Our Disciplined Approach
It would be wonderful if we simply wanted an outcome and it magically happened. Unfortunately, that rarely occurs. Most results (at least the important ones) require a plan. For example, if I am looking to lose weight (and keep it off), I need a plan. I need to understand how diet and exercise impact my weight and I might need something that motivates me to change my current process.
If my daughter wants to hit a volleyball with power and accuracy, she needs to understand the mechanics of a volleyball swing and then build repetition (practice).
Enjoying retirement is no different. You can hope it will happen some day. Or you can take an active role in creating a plan that increases your probability of success.Your plan should be easy to understand and follow. The completion of most goals can be simplified into four primary actions. Planning for retirement is no different.
What motivates you to save for retirement (and other goals)?
No matter the goal, something needs to motivate you towards action. My desire to lose weight might be based on a recent medical reading or vanity. My daughter's motivation to hit a volleyball may be based on the motivation to to play at a higher level. It is important to consider and review what motivates you to create a retirement plan.
Motivation to retire may seem obvious to some, but not all. We've heard people say they don't want to review their plan because they will never retire. We understand their mindset. If that is true, the reward of instant gratification (more expensive car, the bigger TV) is what motivates their decisions.
If you have reached this site, you likely have a desire to achieve future goals. You might have goals beyond simply (or in addition to) retiring. Knowing what motivates you to trade the known instant gratification for an uncertain future outcome will help you build YOUR best plan.
What is the overall intention of your financial plan?
When reviewing your retirement plan, we start with a broad intention. For example, you might say you don't want to run out of money in retirement. You may add that you want to travel more during the first few years of retirement. You might remind us that your daughter is planning to attend college in the next few years. You want to help with costs. The ability to achieve all the listed goals is a good starting point, but we need to take one additional step.
After outlining your overall intention, you'll need to clarify each goal. In order to measure the likelihood of running out of money, we need to estimate how much you'll spend each year. When considering travel, we estimate expected cost and frequency. We do the same for college expenses.Now, we have the starting point as we measure your probability of success. This may sound like a lot of work. Don't worry, our process makes this a lot easier than it may sound.
Where should you focus your attention?
Now that we know your probability of success, we shift our attention to the specifics of your plan. We prefer to focus on what you have greater control over first and discuss managing what you have lesser control over. Choices are considered with their impact measured side by side. Understanding how adjustments impact your overall plan reveals where to focus your attention.
Our attention is focused first on your financial planning discipline and then your investment planning discipline.
How much guidance do you need along the way?
Now that you understand where to focus your attention, you should decide how much guidance you need going forward.
You may feel comfortable implementing what was discussed and reviewed during the financial planning process. If that is the case, you will likely choose to revisit your plan as needed with an hourly financial planning agreement.
You may decide you prefer to maintain investment management (or most assets are in employer retirement accounts) but would like to have regularly scheduled calls. We refer to this solution as a retainer agreement. We plan to talk on a regular basis with ongoing plan updates. This might be a good solution for those looking to be held accountable or are transitioning through phases.
You may decide you don't want to place trades. You prefer we managed the portfolio directly for you. Our approach to investment management is different than most financial firms. We base your ongoing management fee on hours rather than a percentage of assets. If interested, we recommend you review our fee structure.
We believe you should have choices when considering guidance going forward.
Can we build repetition into your plan?
We like to say financial planning is simple (it is just math) but not easy (full of emotions). We believe seeing the "numbers" helps alleviate negative emotions. We also believe if we simplify your plan to three of four simple steps going forward, you can stop wondering if you are taking the right steps and enjoy the journey.
Like most financial planners, we do not charge a fee for the first meeting. When you are ready to review your plan, we recommend interviewing a few financial planners and/or advisors. Take the time to understand the differences and decide what is best for you. If you feel we should be among those you interview, schedule a time to meet below.