Broker Check

56 Holistic Planning Topics

| March 06, 2016
Holistic Planning

 Big Picture -- Pure Planning

  1. Ethical Will: If you died and then could come back for just 15 minutes … what would you say? … And to whom?
  2. Access Online: Can an adult child / loved one who lives out of the area access your critical documents in minutes … i.e. online / in the Cloud?
  3. Access – Shared Computer: Can your spouse or other nearby loved ones access critical information and documents on your password-protected computer or smart phone?
  4. Beneficiary Designation Forms: Are you aware that IRAs, annuities and life insurance go outright to those named on your Beneficiary Designation forms? (Unless a Trust is named beneficiary in more complex planning.)  Are your Beneficiary Designation forms … accurate … complete … up-to-date … accessible … safeguarded like your other critical documents?
  5. Cloud (Backup .. Accessibility ... Other functions) Have you backed up your important paper documents in the cloud for protection from … fire … hurricane … tornado … other perils?  If so, does your spouse / other loved one have access to your password protected Cloud?
  6. Digital Imaging: Have you scanned / digitized your important documents … so these documents can readily be … Emailed to a distant Loved One? Stored in the Cloud?  Accessed in minutes by a distant loved one?
  7. Ethical Will: (Please see above.)
  8. Financial Plan: Do you have an accurate, current,  written financial plan?
  9. Five Wishes: Have you completed Five Wishes for yourself? … Has your spouse?  Does an adult child / loved one have a copy?
  10. Identity Theft Protection: What, if any, steps have you taken to protect your identity?
  11. Lead Family Member: You intentionally—legally-- treat everyone equally to minimize family conflict when you are gone… so … have you named a Lead Family Member to informally …mediate conflicts… keep people properly informed … perhaps select outside professionals, etc.?
  12. Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) (Health Proxy): Have you completed a MPOA valid under state law … and provided a copy to your medical powerholder …and your primary health care provider?
  13. Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) Health Proxy Quiz: So all parties best understand your wishes, have … you … your Health Care Proxy … and / or your Physician all taken the Health Proxy Quiz … and reviewed the results?
  14. MPOA in the Cloud (filed electronically:  Have you filed your MPOA electronically / in the Cloud … so that your powerholder can access your MPOA in minutes and then provide a copy of your MPOA to your health care providers … (rather than being forced by your health care providers to use their MPOA written by their attorneys?)
  15. Outright Distribution: Will anyone (everyone) receive an outright (lump sum) inheritance at your death?  Perhaps as a Beneficiary of an IRA?  Are they competent to manage the lump sum they will receive?  Would you like to explore alternatives?
  16. Passwords [Strong – Accessible—periodic change] For your password-protected items, (e.g. cell phone, computer, cloud) have you established “strong” passwords of at least 8 characters using … Upper case … lower case … numbers … and special characters?  When were your passwords last changed?  How did you communicate your updated passwords to Loved Ones who might need access?
  17. Per Stirpes: Do your Beneficiary Designation forms cause the possible (inadvertent) disinheritance of one or more grandchildren?
  18. Power of Attorney – Durable (financial) Have you completed a valid Durable Power of Attorney under your state laws?  Have you received written confirmation from your financial providers that they will honor your POA?  How old is it?
  19. Quality of Life Directive: Have you completed a Quality of Life Directive?
  20. Survivors’ Guide: Have you completed a Survivors’ Guide showing specific details of the location and accessibility of all needed information and documents at your death or incapacity?
  21. Tax Savings: When did you last have your Financial Advisor review your 1040 and all schedules? [You may be paying excessive / unnecessary taxes.]
  22. Team Selection: Does the team of professionals you use include Legal, Tax, Property & Casualty Insurance, and a Certified Financial Planner TM Professional [ CFP® ] “quarterback” who passed exams in multiple disciplines?
  23. Titling of Assets: Will your asset titling cause unnecessary expense, delay and even publicity before your heirs receive what you want them to?  Is your titling consistent with your Beneficiary Designations and / or Trust(s?)
  24. Trust Checklist: Do you need a trust for control or tax purposes?  If so, when did your Legal, Tax and Financial professionals confer together to coordinate your affairs?
  25. Trust Protector: Does your trust name someone who has the legal authority to fire the Trustee … e.g. especially a Bank / Law Firm / etc. if / when the trust is being milked for fees to the detriment of the beneficiaries?
  26. Will Checklist: Have you independently reviewed a Will Checklist?

