Time to Plan Your Financial Advisers Summit

by Steve Cassaday, CFP®, CFS

Could you imagine a house being built by a crew whose members never spoke with one another and worked without plans or an architect? Would that be a house anyone would want to live in?

Of course not, but many businesspeople take that approach when dealing with financial planning and asset management.

Investment management, estate planning, accumulation and distribution of wealth, taxes and insurance are interrelated and need to be carefully coordinated. Although most successful businesspeople have professionals who provide services in these areas, they seldom have those experts sit around a table and have a conversation about financial issues.

One of the best ways to do this is to schedule an annual advisers’ summit where your advisers get together to discuss your situation and what they are doing to make it as great as possible. Your responsibility is to get serious about the event, properly prepare for it and insist on follow-through by all parties including yourself.

For this meeting to be productive, an agenda with specific items to address should be shared with all parties beforehand. This is important and merits an investment of time on your part.

Set aside an hour at least and write down all the things that are on your mind, your wonders and worries, your goals, objectives and expectations. Involve others in this process —spouses, C-level execs at your company, adult children etc. Create a folder in your e-mail program so that between meetings you can drop in e-mails, documents and spreadsheets for later reference.

Someone who can take notes and produce minutes should be present at the meeting. These minutes should include action items and due dates for everyone present, if applicable, and should be kept, along with all other documents and exhibits, in your “Adviser Summit” folder.

During the meeting, you should ask for status reports from each professional, followed by comments from all present. The importance of the meeting will be apparent at this point as the alchemy of interaction produces strategies that often would not have otherwise surfaced. The gathering together of professionals can more fully assure that all aspects of your financial and business plan are considered in a thoughtful and carefully coordinated fashion.

You might feel unqualified to carry out the responsibilities of preparation, coordination and organization associated with the summit, in which case a “quarterback” should be considered. A properly trained certified financial planner is usually best qualified to perform this function.

An annual adviser summit can provide greater certainty of a successful outcome. In less time than it takes to plan a vacation, you can create huge potential value.

As seen in the 5/17/2010 issue of Washington Business Journal


Contact Michelle Tigani

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