For most people, getting the basics right will go a long way toward achieving their goals. For our clients who need help developing a financial strategy, QuickStart is about as easy as it gets.
Conventional Financial Planning
If you were to work on a typical financial plan with an advisor, the process would go something like this:
- Determine your goals.
- Project income, expenses and savings from now until a specific date.
- Estimate the rate of return you expect on savings.
- Calculate expected wealth and compare it to what your goals require.
- Make adjustments as necessary.
Problems with Conventional Financial Planning
- It’s time-consuming. Getting account statements, tax returns and other documents takes work. But these are required for an approach that stresses accurate and detailed projections. Setting your goals far into the future is hard. Do you know when you will retire, where you will want to live and what you will want to do?
- Careful estimates must be made. If it’s hard to set goals, it’s even harder to estimate future living expenses. And what rate of return on savings will your advisor assume?
- Results must be interpreted carefully. Spreadsheets, graphs and charts can give a false sense of precision. As soon as one figure changes, your expected wealth and income will change, too. Forecasts include a lot of guesswork.
- You may not be comfortable with your advisor’s recommendations. After creating a plan, an advisor will offer an investment strategy to help meet your goals. This can lead to questions that make people reluctant to follow through.
Questions That Might Make You Pause
- Are these recommendations being made because the advisor is going to be paid a big sales commission?
- Am I confident that this advisor understands investing? Or do they outsource this to others and focus on selling?
- Am I sure my goals are what I really want?
The QuickStart Solution
QuickStart is our streamlined approach to a realistic financial strategy. The focus is on moving you in the right direction and making adjustments as your goals and circumstances change.
We begin by looking at your current financial position – your savings and income. We’ll spend time discussing your goals and maybe help clarify what you are working toward.
Together, we will develop an understandable saving and investment strategy that makes you comfortable.
Through periodic portfolio reviews, you’ll see how you’re progressing toward what you want. If your situation changes, we’ll discuss how your strategy may need to change.
In addition to being realistic and do-able, QuickStart:
- Keeps the focus on long-term goals. Your aim is not to speculate on the next hot stock or even to beat the market averages. It’s to work toward achieving your goals.
- Takes some of the emotion out of investing. The financial markets move sharply at times. Headlines can make people think the sky is falling and that they should sell everything to preserve what they have.
But QuickStart provides a useful perspective. You may see that even if the value of certain investments falls, your total financial position may not change much. Your income and goals may not even be affected. Knowing this can help calm your nerves and enable you to stick with your strategy.
- Helps prevent “The Big Mistake.” Author and financial planner Carl Richards says that a key role of a financial advisor is to keep their clients from making “The Big Mistake” – a decision that will derail them from achieving their goals.
It’s easier to stay with a strategy that makes sense. Our clients can understand what they own and why. When they have questions, they can ask us, knowing that we make investment decisions in-house.
QuickStart will help most people. It can also serve as a starting point for a comprehensive financial plan. Both Matt and Katerina are holders of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation and are well-qualified to do such detailed plans.
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