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The Anatomy of a Great Financial Plan

Think of a great story, maybe one from your life, a movie you love or a book you couldn’t put down. That story is unique, with one-of-a kind characters, twists and turns.

Great stories don’t follow a formula—and neither do great financial plans. I tell my clients, many of whom are LGTBQ individuals, that the anatomy of a great financial plan is all about their vision and values, and it needs a competent champion. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals know that a great financial plan reflects your best interests, and building that plan starts by getting to know you.

CFP® professionals are deeply committed to bringing their best to their profession and putting clients’ interests first, always. They deliver on this commitment by taking the time to fully hear and know their clients.

For many LGBTQ clients, for example, being heard might mean taking the time to hear their views about personal issues such as legacy planning and guiding them through these issues while being their champion.

I am fortunate to collaborate with CFP® professionals in my community of practice who apply the CFP Board’s rigorous education, training and ethical standards to financial planning efforts. CFP® professionals think about the anatomy of a great financial plan this way:

1) Putting clients’ interests first. Your story is at the heart of your plan, so CFP® professionals spend time getting to know you and your best interests—your relationship with money, your life’s journey, your responsibilities and your big dreams. When you share what matters most to you and are being heard, your financial planning partner can help you develop a meaningful financial plan in your best interests.

2) Applying knowledge and skill. Beginning and building a financial plan can sometimes feel daunting. For example, nearly two-thirds of the LGBTQ community say they’ve experienced financial challenges because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Consider working with a CFP® professional who has the knowledge and skill to understand your specific needs and demographics. Be confident that CFP Board is committed to helping underrepresented and underserved individuals and offerings and is consistently supporting CFP® professionals with related knowledge and skills.

3) Aligning with clients’ values and goals. CFP® professionals are passionate about living the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct throughout all interactions. This might mean ensuring your investments are aligned with your values regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. With a CFP® professional, you’ll have a financial planning partner who can thoroughly research and assess relevant opportunities, such as sustainable investing, that reflect the ideals that matter to you.

4) Creating a holistic roadmap. When making a plan, it’s not enough to simply discuss investment or insurance needs. Your CFP® professional wants to hear your short- and long-term goals and your biggest dreams, from planning for loved ones’ financial security to supporting charities you feel passionately about. Of course, realizing your financial goals can be complicated by factors such as same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships and parental recognition. Your CFP® professional will work with you on a holistic approach for your big dreams by providing competent and ethical advice based on your entire life roadmap.

Contact a CFP® professional today to share your story and build the anatomy of a great financial plan that’s right for you.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, The Wealth Consulting Group, and Family Wealth Management Group are separate entities from LPL Financial. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. and LPL Financial are separate entities.

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