Planning with purpose
Effective planning is as much about possibility as it is about responsibility.
Our approach to financial planning
Clients come to us because they aspire to something greater. It may be the need for their investments to work harder, or a more complex problem related to changing financial or personal circumstances. Some are simply looking for the best place to start. And many need to tackle the unique challenges of a transition – whether marriage, divorce, widowhood, inheritance or that first stock option grant.
We welcome these challenges with a deep commitment to providing you with a comfortable, collaborative setting to explore your concerns and follow your dreams. Our planning process has a single purpose: to manage your wealth so that you may live fully and confidently – in possibility. We are devoted to seeing you thrive, both financially and personally.
Your Priorities: Discovering What Matters Most
The most important thing to know about our approach to financial planning is that it is wide-ranging, dynamic and always guided by what matters [more]most to you.
Listening to you is our first priority. We seek to understand your goals, priorities and what keeps you awake at night. Through a number of discovery tools, we’ll begin to learn more about you and get a sense of your aspirations – financial and otherwise – and what it might take to see them realized. We’ll gain an understanding of the areas of your financial life where you feel strong and those where you have concerns and need additional support.
If you’re feeling stuck or unsure, we can help. Not every client starts out with a clear sense of direction. That’s okay – we work through the process with you. Over time the vision will emerge. If you’re confident in what you’ve done to date, but want to take it to that next level, our expertise will help you get there.
Your Resources: Setting the Stage
Once we have a sense of your values and vision, we collect your financial data. Getting a clear picture of your range of resources is key. Most of our clients [more] want to know, Am I going to be okay? Do I have enough money for what I really need and want? Are my investments smart and savvy? As we begin to collect and review the information, the important questions for your unique situation will emerge, and we approach them from the perspective that’s most relevant to you.
At this stage, we start to look closely at the details, the numbers. First, we put together our initial diagnostic of your financial resources – your assets, liabilities, income and expenses. Your Financial Dashboard. We begin to envision your financial future, incorporating potential changes to your earning capacity, lifestyle changes and other milestones.
Along the way, we identify other financial issues and opportunities, such as education funding, estate and legacy planning, tax strategies and insurance, and put them on the agenda. We’ll plot a road map for the first year. We’ll review it with you to make sure we cover everything that you’re concerned about, and set priorities.
Then we get down to brass tacks.
Your Plan: Putting it All Together
Using your road map we begin to tackle the issues. Working in priority order, we do the analyses and begin to put together a decision framework for you. We [more] look at your plan holistically and make sure that your decisions reflect your values and priorities. We’ll give you a sense of the pros and cons of different options. We want you to be confident in the knowledge that you’re making informed decisions. More than that, we want you to be confident that you’re making the best decisions for you.
A critical component of financial decision-making is having a clear understanding of the trade-offs when choosing one path over another. We aim to answer that perennial question: Am I going to be okay? We’ll give you a clear picture of your long-term financial sustainability – as well as course corrections that may be needed. We use sophisticated, comprehensive goals-based financial planning software that allows us to test and compare a variety of what-if scenarios to inform the decision-making process. While no software will predict the future, this robust tool helps us understand the variables and informs a rich discussion.
We believe that candid conversations are as crucial to your long-term financial success as any particular investment strategy. Sometimes our clients face difficult choices. We will give you the insight and information you need to help you weigh tough trade-offs. We focus on what you can control and identify the adjustments you can make. With careful modeling, we look for a combination of workable adjustments and gradual changes that will make reaching your goals more achievable.
Over the course of our first year together, we’ll meet 3-5 times. In between, we’ll provide follow-ups, fine-tune the analysis, assign homework and give you a gentle nudge if needed. Proactive and implementation-oriented, we don’t put your plan away on a shelf. With our results-driven approach, we work vigorously to ensure that agreed-upon strategies are put into place, doing as much of the heavy lifting as we can. Whether this means securing an insurance policy, retitling assets for estate plans, or funding retirement plans, we make sure steps are implemented in an efficient and timely manner. As fee-only planners, we won’t ever sell you any products. We’ll be sitting on your side of the table helping you choose the solutions that best fit your situation.
Bottom line, we believe that goals-based financial planning leads to healthier, happier and more satisfying results. We’ll provide you with a clear understanding of the alternatives and trade-offs inherent to reaching your goals, so that you can align your decisions with your priorities. We seek to understand what matters most to you and to encourage you to become confident, competent and courageous in making life choices based on the sound financial foundation we build together.