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What Exactly is Financial Planning?

While most people have heard of financial planning and how important it is, we have noticed the majority are not quite sure what that actually entails. This creates a bit of a challenge for our vision of having everyone, no matter what situation they are in, to be financially literate and reasonably in control of their financial affairs.

The typical financial planning experience has been described by someone in the industry as "a combination of a dental exam, math class, and marriage therapy." Are you ready to sign up yet?

Instead, we have created a process that is more about you and what is going to give you the highest chance of success. It is broken down into 3 meetings and plenty of behind the scenes work on our end:

Initial Meeting: Get Organized

Depending on if you want to go all digital or traditional (folders, notebooks and paper), this meeting will look slightly different for everyone. Either way by the time you walk out you will know exactly where all your important documents are and have a place to put any new ones you collect in the future. ***We highly recommend taking advantage of technology and utilizing your free Personal Financial Management Portal, especially the vault function even if you don't use computers or the internet often at home. If anything were to happen in the future they would all be in one spot and safely backed up.

This may include:
  • Sorting through all of your current documents, accounts, papers so we can help you get a firm grasp on what to keep, what to throw out and where to put it.
  • Creating a portable filing system for the aforementioned documents.
  • Setting up access to your Personal Financial Management Portal that aggregates all your finances into one site, no more trying to remember all those passwords!
  • Uploading copies of your most important documents (trusts, birth certificates, records, etc.) into your vault in case of future accidents. You'll have everything in one place.
  • Setup online access to as many accounts as possible so you stop getting all those paper statements in the mail.


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Second Meeting: Explore Possibilities & Set Goals

Perhaps you have some goals in mind but aren't sure if they are the right goals. Or perhaps you don't really have any idea what your goals should look like. Instead of asking you to define the goals and then us trying to find a way to achieve them, we take a more unconventional approach by interactively showing you what some of the possibilities and trade-offs are within your current situation: Examples would be:
  • What does it look like if I retire at 68 instead of 65?
  • What if I save more money now and max out my retirement contributions?
  • What if I draw Social Security next year instead of this year?
  • What if I take my pension as a lump sum instead of monthly payments?
  • What if I do combinations of all these things at once, how does that affect my outlook?

This allows you to truly understand what realistic goals might look like, and from there we can come up with some strategies and actions to take that will get you there.  


Behind the Scenes: Brainstorm Strategies & Analyze Tactics

In a nutshell, this is where we will use all our collective experience and resources to come up with ways to achieve your individual goals given your situation. All in preparation for:

Final Meeting: Explain Recommendations & Make A Plan

This is simply where we take all the information and the work we have done so far and come up with detailed recommendations that we feel will allow you to achieve your goals. We will use this time to help prioritize actions and how each one will affect the overall plan. From here we will refine goals if we need to and give you a sense of control over your financial life.