For years we have suggested to clients that their life, especially their financial life, is like a big jigsaw puzzle. There are a lot of pieces that need to fit together to complete the puzzle. When we ask, “What it the most important piece of a jigsaw puzzle?” The response is always something like “the corners”, “the edges”, “the first piece”, or “the last piece”. All are good answers, but not the one we feel is the most important answer. It’s our opinion that the most important piece of any jigsaw puzzle is the box top. Without that, how do you know what the puzzle is supposed to look like? Our role in the planning process is to be the “box top” for you. We’ll help you to identify, organize, and assemble each of you unique, financial puzzle pieces so they’ll fit nicely together, providing you the outcome you desire. We start the process with an initial discovery meeting. It’s a conversation where we get to know one another. Where have you been and where are you going, financially? What’s worked, and what hasn’t worked? What have you done well, but also, what are the things that wake you up at 2am? Through this extensive conversation we’ll determine if our process is a good fit for you. Next is a strategy meeting. Before we can create together a comprehensive, effective, and long-term retirement strategy that is custom tailored to your needs. We need to examine the details. What is your current investment allocation? Do you understand the factors that influence risk and returns? Will the portfolio do what you want it to do in retirement? What about insurances? What about college education? Should you pay off the house? When should you claim Social Security? Have your estate planning issues been addressed recently and correctly? All the decisions made concerning your money are just as important as the money itself. Retirement planning is a collection of many financial puzzle pieces with specific rules on how they fit together. Implementation is our third meeting. Once you understand what you have and how it works, what will you do with the information? How will you implement the strategies? Statistics show that most people won’t implement on their own – life and emotion get in the way. We make sure your options are understood and the path forward is clear. The primary objective is to get and keep you on the right track. We strive to make this process transparent, quick, and painless for you. Creating and implementing a plan is only the beginning. Every day we are bombarded with news and messages designed to confuse, intimidate, and scare. In fact, behavioral psychologists have coined a term for it: ‘rationally irrational’ – we are hard wired to respond to certain stimuli and often act against our own interests. This is why we consider financial coaching to be an intricate piece to your financial puzzle.
Our investment advisory services are a fee-based arrangement with our clients. We are not a commission based, transactional firm. We employ an investment strategy that looks for those investment ideas that have the greatest relative chance of outperforming other investment choices. We do not blindly believe that “buy and hold” always works, but always look to let the winners run and quickly stop out losses when they occur. We rebalance when it’s appropriate, not basing it on some arbitrary calendar time frame. Preservation of our clients’ capital is foremost in our approach, and we focus on accumulating wealth only when opportunities are optimal. This strategy provides a positive expectancy system designed for consistent investment returns. We feel our clients are hiring us to make their investment decisions and we embrace that responsibility.
Each of you has different needs, goals, and concerns when it comes to your life, and especially your financial life. Plus, the differences between the various generations are more pronounced now than ever before. When you were born – which generation you fall into – has a lot to do with it. It’s simply different life stages and what your experiences were growing up. For the Baby Boomer generation, born 1946 – 1964.10,000 boomers reach retirement age every day. Your biggest financial issue is retirement and how to afford it. How do you define retirement? How the heck does Social Security and Medicare really work? Are there some critical strategies that will benefit me? How long will you live? How good or bad will your health be, and at what cost? Are you taking care of you aging parents? For Generation X, born 1965 – 1979. Gen Xers want a laundry list of details before you will make a choice. A lot of planning depends on at what age your parents had you and at what age you had kids. As the oldest of this generation turns 50, retirement issues loom large. Taking full advantage of your 401(k) is key. Have you put enough away so far? Caring for elderly parents and/or having to support adult children are concerns. Another “sandwich generation”? Would you like to work at a less stressful and more rewarding job? How about travel and physical fitness? For the Millennials, born 1980 – 1995. Achieving a work/life balance is more important than for any other generation. It’s student loan debt, bill paying, budgeting, employee benefits, renting vs. buying. All of this is different, but it’s also similar. You want to know what’s in it for you, and what your future holds. You have the distinct advantage of being young. It’s important to recognize and understand the differences and celebrate those differences. Quality financial and investment planning certainly has themes that run through all generations, but how those come into play for each generation matters. It matters a lot. The issues and needs are different.
Due to loss or family transition…becoming widowed or divorced can throw your life and finances into a tailspin. For many, this is one of the two or three most difficult times in their lives. Managing the transition from being married to being single means crossing a lot of items off a financial checklist — at exactly the time when you're least equipped to deal with them. It can also mean having to master new financial skills that may not have been part of your duties while married. Should I sell the house? Are my current investments right for me now that I’m single? Do I need to retitle my accounts? Should I evaluate my current personal and household expenses? Family and friends are giving me advice, should I take it? Do I need different insurances now that I’m single? Do my beneficiaries need to change? Do I need to redo my estate planning documents? Should I consider long term care? It's common for women who are suddenly single to wonder if they will be able to maintain their lifestyle. “Will I have enough?” or will I become "bag lady?" are common questions and concerns, even if they have substantial assets. Having a realistic understanding of your financial net worth and moving forward with the rest of your life are keys to your peace of mind. Helping to guide and empower you to make the wisest financial choices now, as well as the future, are important. Let us help you with the next chapter of your life.
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