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Getting the most from your financial plan with an annual service calendar Thumbnail

Getting the most from your financial plan with an annual service calendar

By Jeff McDermott

"How often do you meet with your advisor?”

“What do you normally talk with him or her about?”

Have you had to answer these questions before? I often ask these questions during an initial meeting with clients. It helps me understand what their current relationship is with their advisor, and what their expectations are. The answers to the first question are usually pretty typical, something like “we usually sit down once a year”, or “we check in about once a quarter.” When it's the client’s first time meeting with a financial planner they may not be not sure what to expect, and that’s OK too. 

The second question, “What do you normally discuss?” is a little trickier. I’ve heard everything from “going over the investments” to “I don’t really know.” Rarely can a client articulate any real purpose for these check-in meetings. 

To solve this problem and provide a clear purpose and direction to our regular meetings, Create Wealth Financial Planning uses a Client Service Calendar for all of our ongoing planning clients. Having a client service calendar means that quarterly conversations are efficient because we have a clear agenda set well in advance. Meetings are also productive with specific accomplishments for each quarter. In your first year, the service calendar is packed full of items to help us get things done, mainly addressing and implementing the recommendations from your initial plan. In future years, the service calendar is filled with items to maintain the great work implemented in the first year and make sure every aspect of your plan is reviewed routinely for improvement. While everyone’s service calendar will vary based on the unique needs of your plan, here is an example of what a typical schedule might look like.

Every Quarter:Have a clear agenda communicated well in advance for a productive review

  • Items top of mind for the client - Let’s not forget that this financial plan is about you, and if you have a top concern or a change to your life, your most important issues top the agenda.
  • Review and Rebalance of 401k and other investment accounts
  • Review of any cash flow goals

Q1:

  • Prior year review and upcoming year goal setting
  • Gather tax information and meet with accountant if needed
  • IRA Contributions
  • Career and salary review and benchmarking

Q2:

  • Review recently filed tax return for planning opportunities
  • Property and casualty insurance review
  • Review of debt and/or student loan planning

Q3:

  • Savings and emergency fund review
  • Life and disability insurance and estate planning review
  • Retirement plan investment analysis

Q4:

  • Employee benefits analysis
  • Year-end tax planning
  • Charitable giving
  • Credit report review

At Create Wealth Financial Planning it is important for us to know that we are providing the kind of comprehensive planning that we promise our clients, and our client service calendar helps us stay on track. It also ensures our clients can easily answer the questions “How often do you meet with your advisor?”, and “What do you normally talk about?” 


This content is a general example of what a client's annual calendar may look like, but each investors situation may very. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or a suggestion to execute any particular strategy without a comprehensive review first. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.