Considering Planning

Every once in a while, I am asked to speak to a group.  Here is my latest talk to a group of professionals.

Good morning and thank you for allowing me to speak with you this morning.  When I am asked to speak, I try to envision in what topics the audience may have interest.  I have addressed topics like being the hero of your only life.  I have spoken on the foundations of thought that go into each individual plan and the ethics a good advisor must consider to ensure your wishes are the focus of your planning.

This morning, I wish to address some things that continue to come up everywhere and bothers me.  Whether it is a printed advertisement that moves us to panic, a piece of propaganda supporting a particular political ideology, the 24 hour television news that moves from crisis to crisis, or, what I will call, the “am talk radio” pollution, it is all similar, in my opinion.  We, as humans, wish to know what is “right” and prefer not to be on the losing side of something we consider important.

So, I am a trained economist and reviewing ideas and situations is my specialty.  What I try to accomplish, for those that will listen to me, is to remove the sensationalism from the subject.  I want to break away from what is being spoon fed to us and look to understand what is really of interest.  And to provide solutions that make our clients more confident in the paths they choose.

And it isn’t easy.  If the future would just reveal itself a little sooner, I would have an easier time and you would, too. (smile and pause)

I have always had an interest in planning for individuals.  For the last 18 years, it has been part of my career.  And, in 2008, when the market went down as dramatically as it did, I had to reflect and review how I was working with clients.  My clients did relatively well, considering what was going on around us.  They were properly diversified in the textbook definition.   We, also, did well compared to many people I reviewed.

What I did determine was that the clients, who are planning clients, seemed to take significantly less risk than those who I just advised on their investments.  Why?  Many clients’ goals can be accomplished with less risk than what the individual thinks is necessary and the planning reflected this information.  As you may imagine, I strongly suggested to all my investment clients that we change our relationship to a planning relationship.  That was about half my client relationships in which our focused changed. 

Planning is my value proposition.  Sure, it takes skill to implement what we do and how we do it but the planning is our libation of choice for our clients and our client experience.  With planning, we talk about their goals and what they wish to accomplish during their one time on this earth.

So, let us address a few of the challenges I see to clients being successful today, how we can true their situation, and add more confidence to their lives.

Whether you are the CEO of a company making a salary we can all dream about, the superstar sales person to your organization, or the everyday worker who makes the everyday wage, budgeting issues continue to impact the lives around families.  Economizing your resources and focusing on the things you find of value is one of the keys to being a healthy adult with high self esteem and a sense of control.  Life, at times, can be overwhelming.  No doubts.  Many are still experiencing the challenges of our latest depression.

While I don’t spend a lot of time with my clients on everyday expenses, I like to remind them that they are not alone in their challenges.  For our entire human history, man has had to make decisions on how to use their resources.  You are not any different and making decisions is “okay”.

I have introduced the concepts of zero-based budgeting to my clients.  In fact, when I teach financial courses, we spend a large part of the course having the individual create their own budget and use the zero-based budget to establish priorities and ensure resources are focused on accomplishing the goals they value with the timeliness they establish.  Zero-based budgeting is simply having all financial resources designated toward something as it comes in.  No resources are without a target like an expense or savings.  Our goals are to eliminate debt over a period of time, build wealth, and find something you value being the focal point of your earnings.

So, let me address another topic.  What are the basics to a proper financial plan?

I am an economist who is a generalist to many subjects.  I am not a banker but I can assist in reviewing cash flow or help you ask the right questions.  I am not an insurance representative but I can assist in getting you insured.  We seek to ensure our clients have disability coverage in case you are injured and unable to work, proper death benefits through life insurance in the case of your passing and to help support those dependent on your income, and long term care insurance for later in life.  We don’t sell insurance but I help explain the considerations and help you shop.  I am not a stock broker or money manager but I can help you avoid many of the challenges to achieving your wealth.  I am not a tax preparer but I can help you review the trade-offs or how to hold your assets when planning.  I am not an attorney but I can help you think about the documents you should consider or help you implement your plan after working with your attorney.  I help you organize your financial holdings and provide the third party review of the pitchmen who visit with their latest ideas.  As you can see, I am a generalist but I am so much more.  I am the guy who helps give you the confidence to discriminate effectively.

If I could give any individual a feeling when working with my office, it would be something I read and think important to share.  You are safe and loved.  Everything we work on is for your benefit and the goals you establish.

If I could ask for something from those who choose to work with us, it would be to learn to trust the process.  We spent a lot of time thinking about how we work with you to ensure your needs are met with greater confidence.  We want you to experience all the successes you find important.

Thank you, again, for this honor and your time.  May I answer any questions?


To better understand the nature and scope of the advisory services and business practices of Wealthcare Capital Management, Inc., please review our SEC Form ADV Part 2a, which is available here. Past performance is not a guide to future returns.



About Christopher Hessenflow

Christopher Hessenflow is a financial planner in the Chicago area. He works with all sorts of people who are much more interesting than he is. He enjoys his career which lends him time to think and, sometimes, be creative. Chip was born bald.
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