An Insightful Journey through Financial Planning and Enduring Life Lessons

October 18, 2023

Unlock Knowledge and Intentionality with 16 Invaluable Books

By Craig Morningstar, Chief Operating Officer

In the realm of financial planning, a multifaceted tapestry of wisdom and principles intertwines with the intricate nuances of individual aspirations and financial landscapes. It is a discipline where monetary artistry meets the profound spectrum of human experience. And where practitioners sculpt financial futures as unique as the individuals they serve.

Over the course of nearly four decades in the financial industry, with three of those decades spent working alongside numerous advisors, I have encountered a symphony of diversity in advisory practices and client scenarios. Each presents a distinctive blend of financial ambitions, personal values and life circumstances.

One cornerstone principle that has profoundly resonated with me is encapsulated in the words, “Financial planning means different things to each person. What does it mean to you?”

These profound words of wisdom emanate from an IDS sales script (the financial planning division of American Express) that countless financial planners and advisors have employed in millions of client conversations. They encapsulate the idea that financial planning is a deeply personal journey, one that delves into delicate topics such as money management, investment risks, estate planning, healthcare directives and the contemplation of “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders.

The Financial Home

For many clients, the initial foray into financial planning seeks to address a fundamental question: “What will outlast me, my life or my financial resources?” The answer, while unspoken, invariably hinges on the intricate interplay of countless facets of an individual’s financial reality.

To encapsulate the essence of comprehensive financial planning succinctly, one could liken it to the notion that everyone lives in a home, and concurrently, everyone resides within a financial abode until their final days. Just as a dwelling comprises various rooms, a financial home comprises distinct areas of focus, all interconnected and harmoniously managed for optimal functionality. In this metaphorical abode, investments serve as the kitchen—a vital component but far from the sole focus.

The depth and breadth of financial planning undertaken by advisors often hinge on two pivotal factors:

  • The extent to which advisors are inclined to navigate increasingly complex financial situations, an endeavor directly aligned with the pursuit of superior client outcomes.
  • The experiences garnered over time, either by happenstance or intention, mold the advisor’s ability to provide valuable insights into client scenarios. Investing in a broader understanding of various facets of financial planning invariably augments an advisor’s capacity to enhance client outcomes.

A remarkable resource shedding light on this matter is the Vanguard whitepaper, “Putting a value on your value: Quantifying Vanguard Advisor Alpha,” which underscores the value of comprehensive financial planning. Such knowledge resources are readily accessible, offering advisors a wealth of information to bolster the lifelong financial well-being of their clients.

Knowledge is Power

As advisors increasingly embrace the foundational tenets of comprehensive investment management, a natural progression towards mastering comprehensive financial planning often ensues. When advisors entrust investment management to organizations such as Dynamic, they liberate valuable time to focus intentionally on financial planning with their clients.

Dynamic, with over a decade of experience in providing a wide array of investment management solutions, underscores its commitment to creating opportunities for improving client outcomes. In essence, it crafts “portfolios for planners,” aligning portfolios with intentional financial planning objectives.

A rich repository of knowledge capital becomes a potent tool for advisors seeking to elevate lifelong client outcomes. The adage that knowledge is power rings especially true in financial planning. The more advisors acquire and wield knowledge, the greater their capacity to serve clients optimally, foster their financial well-being and attract referrals.

The journey of financial planning is not undertaken in isolation; it thrives on the insights, experiences and knowledge drawn from a myriad of sources.

The following is a curated list of foundational books that have proven invaluable:

  1. “Wealth Without Risk” by Charles J. Givens
  2. “Private Wealth Management – The Complete Reference for the Personal Financial Planner” by G. Victor Hallman and Jerry Rosenbloom
  3. “Reverse Mortgages” by Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFA®
  4. “Trust and Estates for Dummies” by Brian Caverly
  5. “Love, Money, Control” by Bernard Rethore
  6. “Values-Based Estate Planning” by Scott C. Fithian
  7. “Family Wealth – Keeping It in the Family” by James E. Hughes Jr.
  8. “Beyond Diversification” by Sebastien Page
  9. “Values-Based Financial Planning” by Bill Bachrach
  10. “Buckets of Money Retirement Solutions” by Raymond Lucia
  11. “Income Strategies” by William Reichenstein
  12. “You Can Retire Early!” by Deacon Hayes
  13. “The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb” by Ed Slott
  14. “The Excellent Investment Advisor” by Nick Murray
  15. “The Million Dollar Financial Services Practice” by David J. Mullen Jr.
  16. “How to Value, Buy, or Sell a Financial Advisory Practice” by Mark C. Tibergien

The world of financial planning is a canvas upon which principles, experiences and knowledge converge to create a unique portrait for each individual. The journey is imbued with the artistry of financial practitioners who navigate the complexities of personal finance, while instilling invaluable lifelong lessons in their clients. With a wealth of knowledge and intentionality, advisors can unlock the potential for enduring financial well-being and prosperity.

Craig Morningstar is the Chief Operating Officer at Dynamic. Having served Dynamic since its founding in 2009, Craig is responsible for the development of the firm’s advisory platform, service and investment management. He has industry experience at custodians, turnkey asset management providers (TAMPs) and RIAs. He also has extensive experience as a business owner and consultant, wealth advisor and financial planner. An avid reader, Craig has similar size book collections (see the above photo) on investment management, sales and marketing, business management and other hobby topics such as planes, trains, cars and engineering.

Investment advisory services are offered through Dynamic Advisor Solutions, LLC, dba Dynamic Wealth Advisors, an SEC registered investment advisor.

Photo: Craig Morningstar