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Good Advice: Start with a financial plan.


You’ve done well. You and your family are living comfortably. You have a beautiful home, drive nice cars and take fun vacations. You have even set some money aside, investments in stocks and bonds. Still, you’ve been feeling a little uneasy about the future. Are you saving enough to pay for those long-term objectives? Will you have enough money to retire as you wish and still leave something for your heirs? What if something unforeseen happens that could drain you of your savings?

These types of concerns are best addressed with the support of a financial advisor, a professional with fiduciary commitment and responsibility, that is, to act always in your best interests. And the best way to start acting in your best interests is by working with you to create your financial plan—not something off the shelf, but a plan designed around your needs, wants, and wishes.

Your advisor should seek to understand your entire financial picture: What’s your mortgage balance? What’s your cash flow? What happens if your spouse gets laid off? Are there others financially dependent on you? Are you trying to pay for a child’s college education or looking to buy a second home? Without understanding a client’s finances holistically, it’s impossible to be a good fiduciary.

A qualitative initiative
“Providing good financial advice is a qualitative as well as quantitative initiative,” says Christopher N. Sorce, CFP, HBKS principal and financial advisor. “A capable financial advisor must have the education and skills required to build portfolios and allocate investments that accommodate their clients’ risk profiles. But what separates the best financial advisors from the pack is not about buying and selling and allocating. If all an advisor focuses on is returns, that’s a loser’s game.”

What distinguishes a good, even great advisor is the qualitative side of advising, Sorce contends, “the ability of the advisor to get into the client’s head and find out what they are interested in, what excites them. And to do that an advisor has to be nosey, to ask a lot of questions, probing, sometimes uncomfortable questions. If your advisor is nosey enough, he or she will ask you questions no one has ever asked you before, that might even make you uncomfortable.”

But the only way an advisor will ask those questions, will find the right areas to probe, will be if that advisor is truly interested in you and helping you make decisions so much more meaningful than how much of your portfolio should be in stocks and how much in bonds. That level of interest is something you can’t get in a robo advisor and won’t typically find in a broker who is compensated for making trades.

More than what you need to retire
“A financial plan is more than just figuring out how much you need to retire,” notes HBKS Financial Advisor Michael Ringler. He points to several key factors:
Budgeting: your income, what you spend and where, and how much you are saving

  • Your debt: including the best way to pay off credit cards, or a mortgage, or how to pay for a car or whether or not to purchase a second home—all compared to how much you’re saving
  • Insurance: your game plan for your family and financial future should you get sick or injured; whether or not you should invest in long-term care insurance
  • Taxes: how your income taxes impact what you have left to spend and save, and how to invest; ensuring your investments are made with an understanding of their after-tax returns

“A financial plan makes it easier to invest because you know what you’re investing for,” Ringler explains. “Your portfolio is allocated based on where you are in your life in a way most likely to help you achieve your goals. And you don’t have to worry about the short-term swings of the stock market. It’s analogous to a plane trip: If the ride gets a little bumpy, you don’t leap out of the plane. You have confidence in the pilot. He might make some changes to avoid rough air, but you will get to your destination.”

It’s important to note that a financial plan is a meaningless piece of paper without a commitment to execute on that plan, to revisit it on a regular basis and discuss with your advisor how your circumstances and goals are changing and to make appropriate adjustments.

Services and values
With more than $4 billion in assets under management, and in collaboration with HBK CPAs & Consultants, the nation’s 50th largest accounting firm, HBKS Wealth Advisors offers expertise in the widest range of services—tax, accounting, financial planning, wealth management, audit, business advisory, valuation. Your HBKS advisor has the knowledge, experience and resources in-house to create a financial plan that addresses your every financial need, situation, and goal.

“We have built our firm around our values: treating everyone with dignity and respect; acting with integrity, honesty, and transparency; and working together to provide the best value for our clients,” notes HBKS Managing Principal and CEO Christopher M. Allegretti, CPA. “And while we have the resources of a large, national firm, we operate as a network of local autonomous businesses, working closely with our clients to build long-term relationships and to benefit the communities where we live.”

Providing financial advice is about more than buying stocks and bonds. It starts with understanding you, your challenges, and your objectives. It involves creating a holistic, financial plan, then adjusting your plan as you move forward in life to accommodate the inevitable changes in your circumstances and goals. It requires resources and expertise, and perhaps most importantly, that qualitative side of advising, a commitment to you, your family and business, your current and long-term objectives.

We at HBKS Wealth Advisors believe that our advisors, firm, and culture are uniquely suited to help individuals who want customized financial solutions. We’re here to help. We’d be pleased to arrange a complementary, confidential review of your finances. To schedule an appointment with an HBKS advisor, call 1-866-536-5776.


The information included in this document is for general, informational purposes only. It does not contain any investment advice and does not address any individual facts and circumstances. As such, it cannot be relied on as providing any investment advice. If you would like investment advice regarding your specific facts and circumstances, please contact a qualified financial advisor.

Any investment involves some degree of risk, and different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including loss of principal. It should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment, strategy or allocation (including those recommended by HBKS® Wealth Advisors) will be profitable or equal the corresponding indicated or intended results or performance level(s). Past performance of any security, indices, strategy or allocation may not be indicative of future results.

The historical and current information as to rules, laws, guidelines or benefits contained in this document is a summary of information obtained from or prepared by other sources. It has not been independently verified, but was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. HBKS® Wealth Advisors does not guarantee the accuracy of this information and does not assume liability for any errors in information obtained from or prepared by these other sources.

HBKS® Wealth Advisors is not a legal or accounting firm, and does not render legal, accounting or tax advice. You should contact an attorney or CPA if you wish to receive legal, accounting or tax advice.

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