Tag: women and money

Preparing Your Finances for a Return to the Workplace

Published in: Resources |

As the days grow longer, our children’s school years draw to an end, and we start to incorporate sunscreen into our daily skincare routines again, change is in the air. After months and months of commuting from the bedroom to the living room couch or to the kitchen table for work, many of us are facing the prospect of returning to the office for the first time in over a year. Once the norm, making the switch to being surrounded by colleagues in a communal workplace now feels like a strange concept for many of us. As we creep towards some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the changes that have taken place in our lives and to check in on how we are doing.

Part of checking in on ourselves includes taking the time to analyze our financial wellness, taking into consideration any new money habits that may have formed over the course of the pandemic. After all, just as we had to make adjustments to live life in quarantine, we now need to transition out of it. Here are some steps you can take to better prepare your finances for your return to the workplace.

Analyze where you’re at

It’s always important to take stock of your finances and evaluate where you’re at, but after the last year and a half of economic uncertainty, it’s especially wise. Revisit your retirement plan, your estate plan, your emergency fund, and your portfolio. Set new goals based on any personal or professional changes that have occurred over the course of the pandemic.

Create a new budget

As we begin to leave our homes more and more frequently, our spending habits are bound to change. We might find ourselves spending more money on gas, paying to send our kids back to childcare, footing the bill for public transportation to and from work, buying coffee from the drive-through at lunch, or stocking up on some new work slacks to give the yoga pants we’ve been wearing all pandemic a break. Assess your new financial responsibilities and shift your budget accordingly.

Keep up with any newfound positive financial habits

Remember all the positive financial habits that formed during quarantine? Why not keep up the momentum? Our spending patterns have changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic, from shifts away from spending money on entertainment and travel, to dining out less. While it’s exciting to be able to pop by your favorite local restaurant for a a glass of iced tea and that delicious veggie flatbread you’ve been craving, try to keep cooking at home most evenings. Instead of blowing money going to the movies each week, take a hike outside or spend time to the beach. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to get outside, just remember when you were cooped up at home for months on end.

At The Humphreys Group, we’re passionate about helping women harness their natural financial strengths through the good times, as well as the difficult ones. Reach out to our team today to learn more about creating a personalized financial plan.

 

How to Choose a Financial Advisor

Published in: Resources |

Coming off of an extremely topsy-turvy and uncertain year last year, many people are thinking about money more than they were during pre-pandemic times. From layoffs and pay cuts to hospital bills, our financial situations have been front and center in our minds lately. As we begin to regain a sense of normalcy, it’s a great time to think about your finances and get your money organized. One smart step toward financial preparedness is to work with a financial advisor.

Financial advisors seem to be everywhere these days, so finding one won’t necessarily be hard. The tricky part is finding the right one. With so many options, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. However, doing your due diligence in carefully selecting the advisor that is right for you is critical to your financial future. Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for your ideal financial advisor.

Choosing a financial advisor starts with you

The first step in your hunt for the perfect financial advisor is to check in with yourself. Look at your values and your priorities, your dreams and aspirations. When it comes to finding the right advisor, it’s important to make sure their values align with your own. Putting pen to paper early on and making a list of the things that are important to you when it comes to your finances will help you weed out the professionals who aren’t right for you.

Consider your financial goals

Assess your personal and financial goals, your assets, and your liabilities. Why do you want to work with a financial advisor and what do you hope to gain from it? Are you looking for help investing? Are you trying to set up an educational fund or a trust for future generations? Do you need help planning for retirement? Different financial advisors specialize in different areas. It’s important to figure out precisely what you require a financial advisor for in order to sort out which advisors may be a better fit than others.

Look at your options

A great place to start when it comes to looking for a financial advisor is by asking friends and family for referrals. If someone you know and trust is able to vouch for an advisor, chances are they are worth looking into. Otherwise, the internet is always a helpful tool. Look at the financial advisor’s credentials, check their online reviews, and study their website so that you have a solid understanding of what they’re all about. Once you have found a few different advisors who look like they might be a good fit, take the time to interview them. Schedule introductory calls or meetings to discuss their services in regards to your needs.

