Our Approach

What is Financial Planning?

Financial planning is the process of determining whether and how an individual can meet life goals through the proper management of financial resources. (1) Proper financial planning combines the use of an established process(2) to address selected subject areas(3).

How does Pittsburgh Financial Planners, Inc. (PFP) distinguish itself from other firms claiming to provide financial planning services?

For us, the client is the client, not their money. We help people make informed decisions about important issues that often have long-term implications. This means that we do not require any amount of minimum income or net worth level for an individual or family to become our client.

We intentionally play devil’s advocate. We want the reasons for implementing or not implementing financial suggestions to be based upon a clear understanding of the potential outcomes, particularly the unintended and potentially negative results.

For us, details aren’t everything, they are the only thing. For example, we develop extremely accurate personal financial statements where we endeavor to validate every item owned. This “audit” process inevitably leads to the discovery of other concerns to be addressed that are added to the list of issues outlined in the original agenda.

We make every effort to provide thoughtful unbiased advice and to avoid conflicts of interest.  We consciously seek and develop professional relationships with firms offering other expertise in related areas. These would include, but not be limited to, tax preparation, estate planning, actuarial administration, business appraisals, portfolio management, etc. 

At the core, we believe that thoughtful intelligent diversification is the way to achieve long-term financial security. To that end, we recognize that there are four major categories of asset classes in the world:

     -  Stocks

     -  Bonds / Cash

     -  Real estate

     -  Commodities

Given the above, we recommend that clients further diversify their investments within the above asset classes, by investment style – passive and active, by management philosophy and by investment company / custodian.

We are hypervigilant about crisp and clear communication. We endeavor to return all phone calls promptly; and we do our best to reply to e-mail inquiries within 24 hours. Our preference is to have a mutual understanding of respectful and responsive communication with each client.

Context is very important. We endeavor to understand the work ethic, personal preferences and underlying family values of a client that allow for a consistent context in which financial and life planning decisions are made.

We acknowledge our responsibilities as fiduciaries.  We thoroughly enjoy our work, which is helping others make good decisions that lead to living a fulfilling life.

(1)  As defined by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., a 501(c)(3) Colorado corporation, established in 1985 to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.

(2)  There are six steps to the financial planning process:

      -  Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship

      -  Gathering client data, including goals and objectives

      -  Analyzing and evaluating the client’s current financial status

      -  Developing and presenting recommendations and/or alternatives

      -  Implementing the recommendations

      -  Monitoring the recommendations

(3)  Financial planning subject areas denote the basic subject fields covered in the financial planning process, including but not limited to the following:

       -  Financial statement preparation and analysis (including cash flow analysis / planning and budgeting)

      -  Insurance planning, risk management and asset protection

      -  Employee benefits planning

      -  Investment planning and portfolio design

      -  Income tax planning

      -  Retirement planning

      -  Estate and gift planning

      -  Closely held business start-up and succession planning