General Planning or Advice on Specific Issues
Goals based planning starts with the idea that people often have several goals that they want to meet at different points in their lives and with different priorities. For example, you might have retirement as a long range goal but you might also want to save for your child’s college or a home improvement, etc. Having a plan for each goal helps you avoid emotional investment decisions because you will have confidence in meeting your goals regardless of the market’s recent performance.
To start off you have to be clear about what your goals are. Clients usually have a general idea but they are not precise enough to plan for. “To retire comfortably” is a common goal but it is too vague and we need to define what that means in more detail. An important part of our financial planning service is helping clients to identify goals that meet their needs and are achievable.
Once your goals are defined, we can figure out what you need to do to get there. But first we have to know where you are now. So the process starts with gathering data. This involves preparing a Net Worth Statement (i.e. a list of your assets and debts) and an Income & Expenses Summary (how much income you bring in and how much you spend and save).
Then we use state of the art planning software to prepare projections about the likelihood of meeting your goals. We review the projections with you and, with your input, we make whatever changes are needed to come up with a plan that is achievable and acceptable. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we determine what level of risk your portfolio can have without jeopardizing your goals.
We then go further and stress test the plan. What would happen if inflation becomes a problem or if the stock market collapses? We try to find the weaknesses in the plan so we can make further adjustments.
Once this planning work is done, we come back periodically to check the progress. Having done the upfront data gathering, it’s easy to just update it every year or whenever your life situation changes.
Most Wall Street firms and insurance companies will do something that is disguised as financial planning but is really a set up to sell you investments or insurance.
At Main Street Financial we operate as fiduciaries, which means that we make a pledge to work in your best interests, even ahead of our own. How can we afford to do this? Because people who get good, honest advice, refer us to other people who want the same quality service.
A recent study by the US Center for Retirement Research found that 51% of households are at risk of not having enough to maintain their living standards in retirement.
The divorce process is such a highly emotional and stressful time that it seems pretty overwhelming at times, especially when it comes to financial issues.