A well-designed financial plan can help clients achieve more than just financial goals. We talked with Michael Palazzolo, founder of Fintentional®, about how his firm helps clients achieve life goals in the context of financial planning. Michael is a former software engineer who started his transition to financial planning in 2007 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ certificant in 2010. Michael and his wife Amy also hosted Your Money or Your Life study groups in the late ’90s before it was so easy to follow the FIRE movement via social media.
Tell us about Fintentional® and how your firm works with clients.
Fintentional®, based in Metro-Detroit, works with clients locally and nationally. Many clients have ties to the technology sector or the medical fields. A large number are on track to or have retired before the typical retirement age. Fintentional® LLC offers a Comprehensive Financial Planning Program designed for people seeking a long-term relationship to develop, monitor, and evolve their financial plan, including investments over time. A structured introductory process is followed to develop a customized experience for each individual or couple.
How does your firm use DataPoints in its practice?
Reviewing the Building Wealth or Financial Perspectives results helps me get to know the clients and understand their financial related values much sooner in a relationship. I invite prospective clients to take one of these assessments before their Introductory meeting. I encourage couples to discuss the results together before we meet. Couples typically see where they are congruent and where they differ in their financial values too. Individuals are very rarely are surprised by their own or partner’s results. One or two key items are discussed during the Introductory Meeting, and the results may be revisited over time to help guide recommendations. The Investor Profile assessment is used occasionally when a proper asset allocation is difficult to determine based on a client’s overall financial situation and goals.
What advice would you share with financial planners who want to use assessments?
Consider using the assessments to speak with your clients about more than just numbers and the investment markets. The assessment results help you tailor your services and recommendations to your client. The results may sometimes lead you to refer a potential client to a different planner if you see that there might be a mutually better fit with a different professional.
What advice would you share with those of us who aren’t financial planners?
I read The Millionaire Next Door when it first came out. The concepts, along with those from the FIRE community, can be applied at many different levels. You don’t necessarily have to try to retire early. But you can achieve different levels of financial maturity. This may allow you to consider different life choices over time, such as starting your own business, staying home to spend time with children, and/or pursuing a new career.
Learn more about Fintentional® here.