"The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was."
-Walter J. West
If you have been on this website for very long then you’ve probably discovered that all of our financial advice revolves around getting to know you, your values and your financial goals, then creating a personalized plan built specifically for you. Your plan will contain various strategies for propelling you toward your goals.
“That sounds like a swell idea,” you might think, “but how does it work in real life?”
The following financial planning process has been fine-tuned after decades of experience advising good people just like you. Because it works so well, we rarely deviate from this flow. (And when we do deviate—due to a request to either speed up or skip steps altogether—it often serves as a reminder that we should just stick to the process.)
- Introduction: You and your advisor find each other somehow—through mutual friends, shared interests, internet search, etc.—and agree to an introductory Discovery meeting.
- Step 1 – Discovery meeting: You and your advisor meet in-person, via video chat or over the phone. Your advisor will get to know you better and understand your goals.
- You’ll hear questions like, “What’s important about money to you?” and “What do you want to accomplish that takes money and planning?” (Our advisors are pros—you won’t feel like you’re “on the stand” or being grilled—it’s simply a conversation.)
- Your advisor will explain what we can offer, how much it costs and answer any questions you have in a way that is succinct and direct.
- You will not be “pitched” any products, but your advisor will look for you to decide if you’d like to continue the professional relationship. If so, we’ll provide a Letter of Engagement and explain our $100/100% guarantee. If you aren’t 100% satisfied with the financial plan, not only will you not pay a cent, we will donate $100 to the charity of your choice.
- If you decide we’re a good fit, then you will then provide us with your financial documents so that we have complete and correct information feeding into your plan.
- Step 2 – Presentation meeting: You and your advisor will meet again and we’ll go over your financial plan (the document containing all the strategies that we believe give you the highest probability of achieving your goals).
- We strive to speak in plain English and avoid financial jargon wherever possible. That said, we’ll go into as deep a detail as you desire.
- Because your financial plan is built with wonderfully comprehensive and flexible software, you will be able to ask for alternate scenarios and see the calculations and projections updated in-person, in real-time.
- Step 3 – Engagement meeting: Putting your financial plan into action may involve some big decisions, so having time to “sleep on it” just makes sense. We never want anyone to feel pressured to do anything.
- Assuming you are 100% satisfied, you will pay the planning fee.
- Your plan will be available online, but if you’d like a printed copy, we’ll have that prepared for you.
- If your plan involves moving assets from one custodian to another, we will have the documents pre-filled, ready for your review.
- Ongoing Service: Finances are dynamic, the economy is dynamic and life is dynamic. Nothing stays the same—including your financial plan. It will need periodic updates and adjustments along the way as “life” happens.
- Depending on your circumstances, we will want to talk to you again every year, every quarter or somewhere in between. (Of course, you are free to ask questions and seek our advice as often as you wish.)
- We will help you track your goals, keep you accountable and provide advice all along the stairway of life.
- Checklists and standard operating procedures are employed as we seek to prevent important financial pieces from falling through the cracks—things like beneficiary reviews, IRA required distribution reminders or simply the ongoing process of reviewing and holding money managers accountable to their stated investment policies.
- It is rare that you will need a whole new financial plan developed from scratch, which is why the annual retainer fee is only 50% of the initial amount.
So that’s it. That’s our financial planning process. It isn’t magic. It’s just a simple, and although past performance does not guarantee future financial results, it is a time-tested way to help you get your financial house in order and your money moving in the right direction.
Please note that any or all of these steps can be completed in-person, via video chat or over the phone. As long as we have the internet, we can provide advice long-distance.
If you’re at Step 0, and you’d like to talk with one of our advisors about how financial planning, advice and accountability may help you, call us at (770) 297-9000 or head over to the Contact Us page where you can send a message or ask any questions.