The LifePrint™ Planning Process: Make a Mark on What Matters Most to You
We hold ourselves out as Personal Legacy Advisors and our unique financial and estate planning process is called The LifePrint Planning Process™, because after 20 years of working with smart and successful private wealth holders, we’ve learned that it’s about so much more than just money. It’s about so much more than retirement, death and taxes, and or leaving money to our children.
The reality is that all of us as human beings are wanting deep down, through our lives and our financial success, to be attached to a greater purpose. We want this life to make a difference and to leave our unique fingerprints or lifeprints on the people, causes, and organizations we personally care about most. Whether we think about this much or talk about it with others, it’s true. We want all of this to be worth something bigger than ourselves and our money and our stuff. What we’ve learned as planners is that unless and until we can effectively connect our clients to their most heartfelt desires and show them a path that can help them get there, and create the kind of results and impact they want to make, this whole thing that our industry calls financial and estate planning is just not that important.
You and I need to be motivated by something bigger and much more aspirational and exciting, whatever that means to each one of us individually and as a family. When we discover this and begin understanding what it means at increasingly deeper levels, that’s when we find the requisite energy and motivation, initiative and patience, to make it happen. We need to not only tap into our most heartfelt desires, but also the truth of our financial capacity to go and actually do more of these things we care most about. The first discovery most often leaves us feeling an increased sense of urgency and importance that gets us initially moving forward, away from our current status quo. From there, we get most excited when we see the people we work with start getting hyper-focused on creating the kind of clarity and confidence about what’s reasonable and affordable within their financial realities. That’s when we know they are devoted at their deepest place of commitment and courage and determination.
Our LifePrint Planning Process™ is a comprehensive, integrated, and holistic approach. Yes, it foundationally incorporates investments, insurances, risk management, goals articulation, legal documentation, and tax planning. But, unlike too many approaches we see most commonly used in the marketplace, it is multi-dimensional as opposed to one-dimensional. You just cannot fully and properly assess what financial, tax, or legal strategies and structures you should seriously consider, until you can see these in the context of your whole picture. Equally, you cannot evaluate these things clearly and confidently, without understanding what it’s all about and the results that the comprehensive plan is likely to create in the context of what you personally care about most.
Examples of LifePrints™
As your LifePrint™ is unique to you and your family, the direction and focus of your plan is ultimately yours. While our clients choose different ways to express their LifePrints™, there seems to almost always be a basic and universal common goal, albeit a vague one usually, that they want to be able to create some sort of “Golden Years” season for themselves. This usually means they desire the freedom to rest and relax more, travel more, enjoy more experiences of leisure and recreation. Others may have an array of more specific bucket list items to be checked off; places to go, people to see, things to do, before they are no longer physically able to do so.
Very often, these individuals and families want to extend this season of increased enjoyment and new experiences to their families and loved ones. Planning a large family vacation or having that second home is a common way people seek to extend the reach of their LifePrint™ to others in a practical, fun, and meaningful way. Many individuals also wish to help their families achieve their own goals, especially when these resonate with shared values. Some of these that we see more commonly include: starting a new business venture, or assisting children or grandchildren to follow their passions into even more directly social sector work or mission work, which may not pay very well. Finally, we see a very high value on education among our client families, and almost all of them have a desire to help support the future educational goals of their grandchildren and other loved ones.
Other individuals have also focused on specific causes and organizations that they personally care about for whatever reason. Those who have had a direct connection to some type of illness or medical condition may be uniquely motivated to help others affected by these conditions by supporting targeted medical research and development. Other people may want to give back to their church, temple, or some other faith-based organization, which is actively engaged in the work of sharing and growing their religious beliefs as well as usually meeting needs where they feel a heightened sense of calling to make a difference.
Some individuals simply want to be better stewards of their wealth. Rather than having their taxes go straight to the government, people find it inspiring to instead take back control of this money and redirect funds that would otherwise be lost to taxation to one or more causes or organizations that are important to them. A good percentage of our clients are not initially philanthropically inclined or actively engaged in charitable giving. At the same time, 100% of them are very much wanting to control their own wealth as fully as possible and, in so doing, they’d prefer not paying a dime more in taxes than they legally need to. The idea that they can effectively redirect their money from the government and instead do something more personal that they feel is more likely to bring about positive results and sustainable change, is always an exciting concept to be grasped.
