Financial Planning 101:
Client Stories

I’m getting ready to retire, have I saved enough money? How much can I withdraw from my retirement accounts without fear of running out of money? Do I have savings and retirement accounts invested in the right things? Are my investments too conservative or am I taking too much risk for my age? These are just some of the questions I’m asked by clients when they decide to meet about financial planning.

In Parts One and Two of this Financial Planning 101 series I have discussed reasons for having a financial plan prepared, and how to choose a financial planner to work with. In this final series entry, I’ve asked a few of my clients to share their experiences of having a financial plan prepared. Maybe some of these insights will resonate with you.

Financial Planning Client Perspectives

Why did you decide to have a financial plan prepared?

“We are approaching our retirement years and needed to have an understanding of how much longer I need to keep working and what our future spending might be based on our current savings. After reading a few books on the topic of retirement and finances, it became evident it takes an expert to put all of the moving parts into an organized plan. “

“We are nearing retirement and wanted assurance that our financial situation was adequate and understand how our retirement investments should be dispersed during retirement.”

“We are nearing full retirement and wanted a professional analysis of our financial situation. We felt like we had a good understanding but wanted another perspective. We learned a lot from the plan.”

“We recently retired and wanted a written analysis of our current financial position and a plan for our retirement years.”

Motivators: Retirement and Health

Approaching retirement is a common theme. Understandably! After years of working and saving, you are now switching to spending and withdrawing from savings. It can be scary.
Retirement is not the only reason clients have chosen to work with a planner. Often clients are working with two or more investment brokers, as well as having one or more retirement plans (IRA, 401K, 403b). They often want an independent planner to look at all the investments and retirement plans together and review the overall asset allocation of all investments combined, as well as long-term financial goals.

Sometimes health reasons can also play a factor. I’ve dealt with clients with memory or other health issues. Often one spouse is the designated person to oversee all financial issues, and they want to work with a planner so that when their health declines, the other spouse will have someone to assist them and is familiar with all their holdings. In one instance, a client with short-term memory issues wanted an independent advisor to review the combined asset allocation of the various investment accounts held, plan for withdrawals from retirement and investments, as well as assist him in working with his brokers. In addition, we maintained an updated list of the various investments held for estate planning. While this was the initial reason for meeting with a planner, it became a continuing relationship in which the plan was updated at least annually.

Client Feedback

Why did they choose me (a CPA/CFP) to prepare the financial plan?

“Penny has a favorable reputation in the community as being highly ethical and easy to work with. She is very thorough, and because she is both a CPA and a CFP, we knew it would be a good fit for us.”

“Penny has been our family and business accountant for over 25 years. Her expertise, financial guidance for so many years, and personal commitment to our understanding and satisfaction of her services is exactly who we want to help plan our future retirement needs.”

“We thought it best to find someone we could pay directly for the service as opposed to a person trying to sell us something.”

“Penny is a CFP and a CPA. She doesn’t sell any investment or retirement products. No conflicts of interest.”

Often clients are reluctant to share all their financial details with someone who sells investments. Not all advisors may have extensive knowledge of tax laws, which can be a significant factor in a financial plan. Finding a financial planner with experience and a good reputation is important. To learn more about how to find a financial planner, check their credentials and obtain a fee estimate, read part two of this series.

Additional Insights

“As we used her tool to gather the information she needed from us, it made me realize how convoluted the process is to get a handle on future taxes and planning withdrawals from our retirement accounts. Regardless of how few or how many assets someone has, it is amazing to me the numerous factors that impact a comprehensive plan. It will now be easy to update it periodically with her.”

“The final report and detailed explanation Penny provides has had such an important impact on our confidence going into retirement.”

“For us, it was comforting to see the projections in writing. Retirement is a big decision and without the data, there are a lot of unknowns.”

“Good communicator; made it understandable. Friendly and down to earth. Respected our privacy. Gave us various alternatives to work with.”

I truly enjoy working with clients to develop their financial plan to assist them in achieving their financial goals. The positive feedback I receive from my clients, knowing the plan has provided them a roadmap and confidence in their financial future, is what makes my job worthwhile.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional for your specific situation.

Filed under: Dollars & Sense, Life, News
Profile photo of Penny Wasem, CPA, CFP, PFS, owner of Lifetime Financial Planning Solutions in Lancaster, Ohio.

By Penny Wasem, CPA, CFP, PFS

Penny L. Wasem is the owner of Lifetime Financial Planning Solutions, LLC. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Penny earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with focus in accounting and mathematics. She serves on the board of The Fairfield Medical Center Foundation, is a member of the Investment Committee of The Fairfield County Foundation and has been active on many non-profit boards in the community. Penny lives in Lancaster with her husband Eric Hubbard and is parent to Clark and Olivia Hubbard.