Consider the cost

An important component to keep in mind during your search is payment. Look at your own budget to realistically determine how much you can afford to spend on financial advisory services. Also, keep in mind how the advisor gets paid. Do they earn commission or are they fee only? Commission based financial advisors make money by earning commission from third parties, while fee-only advisors earn money from the fees you pay for their services, which are typically charged as flat annual rates, hourly rates, or percentages of the assets they manage for you. While you shouldn’t necessarily rule out an advisor based on how they get paid, it’s important to understand what it means, both for the service you should expect and the fees you will pay.

Just like no two financial situations are identical, no financial advisor is one-size-fits-all. Taking the time to assess your values, goals, aspirations, and dreams is absolutely critical to your financial planning process. At The Humphreys Group, our individualized financial plans are tailored to our clients’ specific situations, as well as their goals and dreams. We are experienced planners and intelligent investors who are constantly emphasizing the importance of clients’ living their values. Reach out to us for a free consultation today.

 

 

When Should You Start to Think About Succession

Published in: Resources |

One of Franklin Covey’s famed ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ is to begin with the end in mind, and succession planning, or the strategy of identifying and preparing future company leaders for advancement, should be no different.

Succession planning is an extremely important aspect of preparing for the future of a company, as it creates focus on long-term success, disaster-proofs your business and various leadership roles, and helps to create employment longevity with opportunities for growth.

Keeping succession in mind early on is especially critical for female executives, partially because women are much more likely to leave their jobs for personal or family reasons. Early planning ensures that a company will have plenty of time to carefully prepare, weigh out possible scenarios, and groom leaders for higher level roles. So how can you, as a female executive, prepare for succession? Here are some things to consider.

Think about succession during the hiring process

It may seem premature to keep succession in mind as you interview entry level candidates, but it’s helpful to look for leadership potential early on in order to set your company up for future success. Ask yourself what your business goals are and visualize the future you want for your company. Does this entry level candidate have a place in that picture?

Cultivate open communication about future plans

The best succession plan is one that is fluid, flexible, and continually contemplated. Make succession a topic of discussion. Schedule an annual or even semiannual meeting to discuss leadership positions and potential candidates with members of your senior leadership team, as well as with any stakeholders. Take the time to examine your current workforce and map out any potential gaps that would open up if a current staff member was to retire or seek a new job. Fill the gaps prematurely by keeping a pool of qualified and dedicated team members on your staff.

Ease your successor into the role

Once you have singled out potential successors, give them opportunities to show what they’re capable of. If a member of the leadership team is taking a vacation for example, pass some responsibilities to the potential successor. You will be able to gauge where they are at, performance-wise, as well as learn which areas they might need to be more heavily trained in.

Learning a new role and new responsibilities doesn’t happen over night. The sooner you start brainstorming and planning for succession, the better for everyone involved.

At The Humphreys Group, we understand the unique challenges of a transition, and welcome these challenges with a deep commitment to providing you with a comfortable, collaborative setting to explore your concerns and follow your dreams. We help you plan with purpose. Reach out today for a complimentary, obligation-free consultation.

 

Changing Careers, Pandemic Edition

Published in: Resources |

The COVID-19 pandemic put a lot of people in uncomfortable positions job-wise. Some were forced to work remotely from noisy or too-cramped family apartments, while others put their health at risk as frontline workers, likely wishing they could stay home. Some were furloughed and temporarily lost a sense of purpose, while others were laid off altogether and scrambled to find new opportunities and income streams.

No matter what we went through, we all went through something, leading many of us to question our careers. For some, it was a wake up call to live their lives to the fullest extent, rather than wasting time in a role they’re unhappy in. For others, it showed the necessity of a consistent, secure job with steady income.

Whatever the reason, making a career change is a big deal, and it should be treated as such. Rather than making a snap decision, take time to ask yourself some serious questions, look at the logistics, and try to view the bigger picture. Here are four steps you should be prepared to take if you’re considering a career change.

1. Ask the hard questions

The first step is getting real with yourself. Look internally and ask yourself some difficult questions:

Are you unhappy with your career, or just with your job? If you’re unhappy with your job, maybe you should consider changing companies or looking for a different position, rather than shifting industries altogether.

