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We do financial planning… yeah but what does that mean?

We do financial planning… yeah but what does that mean?

| July 25, 2018
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Shortly after making the decision to join Varra Financial Associates I found myself having conversations with friends and family about the services we provide.

I would explain how our focus is generally around fee based financial planning, and yet it became clear that this term “financial planning” is so often utilized that it has lost meaning. The conversation goes a bit like this:

Friend:  “So how do you work with your clients?”

Me: “The area I enjoy the most is around financial planning.”

Friend: “Right... like stocks and mutual funds... can you do ETF’s?”

Me: “Well yeah we can, but it really depends on the individual, their goals, risk….”

Friend: “What about insurance and 401k’s?”

These conversations happen, a lot. The truth is, we as financial planners and advisors have not done a great job differentiating investing from financial planning and products from process. Historically, many conversations between an advisor and a client were about returns on investment or what amount could be generated from an investment.  Is that really all an advisor does? Of course not, but we could do better at explaining how we provide value. Many advisors’ struggles come not from properly servicing their clients, but from an inability to articulate how they are helping them, outside of finding a good investment. Our goal is to add some clarity on what financial planning means to us and shift the conversation from being less about products and more about the value we provide. Our scope of service covers 7 pillars:

Wealth Management
Traditionally, this is what comes to mind when most people think of the value an advisor provides. It entails investment selection, monitoring, and advice around your financial assets.

Risk Management
This could be as simple as figuring out where you are exposed financially, professionally, or personally and identifying ways to potentially mitigate as much of the risk as possible. Risk management is a way of looking at your financial picture from all angles to help you pursue what’s most important.

Tax Efficiency
We are not in the business of giving specific tax advice to our clients, however, throughout our process we are always tax conscious in which types of strategies we use, and the advice we give, which if done properly could have considerable implications on your financial picture.

Estate Planning
This is a topic that many believe is only for the very wealthy, however estate planning is for anyone concerned with the distribution of their assets regardless of the size. Ensuring that you have a plan to work towards your goals will help simplify an already difficult situation for your family.

Cash Flow Analysis
Regardless of how much or little someone makes it is often the case that we tend to spend whatever we get. We will help develop a detailed understanding of what you are bringing in as a family, and specifically where the money is going. We can then take the next step to develop strategies and help keep you accountable.

Income Distribution
Now that you’ve done a good job saving, you will need a distribution strategy. This is a critical point for all people in retirement and one major misstep here could cause a plan to fail. We will work with you to provide strategies for multiple scenarios with the pursuit that you can enjoy the rewards of your hard work and efforts.

Enrichment Programs
We do our best to engage and educate you in many areas throughout your lives, not just your finances. We utilize outside experts to discuss hot topic issues and host opportunities to interact with the community. We strive to be more than just a business relationship for our clients.

We would love the opportunity to share more with you about the value we provide and how we can partner with you.  We offer a free consultation so you can decide if we are a good fit for you.  Contact us today to start a conversation.

About Cameron Dunford

Cameron works with clients to help them customize a plan that will help them pursue their goals regardless of which life stage they are in. Whether through risk management, investment solutions, or comprehensive planning, he strives to provide the best solutions for a goals based approach. You can reach Cameron at

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