By Cheryl Harwell | Case Planning / Practice Management

Comprehensive, or holistic, financial planning describes a multidisciplinary approach a financial professional takes to help clients build the life they desire by  working toward accomplishing a broad set of goals. Many people tend to focus only on numbers, and often use separate advisors to oversee each component of their household – a banker, an investment planner, an insurance agent, etc. This approach separates the household into silos rather than looking at the whole picture, which could create a level of unnecessary risk.

Holistic planning considers technical as well as behavioral elements that are important when helping clients work toward accomplishing their goals. Advisors taking a holistic approach not only discuss financial goals with their clients, but also check in with them about their emotional well-being, their health, and their families. These advisors can end up taking on the role of life coach rather than just investment planner.

As the range of advisor/client conversations widens, additional family members can be involved in those discussions. Many advisors would like to engage their clients’ children in the holistic planning process in addition to ensuring the full participation of both spouses in the planning conversation.

As an example, an advisor who employs holistic planning will sit down with each client to discuss their unique life situation as a whole, including financial goals and life risks in an overall big picture analysis. They will then get into all of the details of the plan, including net worth; investments; expenses; savings; all types of insurance coverage, including life, health, accident, home, auto, umbrella, and long-term care; retirement outlook; college planning; charitable giving; estate planning (beneficiaries, trusts, etc.); and other financial goals and life risks that clients need to consider.

The advisor and client discuss how each component of their overall plan works together to help them reach their goals, including risk management. The plan is then put into place and the advisor and client review the plan on an ongoing basis to discuss and implement any updates and measure the progress toward the goals that have been set.

In summary, holistic financial planning can contribute to the successful accomplishment of a client’s life goals. Although these topics, at first, can be intimidating or overwhelming for clients to discuss, covering them can help give your clients more control and greater confidence in their future. By taking a holistic approach, not only can you help contribute to the success of your clients in reaching their goals, you will form lifelong positive relationships with them and their families. These relationships will, in turn, allow you to reap the rewards of gratitude, praise, and referrals.

Would you like to discuss holistic financial planning and behavioral finance? I’m available anytime. Email me at

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The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

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