Our Clients

Our clients are busy, successful individuals and families. Many faced some type of life transition, and were looking for a financial planner who could help them plan for their financial future and provide the guidance they needed to achieve their goals. Below are some accounts of our typical client experiences.

 

Mark & Carol

Both Mark & Carol had been widowed and had children from their previous marriages. Now newlyweds in their sixties, they were overwhelmed by their debt and worried they wouldn’t be able to retire.

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Although Mark’s children were attached to his vacation home, it represented a serious drain on resources he would need in retirement. The couple’s home equity line and several credit cards with high balances were also worrisome.

Approaching age 66, Mark was confused about his many Social Security options, and had no idea which survivorship option would best protect Carol should he predecease her.

Their investments were incurring higher risk and fees than appropriate, and they were unaware of the challenges they could face in the event of market turndowns early in their retirement years.

Mark & Carol’s estate planning documents contained an error in their beneficiary requests that could have prevented their wishes from being carried out.

However, their biggest concern was that they had zero confidence as to when they would be able to retire.

When Mark and Carol began working with us, it was difficult for them to navigate through some of the emotions that come with discussing financial habits, priorities, etc. By focusing on their common goals and dreams, we helped them transition to handling their finances as partners.

With our help addressing each of their concerns, they now have peace of mind, knowing that they are doing the right things to get to their common goal of enjoying their retirement.

Angela

A divorced mom with three minor children, Angela was an accomplished businesswoman, but when it came to personal finances, she felt overwhelmed and lacked the energy to make decisions.

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Angela wanted someone to guide her through a planning process, bring structure to her personal financial affairs, and offer guidance regarding her business plan.

Although required to have life insurance as part of her divorce decree, her policy had lapsed. She needed to reinstate a personal policy to address the divorce requirement as well as provide for her children as she wished.

Since her divorce, she had not revised her will, power of attorney, or healthcare power of attorney.

Angela had spent many years building a thriving business. Although her business partners had been initial investors, they were not directly involved with the business, but received a significant portion of the annual profits. Although she had a short-term non-compete agreement, Angela did not have a comprehensive buy-sell agreement with her partners.

Angela also wanted to evaluate her options regarding establishing her own company. First, she needed sufficient capital to cover six months of living expenses, as well as the initial buy-out down payment. She also needed a cost-benefit analysis, including startup costs, loss of revenue, potential income and growth so that she would have an adequate understanding of the risks and rewards of staying with her partners versus starting her own enterprise.

Her investments included an IRA, her children’s educational fund and prepaid tuition plan, and an annuity. Angela wanted each one reviewed for relative performance, appropriate level of risk and cost factors.

As a stay-at-home mom prior to her divorce, Angela had been caught off guard when her spouse lost his job, and their funds quickly evaporated. She never wanted to be in that position again.

At the end of our time together, Angela was relieved to have the protection mechanisms in place to make sure she was taking care of herself and her children in the best way possible. After struggling for several years with the decision of staying with her partners versus starting her own company, she now had the clarity she needed to make a well-informed decision for herself and her family.

Jennifer

A recent widow, Jennifer had virtually no experience with investments and owning assets.

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She and her husband had purchased their first house two years earlier. He had inherited some money, and then died of cancer not long after they moved in.

With little debt other than the mortgage, Jennifer was going through probate when she came to us. She was looking for someone to help her make smart decisions. Her top priority was to have enough money to support herself and her daughter with special needs during retirement, and for her daughter to be cared for after her death.

Jennifer had no understanding of budgets or investments. She had questions about whether her property and casualty insurance was adequate and whether she should keep or pay off her mortgage.

Although she didn’t know what she would need to live on during retirement, she knew she needed a retirement savings plan and some way to pay for potential long-term care expenses down the road. She also wanted help to sort through her Social Security options and how best to provide for her daughter after her death. Above all, Jennifer wanted to simplify her financial life.

Although she had little experience with money management, Jennifer learned quickly throughout our planning process. Soon she began to feel confident regarding her ability to make wise financial decisions – both now and in the future.

 

Major Life Transitions

Changes in our clients’ lives generate questions and often trigger the need to fully evaluate their financial picture.

  • Divorce: Will I be okay financially? I don’t know anything about investing; what should I do? What if I decide to remarry?
  • Widowhood: Should I stay in my home? Will I be able to live on one income? What if I decide to remarry?
  • Second Marriage: Should I get a pre-nuptial agreement? Should we merge our accounts? How do I handle leaving an inheritance for my children?
  • Unexpected Early Retirement: How can I increase my income? What if I need to dip into my retirement accounts? How will I find another job?
  • Retirement: How can I be sure I won’t outlive my assets? What if inflation comes back? What if I need long-term care down the road? How can I make the most of my Social Security benefits?
  • Employment Change: How will this change affect my financial picture? What should I do with my old retirement plan? How can I make the most of my new company’s benefit plan options? Should I make any changes in my budget?
  • Elder Care: How can I help my parents when I live so far away? They’re starting to become forgetful; what if it’s dementia? What if they can’t live alone anymore?
  • Inheritance: Should I pay off debt? Should I buy something special? How will my taxes be affected?
  • Education: How much can I afford to pay for my children’s education and still retire? Should I pay for graduate school? What about student loans?  How do 529 plans work?
  • Business Transition: What will happen to my business if something happens to me? Do I need a buy/sell agreement? How much will I be able to get for it when I’m ready to retire?