Financial Planning doesn’t have to be a daunting and overwhelming task. In its simplest form, it consists of a handful of actions that, when combined for a long enough period, will produce a fairly predictable outcome.
These basic actions consist of the following:
1) Determine your goals - You need to have goals in order to plan for them. We sit down with you and talk about where you are and where you would like to be in 5, 10, 20 and even 30 years into the future. These goals can be small, "I'd like to buy a new car" or larger, "I'd like to send my children to a good college" or even bigger, "I want to retire with several vacation homes to visit throughout the year." They just need to be stated, quantifiable goals that are aligned with your values.
2) Save money – It sounds simple but it all starts here. We will compare your cash inflow to your expenses on a monthly and annual basis. Your excess cash should be enough to cover the savings needed to meet your goals. If it is not, then steps to increase your income or reduce your expenses must be taken in order to meet your goals. Or, perhaps your goals need to be adjusted to make them more attainable. Whichever the solution, we will help you find a balance.
3) Invest your savings – Saving in and of itself is not enough, you need to invest these savings to maximize your return and grow your money to the amount needed to meet your goals. This investment process must balance your risk tolerance vs the necessary return.
4) Protect your assets – Risks in the form of a catastrophe, accident, or death can wipe out decades of savings and investing. Fortunately, risk can be mitigated through the use of insurance. We will assess your coverage and work with your insurance professional to make certain you are properly protected.
5) Maximizing your benefits – Whether employer or government sponsored, it is important to ensure you are utilizing all of the resources available to you. We will review all of your benefits to ensure that you optimize everything your employer and the government has to offer.
6) Keeping more of your money - Taxes are a major source of savings outflow so controlling this outflow plays a key role in maximizing your wealth and the probability of meeting your goals. Investing in tax efficient strategies and accounts are just a few of the ways we will help you to keep more of your hard earned money.
7) Expressing your wishes when you cannot – Estate documents are your voice when you can no longer speak for yourself. It is important that your Estate Plan is spelled out concisely so that your assets will flow to where you envision them doing the most good. Whether that is to your spouse, children, grandchildren, or your favorite charity, we will work with your estate attorney to ensure that your voice is heard loud and clear.
And that’s it. Essentially, by saving your money, investing it properly, minimizing your risks and taxes, and maximizing your benefits, you can build a substantial amount of wealth to allow you to retire comfortably. Once you are done enjoying the fruits of your labors, ensuring that your intentions are heard and acted upon completes the picture.
We encourage you to walk through all of these steps by clicking on the various icons in the services section of our website to better understand what each entails.