Our Client Experience
Many clients have told us that they’ve wanted help with their financial planning & investing work in the past and have tried only to feel overwhelmed, intimidated, or felt like the process ‘wasn’t for me’.
Bridge Financial Planning was built with these insights in mind. We think financial planning should be empowering and engaging. We know that when there’s a clear direction and less stress involved with financial decisions, you have more time to spend on the things that are most meaningful to you!
We can help you understand the implications of financial decisions and take the guesswork and stress out of managing your finances. Each aspect of your financial life is only a part of the larger picture. For example, a decision about your child’s education may have a direct effect on how and when you meet your retirement goals. Or an investment decision may have tax consequences that are harmful to your estate plans. Often, monthly spending habits affect your long-term goals. Your financial decisions are interrelated.
If you need help identifying risks and establishing and prioritizing goals or if you are not sure where and how to start, we may be the solution.
What should I expect from a financial planning relationship?
A professional advisor should always place the interest of the client ahead of his or her own – the definition of being a fiduciary. If a planner is a fiduciary, then he or she must understand the client’s goals, needs, and current financial situation; and make recommendations based on the best available options.
That’s why we are proud to be one of only a few firms that voluntarily holds ourselves to the highest standards in the industry by being a member of NAPFA (1 of only 4 in the Chattanooga area). Jennifer Harper has been a CFP® professional since 2006, and Allyson Hauss is a candidate for CFP® certification. We are a fee-only firm. That means we do not accept commissions, referral fees, or kickbacks from anyone. That allows our clients to focus on what’s important to them and know that we’re doing the same. We have signed a fiduciary oath.
Not all advisors are held to this standard. You should ask about it as you interview planners.
From the beginning, Bridge Financial Planning, LLC set out to make financial planning more welcoming.
What does it look like to become a client?
It all begins with a no-cost, no-obligation Initial Consultation. This meeting can be held in person, or by phone or video conference.
During this meeting, you can ask questions, give us insight about your current situation and share your goals and objectives. With the goal of understanding the scope of your needs, we’ll ask questions, and give information on our background, fees, investment philosophy, and explain the expectations of the client/planner relationship.
After our meeting, we take a bit of time to develop a proposal that we believe is best suited to you, based on the initial consultation conversation.
Each client and their situation are unique. We offer 3 service options to meet your needs.
1. Some clients are comfortable receiving their financial plan and implementing the plan on their own. For them, we offer hourly planning on an as needed basis. It can be customized to focus on one, several, or all financial planning topics.
Even ‘do-it-yourselfers’ that have the time and expertise to do their own planning and/or investing have received value from our professional and objective advice.
2. Others would benefit from more ongoing accountability to be sure they stay focused and on-track. But, they may not have a lot of assets to manage – yet, or may have a lot of investments held in an employer retirement plan. For clients like this, we offer a monthly retainer service model. We work together closely in the early months to be sure everything is moving in the right direction. From there, we can meet as needed and tackle any revisions or updates that are needed along the way to stay on track.
3. We also offer asset management services. Asset management includes financial planning when assets are greater than $250,000.
After mutually determining the scope of the financial planning engagement, the proposal will clarify the goals discussed and the steps going forward. Client agreements and regulatory compliance documents are shared and completed. Questionnaires will follow to further determine not only your stated needs and goals, but also values, priorities, and risk tolerance.
A secure Client Dashboard is created for each client to log into and add sensitive information as well as link accounts to ensure the most accurate details are used to develop planning and recommendations.
Information we often request include:
· Tax returns
· Credit card Statements
· Bank and Investment Account Statements
· Social Security Documents
· Company Benefits
· Retirement Account Statements and Information
· Insurance policy information (health, property, life, disability, etc.)
· Education Accounts
Next, a Base Facts Review meeting either in person or by phone/video is scheduled to be sure both client and planner are on the same page and all facts and assumptions are correct. After all, a plan is only as good as the information and assumptions going into the plan!
Then we’ll analyze and evaluate your financial details and develop financial planning recommendations, choices, and alternatives based on your circumstances. This is when we create alternative scenarios that will help answer your questions. Common questions include:
· Is it possible for me to retire when I plan to?
· Am I taking enough/too-much risk in my investment portfolio? Am I well diversified?
· Do I have enough/too-much insurance?
· Can I afford to fully fund my child(ren’s) education and retirement too?
· Should I focus on paying down debt or saving more?
· Which is better for me: renting or buying a home?
· Should I keep my mortgage or pay it down quickly?
· What if we moved to another state in retirement?
· Can I still meet my long-term goals if I took a pay cut for better quality of life?
· As a business owner, how can I manage the financial interconnection between my business and personal finances?
Once we’ve spent time creating your plan, we schedule a time for the Plan Delivery meeting. This is a time for us to share our observations and advice. It is also a time for educating and understanding the impacts of different scenarios. We’ll cover each of the topics outlined in our client agreement.
When we have an ongoing client relationship, the next step is implementing the plan. We can help implement investment strategies and help you stay on track with other tasks such as debt reduction, employee benefit changes, and provide support and encouragement as you become more financially empowered and your plan is more aligned with your goals.
We can help you avoid financial setbacks, deal with unexpected life events, get out of and/or avoid debt, evaluate education and retirement spending and scenarios, and decide where to put your money to reach your goals.
Have confidence that with clear direction you can make progress toward your financial goals.
Will it take time, determination, and discipline on your part? YES!
Schedule your Initial Consultation HERE.