When choosing a financial planner, or a financial planning firm, there are countless choices. Some specialize in providing services to specific professions (e.g. medical doctors, teachers, etc.). Others specialize in very specific aspects of an overall financial plan (e.g. personal insurance, retirement savings, college savings, etc.). It's not uncommon for a single person to have several financial planners at different firms who specialize in various areas of financial planning.
Holistic financial planning, as the name implies, takes a big-picture approach to financial planning. Holistic financial planners don't want, nor intend, to only focus on one aspect of one's complete financial situation. They want to take one's complete financial goals into consideration and also provide direct service in as many facets of it as possible. And, while it might not seem like there are too many different parts of one's financial situation, the opposite is usually the case.
For example, one might have their personal savings accounts at a commercial bank, but their retirement savings in an employer-provided plan at a different institution. They might also have a home mortgage through another institution, and a personal insurance plan through an independent insurance agent. The list could go on and on.
It is for these reasons it's not uncommon for the average person to have their financial assets and saving spread across anywhere from a half dozen to over a dozen institutions. Each one of these institutions, and agents at those institutions, typically only offer planning and guidance over the specific part they control in-house. And, when they are all created in such a piecemeal fashion, it's not uncommon for there to be gaps between all these different moving parts in one's financial picture.
Holistic financial planning takes all these various assets into consideration, uses them to create a comprehensive guidance plan, and fills in any gaps that might exist. After all, one of the worst things one can do is not have a plan for unforeseen and/or extreme situations (like dramatic fluctuations in markets). Having a plan, in advance, can not only help one hedge against potential future setbacks, but it can give one significant peace of mind. As most people can attest, financial decisions made in the heat of the moment often do not work out well in the end. With a holistic financial plan in place, one can weather the storms of uncertainty when they come, knowing all they need to do is stick to their plan.