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THE ONE PAGE FINANCIAL PLAN (Non-fiction: Personal Finance)


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#1 JAY CEE

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 08:58 AM

Hi everyone. This is my first post. I assure you, I have no pride of authorship. I just want to produce the best product I can. So please have at it with no holds barred. Thanks in advance.
Jeff Chase



PROPOSED QUERY LETTER

Despite the myriad of books on the subject, there is a gaping void in the arena of Retirement Planning literature. While all other “Retirement” books talk about the things you need to consider when developing a retirement plan, "The One Page Financial Plan: A Professional’s Complete Guide for Building and Implementing Your Own Financial Plan” is the only book that gives you a clear method and the supporting software to enable you to actually do it for yourself. Let me explain further. When thinking about retirement, all people really want to know is:

“How much money will I need to accumulate to retire the way I want to?”
“How much do I need to save, and what return do I need, to get me to that number?”
“What specific investment plan will accomplish this for me?”
“How can I track my progress to be assured that I’m staying on course?”

The One Page Financial Plan provides concrete answers to these questions, but tailored to each reader’s unique needs. That’s the key difference between this book and all other retirement planning books, and I cannot overemphasize this difference. At best, the existing retirement planning books give the reader a series of forms to fill out and, maybe, some tables to use as guidelines for what you should do. Some refer you to software or spreadsheets independent of their book, but provide no guidance for their use. Believe me, no one can develop a plan this way.

I’ve been able to solve this dilemma by taking the planning techniques, proprietary investment strategies, and self-developed software that I used, for over 25 years, in my financial planning practice, and put them into a single integrated book that enables the average person to build a complete financial plan that fits on one page and which illustrates all of his or her current and projected financial needs. I then show each reader how to develop his/her specific investment plan to meet his/her own personal retirement goals. It’s straightforward. It’s integrated. You read the book, go to my website and use the software, and come away a detailed retirement and investment program that’s completely yours.

I devote 16 pages in my proposal analyzing the competition, and the market is enormous. For instance, “The Idiot’s Guide to Retirement Planning” by Jeffrey Wuorio claims 1.3 million copies in print. Howard Ruff’s book “How to Prosper in the Coming Bad Years” has sold 2.6 million copies. Money Magazine has 2 million readers. And it goes on from there.

It’s obvious. People are looking for an answer; and they’re not getting it. The One Page Financial Plan fills that need. 80% of the book has been written and could be completed within 2 months of getting a publisher’s interest. It will run 200-250 pages. I have a full proposal that I’d be more than happy to share with you. I appreciate your taking the time to review this and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Jeffry N. Chase

#2 richard p

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:41 AM

Your query letter sounds good and promises a lot. One thing that isn't clear to me is why the reader needs to go to your website to complete the plan. If he does, then your book isn't a "complete" guide. I was in financial planning for a number of years and I can see the value of a one-page financial plan, but I think it might be misleading. I think you might mean the one page is a summary of the complete financial plan. Investing is a complex business with many variables and pitfalls and crooks, etc. But, if you can deliver the goods, you might have something.

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#3 JAY CEE

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 01:39 PM

Your query letter sounds good and promises a lot. One thing that isn't clear to me is why the reader needs to go to your website to complete the plan. If he does, then your book isn't a "complete" guide. I was in financial planning for a number of years and I can see the value of a one-page financial plan, but I think it might be misleading. I think you might mean the one page is a summary of the complete financial plan. Investing is a complex business with many variables and pitfalls and crooks, etc. But, if you can deliver the goods, you might have something.

Richard,

Thanks for your insightful comments. I was considering enclosing a CD so that the software would accompany the book but was advised to go with an On-line version for several reasons. One was that this was the direction the technology was heading and people were comfortable today with going on-line for information. Another was that the software could be easily updated and made instantly available to all users at once, as opposed to having to notify everyone and have them download new versions periodically. The bottom line is that you can't complete a plan without software. Regardless of whether the software accompanies the book as a CD or is found on a website, the essential result is that the book references and uses the software's capabilities to guide the reader through the planning process. The on-line software is free. It was really a question on how best to "deliver" it to the buyer of the book.
Your point about the complexities of investing is right on the money. (By the way, when you refer to "crooks" I wasn't sure whether you meant "twists and turns in the road" or "dishonest practitioners". Needless to say, both have to be watched out for, and I do address both in the book.) But let's get back to the topic; I've always separated the "Retirement Plan" from the "Investment Plan", and here's why. In order to develop a retirement plan a person has to assess many things about his life and his expectations and translate them into financial terms. That's daunting enough without having to bring in investment strategies at the same time. Once this initial assessment of your current and expected financial condition is completed, all that is left is to determine the Rate of Return you need to get on the money you've saved and accumulated to make your plan work. In the book I call this your "Hurdle Rate". The Hurdle Rate is important because it drives your investment plan. To illustrate this I've taken an excerpt form the book as follows:
"Too often, we give our money to a broker or money manager and he assumes you want or need to beat the market. This can result in your taking more risk than necessary. Let’s say your “Hurdle rate “ is 4.5%. If the person managing your money doesn’t know that, he’s generally going to try to perform better than the market, which could mean he’s going to try to get you a 10% or more rate of return. This could mean that he’d place more of your funds into riskier assets than is necessary. There have been periods of time when you could easily get your 4.5% Rate of Return through investing in Municipal Bonds, Treasury Securities or High Grade Corporate Bonds, and avoid the risk of the stock market. Once you know your Hurdle rate you can give much more solid and specific guidance to the person you select to manage your money, or make better decisions if you decide to do it yourself."
Similarly, if you find you'll need a 12% Return on Investment to have you plan succeed, you better make changes to your plan. Within the book itself I take the reader through a separate program to develop an Investment plan based upon his own personal hurdle rate (and risk tolerance, which is something else) so that he can achieve his long term goals. I utilize only a handful of investment vehicles which I can show statistically will result in returns that will give you the best chance to meet or beat your hurdle rate with minimum risk. Each year, as you reassess your plan and take into account the prior years results, the reader is able to update his plan, recalculate his hurdle rate and adjust his Investment Plan accordingly.

