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Enriching the Client: The Value of Financial Planning

Cora Pettipas, CFP

By Cora Pettipas, CFP, Canada

The most precious resources in life are health, love, time and money. If a CFP professional helps a client with their money, it also indirectly, but greatly, enhances the three other areas. Clients who have a financial planner are less stressed, understand their priorities and resource allocations, and therefore have more energy to put into their life.

The CFP designation is invaluable to the clients that we serve. Having a financial planner that has earned the CFP designation means that the client gets a custom built holistic financial plan that includes the following areas: cash flow planning, debt management, tax planning, investment planning, retirement planning, education planning and estate planning.

When I was studying for the CFP mark in my twenties, I was at a crossroads in my career; I knew that even if I did not ultimately become a financial planner that my efforts to attain the CFP mark would enrich my own life, and would not go to waste. Luckily it has been one of the best investments I have ever made, and I went on to share the skills and knowledge with clients and students. I have enjoyed seeing the vast improvement in quality of life with the people I have served as their financial planner or financial planning professor.

Each area of the clients finances effects the others, so it is difficult to address one area, like cash flow planning without addressing taxation (their biggest bill) or investments (other income), for example. A CFP professional can integrate all planning areas into the plan and come out with a more relevant and realistic plan for the client.

Helping Clients go From Reactive to Proactive

The financial planning process is about going from being reactive to being proactive with money. For clients, this can be both scary and liberating at the same time. When a CFP professional works with a client, they pay special attention to getting to know the client situation and finances. Then, they take time to understand the client’s goals and values. I was usually surprised after the spending analysis by the divergence in what most clients said was important and where their cash flow was going. Clients tend to think they know what they are doing with their money, but they do not tend to have an objective or accurate picture. A CFP professional can help provide that.

For clients, I have seen results of reduced stress, client health drastically improve, as well as their close relationships. Most clients are initially intimidated by financial planning, seeing a financial plan more like an academic exercise than a life strategy. I tended to get a ‘Did I pass?’ type of reaction when I presented the plan. After going through the process with clients, it is so gratifying to see clients attain life goals of education, business ownership or travel that they formerly never thought possible.

Financial planning is not a linear or static process. The financial plan is a living document and will change as the client’s life changes, and as all the surprises in life reveal themselves. CFP professionals help people make the most of their clients’ money so the clients can make the most of their lives.

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4 comments to Enriching the Client: The Value of Financial Planning

  • Bravo Cora!

    I like what you said about being proactive instead of reactive. People who are largely reactive are at the mercy of fate – never the master of their destinies. Imagine a ship’s captain who steers by whichever way the wind is currently blowing ignoring the perils of this path. The captain and those that follow would never know where their trip would end nor would they know the real risks they face. Yet this is the way 80% of people go through their lives – without a plan and with shifting priorities. I recently wrote an article addressing this in my real life story called “Rich Brother, Poor Brother”. ”
    Please keep writing. I want to read more.

  • Louise

    Financial planning is important because it allows us to stay in the direction of our goals. I agree its about being proactive and knowing the steps to take even before a problem occurs.

  • I agree that people should be proactive especially when it comes to matters concerning the future. Usually, being reactive only leaves you with nothing much to do to prevent major upsets.

  • James Smith

    Thanks for this post.Financial Planning is very much necessary for all people’s life to live the life peacefully. A Certified financial planner helps the clients to decide their financial planning. I am very much benefitted with Retirement Confidence in an Uncertain World service book. It helps me to take a proper retirement planning and now I am very satisfied also.

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