota or commission base.

Asset Allocation & Location: Spreading your investments across different asset classes helps manage risk and achieve your financial goals with less volatility and fear. Unlike legacy firms that rely on one-size-fits-all, robo-created investment portfolios, our team takes the time to build a customized, data-backed asset allocations for your specific point in life. Just as importantly, the investments made in various account types (think: traditional IRA versus Roth IRA) matter, too. We help define a vision for the most appropriate location for all parts of your portfolio.

Portfolio Diversification: Along with spreading your investment funds among different parts of the overall market, it’s also wise to diversify your portfolio across different asset classes. We can help you build a diversified, high-performing portfolio that stays true to your wishes and values as an investor.

Employee Benefits Optimization: Employee benefits like health insurance, life insurance, deferred compensation, and stock options are all part of your financial life plan, but too few advisors talk about them in their planning process. We can help you analyze your complete compensation package and look for ways to optimize the benefits you’ve earned and that are available, so you’re able to focus on the things that really matter.

Retirement Planning: It seems like most people think of retirement when they discuss “financial planning,” but true retirement planning requires attention to all the other ways your life changes after your “working life” chapter ends. Yes, there are decisions to be made about employer-sponsored plans (401k) and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), but there are also big decisions about Medicare, Social Security benefits, volunteerism, philanthropy, hobbies, travel, and education—we understand how they all work together to build a life well-lived.

Budgeting & Cash Flow Management: Where is your money going and when? Building your legacy also means controlling your cash flows. We can help you see the biggest challenges and opportunities, and develop a budget framework that works for your life today.

Debt Management & Consolidation: Debt can be a burden, and losing additional cash-flow to interest payments can keep you from achieving your financial goals. We work to build effective debt management strategies that help you manage your current load while working back toward zero.

Insurance Planning: No one can predict the future, but we want to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected, because it will come at some point. Whether it’s reviewing your property and casualty coverage, or discussing how having adequate life, health, and disability insurance in place protects you and your family, we can help you evaluate your current positions and offer recommendations for building your protection further.

Charitable Giving & Philanthropy: There are as many purposes behind charitable gifts as there are people who give them. We make sure that charitable gifts and philanthropy are aligned with both your values and financial goals, such as a comprehensive tax strategy, so your hard-earned nest egg goes further to impact the causes you care about.

Tax Planning: Minimizing your tax burden keeps more of your money in your pocket. A comprehensive tax plan anticipates and guides the flow of current and future tax incentives, as well as the thoughtful timing of taxable events to work within your overall financial situation. We can work with you and other members of your tax and legal teams to plan and execute strategies that work for you.

Risk Management: Building a successful financial life plan means understanding your personal risk tolerances and time horizons. We can help you identify and mitigate potential financial risks, like job loss or illness, through appropriate planning and risk management tools.

Family Financial Planning: Your financial plan should consider your entire family's needs. We’ll help you factor in dependents’ expenses, education, potential future inheritances, and other (sometimes tough) family-related financial aspects. Our commitment to building deep relationships with our clients makes this level of advisement possible.

Education Planning: Speaking of family, you may need to save for your child’s (or grandchild’s) education. We are well-versed in education-focused savings vehicles like 529 plans and educational savings accounts, so you can make their college dreams a reality.

Human Capital Consulting: Your lifetime earning potential is perhaps your most important asset, at least during your working years. We can offer a friendly perspective on your career development, skill enhancement, and networking strategies, so you can maximize your human capital value and feel confident as you make strategic decisions about your next career move.

Estate & Legacy Planning: These two go hand-in-hand, with estate planning creating a detailed map for how your assets will be distributed when you’re gone, and legacy planning focusing on the impact your wealth can make for the causes and organizations that align with your life’s purpose. Any wealth manager can help you name beneficiaries and minimize your estate taxes; it’s our commitment to the human element that will transform your memory into your legacy.

Planning your life with a boutique wealth management firm like Cedar Point Capital Partners means you have a partner who will look at your entire life, rather than just your financial assets. You deserve a holistic approach to financial planning, and we’re ready to help. Give us a call or drop us a line, and let’s grow together. 

The commentary on this blog reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of Cedar Point Capital Partners (CPCP) employees providing such comments and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by CPCP or performance returns of any CPCP client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this blog constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Cedar Point Capital Partners manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.