Ultimately, the sky is the limit when deciding what you would like your LifePrint™ to include. We cannot encourage you enough to find the right professional or firm that can help you to more deeply discern what’s most important to you and then help empower you with the means for creating this kind of comprehensive plan that can increase your ability to truly succeed by making a more personal and more meaningful mark with your life and your money.
How The LifePrint™ Planning Process Works
Currently, you may be thinking, this sounds inspiring but also a tad overwhelming. We are committed to encouraging people to eat the elephant one bite at a time, so to speak. As professionals, we believe in this process and are devoted to helping people just like you to better articulate and achieve your goals. Our planning process unfolds over time. Rome does not need to be built in a day. Be patient with yourself, take your time, but don’t delay any longer the important first step of getting started. Don’t believe the lies we see so many people telling themselves. “I’m all set.” “I’ve got this stuff managed fully and completely.” The reality is many of our clients have done planning and have a team of professionals, when they first meet us. What we say to every one of them is “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Suffice it to say, if you are like almost everyone else, there is very likely more you could be doing. You can feel pretty assured that you could very possibly take your planning to yet another level of personal impact and real success. As you’ll see below, the best processes (like ours) should make it easy to at least have things looked at and get some fresh perspective on what you have currently. Our LifePrint™ Planning Process is a disciplined and intentional method that allows you to get through the mountain climb one step at a time.
- Assessment. We begin with a no cost, no obligation assessment meeting. We use this opportunity to provide a fresh perspective and an objective outlook on your big picture. We tell you straight up whether we think we can help and whether we think you are a good fit for our firm and our services.
- Proposal. In this next step, we create a written Value Summary Proposal that spells out for you the additional value we see that you can create, and we also spell out as conservatively as possible our estimates of what this could be within each area of your overall plan. Additionally, we spell out what the associated cost will be for our services and other professional fees and expenses that may be anticipated. From here, you get to decide what to do.
- Discovery. If you find this information valuable enough and make the choice to proceed with the actual design of your own personal LifePrint™ Plan Design Book, at this time we move into discovery. This is where we find out with much greater depth and precision, all of your various and relevant details. This will result in deeper understanding for you and for us, in these two broad categories we’ve explained above, your head and your heart. We want to understand (and we want to help you understand) what drives you most, and what is possible within your facts and circumstances.
- Design. Next, we move to the actual creation of your LifePrint™ Plan Design Book. This is a comprehensive, integrated and holistic plan, that our team of personal legacy advisors develops, that we then review with our clients until everyone is clear and confident and eager to move forward with taking action to make it happen.
- Action. With a clear blueprint on how to proceed, we then empower you to take the necessary action to put the various new or changed tools and tactics you require into place. This may involve one or more legal or tax strategies, risk management tools, insurances, trusts or other legal structures, or any number of other tactics that may be necessary.
- Refinement. We truly believe the only way to effectively plan is with a process that really never ends. Our goal is to equip you to continue refining your plan into the future, so that you can proactively anticipate forthcoming change in your family or in the law, and also to be able to wisely respond to any number of possible unexpected circumstances that can come your way. Ultimately, we want you to have this disciplined commitment to maintaining and adapting your plan, so you are able to keep it consistently viable and as effective as possible in achieving your objectives. Also, as new objectives or concerns emerge for you, we want to help you utilize your resources as best you can to help you maximize what you want and minimize what you don’t.
In our next issue, we will share two real life stories from our own family of clients, to make this approach to planning even more plain to you. Our hope is that as you see this in living color and in the context of real situations, perhaps a lot like your own, you’ll become more challenged, more inspired, and more motivated to take a fresh look at your own planning. Stop assuming you’re all set and you’ve done all you can do, because our experience has shown us this may not be the case. We look forward to talking with you again soon in our next issue.
The material contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual nor does it take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors. Any tax advice contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended for public dissemination. Further, you should seek specific tax advice from your tax professional before pursuing any idea contemplated herein. This advice is being provided solely as an incidental service to our business as insurance professionals and investment advisors.
Neither Wealth Impact Partners, Valmark Securities nor its affiliates and/or its employees/agents/registered representatives offer legal or tax advice. Please seek independent advice, specific to your situation, from a qualified legal/tax professional.
Securities offered through Valmark Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Valmark Advisers, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. 130 Springside Drive, Suite 300 Akron, Ohio 44333. (800) 765-5201. Wealth Impact Partners is a separate entity from Valmark Securities, Inc. and Valmark Advisers, Inc. BSW Inner Circle and AES Nation LLC are separate entities from Valmark Securities and Valmark Advisors.