Understand Your Current Situation
Understanding where you are today is the first step in making progress toward your goals and desires. We build a complete picture by gathering all the individual pieces of your financial situation – income, assets (what you own), liabilities (what you owe), and insurance. Through that lens, decisions are made based on how they impact your entire financial picture, rather than in isolation.
Personalized financial advice answers two questions:
What is most important to you?
What do you want your future to look like?
Gaining clarity moves you from basic “rule-of-thumb” recommendations to advice that fits your unique situation. Goals will likely change as you transition through life. Financial planning is a process, not a one-time event.>
“At the heart of the investment world is a stock and a bond. Everything else is marketing.”
Sort Through the ABC’s and 123’s of Investment Accounts
401(k) … 403(b) … 457(b) … IRA … HSA … FSA … 529 …
You may be eligible to save and invest in a variety of account types, each with unique features and benefits. We identify all account types applicable to your situation and provide personalized advice on appropriate levels of savings and contributions.
From bank accounts to retirement accounts and everything in between, we help make sense of it all, bringing order to your financial life. We strive to ensure you are tracking towards long-term goals, while handling short-term needs along the way.
Craft a Personal Investment Strategy
The investment universe is vast, and the possibilities are endless, with tens of thousands of stocks, bonds, funds, and now cryptocurrencies available to purchase. There has also never been greater access to investing than today with mobile apps and low-cost brokerages removing barriers for entry.
The challenge is selecting investments that build a portfolio consistent with your goals, risk tolerance, and performance expectations. Using modern technology and well-researched investment strategies, we identify long-term solutions expected to reward investors for an appropriate level of risk.
Investing is all about tradeoffs, specifically risk and return. Before recommending an investment strategy for your needs, we will illustrate past portfolio performance under all market conditions, providing insight into expected returns in the future. As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”
“Not all income is created equal.”
Take Advantage of Available Tax Benefits
The IRS provides significant tax benefits to a variety of account types, predominantly for retirement, education, and healthcare purposes. Maximizing contributions into those accounts may significantly lower your tax bill now (tax deductions), in the future (tax-free distributions) – or in some cases – both!
Make Tax-Smart Investments in Taxable Accounts
When investing in taxable accounts, it’s important to make tax-smart decisions. Every time you sell an investment or receive a dividend or interest payment, there is a tax consequence attached to the transaction. Tax on investments can range anywhere from 0% to over 40%, depending on how long you owned the investment and the type of income you received.
We intentionally manage taxable accounts differently than retirement accounts to ensure your investments are taxed at the most favorable rates to you.
“Use insurance to protect wealth, not to build wealth.”
Build Cash Reserves
The best way to ensure you can handle unexpected short-term expenses is to build an appropriate level of cash reserves. The amount needed for each person or family differs based on personal circumstances, including employment status, number of dependents, and debt payments, to name a few. We recommend keeping these funds in bank accounts that are convenient and accessible. We provide advice on where you may find higher-yielding opportunities, without taking on high levels of risk.
Insure Yourself, Your Income, and Your Possessions
Having appropriate levels of cash reserves and insurance coverages are the keys to handling unexpected expenses that arise from time to time. But knowing how much insurance to purchase can be a difficult decision, as oftentimes, high-cost products are advised to consumers.
By looking at your entire financial picture, including work-based benefits provided by your employer, we advise where you are adequately protected and where there may be gaps in coverage. We will coordinate with independent insurance advisors to help you insure the need at the lowest price.
Transfer Your Assets According to Your Wishes
Three main elements play a major role in determining what happens to your assets upon death: account registrations, beneficiary designations, and estate planning documents.
There is a process to ensure your assets transfer as quickly and cost-free as possible during an emotional and stressful time for your family.
We provide advice on actions you can take now so that your assets transfer in an efficient manner. Our process helps to lower attorney fees.
“The only constant in life is change.”
Life is full of transitions, and we act as your guide through an ever-evolving landscape. Change can bring excitement and anticipation, while also anxiousness and uncertainty.
We have assisted hundreds of clients through a variety of professional transitions, including promotions, starting businesses, career changes, layoffs, and furloughs. We have also guided clients through personal transitions, including marriage, divorce, having children, and making large purchases, such as homes or vehicles.
Each major event has financial decisions involved that can have lasting long-term effects. We are here to walk side-by-side with you to help navigate life’s transitions successfully.