Yes it is a summary, but it covers the essential pieces. I would no more want to encumber the plan by showing all the budget items that comprised that person's expenses than I would by showing all their investment details. By compartmentalizing the pieces they all become easier to handle and understand. I can tell you from experience that when I used to annually review my client's financial plans with them, the only document they wanted to look at was my ONE PAGE FINANCIAL PLAN.

Thanks again for your interest.

Jeff C.

#4 Eleanora di Toledo

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 10:32 AM

I'm not an expert on financial planning but I figure as someone who might want to retire someday (and who might need a book like yours!) I should throw in my 2 cents. The idea of pitching a book that features the phrase "one page" so prominently might be an instant warning sign and I'd be reluctant to buy it (or to try to sell it if I were an agent). I understand what you mean, but unless that is really the widespread jargon of the field, I'd be careful in your emphasis. You could try promoting the idea of "everything in one place" or "your retirement at a glance" or other better catchy phrases. Also, in these paranoid times of identity theft, are you sure people are going to want to input all their supersecret info into your website? A stand-alone application (what about for an i-phone?) would be much more appealing for me. Also, the use of the word "Professional's" in the title makes me think it is un-professional.

#5 richard p

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 06:24 PM

You make some good points and the one-page is more of a summary, which is okay.

One thing you don't mention, and I think it might be crucial, although some people will believe anyone who seems to know what they're talking about, are your credentials. Are you a CLU or ChFC or graduate of one of the other financial planning organizations? If you are, you should mention this in your query. Do you have a platform? Do you have your own organization? Do you have a prominent website? Have you published in journals? Are you a member of any financial planning associations? If so, you need to mention these things.

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Richard P Hughes a.k.a. R Patrick Hughes


#6 JAY CEE

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 06:53 PM

You make some good points and the one-page is more of a summary, which is okay.

One thing you don't mention, and I think it might be crucial, although some people will believe anyone who seems to know what they're talking about, are your credentials. Are you a CLU or ChFC or graduate of one of the other financial planning organizations? If you are, you should mention this in your query. Do you have a platform? Do you have your own organization? Do you have a prominent website? Have you published in journals? Are you a member of any financial planning associations? If so, you need to mention these things.

As usual, you've hit on more good points. I am a CFP and RIA and I'll include that in my query. Thanks.

#7 JAY CEE

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 07:09 PM

I'm not an expert on financial planning but I figure as someone who might want to retire someday (and who might need a book like yours!) I should throw in my 2 cents. The idea of pitching a book that features the phrase "one page" so prominently might be an instant warning sign and I'd be reluctant to buy it (or to try to sell it if I were an agent). I understand what you mean, but unless that is really the widespread jargon of the field, I'd be careful in your emphasis. You could try promoting the idea of "everything in one place" or "your retirement at a glance" or other better catchy phrases. Also, in these paranoid times of identity theft, are you sure people are going to want to input all their supersecret info into your website? A stand-alone application (what about for an i-phone?) would be much more appealing for me. Also, the use of the word "Professional's" in the title makes me think it is un-professional.

Eleanora,

Thanks for your response. I use the phrase One Page Financial Plan because it is actually One Page. You're the first person who has made me sensitive to it, so I'll give it some more thought. If anyone else thinks it's a negative connotation i'd appreciate hearing from you.
Regarding the use of the word professional in the title was done for 2 reasons. First, I am a financial planning professional with 25 years experience and I wanted to separate myself from the journalists and other financial non-professionals who have written similar books but have never actually prepared a financial plan for a client. Also I wanted to separate myself from the books entitled "Financial Planning for Dummies or Idiots", both of which seem demeaning to the reader, and indicate that this book is for people who want professional advice.
Your I-phone/I-pad idea is a good one and I'll bring it up to my Tech guy. I too was a bit concerned about having people enter personal information, however it doesn't require that they enter info that could wind up as identity theft (Soc SEc #, Bank ID's , etc.). Also, people seem to be readily able to have their banking and investments done on-line. The info they would enter for the plan would be much less "invasive". It's an evolving situation, but worth consideration. Thanks.
Does this explain my rationales better? And if so, does it change your initial perception? If you have any other ideas I'd be delighted to hear them.

Jeff C.




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