Are you fed up with your career? Or is it possible that you just don’t like working during a pandemic? How did you feel about your job before the pandemic? If you were happy in your job, there’s a chance that your consideration of a career switch has been triggered by the difficulty of adjusting to remote work.

How are you feeling emotionally and mentally?  If you’re not in a good head space, you’re more likely to make snap decisions. Additionally, the pandemic has taken a hit on many people’s mental health. Are you prepared to deal with the potential emotional stress of dealing with a pandemic and a career change at the same time?

2. Look at the logistics…and ask some more questions

If you have spent some time seriously mulling over whether or not you want to change careers and have concluded that you do, the next step is looking at things logistically, and subsequently asking yourself more questions:

Are you financially prepared to change careers? Making a career change has the potential to be expensive. Consider whether or not you’ll need to go to school and how much tuition will be. You’ll likely have to spend some time in an internship role, which may or may not be paid. Additionally, you’ll probably have to take a pay cut. Are you financially prepared to support yourself and your family during the shift?

What does the industry you’re aspiring to enter look like in the long-term? Some industries were hit especially hard during the pandemic. If you’re dreaming of opening a brunch cafe, consider the risk that comes with working in the hospitality industry. If you want to be a flight attendant, consider that, with fewer people traveling, there is likely not a huge need for flight crew hirees.

3. Make a plan

If you’ve done the soul-searching, had the difficult conversations with yourself, and are ready to make a career change, it’s time to come up with a plan. Include defined career goals, as well as small steps you will take to reach them. Put together a budget, as you’ll likely have to fall back on savings for a while. Network, network, network. Utilize your existing network, but be prepared to get outside of your comfort zone and talk with people in the field you’re aspiring to enter.

4. Take the leap

Once you’ve come up with a solid plan, the only thing left to do is take the leap. You’ve made it this far, and now it’s time to trust yourself and your instincts. Accept that this part of the journey will likely be the hardest part, and trust the process.

At The Humphreys Group, we help women in transition to take hold of their financial situation. 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. Reach out today for a consultation.

 

Spring Clean Your Finances

Published in: Resources |

 

Spring is here at last, and with it comes the usual flurry of spring cleaning. This year, be sure to dust off your finances, too! Here are five steps you can take today to tidy up your finances.

1. Look at your budget and adjust as needed.

Look at your existing budget and then compare it to your spending from the last year. Are the two aligned? Or are there obvious discrepancies that jump out at you? Adjust as necessary. A budget is a great way to help keep yourself on track financially, but it only works if you’re honest with yourself about where your money is going. Additionally, if you don’t have a budget, make one! A budget is a priceless tool for tracking expenses and pursuing financial milestones.

2. Put an end to spending habits that no longer serve you.

While reviewing your budget, if you notice spending habits that you’re unhappy with, take note of them. Is the majority of your paycheck going to your rent? Then it might be time to reassess your living situation. Are you eating out a lot? Try limiting yourself to twice a week. There is no time like the present to live within your means and kick bad spending habits.

3. Look at your late payments and debts. Make a plan for how to pay them off.

If you’re behind on payments or late on repaying debt, come up with a solid plan for how to make these payments. Reference your budget. Are there financial sacrifices you can make so that you have the proper funds to pay off your debts? Perhaps you cancel that gym membership that you hardly use, or maybe you skip an upcoming weekend of wine tasting. Sure, it’s not fun to sacrifice expenses such as these, but getting ahead of your debt will benefit you tremendously in the long run.

4. Take a “financial inventory.” 

Sometimes, we have so much going on that it can be easy to let little pieces slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, those little pieces can have a big impact. Look at all of your accounts, lines of credit, debts, etc., and organize them. Make a master list of your finances. Create a Google calendar to remind yourself of any repeat payments, upcoming bills, or credit card due dates.

5. Assess your financial goals.

Finally, envision your goals, financial and otherwise. What is it going to take to make those goals a reality? Have a you been dreaming of going back to school? What does that entail? How will you pay for it? Or maybe you’ve decided you want to take a year-long sabbatical. How much money will you need to have saved up? Are there ways you can start setting aside money now?

