In the discovery meeting we discuss your current financial position. This discussion centralizes around your assets, liabilities, income, and goals – for example, securing your retirement at age 65, sending your children or grandchildren to college, and eventually passing your assets along to beneficiaries in tax-advantaged ways.
Essentially a data-gathering process, we go over all of your employee benefit booklets, take copies or originals of your retirement plan documents, wills, trusts, insurance policies, investment statements, brokerage house statements, and bank statements. These are the tangible bits of information we need in order to offer good advice. There is also less immediate information collected at this meeting, such as: What are your lifestyle goals? How do you want to distribute your estate? At what age do you want to retire? What is your plan to pay for long-term care (if needed)? How much income do you need/want during retirement?
Then there are assumptions that need to be figured into the process. What’s going to happen to interest rates? Where is the economy headed? How much inflation will occur? What effect will future tax rates have on your income? Having a discussion on these topics helps set expectations and builds a realistic plan.
This meeting normally takes place at your home with both you and your significant other and lasts about two hours.
Preparing your plan typically takes three to four weeks, as we are doing analysis/diagnostic work.
Based on the Discovery Meeting we know where you are and where you want to be. We will outline an efficient recommendation to get you there. This takes place behind the scenes in our office. We prepare written recommendations; some might be major strategic recommendations, while others will be minor tactical recommendations. They will, however, complement one another.
After all the recommendations are in writing, we will present the plan to both you and your significant other. Generally, you will take the plan with you, read it, study it, and jot down questions you may have. We later reconvene to answer your questions and clarify details. As you agree on the recommendations, we will prioritize them into an “Implementation Check List.”
The first three steps move rather quickly. In fact, you and your significant other will probably get through them in about a month.
Step four, implementation of the plan, takes a lot longer – usually about five or six months. During this time, we are meeting and going over tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, and insurance issues. Generally we work with other experts to help fully complete the plan, such as attorneys and CPAs, as we do not offer legal or tax advice.
This is the ongoing monitoring and maintenance process. Here we provide you updates and ongoing advice regarding your plan. We normally have two to three meetings a year to address tax planning, portfolio reviews, insurance updates, etc. Perhaps you need some questions answered about whether you should refinance your mortgage, lease or buy a car, etc. We will monitor and alert you to any changes in conditions that would directly affect your plan.