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Working with Us

As your family’s primary trusted advisor, we will help you understand and evaluate the many important financial decisions that affect you and your family over time.

After getting to know you well, we take the time to understand your values – what is important to you about money. We will help you develop your financial goals and provide you with input and analysis regarding your overall financial situation – portfolio and asset allocation, risk management, debt structure, tax forecasts, retirement savings, and legacy and estate planning. We will develop a plan to help you reach your goals that aligns with your values, and then we will monitor and adapt your plan as your circumstances change over time and as new challenges and opportunities emerge.

For clients in any life stage, we believe that Financial Planning is a process, not a “thing”. Rather than printing out a clients’ financial plan and leaving them on their own to implement that plan, Financial Planning is an ongoing process of discovery, leading, equipping, path selection, encouraging, evaluating, analyzing, making changes, and continuing on the path together.  Like an airplane pilot’s initial flight plans, the initial “financial plan” is unlikely to be completely correct on the first iteration. Only rarely do conditions remain static and all of our initial expectations and assumptions turn out exactly as forecast. 

The first part of any Financial Planning process is the “upfront” time and energy we invest to understand the important values and objectives of the client, as well as work that we do together to understand the limits and constraints of the available (and expected future) resources. This is the creation of the initial “plan”. However, like the airplane pilot adapting to different wind and weather patterns, the second part of the planning process revolves around the “ongoing” work we do to evaluate the clients’ new “current” state and make any adjustments needed to remain on track to achieving the clients’ goals and objectives.

We interface with your other advisors – CPA, attorney, insurance agent/broker and banker – as necessary to meet your goals. Working with your existing advisors or other professionals, we can ensures all aspects of your financial plan are coordinated and implemented efficiently to meet your goals.

Within any clients’ lifespan, the following areas of financial planning will have greater or lesser importance at any given time:

  • Can include debt management issues, cash flow and spending management needs, creating systems for systematics savings and investing, etc.

  • Might include various forms of insurance, such as health, disability, life, property and casualty (home, auto, liability/umbrella), etc. Could also include setting up and maintain an Emergency Spending fund to provide “time” to adjust to unforeseen circumstances.

  • Usually includes at least a will for each client, an advanced directive for health matters, possibly includes powers of attorney (POAs). Depending on other circumstances, this might also include the use of revocable and irrevocable trusts, guardianship agreements (for young children), etc.

  • This is relevant for all individuals and couples, and takes on additional importance with increased wealth, savings and investments; for business owners and self-employed individuals, this becomes more complex due to the interactions between taxation of income at the business entity level versus the individual taxpayer level, and the amount of control available to shift income legally to its more advantageous “tax filing” location. In a similar vein, wise tax planning will also include understanding and optimizing the “tax location” of the components within an investment portfolio, as well as “time shifting” income to “lower tax” years during the clients’ lifetime, especially in retirement.

  • key concepts in selecting individual investments and building investment portfolios include risk and expected returns, diversification, fees (explicitly stated and implicit costs, usually related to turnover), the process of rebalancing to manage risk levels, “markets efficiency” and recognizing the inherent limits of “market timing, forecasts, and stock picking”, understanding “tax location” and the impact of managing investment selection aware of an account’s tax status, etc. Depending on a client’s occupation and situation, there might be significant portions of employer stock-based compensation (grants, options, RSUs, etc) that should be planned and optimized for, including the regular and alternative minimum tax systems.

  • Standard components might include understanding Social Security and optimal claiming strategies; understanding Medicare rules, requirements and choices, along with the timelines for choosing and making changes. Other components can include understanding public- and private-sector pensions and other sources of retirement income. Depending on the life stage, clients might need help making decisions about saving and investment retirement in 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, 457 and other deferred-compensation plans, etc. Also, there are many non-financial aspects of retirement planning that should be considered and addressed prior to beginning retirement such as: Where will you live? What will you with your “extra time” each day? Are there new pursuits that interest you – educational, skills-based and hobbies, paid or volunteer work, travel, etc.? Finally, the term “retirement” itself is also undergoing a rethinking of sorts – will it be a “linear” process (e.g. work, then retire, then …), or will there be “cycles” of mini-retirements going forward (e.g. education/learning, work/vocation, retire/rest/break, followed by more or new learning, a new vocation, another rest/break, etc.)?

  • This can include understanding the above-average costs of higher education and planning for paying for that education; it can include understanding what financial aid is and isn’t in the current era; it might include how much parental vs. student (vs. grandparent?) contribution will be expected; it might include how to save and pay for education in the future, in the most efficient manner possible, whether for grandparents, parents, or parents-to-be.

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