What is Financial Planning?

A financial plan is a fluid plan built on an in-depth look at your current financial situation in combination with your personal goals, designed to give you a blueprint to help you live your best life and pursue your goals. We believe you should expect your financial plan to:

  • Accurately reflect your personal financial situation
  • Address the issues most important to you
  • Become a "blueprint" for your future
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Be something you can implement

The process of building a financial plan with us is unique because we emphasize collaboration between you and your advisor. The process typically takes between 2 weeks and 2 months and is spread out over 3 appointments. Here is a general overview of the financial planning appointments:

  1. The objective for the first appointment is purely listening and data gathering. Your advisor will: listen to your goals and concerns, learn about your current lifestyle, and gather all of the necessary documents and data to help build a plan. 

    During this meeting you will also be given access to your personal Commonwealth Financial Network account link and a guided overview of how to use it. See a preview of the Financial Planning tool by clicking the "Learn more" button below.

  2. During your second appointment you can expect a "brainstorming session" where you and your advisor will discuss different strategies available to you, as well as pros and cons of each; in addition, you may explore any new ideas that come up along the way. In more complex plans there may be more than one "brainstorming session" in order to find what strategy/ies may work for your specific situation.
  3. In the final appointment we work through implementation - whether than be opening new accounts, consolidating existing accounts, accompanying you to a meeting with your estate planning attorney, etc. We want you to be able to count on our support and guidance every step of the way.


When starting the financial planning process, we recommend you bring the following documents to the meeting. They will be needed to study, analyze, and prepare a personal plan for you. This material will be treated confidentially and returned when the planning process is completed, or earlier if requested. 

Personal Files

  • Personal Goals
  • Income tax return for the previous year including W-2s and 1099s
  • Wills and Powers of Attorney for healthcare and financial decisions
  • Trust Agreements
  • Social Security benefit statement (if available)
  • Major asset purchase details
  • Expenses / Cash Flow Worksheet
  • Other: ________________


  • Paystubs or Earnings Statements 
  • Employee benefits booklets
  • Retirement savings plans available through employer
  • Pension plans
  • Other: ________________

Bank or Credit Union

  • Checking account statements
  • Savings / CDs / Money market account statements
  • Loan documents including mortgage
  • Credit card statements
  • Other: ________________

Broker or Mutual Fund Company

  • Latest monthly statements
  • Other: ________________

Insurance Company

  • Latest life insurance policy information and annuity account statements
  • Health insurance / hospital & major medical policy information
  • Disability income insurance policy information
  • Property & Casualty policy information
  • Long-Term Care policy information
  • Other: ________________


  • Business Goals
  • Buy-Sell Agreements
  • Income tax returns
  • Deferred Compensation Agreements
  • Stock / Options / Bonus Plans
  • Other: ________________

Waddell & Reed, Inc. offers financial planning services in its capacity as a registered investment adviser. Consult your financial advisor for a breakdown of the fees associated with these services.  Investing involves risk, including the potential for loss of principal. Waddell & Reed does not offer tax or legal advice.  02/21