Check In With Your Planning Checklist

By: David Smyth, December 4, 2018

It's that time of year when we're all hoping to end up on Santa's nice list - or trying to get our kids onto Santa's nice list - but Old St. Nick's isn't the only list we hope you're paying attention to. For those of you who are clients with us, think back to those early meetings we held with you. Remember that paper we gave you with little boxes next to some words, and "planning checklist" at the top?

 

I jest of course - most of you are very good about working through that customized, prioritized list we made for you. But I also know that even the most conscientious clients may need a little reminder from time to time, especially now that the holidays are upon us and it's easy to get distracted.

 

For those of you who aren't yet working with our team, let me explain a little about our approach: Instead of overwhelming our client families with an exhaustive to-do list of everything we recommend, our approach is to distill each client's goals and to-dos into quarterly priorities. We break things down into categories as well, such as legal and estate planning, family budgeting, insurance and saving. 
 
These custom, individualized planning checklists not only help clients easily prioritize and see their progress as they check things off, it keeps them accountable to the plan they asked us to create for them. This also helps us track their progress and update their planning checklist with new priorities as items are completed. 
 
Even with those clients who come to us with more complex financial lives, one of the keys to success is helping organize their financial lives, and keeping them from feeling overwhelmed. We all know the feeling of having so much to get done that it's almost paralyzing. One thing we hope financial planning does for our clients is reduce their stress, not add to it. And we never want clients to think the checklist is a static, one-and-done document. As things in life change (or you totally overdo the Christmas shopping!), so do priorities, budgets, etc. Items will need to be added to the list and others become less important. It's all part of what we cover each time we sit down for a meeting. 
 
Some checklists are short because you have your stuff together, or you may have come from another advisor who did a decent job. Others have longer lists simply because they've never worked with an advisor, much less a full-service financial planner, and may have some catching up to do. If you have a checklist, please, take some time to pull it out and see if there's anything else that needs to be done to successfully wrap up the year. Even if you just get one more thing checked off, trust me, you'll feel better having one less thing to do in 2019. And as always, if you have questions or need some guidance, pick up the phone and give us a call. 
 
For those of you who don't have a planning checklist, we look forward to getting to know you and your family in the new year, and working with you to develop a plan and list for your financial future. Know someone you think we should meet, or do you want to get to know us a little better? Come by our annual Christmas Open House this Thursday. Drop by our office between 4 and 7 p.m. for festivities, food and friends. Hope to see you there!

Family Financial Partners | Growing Wealth, For Generations ™