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Value of advisor financial life planning
October 29, 2020

The Value of an Advisor: Financial Life Planning

Financial Planning Committee

As we continue to explore the value of an advisor through this series of blog posts, we wanted to address financial life planning and the value this can bring to a relationship. The value of comprehensive wealth management can be difficult to quantify. The research conducted on this topic has resulted in different outcomes. For the most part, this can be attributed to the fact that not all financial advisors approach financial planning the same way. Vanguard’s Advisor Alpha study demonstrates that 150 basis points (or a 1.5 percent increase) can be added to a relationship through behavioral coaching or helping with financial decision making. At JNBA, we believe in being an advocate in all matters of your financial life and strive to deliver even greater value than the data suggests. Whether it’s helping evaluate income tax strategies, the timing of deferred compensation or stock payouts, reviewing property and casualty insurance, or creating an education savings plan for your kids, we feel it is important to be a trusted resource for your entire financial life. And often, this means being a resource or a sounding board as you navigate tough decisions or transitions in your life that do not appear to be financial in nature.

Life Transition Planning

As you experience different transitions in life such as marriage, birth of a child, unemployment, loss of family member or spouse, retirement, or other life-altering events, your concerns or feelings about money are likely to change. We feel it is important to meet on a frequent basis to learn about new transitions or issues you are facing. We want to be a resource for all areas of your financial life to ensure an increased sense of financial well-being and life satisfaction.

When we first start working with you, we begin a discovery process to learn about your values, priorities, circumstances, and goals. This often means spending time to understand your family including lessons you learned about money at an early age that have shaped the way you view money today. Once we have a clear understanding of your values, the purpose for the money you are saving, and how you want to be spending your time, we can begin to put together a plan that aligns with your values, goals, and priorities. We also know that life will continue to change and your goals or priorities may shift. Establishing a relationship with a trusted partner who as a fiduciary only has your best interests in mind can help you navigate life’s transitions as well as its unforeseen ups and downs.

Financial Behaviors

One of the greatest benefits a financial advisor can provide is a disciplined process that removes emotion from decision making. When you’ve spent so many years working and saving money for retirement, it can be hard to “buy low and sell high.” Periods of market volatility remind us the importance of a disciplined approach, and an advisor can be valuable by ensuring you stick to your investment strategy and reduce the likelihood of selling to cash at the bottom or buying the “hot stock” at the top of the market. Deviating from the investment strategy and process may result in lower investment returns or more portfolio volatility which could delay your goals for retirement or reduce the amount you can gift to family members in the future. Staying the course and having a disciplined process help to ensure you are able to achieve your goals.

Similarly, a financial advisor can also help you to evaluate your options as you work toward retirement. This might mean evaluating the purchase of a cabin now to have the family time you want with your kids while understanding you may have to work four more years to have the retirement lifestyle you desire. These conversations can often be the most motivating for families because once they have a clear understanding of their goals and what they want to achieve, it is easier to decide if they want to buy the new home, retire early, or save more to have their dream retirement. There are also instances where you need guidance on decisions that do not seem financial in nature. For example, you may want to spend more of your time giving back to charitable organizations but find that between work and family you do not have the time to dedicate to this area of your life. While this can seem like a time issue, there may be a financial component worth exploring. Through conversation and projection work, we can explore what a reduced work schedule might do to your retirement plan and let you make a confident decision if the tradeoff is worthwhile.

At JNBA, we are driven to help you navigate life’s most challenging decisions and transitions by developing a plan that is customized and works to optimize your resources. We believe helping you stick to the plan is often the greatest value we can provide – even if it is sometimes hard to quantify.

As we continue our “The Value of an Advisor” series, we will share more about how best practices addressed in industry research can support individuals’ and families’ long-term financial outcomes.


JNBA is not an accountant and no portion of the above should be construed as accounting advice. All accounting issues should be addressed with an accounting professional of your choosing.

Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from JNBA Financial Advisors, LLC.

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