It Starts with a Plan…and a Planner

If you’re like most people who first find me, you’re probably frustrated with your financial situation and the trajectory of your financial life.

You may be overwhelmed by all of the financial decisions you have to make. You may be looking for guidance on critical issues like Social Security, Medicare, Long Term Care, Estate Planning or tax minimization.

You may be saving some money, but not sure what vehicles to use or how to invest the money.

Your accounts may be growing a little, but could they be doing better? How would you know?

You may be ready to retire and start generating an income from your investments, but how much can you take? What accounts should it come from? How should you structure your investments to produce a consistent income?

The problem is you don’t really have a strategy behind what you’re doing.

One that gives your hard-earned money a purpose and that ensures your labor and sacrifice will get you where you ultimately want to be.

I’m talking about a financial plan – what I consider a blueprint to build your financial house.

If you want to succeed financially and achieve financial peace, you need to sit down, get organized, and decide what’s really important to you.

You need to decide where you and your family want to be in 10, 20, even 30 years from now, and then create a plan to give yourself the highest probability of actually getting there.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 75 and living off your investments, or if you’re 35 and just starting to invest, you need a plan. And a plan starts with goals and priorities.

Who I Work With

I primarily work with clients nearing or in retirement who are looking for a trusted advisor to help them enjoy a dignified retirement and leave a legacy to those they love.  However, I also work with younger clients who are diligently working to save and invest for the future.

Many of my clients are Dave Ramsey or Chris Hogan fans.  As I mentioned in the About Me page, Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University had a big impact on me personally and professionally.  My financial house concept is built on the same principles as Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps so that is a natural fit.

Several clients have found me through my partnership with The Whitecoat Investor as well.  Jim is a wonderful writer and teacher and provides valuable financial content.  Thanks to this partnership and my proximity to some of the best hospitals in the country here in Philadelphia, I work with many doctors.

Lastly, I teach retirement planning classes at Temple University and other colleges around Philadelphia so clients also find me that way.

The commonality amongst all of my clients is a desire to work with a trusted professional to plan for the future.

People Who Are Willing To Collaborate

There will be web conferences, meetings, phone calls, and plenty of emails.

There will be work involved from both parties – I can’t just “build your financial house” for you.

It needs to be a collaborative effort because if my strategies and concepts aren’t in line with yours, the process will not work.

There needs to be cohesion, unity, and understanding across the board.

I will steer the ship, but this is your money so you need to be involved.

People in it for the Long Term

As we start to build your financial house, there will be many quick wins – I might help you attain the insurance you’ve put off for years, I might help you finally execute a will and estate plan for your family, or I might help you figure out exactly how much you can withdrawal from your portfolio.

However, investing and building your financial house is a long term process.  Markets are volatile and you may experience what appears to be a setback right when you’re getting started.

I do my best to mitigate this by understanding your goals and by following proven concepts; however, life happens – the stock market will tank as soon as we get your investment accounts open, your car will die a month after we pay off your debt, your work environment will become unbearable, etc.

This is when you have to keep a long-term perspective.  We are running a marathon…not a sprint.  What matters is how decisions you make today affect where you’ll be in 30 years…NOT next month!

My Model For Success

After 15+ years working with clients to prepare for the future, I’ve developed a blueprint to build a financial house that will weather the storms of life and it’s the framework we’ll be following as we work together.

Phase 1: Getting Organized

If you’re like most people, your financial life probably isn’t in perfect order already.  Statements end up buried in drawers and at the bottom of piles.  Insurance policies are buried who-knows-where.  Sometimes we even lose track of old accounts.

So at our first meeting, we’re going to work together to help you Get Organized.

Together we’ll start you on your way to getting your financial information in good order, and set you up with a system to keep things organized in the future.  And along the way, I’ll gather the details I need to take your financial plan to the next stage.

Phase 2: Goal Setting

This is when we enter the laboratory.  As I get to know you better, I start to evaluate what’s most important to you, the people and organizations you care about, and what you want to accomplish.

