Over the course of more than three decades’ experience in this area, we have worked to understand what makes some people successful in their strategic planning goals, and what makes others fall short of them. We’ve asked ourselves, “What are the reasons why people don’t continue their estate planning, business planning, and philanthropic planning? And how can we help them to do so?”
What we have found is that people don’t follow through on their planning goals for one of three reasons: a lack of clarity; a lack of confidence; and/or, a lack of coordination.
First, we find that some people don’t have clarity on their goals and objectives. Their advisors have not asked the right questions to help them determine the state of their wealth and how they want to put it to use. Without a solid idea of their financial goals, they cannot develop a successful plan for achieving them.
Second, we find that some people don’t have confidence in the planning that they have done or been advised to do. They don’t see a sure path into the future, and in some cases, they don’t have confidence in their advisors.
The third thing we find is that, even with clarity of goals and confidence in planning, many people lack the necessary coordination among their various advisors to make their plans successful. Often, this is because people think of strategic planning as a singular, decisive event. They say, “I’ve done my wills. I’ve done my Family Limited Partnership. I’ve done my Charitable Remainder Trust.” And they believe their planning is complete.
But we know things change. Their personal situation may change, their financial situation may change, their family situation may change, and tax laws, certainly, will change.
With all that in mind, we emphasize that planning is not an event, it is a process. As a process, strategic planning requires ongoing coordination among all the client’s key advisors. That doesn’t mean we need to be the ones doing the coordinating, but we do want to be sure that attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, family members—and we—are all communicating clearly and coordinating effectively.
With these insights guiding us, our goal throughout the planning process is to bring Clarity, Confidence, and Coordination to their planning and to the process.