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Our servicescape and workflows are purpose-built to serve you.

Who are the people in your life working on all of this for you?

Firm Profile

FIFO

Fiduciary Care and Fee-Only Compensation

Duty and loyalty matter. Do you know the nuances and differences in benefits to you between receiving “best interest” services and fiduciary services?
Planning

Fd

Family Financial Discussions

It’s about more than money. Within your family, needs are different and reasons for prosperity differ, so the roads may wind in a variety of directions.

IE

Personal Wealth
Education

Are you a short-term speculator or a long-term investor? Do you really achieve and benefit from the necessary long-term compounding of your returns?

IC

Investment Consulting

Do you know the key drivers of positive investment returns? Do you recognize the camouflaging distractions that work against your success?

Gs

Goal and Objective Setting

Questions. Lot’s of them.
Have you translated your goals into measurable objectives so you can tell if you are likely to achieve your goals on time?

Rp

Retirement Planning

The central issue in retirement planning is replacing your earned income. Do you know how much you’ll need to save and invest to get the job done?

Ep

Incapacity, Estate and Legacy Planning

How have you planned to protect and take care of yourselves and your loved ones? Are you prepared for the “curveballs” that life throws at you?

CG

Charitable Planning
and Giving

The U.S. Tax Code offers you considerable choice in how you pay your taxes. Have you planned and integrated your charitable giving into payment of your taxes?
Analysis

Nw

Lifestyle Asset and
Net Worth Analysis

Do you have enough financial assets to sustain your lifestyle assets? Are your assets protected from rapacious creditors and predators?

Dr

Leverage and Debt Review

Leverage is a double-edged sword. It can help and hurt you. Is your debt duration-matched to your assets and appropriately structured?

Rm

Risk Exposures and
Insurance Review

It’s the things we don’t see coming that hurt us and set us back. Do you know your risk exposures and risk mitigation strategies?

Cf

Cash Flow Analysis

Cash flow is the oxygen of your financial life. Do you have a clear picture of how much cash flow you’ll need and where your after-tax income will come from?

Rs

Retirement Income Shortfall Analysis

Running out of money may be a significant retirement risk. Will you be able to sustain a stable and rising income throughout your retirement?

DNA

Client Risk DNA Analysis

Investment behavior mistakes are truly punishing. Are your investments appropriately risked to match with your risk tolerance?

Ltc

Long-Term Care Cost Coverage Analysis

Health care expenses will be one of your largest expenses in retirement. Have you appropriately forecast your long-term care expenses in retirement?

SS

Social Security/
Medicare Gap Analysis

A sub-optimal claiming strategy could cost you tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Have you analyzed your potential optimal Social Security claiming strategy?
Strategy

AL

Retirement
Asset/Liability Study

Most of us need to earn investment rates of return well above the inflation rate. Are you taking enough risk to successfully fund your retirement liabilities?

Rc

Investment Risk Capacity Analysis

Too much market volatility can create catastrophic long-term portfolio failure. Can your financial circumstances support your investment portfolio risk?

Cp

Critical Path Analysis

We all hope for the best but need to plan for the worst. Do you know if you can withstand a financial “nuclear winter” from long periods of low returns?

Aa

Asset Location and Allocation Analysis

Better asset allocation and location decisions can extend the life of your portfolio. Have you analyzed which investments to locate in which of your accounts?

Ra

Portfolio Risk Analysis

We all want to know how our portfolio would have performed over short and long-term time periods. Do you know the historical risk profile of your investments and portfolio?

Sa

Economic Scenario Analysis

We all have “what-if” investment questions on our mind. Have you had the potential future risks to your portfolio modeled under various economic scenarios?

Id

Income Stability and Distribution Analysis

Taxable, tax-deferred, tax-preferenced and tax-free accounts. We all have them. Have you modeled how to improve the after-tax income from your accounts?

Cg

Tax-Advantaged Charitable Gift Analysis

Cash is the most expensive asset to use for your philanthropic endeavors. Are you maximizing the tax benefits of your charitable giving?
Investment

IG

Written Investment Guidelines

Has your portfolio become a collection of various investments accumulated through the years? Or, is it the result of written, well-conceived investment guidelines that match your plan?

Ca

Financial Services
Value/Cost Analysis

Lowest cost doesn’t win. Lowest applied cost wins. That’s where value resides. Have you audited the value of your financial services vs. your associated costs?

DI

Diversification
Intelligence Analysis

True diversification smooths out the bumps in investing and creates better risk-adjusted returns. Do you have true diversification engineered into your portfolio?

