What does a (great) advisor actually do?
Updated: Jan 19, 2022
I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I do for clients throughout the year. Notice that intelligent portfolio management is a part of my process, but note that it is only a part, and that there are many other things I do to help clients save money on taxes, grow their net worth, and achieve their goals. Not all of these are relevant to every client, and many of these are done behind the scenes. But I hope this will be an interesting high-level summary that what a year of working together might look like.
December & January: Cash Flow & Liquidity Planning
Which tax forms should you (the client) expect to receive in the coming months?
Review cash on hand
Personal Emergency Fund (3, 6, or 12 months of cash)
Business Capital (1 year of cash)
Review major expenses for year ahead
Cash flow timeline for the next two to five years
Sources of cash flow
Uses of cash flow
Is cash available when needed?
Does surplus cash have a productive plan?
Review cash reserve adequacy
Does it cover expenses for the timeframe planned?
Can it be invested productively? To what extent?
February & March: Retirement contributions for the prior year
Employer plan contributions (self-employed)
IRA contributions (Trad or Roth)
May & June: Life Planning, Estate Planning, and Distributions
6 Month Financial Journal Update
Do all accounts have a designated beneficiary? Is it up to date?
Are all life insurance needs covered?
Are wills and trusts in place?
Is existing Property and Casualty Insurance, Business Insurance coverage adequate? Reasonable price?
10 Year Vision (Best Life in 10 Years Exercise)
5 Year Goals, 3 Year Goals
Actions for the Next 90 Days
Review and Update "Bucket List"
Take distributions from retirement accounts to fund another great year of retirement
October & November: Retirement Planning & Tax Planning
Review Goals and Vision
6 Month Financial Journal Updates
Review Net Worth Statement
Portfolio allocation and performance
Major assets and debts
Touch base on retirement plan, are things on track?
Is savings rate on track? Is there opportunity and/or need to increase it?
Review estimated income and taxes for the year
Eligibility for Roth?
Review 401k, IRA contributions
Any major tax credits to make sure they are eligible for?
HSA eligibility and contributions
Assess opportunities to reduce taxes into year-end
Assess opportunities to take advantage of a low-tax year
Donor Advised Funds
Ongoing and As-Needed:
Loss harvesting in portfolio
Opportunistic rebalancing for portfolio
Monthly newsletter content (available for free to non-clients as well)
Proactive outreach for planning opportunities
Tax law changes
Property purchases and sales
Business quality improvements