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By contrast, the OPFP can easily be updated on an ongoing basis every year, or even at every check-in meeting with the client throughout the year — which makes it easier for an advisor to pivot in unforeseen circumstances and disruptions such as, for example, a pandemic! Because the OPFP is a living document, a first draft can be constructed as soon as an advisor begins meeting with a new client, simply using standard Document and Spreadsheet tools e. As while the Plan will shift a lot over the first few weeks, it nonetheless provides a framework that advisors and clients can work through together to reach mutual clarity.
And once an OPFP has been refined and has buy-in from both an advisor and client, it can even become the centerpiece of meetings, because both parties agree that the OPFP has the most important information in order to make informed decisions.
Simmering down a financial plan to one page may be a hard adjustment at first, but it is certainly worth pursuing as a time- and information-efficient option to show clients what they need to know. He also recently created a Course made for financial advisors in conjunction with Carl Richards on the topic of this article — The One Page Financial Plan. The course has three tiers — template only, full video course along with templates, and customized coaching. The financial planning industry has evolved over the years — from selling products, to selling information, to selling advice.
And this is why the process of planning is actually more important than the plan. They hire us as financial advisors precisely because they expect us to know all of and analyze those details. The idea of the One-Page Financial Plan is to help clients and advisors! Accordingly, the OPFP summarizes these, custom-tailored to how an advisor works best with his or her clients.
In other words, rather than printing or linking or screen-sharing to 20 or 30 or 50 or pages of information with 4 different log-ins, the OPFP puts it all together on one simple page. Notably, because the OPFP is meant to bring together all the key points across various financial planning software tools and analyses, it may indeed still be helpful at times to log into the different platforms with the client — or provide them access to it without the advisor present — to verify or to dig deeper into certain areas at times.
Nonetheless, the key concepts themselves are all consolidated in the One-Page Financial Plan. In other words, the Plan should be tailored to what the client needs to see and wants to talk about which from an efficiency standpoint makes all the stronger of a case to work with a consistent niche of clients , because it means a more consistent standardized OPFP can be used with all of them!
Below is an image of my OPFP at Fident Financial , with a description of what I include in it, and it is pretty consistent with each client that I work with. I start with Family Values. The reason I start here is because I have a strong belief that good financial decisions have their genesis in values, as Bill Bachrach recently talked about with Kitces. These values take longer in the discovery process to really drill down and discover, but they are the least likely to change over time and really form the foundation on which the rest of the plan is built , compared to the rest of the content on the OPFP itself which may be more fluid as life progresses.
Click To Tweet. For simplicity's sake on taxes, I just look at Federal, state, local, and property taxes, and generally pull it from their tax return when looking backward, and then make an estimate when looking forward. This can be either forward- or backward-looking. This can be a tricky area, as it requires a degree of creative constraint , given that you can only list so many goals here in a limited space.
I try to help the client determine which are the most important objectives to them, on which we can take action now or shortly… and then summarize those particular short-to-intermediate-term goals alongside their current status. Which can be especially helpful when markets become volatile, and we need to connect their portfolio decisions back to the original goals that allocation was intended to achieve. At the top of the right column, I include a Historical Net Worth chart.
Next, I include an Asset Location chart. This shows in a quick snapshot where our tax liabilities lie in our investments i. Generally I exclude cash or money in the bank here, and focus only on actual investments. Or at least my version of it. An advisor could almost as easily do this within Microsoft Office.
In turn, I currently have two main exterior providers that feed the primary data into the Plan: RightCapital and Holistiplan. There are a number of reasons why a One-Page Financial Plan is beneficial for advisors to use with their clients, but arguably the most compelling reason is simply that many or for some advisors, the majority of clients rarely even go through the comprehensive financial plan document that we have traditionally produced.
And once that binder leaves our office, clients may never crack the spine of it again. The OPFP simply recognizes this fact and distills the larger plan as a whole into the parts that clients actually care about , that they pay attention to… and that they have the bandwidth to absorb in the meeting itself.
They had paid me thousands of dollars to create a financial plan for them — and I was giving them a single document to walk away with? How on earth could I justify myself in this? After all, if clients just wanted the volume of information alone, they could have done a Google search and surfed the internet themselves. The client comes to us not for the information, but for someone to distill it for them into the key takeaways they need to glean to move forward. After I launched my firm, I had a small handful of clients transition with me from my previous firm.
All of which had received both the full-blown, multi-section, leather-binder type of plan, as well as my new OPFP. And a majority of them — without solicitation — voluntarily told me how much more they appreciated the simplicity of the one-pager. One even said they felt guilty telling me previously that they never looked at the old plan, because they realized how many hours of labor were probably involved in just the assembly of it alone.
A second reason why I think more advisors should use the OPFP is that it helps clients — and ourselves — focus on the right things. It is short and simple enough that we are more clearly able to distinguish what is Noise, and what is Signal, in the whirling winds of information bombarding us every day. Carl Richards has a great sketch that shows what we should focus on — the overlap of things that are both actually important, and actually controllable. A One-Page Financial Plan helps distinguish these things.
As one side-effect of the traditional financial plan being so long — and time-consuming to produce — is that most firms only update it once every several years. While the OPFP, being much shorter and easier to produce, can be updated on a more ongoing basis every year or even at every check-in meeting with the client. Nicely documented estimates that included assumptions on income, working careers, and returns on assets were all blown up for many clients in the past 18 months.
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