Note: We often work with clients electronically – some of the steps below may be adjusted to meet the needs of working online.*
- Call for more information or to set up an appointment. Our phone number is 217-488-6473. You can also email us at info@BlankenshipFinancial.com to request more information or an appointment.
- Fill out our questionnaire. This confidential questionnaire must be filled out and returned to BFP at least one day in advance of our meeting, regardless of the service you are considering. Click here fill out our secure online questionnaire. Follow the directions carefully. If you’d rather print out the questionnaire and fill it out by hand, click here for a .pdf version (requires Adobe Acrobat). If you need a copy of the questionnaire mailed to you, call the office and we’ll be happy to send it out. When complete, you can either scan and email the questionnaire or fax it to 217-488-4293.
- What to bring with you. For the initial meeting, you may bring as much or as little documentation as you like. Click here to open a checklist of items that you can review to help you decide what to bring (requires Adobe Acrobat). Don’t feel like you need to bring everything on the list – only those items that are pertinent to your situation.
- The meeting. The meeting is informal and the dress casual. This first meeting allows you to get to know us and to determine if you are comfortable with our services. Before contracting for our services, you should feel confident that we can provide the guidance you are seeking. At the same time, we are looking to understand your needs and to determine if we can provide the service you are looking for. This is accomplished by asking various questions concerning your goals, desires and finances. If we’re meeting electronically, it is helpful if you can be in a quiet place with few distractions. A speaker phone or multiple extensions may be helpful if there will be more than one person on your end of the line.
- Firm estimate. After getting to know you, and understanding what your concerns and requirements are, an estimate will be developed for the work required. This will be a range that will cover the actual cost you’ll pay upon completion of our work. The estimate range is based upon the estimated time that we expect to spend developing and communicating your plan.
- Your decision.You essentially have three choices at this point:
- You can sign up for the work that we’ve recommended; or
- We can work on a subset of your requirements. Many times, a complete financial plan is overwhelming at the start. Often we start with a simple allocation plan and budget process, leaving retirement planning, insurance planning, and estate planning for later; or
- You can decide to do nothing. You may determine that the time is not right at this point for you to engage us, or we may have answered all of your questions at the initial meeting.
Why not get started today? Give us a call at 217-488-6473 to set up an appointment!
*At BFP we’re also location independent. This means that while we do have a physical office location, we also are equipped to “meet” with any client, anywhere. We are able meet with clients online through telephone or video conferencing from the office or if we’re travelling.
For example, Sterling frequently travels to teach financial planning courses throughout the country. Although he is away from the brick and mortar office he still can still hold appointments with clients virtually by using his laptop and a headset. If you happen to be located in a city he’s teaching in, he’d be happy to arrange a time and place to meet you as well, pending his schedule.
BFP’s virtual office allows both the client and planner break down the walls of location restriction and allows face to face relationship and trust building without physically meeting.
Here are some examples where we have worked with clients in a virtual setting:
- Investment Management – We work with clients all over the US regarding their investment allocation, management and recommendations. This means no matter where you’re at, from New York to Los Angeles, you can avoid the inflated fees of big city firms.
- Tax Preparation – Both Jim and Sterling are Enrolled Agents. This means that we can represent clients before the IRS in all tax matters. This also means we provide timely tax preparation and filing for our clients – in any state or combination thereof. For example, many of our clients winter in warmer climates during tax prep season and we’re able to accommodate their tax return needs remotely.
- Comprehensive Planning – Need advice on your employer’s 401(k)? Confused about your pension options? What about Social Security? Need a risk management assessment and how it fits into your planning goals? Saving for college? You can trust our advice no matter where you’re located.
- No Minimum Planning – Whether you’re just starting out in your career, newly married or simply looking for a place to start you can know that you won’t be turned away simply because your account balances or net worth aren’t six or seven figures. You’ll get the same fiduciary care regardless or net worth or social status.
For folks that still want to meet us in person we are happy to meet with you at our office.