The Financial Planning Process: Investment Planning

What We Do

Lincoln Financial Advisors/Sagemark Consulting is an industry leader in fee-based financial planning services focused on estate / asset protection strategies, asset management, retirement planning, and business owner planning.  Our financial planning process covers these five steps:

  • Advice and Planning;
  • Portfolio Modeling Analysis and Design;
  • Development of an Investment Policy Statement;
  • Implementation, Manager Search and Selection; and
  • Ongoing Monitoring, Due Diligence and Reporting.*

*Available through our asset management programs.

Our financial planning process integrates asset allocation, active management and tax management in a way that seeks to reduce uncompensated risks, captures manager skill, and helps reduce the impact of taxes to help enhance the client’s net total return over time.

Our Philosophy

For over 50 years, we have followed our corporate “Serve First” philosophy, which underscores our commitment to offering confidential, highly customized service.

As part of this philosophy, we systematically review our clients’ financial plans to ensure an optimal approach consistent with their long-term goals and objectives, and we provide our clients with clear solutions based on the issues that most concern them.


Our goal is to deliver objective, strategic, and prudent advice designed to grow, preserve, protect and transfer to the next generation our clients’ assets, providing a “total solution” to help towards meeting their financial goals.

Asset Allocation

The decision of how to invest a pool of resources among broad asset classes.  The purpose of asset allocation is to help control risks by reducing the volatility (or degree of fluctuations) of your overall portfolio and help to optimize your total return (return on an investment that includes capital appreciation and interest or dividends).

An optimized portfolio seeks to maximize the potential portfolio return for a given level of risk.  In other words, a principal goal is to deliver the maximum potential level of return per unit of risk through diversification into several asset classes.

Why allocate assets?  Asset Allocation has been identified as the single most important element of investment success.  According to a research (1), (2), 90% or more of a portfolio’s return and risk is driven by asset allocation.  The remaining 10% comes from other sources such as security selection, active management, etc.  Investors who do not properly diversify may take higher risks in their portfolio but may not earn higher returns to compensate them for taking that risk.

Asset Allocation provides three major benefits to an investor –

  • It provides a portfolio management discipline which will help the investor to avoid reacting to short term market swings, emotions and fads.
  • It emphasizes the development of an Asset Allocation policy – an important factor for helping achieve investment returns.
  • When followed over several market cycles, it reduces risk and volatility.

Asset Allocation is not a perfect solution –

  • It cannot guarantee an investor will earn any given investment return.
  • It is not as effective for short time horizons.
  • It cannot eliminate all risks.
  • It cannot guarantee a portfolio will never show a loss or have a losing year.
  • It will not create a portfolio that will outperform a strong bull market.

1. Source:  Gary P. Brinson, L. Randolph Hood, and Gilbert T. Beebower.  1986. “Determinants of Portfolio Performance.”  Financial Analysts Journal, vol. 42. No. 4 (July/August 39-48).

2. Source:  Roger G. Ibbotson and Paul D. Kaplan.  @000.  “Does Asset Allocation Explain 40, 90, or 100 Percent of Performance?”  The Financial Analysts Journal