A Further Look - Financial Planning: The Tip of the Spear in an Industry Revolution


By David Root, Founder & CEO


The next industry revolution in financial services is already here. 


In the 30+ years that I have been in this business, I have never seen the sort of change and opportunity that is taking place regarding client needs and their increased expectations of their financial advisors. Satisfying those expectations comes down to this; helping clients get what they want while making their lives easier.  


There it is – the secret code to pleasing clients in a time of greater expectations. It is the catalyst that drives a proper financial planning process. Proper financial planning is also about connecting with clients, understanding where they are in their life and how they got where they are. Clients assume you are well qualified, experienced, trustworthy, independent, unbiased. These things are not differentiators. They are mere expectations. I call them ‘table stakes.’ 


Too many financial advisors (and financial planners) think financial planning is all about organizing products and investments, rebalancing portfolios, or simply implementing a financial transaction. It isn’t. These are tasks you might perform after you've done the financial plan. All those things may fall under the banners of investment advice or financial advice. But they are not what defines financial planning. Not where DBR & CO is concerned. 


Financial Planning is as fundamental to our client experience as the coffee bean is to Starbucks. 


One of the demands we place on our advisors is to acquire important professional designations. Our advisors carry CFP®,CFA, CPFA, AIF® (Retirement Plan Fiduciary) credentials among others, all of which carry their own fiduciary standards. This fiduciary-at-all-times standard has proven to be a differentiator when focusing on true financial planning. Acting as a fiduciary should be more than just a title, it must be how you do business.  


In our Financial Planning Roundtable discussions, we highlight real stories of what we have done for clients. That includes having difficult discussions on estate planning issues, family security, standard of living before and after retirement as well as a better financial understanding through measurable goals and ongoing reviews. 


The overwhelming evidence that financial planning is the future of our industry can also be tied to increased longevity. Financial implications for living longer extend beyond merely making sure you don’t outlive your portfolio. Securing and ensuring a standard of living, maximizing the potential of your retirement income, funding potential long-term care needs and even taking control of spending and saving habits are high priorities. A financial plan can also help you avoid unnecessary expenses like overpaying your taxes and insurance premiums. 


Today's industry technology has essentially commoditized the activities (re: investments) that once constituted advisors ‘core value propositions. The shift from product to planning is game changing for advisor/client relationships. Firms that understand this are moving to a transparent, value driven 'fee-only' world.  


It starts with a financial plan designed with integrity. 


Thanks for reading, 







David Root 

Founder and CEO 



David Root is Founder and CEO at DBR & CO, a Pittsburgh-based wealth management firm. If you would like to contact the author, David Root, please e-mail him at d.rootjr@dbroot.com or call 412-227-2800. 



This material has been provided for general, informational purposes only, represents only a summary of the topics discussed, and is not suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice or recommendations. Rather, they simply reflect the opinions and views of the author.  D. B. Root & Company, LLC. does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting ramifications, you should consult appropriate professionals for advice that is specific to your situation. There can be no assurance that any particular strategy or investment will prove profitable. This document contains information derived from third party sources.  Although we believe these third-party sources to be reliable, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information derived from such sources, and take no responsibility therefore. This document contains certain forward-looking statements signaled by words such as "anticipate," "expect", or "believe" that indicate future possibilities. Due to known and unknown risks, other uncertainties and factors, actual results may differ materially from the expectations portrayed in such forward-looking statements.  As such, there is no guarantee that the expectations, beliefs, views and opinions expressed in this document will come to pass. Information presented herein is subject to change without notice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. 

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