After 45 years in the profession, John Sestina, one of the first fee-only financial planners, says he’s finally come up with a system for serving clients with simple financial planning needs for just $1,000. Asset management is also offered on a sliding scale fee on top of the planning fee, but there is no minimum investment required to get a financial plan from a CFP designee using his system. And Sestina is offering his system to other planners.
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Sestina, 71, says his system can be utilized by advisors serving clients who are young or who do not have complicated financial lives. His First Step program provides a comprehensive look at a client’s financial plan, covering debt reduction, cash flow management, investing, business planning, insurance, retirement planning, dependent planning and estate planning.
Sestina uses MoneyGuide Pro for financial planning in the First Step program and provides advisors with the technology back-end needed to support their practice and serve clients, including billing and portfolio reporting. He also provides the strategy and strucure for keeping clients on track with plan, materials for conducting four quarterly meetings.
Sestina says about 20 CFPs are now using his program and that four of them are independent of his RIA. They use his firm’s technology and planning methodology but their clients are their firm’s clients. They pay one-quarter of their fees to Sestina’s firm and get trained on the system by Sestina’s staff. A weekly coaching session by Sestina “until you’re successful” is also provided.
Sestina praises the work at Garret Planning Network and similar efforts to provide low-cost financial planning to the middle class and those with simple needs. But he says charging an hourly fee is not the right pricing model. Sestina says an hourly fee provides clients with an incentive to not call you for help because they know they will be charged every time they call you.
Sestina is a pioneer in financial planning and advisors looking for a way to address the needs of their clients with simple financial situations may want to look further at the program