I help people to prepare for financial independence – I help people make informed decisions with their money. Still, I recognize that many people come to me primarily as an investment advisor who does planning. Planning might include specific plans for estate planning, insurance planning and tax reduction. In doing this work, I follow a six-step process. The first three steps of the process will have been completed after your first meeting. If you engage me, a letter of engagement will be signed at the meeting before any planning recommendations are made. I will provide you with an Investment Policy Statement and written financial planning recommendations at your second meeting.
The six distinct steps in the STANDUP Process include:
The Situation Snapshot
This involved summarizing all the details surrounding your finances so that they can be organized and synthesized.
The Goal-Based Game Plan
This includes “soft” questions about lifestyle as well as concerns about retirement age and income. If appropriate, the financial independence analysis will show us whether or not you will be able to enjoy the lifestyle you expect in your retirement.
The Obstacle Overcomer
Are there matters that might get in the way of achieving the goals listed above?
The Evidence Evaluator
This involves specific recommendations that will take you from where you are now to where you ultimately want to go. It would include specific action items based on your life circumstances and the best financial information currently available.
The Ideal Implementation
The specific recommendations in the action plan are simply that: recommendations. After reviewing them, we can begin work on implementation. If there are recommendations that you are uncomfortable with, they can be altered to suit your needs.
The Saw Sharpener
The ultimate course of action we choose will be reviewed and revised periodically to ensure we remain responsive to changes in both market conditions and personal circumstances. We need to take time to “sharpen the saw” before things get dull.
Listed below are the sorts of attributes that describe a typical client:
- Friendly, open-minded and helpful – seeking to enjoy life
- Wants help to simplify and arrange their financial affairs
- Not interested in fads, trends or market timing
- Appreciates the benefits of full disclosure and possible deductibility of fees
- Understands the benefits of a written Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
- Focused on a long-term view (typically 10+ years minimum; preferably 20+)
- Is generally in a high marginal tax bracket with a need to reduce taxes
- Understands that the added value I can provide comes from either cost minimization, superior services or both
- Minimum household assets available for investment of $500,000 (Households with lower asset levels are welcome, but work with my Associate)