IR

Proprietary Investment Research

Brokers sell investment products and serve investment banking clients. We’re not brokers. All of our research is only for our private clients.

Da

Covered Dividend
Analysis

When companies you own cut or eliminate their dividends, it hurts you financially. Do you know how well your dividends are covered by corporate cash flow?

IS

Individual Security Portfolios

Mutual fund investors can be costly business partners to have. Do you insulate your investments from the adverse behaviors of undisciplined mutual fund investors?

Sk

Individual Securities
Held In Safekeeping

Each investment crisis results in unforeseen events and knock-on risks. Are you controlling the safety of your securities from counter-party risks?

TS

Tax-Sensitive Portfolio Management

We’ve all heard it before. It’s not what you make. It’s what you keep. Are your portfolio management operations integrated with your tax returns?

Pr

Performance Reporting Analysis

Your long-term compounded rates of return are the cornerstone of your investment success. Do you know your two essential compounded, risk-adjusted investment returns?

Ib

Investment Behavior Coaching

Investor behavior is perhaps the largest single factor that determines investment success or failure. Is your investment behavior hurting or helping your returns?
Management

Wf

Process and Workflow Management

The “daily lifting” required to help you fulfill your plan rests in the workflows. Who works on the front lines every day helping you get things done?

CPA

Tax Accountant Coordination/Collaboration

Is your CPA merely recording your financial history or helping you write it? Who coordinates your plan and collaborates with your tax accountant?

JD

Estate Planning Coordination/Collaboration

Your trust and estate plan requires continual updating as your life evolves and your wealth builds. Who helps you coordinate and collaborate with your trust and estate planning attorney?

Tr

Trust Advisory Services

Unprepared stakeholders are like any other unprepared individual. Who is helping you prepare your trustees, successor trustees, trust protectors and beneficiaries?

TL

Advisory Team
Leadership

Do you know a CEO who does not meet regularly with his or her leadership team? Who helps you lead your advisory team (CPA, estate planning attorney, etc.) and monitor the agenda?

Pr

Periodic Review
Calls and Meetings

Each client needs an advisor’s time, talent and treasure in different measures at different times. What is the frequency of your needs for calls and meetings with us and our firm’s resources?

What problems are you trying to solve?

Pre-retirement
Retirement saving and investingHow much should I be saving and how should I be investing so that I'll be ok throughout my retirement?

Start by practicing a goals-based approach to managing your wealth. The common sense essence of goals-based investing includes:

  • Identifying your long-term goals.
  • Determining the funding requirements and timeframe for those goals.
  • Designing an investment portfolio to achieve the goals while taking the least possible risk.
  • Evaluating your investments by progress toward goals rather than comparisons versus market benchmarks.

That's a very different, and much healthier alternative to the decades-long Wall Street sales pitch of "having your account managed just like their institutional accounts." By changing the "horse-race" mentality, goals-based investing can help you not only achieve your goals but do better in the market as well.

Read more about retirement saving and investing

Retirement
Retirement distribution planningWhen should I start with drawing from my retirement accounts — IRAs, 401k, Roth — and what is the order I should withdraw from them so that they might last longer?

Retirement distribution planning requires analyzing your future income needs, taxable income projections, other potentially taxable transactions in the future and the tax treatment of withdrawals (also known as distributions) from your various investment and retirement account types below in order to minimize, defer and optimize your overall tax exposures.

Taxable accounts − Dividends, interest and other investment income are generally taxable in the year earned, and capital gains are taxable when realized. The tax rates specific to you on your dividends, interest and capital gains may very well all be different.

Tax-deferred accounts - Dividends, interest income and capital gains are not taxed in IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and similar plans until withdrawn from an account, and withdrawals are generally subject to ordinary income tax.

Tax-free accounts − Dividends, interest income, capital gains and withdrawals from Roth IRAs or Roth 401(k)s, are generally not taxed.

Read more about retirement distribution planning

 
Retirement cash flow planningHow do I turn my investments into the cash flow I'll need throughout my retirement?

There are two important keys to successful long-term income replacement. The first is to avoid large losses ‒ what we commonly refer to as "wipe-out risk." Big realized losses combined with withdrawals to meet regular expenses can create a reverse snowball effect, rapidly depleting your capital and increasing the odds that you'll outlive your money.

This scenario leaves you with two options that are equally unpalatable: Living less comfortably or - if it's even possible - returning to work.

