Rattiner's Financial Planner's Bible: The Advisor's Advisor


"Jeff Rattiner has found another way to help producers. This book is a must-have for financial advisors, especially those that aspire to be Million Dollar Producers."
–Thomas B. Gau, CPA, CFP
President and CEO of Million Dollar Producer

"Jeff Rattiner has done it again! His book displays all the essential tools and techniques necessary for advanced planners to succeed in this business. Rattiner’s easy-to-read style provides the best in marketing and practice management ideas. This book will help you if you have ...

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"Jeff Rattiner has found another way to help producers. This book is a must-have for financial advisors, especially those that aspire to be Million Dollar Producers."
–Thomas B. Gau, CPA, CFP
President and CEO of Million Dollar Producer

"Jeff Rattiner has done it again! His book displays all the essential tools and techniques necessary for advanced planners to succeed in this business. Rattiner’s easy-to-read style provides the best in marketing and practice management ideas. This book will help you if you have hit a dead end in your practice. Rattiner tells it like it is by providing a no-nonsense approach to truly taking your practice to the next level. A must-read for the serious financial advisor."
–Jim Cannon, President, SunAmerica Securities,
Sentra Securities Corporation, and Spelman & Co., Inc.

Financial planners provide a variety of services to an array of clients but lack a uniform system for creating a profitable business. Rattiner’s Financial Planner’s Bible: The Advisor’s Advisor collects best practices from the nation’s leading financial planners, presenting a prototype turnkey model for achieving financial success for both the client and the practice.

Financial planning expert Jeffrey Rattiner emphasizes an ethical, practical approach to financial advising, placing paramount importance on "doing what’s best for the client." Drawing on extensive interviews and his own experience, Rattiner delivers can’t-miss tips on marketing a financial planning practice, developing an infrastructure, crafting strategic alliances, assessing a business’s profitability, and creating the model twenty-first-century practice. This authoritative guide also covers:

  • Forming a planning advisory board
  • Establishing a realistic chain of command
  • Delegating responsibility
  • Making technology work for you
  • Charging clients appropriately

Running a financial planning business need not be an exercise in trial and error. Rattiner’s Financial Planner’s Bible delivers a compelling model for advising success.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471220343
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/29/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

JEFFREY H. RATTINER, CPA, CFP, MBA, RFC, is President of the JR Financial Group, Inc., a multipurpose holding company serving consumers and the financial services industry. He has created Financial Planning Fast Track, an innovative and accelerated educational program assisting students in satisfying the rigorous CFP Certification Examination requirements. He has been a leading trainer for financial services companies such as Wells Fargo, SunAmerica, Merrill Lynch, First Tennessee, the AICPA, California CPA Education Foundation, and TIAA-CREF. He is the author of Getting Started as a Financial Planner, the editor in chief of Personal Financial Planning Monthly, and a columnist for Financial Planning magazine. He can be reached at jeff@jrfinancialgroup.com or (720) 529-1888.

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Table of Contents


Your Role.

Changing Society.

Raising the Bar: The Trend Toward Expertise in Delivering Quality Financial Planning Advice.

Repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Formation of True Financial Services Supermarkets.

The Need to Become Process Oriented Rather Than Transaction Oriented.

Trend Toward Fee-Based Rather Than Commission-Based Planning.

Trend Toward Specialization, Leveraging, and Developing Alliances in Other Areas.

Trend Toward Technological Advances and Becoming More Reliant on Technology and Less on the Personal Touch.

Trend Toward a Revamped Individual Marketing Approach: It is a Different Ballgame Now.

Trend Toward Building from Within: It is Cheaper and More Effective to Develop Your Infrastructure Right the First Time.

Trend Toward Commoditization of Services.


1. No Loss Leaders-Gratis Isn't Smart or Productive in the Long Term.

2. Hold the Appropriate Directors Accountable.

3. Always Plan with the Future in Mind.

4. Say to Yourself: What If I Were Just Entering the Business? Would This Be the Way I Would Set It Up?

5. Encourage Everyone in Your Office to Be Creative. Have a Contest. Reward Those Employees Who Think Outside the Box with Prizes.

6. Hire the Right People Who Understand the Marketplace. Scout the Competition. If They Know Enough About Your Market, Then Listen to Them.

7. Have Anyone in Your Office Be Able to Sign Off on a Problem.

8. Establish a Realistic Chain of Command.

9. Test Market New Firm and Product Opportunities with Your "B" Clients. Form a Client Advisory Group.

10. Keep All the Players Informed.

11. Form a Planner Advisory Board (PAB).

12. Keep Your Books Just as You Advise Your Clients To.

13. What to Charge: The Old Adage "How Much Does the Client Got?" Does Not Cut It.

14. Select the Right Form of Business Entity.

15. Location, Location, Location.

16. Technology Hang-Ups.17. Time Management Issues.

18. Do Not Do It All Yourself: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

19. Failing to Take Responsibility Yourself.

20. Select an Appropriate Broker/Dealer.

21. Spend Money on Training Yourself and Your Staff.

22. Do Your Own Due Diligence on Products, Companies, Working Relationships, and the Like.

23. When Is It Time to Bring in a Partner?

24. Having a Succession Plan.

25. If You Don't Believe in Yourself, It Will Never Happen.

Appendix 2-1: Firmwide Self-Assessment Survey.

Appendix 2-2: Working with Mutual Funds.