At The Humphreys Group, we invest time in really getting to know your needs, values, and desires to develop personalized financial plans that will evolve with you during your life. For assistance “spring cleaning” your finances, get in touch with us today.

Finance Tips for First Time Homebuyers

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Are you getting ready to buy your first home? What an exhilarating (and probably nerve-racking) time.

Preparing to buy a home can be the cause of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, it’s incredibly exciting. The prospect of choosing a new place to live, potentially for the rest of your life…a place that you will make memories in, build the life you envision for yourself, and decorate to your heart’s desire. But on the other hand, it’s a very large, very expensive commitment, and one that you should be fully prepared to undertake.

If you’re getting ready to buy a home, here are three of the major expenses to keep in mind.

1. Down payment

The first large expense associated with homebuying is the down payment. Your down payment is the percentage of the purchase price of your home that you pay upfront, and it will vary based on the type of mortgage you choose, as well as the lender. Be sure you are ready to commit to a loan, as the average mortgage loan term is between 15 and 30 years, according to Rocket Mortgage.

To check if you have saved enough and see how your down payment translates to your home price and monthly payment, consider using a down payment calculator.

2. Closing

The second big expense comes at closing. Closing costs include the expenses and fees that you pay to finalize your loan, such as lender fees, third-party fees, and prepaid items. These costs are often overlooked due to the focus put on the down payment, but they’re extremely important to factor in.

3. Move-in expenses

Once you’ve gotten the paperwork and legal bit out of the way, it’s time for the fun part…right?

Not quite.

There is one more large expense that sometimes gets overlooked in the excitement of closing on a property. Move-in expenses include everything from immediate home repairs and upgrades, to moving services, to furnishings for your new space, and they can quickly add up. Make sure you have some money set aside for any move-in expenses that may arise.

Tips to stay on track as a first time homebuyer

Now that the expenses of purchasing a home are front and center in your mind, here are some tips for how to stay on track throughout the homebuying process.

  • Work with a real estate agent. Real estate agents offer objective information and serve as your guide throughout the buying process. They expand your search power, save you time, and are in your corner when it comes to negotiations.
  • Maintain your credit. Lenders want to see that your credit and money patterns are consistent, so it’s critical to maintain your credit during the purchasing process. Be sure to pay your bills on time, and avoid taking out a new line of credit or trying to influence your credit rating.
  • Hire a home inspector. Don’t rely solely on the appraisal of the home, which simply tells you how much a house is worth. Be sure to hire an inspector as well, who will conduct an examination of the structure and systems of a house. You can use the results of the inspection to learn more about a property and negotiate with the seller.
  • Stick to your budget. It can be easy to get carried away as a first time homebuyer, allowing your emotions to get wrapped up in “the perfect space,” but you made a budget for a reason, and it’s important to stick with it.
  • Work with a financial advisor. At The Humphreys Group, we evaluate your priorities, goals, and resources to help you see the big picture when it comes to important financial decisions like buying a home. If you have questions or want a second opinion, reach out to us today.

Grey Divorce: How to Navigate your Finances

Published in: Resources |

Going through a divorce is tough. From the division of assets and worrying about children, to the emotional toll that separation takes on an individual, untangling two people’s lives is bound to come with some messiness. Unfortunately, one of those inevitable burdens is your finances. Even in the most amicable of divorces, separating finances is an unpleasant, yet unavoidable part of the process. However, there are ways to make the proceedings a bit more smooth and straightforward.

Here are five tips for navigating your finances during a divorce.

1. Focus on finances

When dealing with the financial aspect of a divorce, focus on the finances. Talk to a financial advisor for a second opinion. Leave anything unrelated to finance in your lawyer’s office. This may seem like an obvious one, but for some people going through a divorce, the “rip the bandaid off” method is the most appealing. It might be tempting to try and deal with every aspect of your divorce at once, but focusing on one thing at a time will likely simplify proceedings in the long run and help you to cross things off your to do list in a more organized and sensical fashion.

2. Close any joint accounts you have

Avoid doing damage to your credit scores and credit reports by closing any joint credit accounts you have as soon as you can. Continuing to rack up joint debt could complicate the divorce process further. Don’t forget to close any joint checking and savings accounts as well, and open solo bank accounts in their places.

