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Our Process of Financial Planning

There are six basic steps to the financial planning process in which the client interacts with Burr Ridge Financial Planning Services, Inc., in the following ways:

1. Data Gathering

Burr Ridge Financial Planning becomes familiar with a client's present situation by collecting and assessing all relevant data objectively. The client will be asked to complete a questionnaire entailing details about their wills, insurance policies, tax returns, and employee benefits; details of what they own and what they owe; where their income comes from and where it goes.  A meeting is scheduled and all data is clarified.  Burr Ridge Financial Planning helps its clients understand the complex documents in possession of the client that may not be fully comprehended.  It is helpful if copies of all relevant documents are made available at the meeting so that nothing is misunderstood or overlooked.

2. Goal Setting

Burr Ridge Financial Planning then helps the client identify financial and personal goals and to assure that they are realistic.  During the initial interview, a frank and open discussion regarding the client's lifestyle, beliefs, concerns, and levels of comfort and understanding with various investment opportunities takes place.  This is in order that Burr Ridge Financial Planning can accurately assess and later prepare the client's totally personalized plan.  No two clients think exactly alike; so, the advisor is well-trained to help each client identify their unique immediate, intermediate and future goals.

3. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

The next step is for Burr Ridge Financial Planning to objectively identify the strengths and weaknesses of the client's current situation.  Here, the advisor focuses on what can help the client or what specific problems stand in the way of their important goals.  Otherwise, obstacles such as inadequate cash flow or, too often, unnecessary tax payments, the wrong kinds of insurance or investments, or sometimes just "not having the time" to organize and to educate themselves can often become the client's worst enemy. 

4. Plan Formulation and Presentation

Burr Ridge Financial Planning will always present a written report of their analysis. First, generic and then specific recommendations will be made to help the client achieve his/her stated goals.  In black and white, the effect of the plan is measured against the client's current situation in order that he/she can better understand why the advisor is making the recommendations.  The risks and rewards of various actions and investments are thoroughly discussed at the presentation meeting and as many alternative solutions as necessary are researched.  Remembering that the finished plan should represent the client's goals, objectives and personality, the planner will carefully address the important reasons for recommended actions.

5. Implementation

No financial plan is going to be effective if it is not acted upon. Too often, the client does not have the time or opportunities available to implement his/her plan.  Burr Ridge Financial Planning makes a strong commitment to assist its clients throughout the implementation of their plan.The advisor will work in coordination with the specialists and the financial service companies necessary for the success of the client's plan.  Burr Ridge Financial Planning will help a client identify what types of specialists and services are needed and make arrangements for clients who need assistance in this area. A correctly implemented financial plan in conjunction with a clients dedication is the highest reward for the advisor.

6. Performance Review and Recommendations

Although a financial plan is like a "road map" designed to achieve a client's goals, life has many "detours".  Periodic in-person and written reviews can show the progress clients are is making in reaching their goals.  Burr Ridge Financial Planning makes a commitment to maintain and update a client's financial statements, evaluate and report portfolio performance, and make periodic recommendations. Recommendations for change may be made to enhance a clients expected portfolio return, decrease assumed risk, lower management expenses, or change investment management when key talent is lost through attrition or retirement and no longer performing on an average or above-average, risk-adjusted basis. Also, recommendations to rebalance portfolios periodically may also be made to encourage clients to sell high and buy low as various markets become overvalued while other markets may offer better valuations and upside potential. Additionally, a plan should be updated to account for changes in a client's life, in economic conditions and in tax laws.  Burr Ridge Financial Planning offers many choices for the format of periodic reviews and updates and will make recommendations believed to be the most appropriate for each individualized situation.