Thinking back on when I first started at Fragasso in the late 1990’s, our focus has always been on our clients’ individual and unique financial goals. Fragasso’s financial planning department was in its infancy back then but was always driven by Bob’s desire to make sure we knew as much as we could about each and every client before making investment recommendations.
In the early 1980’s, when financial planning software didn’t exist, the very first financial “plans” were actually put together using lined paper and a calculator! We compiled a client’s current and ongoing annual savings amount and projected it for the client’s lifetime using a certain rate of return.
This evolved into using Excel to put these forecasts together and allowed us to use calculations that were a bit more sophisticated and less labor intensive. We eventually developed our own proprietary program for running plans in Excel that focused not only on retirement sufficiency but also included life insurance and estate planning. This worked for a number of years, but after manually updating the program to ensure the accuracy of the plans and ensuring they incorporated annual increases in retirement plan contribution limits as well as tax code changes, the need for something more automated became more and more apparent. We also saw the need for something that would offer a broader scope of planning options to present to clients.
After about a year of experimenting with a variety of planning platforms, I found a program that offered a wide variety of planning options and schedules and was also cash-flow based which made it easy to tie one schedule to the other for each client and we are still using a version of this today. The eMoney era began over 10 years ago.
The adoption of eMoney as our financial planning software of choice and its sophisticated planning tools allowed our financial advisors to develop an even more comprehensive financial plan for each client. Regular reviews of the plan help in tracking how clients are progressing towards their goals. And with that, the next phase of the financial planning department began.
As a firm, we have always been focused on processes and efficiencies and making sure our structure aligns in a way that is advantageous for our clients and our team members. Ten years ago, we decided that our financial advisors needed a dedicated financial planning analyst on their team who would work along side them to create the financial plans. By working with the advisor, the financial planning analyst gets to know the clients and their family and understand what is important to them. The synergy between the financial advisors and financial planning analysts leads to creative planning ideas that are suited to fit a client’s individual needs.
While numbers are a big part of what we do, we know helping our clients means so much more than that. We want to be the ones who help guide them through the different phases of life, know their children and grandchildren, and celebrate as they achieve milestones. That is what financial planning is all about.
On behalf of myself, Karen, all the financial advisors and financial planning analysts in our firm, we would like to thank Bob for being the guiding light that taught us how important it is to always keep you, your family, and your life’s goals at the forefront of everything we do.