The Planwell Difference
At Planwell we take a much different approach to each of the issues mentioned below, as we take a holistic financial planning approach and believe that a regularly updated financial plan is the cornerstone to ensuring that our clients’ interests are the first priority.
We set out clear objectives at the outset and clear benchmarks so we all know how well we are progressing and how well we are doing our job. We are upfront about our fees and encourage an open discussion about the fees and review them along with the full package of services that are being provided.
We do not use in-house products, so there is no conflict of interest and we preserve our objectivity. We hold ourselves to high levels of educational requirements, licensing and certification so that we can provide a wide array of products and services that our clients require. We have a clear process for constructing and changing the Planwell Net Return portfolios. We regularly review with all of our clients each component of the financial plan as well as ensuring the risk levels are still at the appropriate levels.
Based on interviews with incoming clients, prospective clients and other advisors we realize the following:
- Many people using financial advisors do not know how much money they need to save to reach their retirement goal, or if they are in retirement already how long their money will last.
- Many people using financial advisors don’t know how much they have actually earned on their investments over the last year, 5 years, 10 years or since the inception of dealing with the advisor.
- Many people using financial advisors don’t know what the “goal” rate of return is for their financial plan to be successful. As a result, many people don’t know whether they are earning less than or more than the goal rate of return, and therefore don’t know whether their financial advisor is assisting them to be on track.
- Many people don’t know what the appropriate benchmark return is that their portfolio should be compared against. As a result, they don’t know whether their advisor is helping them or hurting them by their recommendations as they don’t know how they are performing against the applicable benchmark.
- Many people do not know how much in total they are paying in fees for the advisor to oversee the management of their investments. Total fees include the manufacturer’s fees to manage the money (i.e. mutual fund or EFT management fees) plus the fees paid to the brokerage where the advisor works.
- Many people don’t know how much of their portfolios are in products that are manufactured in house by the brokerage or the dealer they are using. As a result, there could be a conflict of interest if another product is actually better but would mean having to sell out of the in-house product, which could be harmful to the brokerage or dealer. Also there may be a reluctance to sell out of in-house products.
- Many people had a financial plan done years ago, but it has not been updated on a regular basis. Therefore, many people don’t know whether they are still on track with their financial plan.
- Many people are dealing with advisors that are only licensed to deal with insurance or mutual funds and therefore are only holding insurance type investments (segregated funds) or mutual funds due to the licensing restrictions of their advisor. As a result, they may not be benefitting from what a full-service advisor may be able to offer.
- Many people with outdated financial plans also have outdated or inadequate insurance plans, estate plans and other plans essential to their long-term financial planning success. As a result, many people may be at risk of not achieving their financial plans and may be at risk in the case of an illness, disability, incapacitation or death.
- Many people have investment plans with an inappropriate level of risk. This could be a result of the risk level assessment not being updated, or just a poor process for assessing risk. Risk level is very important in constructing the appropriate portfolio allocation, which is one of the most important determinants in long term portfolio returns.
- Many advisors have minimum account sizes that they will take on. Frequently we see advisors only allowing those with at least $250,000 to $1 million to be welcomed by them. We have no minimum account size, as we welcome the opportunity to assist everyone with the four aspects of their wealth: accumulating, maximizing, protecting and ultimately transferring their wealth. We believe that most people can become wealthy if they are working and have enough time. As much as we enjoy working with those who have already established their wealth, we love to be able to assist those that otherwise may not be able to become wealthy.
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