Appendix 2-3: Investing for Retirement (IFR) Business Plan.


What Does Marketing Really Mean?

1. Branding.

2. The Next Level.

3. Forming Alliances.

4. Charting Your Course.

5. Do Not Sell Out on Volume.

6. Do Not Obsess About the Competition.

7. Your Marketing Plan Is a Working Document.

8. Keep Your Focus.

9. Learn from Your Mistakes.

10. Realize That It Is All Interrelated.

11. Know Your Costs (Before You Proceed).

12. Analyze and Measure Your Results.

13. Derive a Marketing Analysis.

14. Compare Past and Current Marketing Information to Detect Patterns.

15. Listen, Comprehend, Question, Then Incorporate All Suggestions into the Marketing Game Plan.

16. It Is All a Matter of Numbers: Win More Than You Lose.

17. Do Not Package All Your Services Under One Identity That Could Become Cloudy.

18. Pick One Thing or Theme and Do It Well (Marketing Focus).

19. Keep Raising the Bar.

20. Know Your Market (Understanding Your Prospects and Clients).

21. Underpromise and Overdeliver.

22. Pick Your Piece of the Pie: Stake Out Your Turf and Guard It.

23. Differentiate Your Firm from the Competition.

24. When You Steal from One, It Is Plagiarism; When You Steal from Many, It Is Called Research (Know the Industry and Take the Best of the Best).

25. Never Compete on Price.

26. Make It Conducive for the Prospect or Client to Act.

27. Service Me.

28. Let Your Clients Leave on a Pleasant Note.

29. If You Want Something-Ask for It: Getting Referrals in Your Marketplace.

30. Awareness: Do You Know What Your Clients Need to Ask and Look For?

31. Give Your Clients More Reason to Act Now.

32. Package Your Products-In a Retainer-Based Arrangement.

33. Constantly Reiterate Your Reasons Why It Is Worthwhile for Your Clients to Have You as Their Financial Planner.

34. Redefine the Market-FPFT as an Alternative to Traditional CFP? Educational Programming.

35. Keep Score of Your Prospect Conversion Ratio.

36. Market in the Places That Will Likely Reap the Most Business.

37. Do Not Overlook the Home Field Advantage-Your Own Backyard.

38. Create a Separate Profit-and-Loss (P&L) Statement for Each Firmwide Function.

39. Do Not Necessarily Curtail Your Marketing Expenditures During Down Markets.

40. Whatever Marketing Plan You Choose, Make Sure You Have the Infrastructure and the Resources to Support It.

41. If You Say You Are Changing Your Service or Product, Then Change It-Don't Just Say It.

42. The Commodity Effect.

43. Advertise Your Final Product or Service.

44. Create Demand Through Your Own Marketing.

45. Define Your Market.

46. Develop Effective Communication Tools.

47. Do Not Be Afraid of the Institutional Side.

48. Form a Marketing Task Force.

49. If You Want to Go Big Time, Hire a Public Relations Firm.

50. Speak with One Voice.


The Value of Networking.

Affiliating with Outside Resources.

Leverage Activity No. 1: Working with CPAs.

Leverage Activity No. 2: Working with Attorneys.

Leverage Activity No. 3: Working with Insurance Brokers.

Leverage Activity No. 4: Working with Investment Specialists, Money Managers, and Stockbrokers.

Leverage Activity No. 5: Working with Employee-Benefit Specialists and Actuaries.

Leverage Activity No. 6: Working with Business Brokers.

Leverage Activity No. 7: Working with Human Resources Personnel.

Leverage Activity No. 8: Working with Wholesalers.

Leverage Activity No. 9: Leveraging Your System and Expertise with Those Professionals Around You and Your Staff.

Leverage Activity No. 10: Leveraging Your Peers-Graduating Your Clients to the Services of Your Peers.

Leverage Activity No. 11: Leveraging Your Peers for Your Own Benefit.

Leverage Activity No. 12: Leverage Yourself Through Client-Generated Activities and Through Cross-Selling Clients with Each Other.

Leverage Activity No. 13: Leverage Yourself Through Multi-Generational Marketing.


Income Tax Planning in a Financial Planning Environment.

Importance of Understanding the Form 1040 Tax Return.

Qualifying the Client for Financial Planning Services.

Working in Conjunction with a CPA or Other Tax Professional.

Key Aspects of Tax Return Preparation.

Income Tax Planning and the Personal Financial Planning Process.

Section 7216 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Determination of Financial Planning Needs from Form 1040 by Category.

Income Tax Considerations of Financial Planning Recommendations by Category.

Information Not Found on Form 1040.



Starting Point.





76 Pointers to Running a Successful Financial Planning Practice.

The Ten Commandments for Client-Centered Relationships.

Insurance Represents the Center of the Universe: Cover All Your Bases! (Model No. 11 to No. 17).

Investment Planning: Creating Wealth (Model No. 18 to No. 42).

Retirement Planning (Model No. 43 to No. 53).

Estate Planning Issues (Model No. 54 to No. 76).

Appendix 7-1: CFP Board Practice Standards.

Appendix 7-2: JR Financial Group ( JRFG) Business Plan.


Belong: Join a Professional Membership Group.

Financial Planning Software Programs.

Financial Planning Publications.


Structuring Your Small Financial Planning Firm to Reap the Benefits of Larger Firms.

The Way I See It.

How Could We Structure Something Like This?

The Reality.


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