Client-driven, goals-oriented planning for lifetime wealth
We help clients identify financial goals and we develop a plan to reach them. We identify what you want to accomplish, what resources you will need to make that happen, how much time will be needed to get there, and how much we recommend you save and invest toward your goal.
Our complimentary planning service provided to Investment clients includes a projection of the likelihood of achieving your financial goals, typically focusing on financial independence as the primary objective.
We charge a one-time fee of $500 to create a financial plan with actionable steps for those individuals who are non-investment clients, with a quarterly fee for advice on outside investment accounts and for ongoing financial planning services.
An example of actionable steps for adjusting certain goals includes, but is not limited to: working longer, saving more, spending less, or seeking greater opportunities with your investments. Any of these, or several in combination, can be employed to reach a client's goals.
If you are near retirement or already retired, advice may be given on appropriate distribution strategies to minimize the likelihood of running out of money during your retirement years.
Investments designed to reach your goals & financial objectives
We will help you establish an investment policy, including strategies and types of investments to be used.
In developing our portfolio guidance, we will develop an asset ownership plan to meet clients’ financial goals and risk tolerance, and we will implement strategies that will be employed.
We generally believe that moderate risk portfolios will achieve more than high-risk portfolios. It has been our experience that if one takes outsized risks, one will eventually experience outsized losses. We will construct moderate-risk portfolios that we anticipate will produce returns sufficient to reach clients' financial goals and objectives. See the article on risk and reward in the Forums tab Money Memos Discussion for more detail.
The fixed fee for our investment management service is 1% of assets under management, which is the standard rate for this service.
We also review employee stock options and provide guidance on how they can be effectively dealt with, given the tax issues almost always involved.
We may assist you in opening an account at a qualified broker-dealer.
We are offensive and defensive investors
We invest for growth when risks are low, or to preserve capital when risks are high
We believe that studying economic and financial indicators can lead to better investment decisions. These efforts help us manage the degree of risk and reward that comes with different asset classes during different cyclical time periods.
We desire to invest in opportunities for growth during lower-risk periods, and we also want to protect client assets from deterioration during higher-risk periods, as determined by our economic and financial research.
Accordingly, we will buy and sell as we perceive the economic environment is changing.
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Demystify retirement issues like Medicare, and social security
Clients generally want to know when to take Social Security, and our work employs several financial models to assist clients in arriving at their answers. It is important that clients understand the many alternatives and the consequences of each of the available options when selecting Social Security payments.
Many individuals make the wrong decision, sometimes costing them a significant fortune, up to $3,500,000 or more. We have the knowledge to guide you in choosing the right alternative in this very important financial and lifestyle decision.
Clients also want an explanation of how Medicare works, how much protection the coverage actually provides, which plan to purchase, and of course, when and how to enroll. We provide guidance in helping clients make their selections.
Make smart choices with insurance and employee benefits
We will review and analyze if you, as an employee, are taking maximum advantage of your employee benefit plans. We will explain the features, advantages, and disadvantages of your plan.
If you are a business owner, we will consider and/or recommend the various benefit programs that can be structured to meet both business and personal retirement goals.
We review existing insurance policies to ensure proper coverage for life, health, disability, long-term care, liability, home, and automobile. We will look for savings opportunities wherever they exist and have been very successful in lowering client premiums.
We work with you on cash flow and debt repayment
We provide clients with an analysis of credit card debts and we develop an optimized plan for early payoff. We use up to 3 different models to determine the best solution for you.
We will conduct a review of your income and expenses to determine your current cash flow surplus or deficit. We recommend ways to reduce bills that are costing you too much and provide advice on how any surplus should be deployed.
We may also recommend what we believe to be an appropriate cash reserve that should be considered for emergencies and other financial goals. We will also recommend how these reserves will be invested in various types of accounts.
Income tax and estate planning issues
This usually includes an analysis of your current estate plan, which may include whether you have a will, powers of attorney, and other related documents.
Our advice also typically includes ways for you to minimize or avoid future estate taxes by implementing appropriate estate planning strategies.
As part of analyzing your overall financial picture, we also look for ways to minimize your current and future income taxes.
For example, we may make recommendations on which type of account(s) or specific investment(s) should be owned, based in part on their “tax efficiency,” with considerations that there will always be future changes to federal, state or local tax rates and tax laws that may impact your situation.
NOTE: We always recommend that our clients consult with a qualified tax or estate professional before initiating any strategies. We may provide advice regarding issues to explore and discuss with accountants or attorneys with these specialties. We will participate in meetings or phone calls between clients and their professionals, at client request.
Retirement savings and withdrawals
Saving for retirement is tax-advantaged in multiple ways, and there are many types of accounts you can choose from. Be sure that you understand the details of the available options with our help.
Individuals inheriting IRAs must adhere to a set of strict rules in the year of a decedent's death, so be sure to contact us for assistance immediately - penalties can be severe.
Clients want to understand their retirement plan withdrawal requirements. We help you establish a withdrawal strategy that will yield the best results for both a long-lived account and tax minimization. Failure to make required withdrawals carry large tax penalties when filing your tax return, so it is important to put your withdrawal plan into action asap.
New rules went into effect in 2020, and it is important that you take a look at the Forum tab to review these changes.
Occasionally, clients may need to borrow from their retirement accounts, although it is not recommended if there are better alternatives. We can advise you on how to select the lowest cost, most tax-efficient choices.
Education Planning - secondary school or college, and beyond
Certain types of non-retirement investment options are available to fund education in secondary school and beyond. In addition, there are tax advantages to those who seek education related to their career.
Be sure that you know the factors that will help you determine which of the half-dozen options is the right one for you.
Through good financial planning, it may be possible for you to pre-fund all your children's college educations costs.
If that is not possible, saving to pre-fund up to half those costs is important. Then seek funding from other sources with our help.
After years of effectively managing your credit, you may be eligible to get low-rate loans for education expenses.
Let us show you all the available options.