3. Track your finances and create a budget

Now that you have your own bank accounts, begin carefully tracking your expenses, including any divorce expenses. Going from a two income household to a single income household, there is bound to be an adjustment period. Having a budget will help you stay on top of your finances and help you adapt to your new normal. Tracking your expenses will also be helpful for your lawyer when it comes to divvying up any debts or assets.

4. Update your records

Be sure to update any bills in your name, your insurance, tax records, and property titles. Don’t forget about any wills you may have, powers of attorney, beneficiaries on life insurance or retirement accounts, etc.

5. Consult professionals

It may be temping during an emotional time to confide in anyone who will listen, however, due to the personal nature, as well as the legality of the divorce process, it is advisable to consult professionals and keep the details to yourself.

At The Humphreys Group, we are experienced in guiding clients through transition. From teaching recently divorced clients the fundamentals of managing their finances, to our comprehensive and accessible long-term sustainability analysis, we are prepared to assist in any way we can. By listening to your hopes and concerns and taking the time to gain a thorough understanding of your financial situation and your goals for the future, we are able to craft strategies and solutions that are both appropriate and effective. Get in touch with The Humphreys Group today for a second opinion.

What The Humphreys Group Does to Give Back

Published in: Resources |

At The Humphreys Group, we strongly believe in living our values, and one of our core values is generosity. Not only is giving back beneficial to our communities, but it can also enrich our lives and contribute to our overall sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

We strive to always give back through the three Ts; time, talent and treasure.

Time

Over the years we have consistently dedicated our time to various hands-on community organizations, but one that we keep coming back to is St. Anthony’s. St. Anthony’s is an organization that provides meals, clothing, resources, and shelter for the underserved and hungry in San Francisco. Our team has volunteered on several occasions in the dining room, serving lunch and talking with those who come to eat one of the thousands of meals served each day.

Some other organizations we have volunteered with include Native Plant Nursery in the Presidio, where we’ve repotted seedlings and pulled weeds, and Project Open Hand, where we’ve made PB&J sandwiches and sorted groceries.

It’s always a treat to be able to volunteer our time in meaningful ways that positively impact the communities we call home.

Talent

In addition to donating our time, we are lucky to have opportunities to utilize our talents by providing pro bono financial planning services to several Bay Area organizations. We work with a few different programs and centers that focus primarily on domestic violence prevention and providing safe spaces to survivors, including Shalom Bayit, San Francisco Safe House and La Casa de Las Madres.

Additionally, we participate in San Francisco Financial Planning Days, which provide an opportunity for those with financial planning concerns who haven’t had the means or opportunity to consult a professional and have their questions addressed.

Treasure

Last but not least, we make contributions to nonprofit organizations on behalf of our clients to celebrate milestones in their lives, as well an an annual year-end holiday donation in honor of all our clients. The organizations we choose reflect our vision and values, as well as our commitment to women’s issues.

Past recipients have included:

By getting out of the office and donating our time and resources, we challenge ourselves to try new things and get out of our comfort zones. Engaging with a broader slice of the community allows us to really step back and put things in perspective. In turn, we’re better able to meet our clients wherever they may be on their path to financial stability and empowerment, and to work with them to achieve their goals. To get started with us, we invite you to give us a call.

Starting a Business During a Pandemic

Published in: Resources |

It may surprise you to learn that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest rate in over a decade.

If your first instinct amidst the pandemic wasn’t to open a new business, you wouldn’t be alone. Many people have been weighed down by financial burdens and health concerns over the last year.  However, despite all of the question marks currently floating around about the state of the world, if you’ve always wanted to open a business, now is not necessarily the time to rule it out. While the future remains unpredictable, (vaccines? fourth waves? new strains of virus?), we are living in a once-in-a-lifetime situation created after global and nationwide shutdowns reshaped the economy.

Here are some tips and things to consider for anyone thinking of starting a business during the pandemic.

Be real with yourself

Why are you starting your business? Is it because you are passionate about something? Are you filling a need or a hole in the market? Are you trying to make a difference in your community? Perhaps you’re following a lifelong dream?

