When choosing an advisor, it is important to know if they have helped people like you. As a financial services firm, we can’t provide testimonials, however we can highlight some situations we’ve worked on before.
Getting Organized and Feeling Confident
Kathy came into our office feeling embarrassed and overwhelmed. Although she was a busy, successful professional in her field, she felt that she didn’t understand her finances as well as she should, and as a result neglected to do the things she felt she should be doing. She felt that since she was highly knowledgeable in her field, she should be knowledgeable in her finances too. But she admitted she couldn’t find the time to educate herself on financial planning let alone find the time to put a comprehensive plan in place.
We began by helping her organize her finances and educating her on where she stood financially. We assured her that it is never “too late” to get her finances in order. We helped her to understand where she stood financially, what her goals were and the gaps that needed to be addressed to successfully plan for the future.
We reviewed her company benefits package and optimized her options based on her situation. This included investments in her 401k plan, health care options, and company stock plans. We also explored additional retirement options available that she may be eligible to contribute to.
She now feels confident about her finances and is happy and relieved she finally has a plan in place and is now taking steps towards achieving her financial goals. She has gone from stressed about money to having peace of mind. She also enjoys knowing she has an objective and informed second opinion for big financial decisions that come up.
When Can I Retire?
Kathy held a management position at a large company. She had been there more than 30 years and was feeling burnt out and ready for the next chapter of her life. Although she was not a big spender and regularly contributed to her 401k, she felt like she was not prepared financially to retire early. She felt trapped, stressed and frustrated.
Our work together began by understanding her goals. We had multiple discussions regarding what Kathy’s ideal life looked like and started to design her financial life to support this.
We pulled together all of the pieces of her financial situation to help her prepare for retirement including reviewing her estate planning, insurance needs and cash flow.
We helped her to better understand her 401k investment options to better prepare for retirement. We explained to her the retirement benefits and pension options available to her and to select the best one for her situation.
We put in place various retirement savings to support long-term investments and savings on taxes. After running several scenarios, we created a plan for her to confidently set a date for early retirement. She is excited and rejuvenated as she looks forward to a meaningful next chapter of her life.
Managing Finances after Loss of Spouse
Jan was suffering from grief of losing her husband six months ago. They had been married for more than 35 years, which during that time her husband had managed the family’s finances. She was going through a difficult time as she felt confused and overwhelmed by all of the decisions she had to make.
We began by helping Jan give herself permission to not rush making any major decisions. In addition to being afraid she will run out of money, she was very concerned about taxes and understanding the RMD payments she needed to pay.
We used a step by step process to help her understand and organize all of her finances. We then looked at her cash flow and investment choices. We reviewed and helped her work with an attorney to update her estate planning documents.
We organized her financial picture into an easy-to-understand summary. She is now moving forward feeling secure that she understands her finances, that she won’t run out of money, and can move forward feeling secure about her future.
Balancing Saving for Retirement and College
April and Jim are busy professionals in their 40’s. They have two children age 11 and 8. They want the best for their kids, including being able to graduate from college without a lot of student loan debt like they did. However, they are also trying to save for retirement as they both like to travel and want to be able to maintain their lifestyle in retirement. They are currently both saving in their company’s 401k plan and contributing to each child’s 529 plan. They also own a home but would like to move into a larger one someday.
After we understood their goals and where they stood financially, we ran projections of three possible colleges their kids could attend and what the costs were. We also determined whether their intent was to fund the entire college bill or allow for their kids to have some “skin in the game” through work study and scholarships.
We created a plan that made saving for retirement a priority and having “enough” saved for college for each child. We designed a cost-effective, diversified investment portfolio that aligned with the amount of risk April and Jim felt comfortable with, while also planning for a long-term investment horizon.
We made sure they were maximizing contributions available to them through 401k and IRAs. We did tax planning to take advantage of deductions available to them. We put in place an automatic savings plan for non-retirement and college accounts for goals like upgrading to a larger home. They now feel a sense of peace having a comprehensive plan in place and knowing what their financial priorities are.