Products and Services Analysis


  1. Conflicts of Interest: What Conflicts of Interest have your financial providers disclosed to you?
  2. Do-It-Yourself? Has any financial provider told you the advantages of “Doing-It-Yourself?  For all or a portion?
  3. Disability Income Insurance: If you are not already retired and not financially independent do you have disability income insurance … your own policy … or through an employer? How much will it provide?  Until when?
  4. Disclosure - Proactive: Were the following proactively disclosed to you:  Fees, expense, cost, compensation, conflict-of-interest information, (Preferred Lists, Soft Dollars) as well as advantages & disadvantages of all financial products & services you own and / or suitable alternatives to products you own?
  5. Diversification: Among your retirement income resources that are subject to market fluctuation, what is the correlation between the various items?
  6. Fees: Are you paying excessive or unnecessary fees … explicitly (you write the check) … or included inside a product or service in some manner? 
  7. Flavors of Financial Folks: Do you know what “flavors” your financial providers are? On what products & / or services do they get paid?  On what products & services do they choose … or are not legally allowed … to get paid?
  8. Fiduciary Standard: Do your financial professionals follow the Fiduciary Standard?  (It’s a “Yes or No” question.) 
  9. Increasing Retirement Income Potential: Do any of your resources providing retirement income … guaranteed and / or subject to market fluctuation … include the opportunity for increasing your retirement income during retirement?
  10. Interest Rate Volatility: Do you own bonds in any form that might decrease in principal value when interest rates go up?
  11. Investment Audit: When did you last receive a Written Investment Audit for all of your investments?
  12. Life Insurance: Is there life insurance on your life, or are you a beneficiary of a life insurance policy?  Is the policy guaranteed to be in force at the death of the insured, or is it some other kind of policy?  (Term?  Current assumption?) When was the last time you received an “In-Force” Analysis of any life insurance affecting you or family?
  13. Life Settlement: Do you own life insurance that your or the beneficiary no longer need? What would be the free market price of this life insurance in a Life (Insurance) Settlement transaction – selling your life insurance to an outside investor?
  14. Long Term Care Insurance: Is there LTCi currently in force on you, or on your spouse?  If not, and if you or your spouse were incapacitated, will your current retirement resources and all other assets be sufficient to pay for LTC costs without major disruption?
  15. Long Term Care alternate person informed: If there is LTCi on you / on your spouse, has an alternate person’s contact information been given to your carrier so that premiums can continue to be paid an d / or someone else is aware that coverage exists if you are incapacitated and unable to communicate.
  16. LTCi with Cash Value -- Death Benefit – Guaranteed Return of Premium: Have you explored Long Term Care in which you can get your money back and / or your beneficiary can receive a Death Benefit if you die without every needing the policy, so that premium dollars spent are never wasted?
  17. LTCi with premiums fixed and guaranteed not to rise: Have you explored this kind of LTCi? Do you want to?
  18. Lump Sum vs Guaranteed (Joint) Lifetime Income Stream: [Powerball Winner: Take the Annuity] Do you have a meaningful Lump Sum that you might convert … or partially convert … into a guaranteed (joint) lifetime income stream to “protect yourself from yourself and family and friends.
  19. Passive vs. Active: (“Inexpensive vs. Expensive”) What percentage of your risk (non-guaranteed) resource s are “passive?” (“Inexpensive?”)  
  20. Policy Review / “In-Force” Ledgers: When was the last time you received a Written Analysis showing the current, projected and guaranteed situations of your existing coverages?
  21. Preferred Lists / "Strategic Partners:" Do you own items included on Preferred Lists of your providers?  Was this disclosed to you before your ownership started?
  22. Product –Neutral: Are your financial folks “product-neutral?”  (“Service-neutral,” too?)
  23. Retirement Resource Weighting: What percentage of your retirement resources provide guaranteed lifetime income (e.g. pension, etc.?) What percentage of your retirement resources provide retirement income subject to market fluctuation?  What do you want those percentages to be?
  24. Return of Premium Guarantee: Do you understand the possible improvement to liquidity of a “Return of Premium” guarantee for your … Annuity … Life Insurance … Long Term Care?
  25. Risk / Reward: When was the last time you received a Risk / Reward written analysis? Are you being properly compensated for the amount of risk you are taking?
  26. Soft Dollars / Revenue Sharing Disclosure: Do any of your providers receive Soft Dollars and / or Revenue Sharing?  Was this disclosed to you?
  27. Tenure of Fund Management: Do you know the tenure of your Fund Managers?  Is this tenure in alignment with fund performance you may be interested in?
  28. Transparency: (also see disclosure) Have you been provided appropriate documentation on all issues affecting your financial products & services?
  29. Turnover Costs: Do you know the turnover costs of the products you own?
  30. Umbrella Liability Insurance: Do you own umbrella liability insurance that protects you from lawsuits and potential settlements larger than those covered by your existing insurances?

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