The Not So Simple Answer – Summer 2014
As a Financial Plan client you often receive simple advice that is easy to follow. Your first impression might have been similar to this: You came in and let us know you would like to retire. After a couple of meetings of being poked, prodded, and answering every question under the sun, you left with a short “Implementation Checklist” that might have looked something like this:
- Consolidate investment accounts
- Implement recommended portfolio design
- Claim social security on these dates in this way
- Withdraw this much from this account first
You walked away confident you could implement this retirement plan and told your friends Financial Plan is a great, family office that will take care of you. You might have even bragged about how easy it all was. We love to hear that our advice is easy to understand; in fact our goal is to make things simple and elegant for our clients. Nonetheless, it is vitally important that we take into account all relevant facts, investment and tax rules, little-known strategies, and that the plan be tailored to your unique goals, priorities, and tolerance for risk. As a result, our job is quite complex. Here is a look at what goes on under the hood to build a simple, actionable and maintainable financial plan.
Understanding Who You Are – If we can’t capture what is most important to you, your cherished values, your relationship with money, and what your money is ultimately for, as well as your tolerance for risk, we can’t build a plan that will endure. A mathematically sound plan is worthless if it is not your plan.
Optimizing Your Income – We review your unique Pension and Social Security options and integrate them into your financial plan. Integrating with tax planning, longevity/health, and other assets allows us to provide simple claiming strategies from this complex question that optimize how much income you will receive over time while protecting your spouse if something should happen to you.
Assuring that you Have Enough – To answer this question we compare your goals to the resources you have to achieve them. We run hundreds of simulations to see what could happen in bad and good markets. If your assets and future income are likely insufficient to accomplish your goals, we make revisions. For example, we might advise a later retirement date or an increased rate of savings. Our goal is to help you achieve a balance between your current and future standard of living.
Funding Your Goals – We determine the investments to fund your goals. What is the tax nature of these investments and how do you keep what you earn? How risky are the investments and will you be able to sleep at night?
- Stretching Your Dollars – After the plan is nearly complete we review again for any strategies that could increase your chances of success. We review the tax planning and what accounts we are withdrawing from, ROTH Conversion strategies, tax harvesting, gifting strategies, and many more may come into play.
Although the goal is to provide you a simple path for success, often what goes on behind the scenes is not so simple. We are committed to being different and being better. Not only will you receive boutique service and easy- to- follow advice, but you can have confidence that your plan is also based upon rigorous research and the most professional and informed methods available to financial advisors today.