Zach strives to help enterprise firms stay out in front of the pack with technology by helping to implement easy and repeatable internal processes. Zach enjoys learning more about a firms process to help fit technology and strategy together to achieve their goals.
Financial plan presentation has become stagnant over time. Plans are often presented to a client in the form of a binder full of reports, text, and a few graphs — these can sometimes be up to 100 pages in length. I will be the first to say that being in-depth and comprehensive within your financial plan is the proper approach. There are now much simpler ways, however, to convey this information without giving a client a five-pound binder.
Focusing on peace of mind in plan presentation
Checking the boxes for all areas of your client’s financial life is key; I believe, however, advisors should focus on something a little different when presenting financial plan — peace of mind. The point of crafting a financial plan is to help clients understand the process of achieving their goals and put strategies in place that instill confidence in their ability to meet these goals.
It may take 10 pages, or it may take 100 pages. The point should not be to take a one-size-fits-all approach to the planning process but to cater it and make it scalable to each client’s unique needs. This can be done with varied plan presentation strategies – from the number of report pages produced or form in which the plan is presented.
Alternative 1: Crafting easy-to-understand, visually appealing report presentations
The NaviPlan® financial planning software from Advicent provides advisors with flexibility in all stages of the planning process but also gives them plan presentation options outside of the traditional paper format. The first option involves a more collaborative format through presentations. The NaviPlan Presentation Module allows the advisor and client to work “on the fly” and bring parts of the financial plan into a visually appealing presentation that is editable.
This makes it easier to update the report as your clients experience life changes. It also showcases the impact of the life changes and financial strategies on the financial plan in real time. This allows for the client to see the effects that positive changes could have on their financial life and also enables easier ongoing maintenance of the plan.
Too often, I see advisors provide a plan and not revisit that plan to update it and keep it current with their clients’ ever-changing situations. Leveraging technology like Presentation Module offers a plan presentation process that is repeatable each year to ensure that clients are on track with their goals.
Alternative 2: Presenting financial plans in a digital format
The second alternative for delivering a plan is digitally through our NaviPlan client portal. This alternative allows a client to access their financial plan 24/7 through a digital channel on their computer, phone, or tablet. Clients can see their entire financial lifeline with information derived from the financial plan their advisor generated for them in an interactive format.
They can see where their goals line up on their lifeline and when they will reach their goals if they stick to the plan. It also allows both the client and advisor to understand the progress made in reaching goals and how to meet them using the proper strategies.
Presenting a plan in a digital format can also help in the ongoing maintenance of the plan by encouraging regular client engagement through notifications and our "explore your options" tool, which allows clients to experiment with possible strategy adjustments on their own.
The traditional route of printed financial plans will always have a place in the process and is important for a client to understand their goals. It is imperative that you do not dismiss new technology that can help deliver peace of mind and offer a better client experience that keeps the client involved in the process throughout the year.
To learn more about how Advicent technology empowers financial professionals to instill a more transparent, collaborative, and continual relationship with clients, click here.