We’ll explore different possibilities for key variables and assumptions, such as savings rate, investment returns, retirement age, salary growth, income needs, college choices, etc.

After exploring possibilities, we settle on and define realistic goals for today that will lead you and your family to financial peace and freedom.

Phase 3: Planning

We spend lots of time on web conferences, phone calls, emails, and sometimes in person if you’re nearby.  I get to know you, your family, your unique circumstances, your expectations, and your goals.

I’ll start to get much more specific with strategies at this point.  The big picture goal may have been to save 15% for retirement, but now we brainstorm strategies for which vehicle to use to save that money (Roth IRA, employer-provided retirement account, etc.), and which investments to use (individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, etc.)

I’ll gain an understanding of your risk tolerance, how you’ve handled past market downturns, your investment philosophy, and how finances affect you mentally and emotionally.

Phase 4: Implementing

Now it’s time to take the plan and turn it into reality.

I take all that I’ve learned about you, and everything I know about financial planning and investment management, and I make recommendations I feel are best suited for you and your family.

My goal is to:

1) give you the highest probability of meeting your goals

2) deliver a customized plan given your unique circumstances and temperament so that you can stay the course

I’ll walk you through insurance reviews and applications.  I’ll walk with you to create an estate plan for when “that day” comes.  I’ll open any new savings or investment accounts you need.  I’ll walk you through any changes we agreed upon for employer benefits, and I’ll ultimately invest your money for you.

We create the plan together and I will help with every aspect of the execution.

Phase 5: Monitoring

After implementation, we sit back and let the plan do its work.  We remember this is a long-term process and we are patient and disciplined.

While all of the phases are important, this one is where the biggest differences are made.  Knowing how to properly track results and how to use that data to make rational decisions is the key to success.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” … and I’m here to make sure you finish strong.

How I Work

I’m essentially yours.  You have me on retainer and I welcome regular communication by whatever means you prefer – email, text, web conference, social media, phone, etc.

I generally reach out every quarter to make sure there are no new life or financial circumstances that require an update to our plan, and to make sure we’re on the same page.

Although I put in a lot of work and hours upfront getting your plan established, I believe the long-term relationship is where I provide the most value.

I understand that life is constantly changing and therefore this isn’t a static plan, but rather a dynamic, evolving plan that we will constantly update.  We’ll see what’s working, what isn’t, and make changes to improve the effectiveness of your financial plan over time.

When the inevitable storms of life come your way and threaten to knock you off course, I’ll be there as a friend, coach, encourager, expert, and trusted advisor to navigate the course.

I’ll protect you from knee-jerk emotional decisions when the next stock market crash temporarily hammers the paper value of your investments, and when the next economic recession lowers your income or even threatens your career.

What To Expect From Me

A Cohesive Financial Strategy

I’ll provide a cohesive financial home-building strategy that provides you direction and confidence.

Each “room” will have a purpose and a goal.  There will be no more willy-nilly, dilly-dabbling in things that shouldn’t be messed with.  No more buying a hot stock on a tip from a friend because you had a little cash sitting around.

You will have clear objectives and directions on how to invest your money to reach your goals.

Passion and Excitement

I love this stuff.  I eat, sleep, and breathe strategic financial planning and investing.

I put a lot of thought and effort into everything I put out and I care about your success.

To Care About Your Success

This should go without saying, but it’s true.

I can’t make any guarantees and I don’t know the future.  I don’t know what returns you’ll get in the stock market over the next 20 years much less the next 6 months. I can’t predict the next recession or stock market crash.  I have no idea how the next president will affect your financial plan.

But I can promise one thing – no one outside of your own flesh and blood will care more about the financial well-being of you and your family than I will. 

Schedule A Free Strategy Call

Ready to see if my service matches your needs?

Request a free strategy call!

You can schedule 30 minutes and there will be absolutely no selling on this call.

It’s simply to answer your questions, make sure I can do what you’re looking for, and see if we’d be a good fit.