Financial Planning Ideas for Financial Advisors

Last Edited by: LPL Financial

Last Updated: March 20, 2024

aneri jambusaria, managing director, lpl services group at lpl financial headshot

Financial planning can help remind clients why you're a great partner

By customizing a written financial plan based on the unique financial goals and life milestones of your clients, you can help raise your clients’ awareness of their entire financial picture and inspire them to take a more active role in helping you aid them in pursuing their goals.

In an emotional time, clients will turn to their financial advisors for proactive reassurance and a strategy for getting through the down times — or they may seek advice elsewhere.

Demonstrate your value by leveraging financial planning

LPL Financial believes you can demonstrate your value to your client by building, enhancing, or expanding your financial planning services.

"Every financial plan starts with understanding your client’s goals and analyzing their situation."

Aneri Jambusaria, Managing Director, Head of Business and Wealth Solutions

Why financial planning? It provides a great foundation for your relationship with your clients and helps reinforce good habits to make you and your client more successful.

Research also shows that clients who stick to their plans in tough times are better positioned to reach their goals. And that can translate into a long-lasting relationship with you, their financial advisor.

If you have clients who don’t have a financial plan today, this is a great time to start. And for your clients who do have a financial plan, it’s a great time to showcase your value with a comprehensive review.

"Every financial plan starts with understanding your client’s goals and analyzing their situation," said Aneri Jambusaria, Managing Director, Head of Business and Wealth Solutions. "This can include their assets, liabilities, and cash flow. From there, it’s important to take each goal — whether it’s saving for college or retirement — and build a pathway for how they can get there."

More than half of households with plans save 10% of their income

According to a Hearts and Wallets survey, Americans who have a financial plan enjoy increased savings, better asset allocation, more confidence, and a higher degree of overall financial wellness. More than half of households with written plans save 10% of their income, versus 36% of those who wing it.1 That confidence and understanding of money and markets can help clients remain calmer during volatile markets and reduce the risk of them summarizing that you — their financial advisor — simply aren’t doing enough or doing your job correctly.

The most important part of the plan is implementing and tracking the recommendations. Jambusaria shared, "As the advisor, you’ll be on the hook for some of this; but your client has accountability, too, to ensure their savings and spending habits support the plan that you've aligned on. And you’ll also need to evolve the plan as conditions change."

Key knowledge topics for financial planning

The topics you’ll need to understand in order to provide comprehensive financial planning are growing, and include retirement savings, tax planning, estate planning, and insurance planning. "You don’t need to be a pro in all of these areas, but in areas where you don’t have as deep expertise, it’s helpful to have a trusted partner on speed dial," said Jambusaria.

The LPL Services Group offers additional tools to consider as you customize a financial plan for clients, including:

  • Roth IRA conversions — Roth IRAs allow for tax-deferred growth potential and qualified tax-free distributions in retirement. They also allow for penalty-free and tax-free distributions for education expenses. If a client’s traditional IRA has lost value, their tax bill could be lower when converting to a Roth IRA.
  • Tax-loss harvesting — If your client’s investment has dropped this year, selling that investment at a loss could defer the taxes and they can purchase similar investments to help offset gains. Tax harvesting is only appropriate for certain clients, so please review with a tax professional.
  • Executive compensation — For clients receiving bonuses in the form of stock options and wishing to exercise those options, a market where the stock price is depressed may allow your client to start the holding period for a qualifying disposition, and then exercise more options while paying less in alternative minimum taxes when the stock is sold. Your client can then reallocate the proceeds into a diversified portfolio.
  • Estate planning options — It’s always wise to update a client’s estate plan, and the current environment may also present unique opportunities:
    • Gifting of depreciated assets could allow clients to bequeath portions of their estate to heirs at a possibly reduced tax liability through a trust.
    • Loaning estate assets to heirs can provide a loan to your clients’ heirs beyond the $16,000 yearly gift maximum. These loans are provided with a low applicable federal rate. Heirs would pay back the loan over time as well as the low amount of interest — which, in theory, should be low tax-wise. Clients should consult a tax professional and be aware that applicable federal rates are subject to change by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

With any of these considerations, encourage clients to consult with their tax professionals so they can understand their unique tax liability with these financial planning concepts.

Remember also that financial planning is not a once-a-year review but should be based on changes to a client’s goals or milestones, large and small. Schedule regular check-ins with clients to make sure financial plans are on track and what strategies might help if a client’s circumstances change. To help with efficiency, consider segmenting your book of business by clients who have no financial plan, are on similar financial plans, or who you believe would benefit from a more in-depth approach.

LPL Services Group is available to help answer your questions, and LPL's Paraplanning Services team will work with you to create financial plans for your clients. Find out how our Paraplanning team can help you build, enhance, or expand your financial planning practice, providing a holistic approach to financial advice.

1 Having a Written Financial Plan Improves Savings and Asset Allocation,, February 8, 2022.

Important Disclosures

The content is designed for licensed financial professionals. There is no assurance that the strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. To determine which investments are suitable for you, please consult your financial professionals prior to investing.

The views and opinions expressed by LPL Financial representatives are not indicative of future performance or success, and LPL Financial cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.

LPL Financial does not provide legal advice or tax services. Please consult your legal advisor or tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio.

Traditional IRA account owners have considerations to make before performing a Roth IRA conversion. These primarily include tax consequences on the converted amount in the year of conversion, withdrawal limitations from a Roth IRA, and income limitations for future contributions to a Roth IRA. In addition, if you are required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) in the year you convert, you must do so before converting to a Roth IRA.

Qualified withdrawals of Roth IRA earnings from the account are tax-free. Withdrawals of earnings prior to age 59½ or prior to the account being opened for 5 years, whichever is later, may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax. Limitations and restrictions may apply.

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