The second important key to successful long-term income replacement is the ability to generate consistently rising income. It is highly likely that your expenses will continue to rise during your retirement. When you stop and think about it, how many costs do you have now that have not increased during the past 20-30 years. Probably not very many, and certainly not enough to feel comfortable about living on a "fixed" income for the next few decades.

Read more about retirement cash flow planning

 
Running out of money in retirementWhat is the greatest risk to my retirement success?

For most of us, it's shortfall risk ‒ the chance that our savings will expire before we do. Shortfall risk typically arises from one or both of these shortcomings: (1) not taking the time and doing the work to study how much we might need, or (2) the lack of a plan to accumulate enough, and the discipline or guidance to stick with it.

So how do you measure how much money you may need to eliminate shortfall risk for you? By working through an asset/liability study. In simple terms, this means taking stock of what you have, and measuring it against what you may need.

Read more about running out of money in retirement

 
Maximizing my Social Security benefitsWhen and how should I begin claiming my Social Security to increase my chances of maximizing my overall benefits?

Your full retirement age is anywhere from 65 to 67 depending on when you were born. You can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so may result in a reduction of as much as 30 percent of your benefits. Starting to receive benefits after full retirement age may result in larger benefits.

Read more about maximizing my Social Security benefits

Investing
Retirement investment strategy and guidelinesHow do I optimize my investments to meet my needs for income, growth, safety and liquidity?

An investment policy statement ‒ or IPS ‒ is a highfalutin Wall Street term. But it simply refers to a set of investment guidelines. In writing out these investment guidelines, we consciously put our investment strategy in black and white ‒ committing to a disciplined, long-term plan.

When markets turn stormy, investors can turn to their investment guidelines as a sort of compass. In doing so, they can help stay on course to achieve their long-term goals.

Investment policy statements are often associated with institutional investors such as foundations and pension plans. But we believe investment guidelines are a must for all investors who take their financial success seriously.

So what exactly should investment guidelines include? The more complete, the more useful. A good start is to include your goals, measurable objectives, desired strategies and restrictions. Consider strategies for liquidity, income, growth, taxes, and advisor and client responsibilities.

Read more about retirement investment strategy and guidelines

 
Budgeting for investment risk and diversification in retirementHow do I minimize the risks of large losses in my investment and retirement accounts?

Warren Buffett has attributed much of his well-known investment success to two rules.

Rule #1: Never lose money. Rule #2: Never forget Rule #1.

What the Oracle of Omaha is reminding us, in a humorous way, is to keep our eye on the return of our capital, even more so than the return on our capital. This is critical for those who are saving and investing for retirement. Capital loss in your investment portfolio can have a huge negative impact on your plans and on your financial security.

Any discussion of capital loss should be linked to two of the ultimate risks that we all need to avoid. The first is wipeout risk, and the second, which is related to it, is shortfall risk.

Wipeout risk is just what it sounds like ‒ losing so much of your capital that you must start over, or nearly so. Wipeout risk leads to shortfall risk, which is the potential of not having enough income to last throughout your retirement or to meet other critical goals. This scenario is truly uncomfortable because it can mean losing your financial independence, or worse.

Read more about minimizing the risk of large losses in my retirement and investment accounts

Estate planning
Long-term care risk in retirementHow do I financially provide for me and my loved ones and empower those taking care of me if I cannot take care of myself?

Medicare Isn't the same as Long-Term Care. According to AARP, a surprising number of people still believe that Medicare will cover their Long-Term Care (LTC) expenses. However, they find out too late that Medicare offers limited coverage and applies only to skilled care. In addition, for Long-Term Care services to be covered under Medicare, you must meet several stringent requirements.

Read more about Long-Term Care risk in retirement

 
Intestacy or Wills and Trusts for the transfer of your estateHow do I take care of my loved ones and arrange the successful transfer of my estate after I'm gone?

Traditionally, most people have relied on a will to pass their assets on to heirs. But wills aren't the only solution. Revocable trusts have become an increasingly popular estate planning tool.

A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, is a written document you (the "grantor" or "trustor") create during your lifetime, which contains your instructions about caring for you if you are unable to manage your affairs (your living estate), and instructions for the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries (your death estate). You also designate the "trustees" who will be responsible for administering your trust.

When your affairs are administered under a trust agreement, you avoid the publicity, costs and hassle of administering your estate in state probate courts. Avoiding the probate courts is especially worthwhile when you are unable to manage your own affairs.

Read more about intestacy or Wills and trusts for the transfer of your estate