It’s crucial to be honest with yourself, your ideas, and your expectations so that you’re not setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations. As the pandemic shut down the country, many businesses were forced to close, which has created many gaps in the market, but the truth remains that the majority of businesses don’t make it past the five year mark. Owning a small business takes dedication, energy, money, patience, and constant attention. You should feel confident that you’re prepared to give it all you’ve got.

Consider your finances

How do you plan to fund your business? Most entrepreneurs start a business with a very limited amount of money, which can put a serious strain on you as an entrepreneur. Do you plan to borrow money from friends and family? Do you have investors lined up? Also consider small business loans and government funding.

Start slowly

While you might find yourself wanting to dive right in and focus your full attention on your new business, it’s usually best to start slowly. If you have a job, consider going down to part time and starting your new business as a side venture. If your eggs aren’t all in one basket, you’re at less of a financial risk.

Hire freelancers

One of the most costly expenses of running a business is hiring help. Luckily, there are many quality freelancers out there, and odds are, thanks to the pandemic and current high unemployment rates, they are looking for work. Utilizing freelance workers eliminates many of the costs employers typically have to pay.

Give back

After all of the suffering and misfortune that the last year has brought most of us, people are especially keen to give back, support one another, and make a positive difference. Consider donating a percentage of all profits to a local food bank or sponsoring a day care program for children of frontline workers. When you give, you almost always get.

At The Humphreys Group, clients come to us because they aspire to something greater, and 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.

If you’re considering starting a new business and want a second opinion, consider reaching out! We are devoted to seeing you thrive, both financially and personally.

Long-Term Planning for Women in a Post-COVID-19 World

Published in: Resources |

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what’s in store for us. You could discover your new favorite flavor of ice cream this week. You could meet your future best friend next month. Or you could go to bed tonight living a normal life, and wake up tomorrow to find yourself in a global pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic thrust the world into a state of panic and uncertainty. Trips were canceled, plans were put on hold, and suddenly many of us began to question our life’s trajectory. However, over a year later, as restaurants show signs of life, people start to visit with friends again, and vaccines are (slowly) rolled out, it’s an important time to consider your long-term plan.

Although 2020 showed us that even the best laid plans are subject to unpredictable exterior circumstances, we should still be as prepared as possible, especially when it comes to finances. Due to women’s typically longer life-spans coupled with systemic and societal issues like the gender pay gap and career interruptions, long-term financial and estate planning is especially important for women.

How to map out your long-term financial plan

When it comes to thinking through your personal plan, here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Think about your dreams, goals, and aspirations. Start by thinking about your life 5-10 years from now and go from there. What does your life look like? Are you retired? Are you starting a new business? Are you raising a family?
  2. Now, think about each of those dreams, goals, and aspirations with a dollar amount attached to them. Are you living off of a pension or a retirement savings account? Are you taking out a loan to get that new business up and running? Do you have a child to care for, or even two or three? At the end of the day, you want your money to work for you and align with your ambitions. It may not be romantic to lay out your dreams with price-tags attached to them, but momentarily taking off those rose-colored glasses to look at your goals through a pragmatic lens could be the difference between making those dreams a reality and just fantasizing about them.
  3. Once you’ve sufficiently thought things through, it’s time to make a solid plan and put that plan in action. From saving money to investing, each person’s plan will look different. Working with a financial advisor to create an individualized plan tailored to your specific needs is a great place to start.
  4. Now that you’ve thought about your personal plan, go the extra mile and think beyond it. If you were to pass away or become incapacitated tomorrow, how would you want your assets distributed, and who would you want to handle your responsibilities? It may feel like an unpleasant topic and one that you’d rather put off, but one of the best things you can do for your future generations is put a sound plan in place, and when it comes to your estate, the sooner you start planning, the better.

At The Humphreys Group, we know that it can be difficult to put a short-term plan in place, much less a long-term plan. We’re here to help. Over 30-plus years, we’ve seen that it takes care and clarity to build the trust needed to personalize your financial plan. We take the time to learn about you, your dreams, and aspirations to develop a financial plan that will evolve with you during your life. If you’re interested in getting a second opinion on your long-term financial plan, reach out to our team today.