Our Comprehensive Financial Planning Process is designed exclusively for engaged and newlywed millennials. The goal of this process is to produce a plan to help you make decisions in your new family that will allow you to live your dream life.
If you’re reading this, you probably thinking of reaching out to me because you have a specific question in mind. “How much house can we afford to buy?” “How should I handle my student loan payments?” “Are we saving enough to retire at a reasonable age?” Or maybe even something like “My partner and I are always on the same page…except when it comes to our finances. How do we fix it?”
These questions are important, and I’ve helped people answer these questions (and many more!) before. And I promise- you’ll get your answer to this question if we decide to work together. But, all of these decisions work together. And as such, my planning process is designed to give you a straightforward, comprehensive framework to help you make these choices in your own life.
Working with us to develop your family’s financial plan is kind of like working with a personal trainer at a gym. We’ll start by learning more about you- both where you are today financially, and where you want your life to take you. From there, we’ll partner up with you to create your financial plan designed to bring your money in alignment with your dreams and values. Finally, and maybe most importantly, we’ll team with you to be your accountability partner to make sure you’re implementing your plan. The best plan in the world is no good if you don’t take action on it! And of course, as life (inevitably) changes, we’ll be right with you to make updates to your plan.
How it Works
First off, implementing a financial plan in a new family is one of the best decisions you can make…. but it only works if both partners are involved. We’re going to be having deep discussions about what you want your life to look like, so I require both you and your fiancé/spouse to be present for each of these calls. We’re going to be brainstorming what we want your lives to look like, after all!
We will develop your financial plan over a series of five meetings:
First Meeting: Free Breakthrough Session, where we will:
- Discuss where your finances are today- We need to know where we’re starting from before we can determine where we’re going! We’ll come back to the details later in the process, but it’s important that I get the overall picture to make sure I can help you before we commit to working with each other. I only work with couples that I know I can help!
- Talk through the Financial Planning Process in detail- During our call, we will outline your financial plan at a high level and address any immediate “red flags” to make sure you’re on the right track. By the time you leave your breakthrough session, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting and have an idea or two to start improving your financial situation immediately.
After the breakthrough session, you’ll have the chance to talk things over with your spouse to decide if this process is right for you. There’s no sales pitch, and no pressure. If you’d like to proceed, we will set up our next call.
Second Meeting: Foundation Meeting, where we will we will focus on getting your finances organized and discussing your vision for your family’s future. We will:
- Brainstorm the specific things you want to achieve financially in your life. You probably don’t know exactly what you want your retirement to exactly look like, and that’s completely ok (and, frankly, normal)! Our goal here is to get creative with your vision for your life and to set a target to shoot for. We’ll revisit these goals (at least) annually, to make sure that as things change in your life, you’re still working towards the future you want.
- Identify your family’s core values- Many clients find this step to be the most valuable piece of the process. It doesn’t make sense to decide what to do with your money until we determine what’s really important to you, so we’re going to take some time to do that up front.
- Review your finances in detail to give me the information I need to create your plan.
After the second meeting, you’ll have a bit of homework to help me get the data I need to build your plan. Then, I’ll analyze the data and run the numbers for you. I worry about the data and numbers, so you don’t have to!
Third Meeting: Plan Delivery Meeting, where we will review your financial plan in detail:
- Track your progress to date against each of the goals we identified in our Foundation Meeting, determine the likelihood that you’ll be able to achieve these goals, and discuss strategies to prioritize these goals if needed.
- Discuss recommendations on how to align your money with what’s most important to you (the goals and values we identified above).
- Establish your action plan for the next three months.
- These are the following areas that we typically cover in your plan:
- Financial Goal Prioritization
- Strategies to Combine Finances with Your Partner
- Income Benchmarking and Gap Analysis
- Net Worth Statement
- Cash Flow Analysis (How to Fund Your Goals and Maintain Your Lifestyle)
- Risk Analysis
- Proposed 401(k) Investment Allocation
- Employee Benefits Analysis
- Retirement Planning Analysis and Recommendations
- Credit Score Benchmarking
- Estate Planning
- Tax Planning
- Insurance Analysis
- Student Loan Analysis
- Debt Repayment Plan
- Savings Goals (New House, New Car, Travel, etc.)
- Investment Analysis
- Emergency Fund Analysis
Within 24 hours of this meeting, you’ll have your financial plan to guide your decision-making as a family around money, show where to direct your cash flow each month, and detail the steps to take between now and our next meeting. I usually try to keep this financial plan to about one page (although usually, it’s a little bit longer). While it takes a lot of analysis to create my recommendations, it’s important to me that this roadmap is easy to understand and something you can take action on. More detail can always be provided on one request, but my goal is to make your life easier!
Fourth Meeting: the Accelerate Meeting, about a month after you get your initial financial plan, where we will:
- Review your progress toward your financial goals and update your plan as necessary.
- Answer any questions that arise as you review your financial plan.
- Make sure you have momentum in implementing the changes discussed in your plan. I didn’t use to have the Accelerate Meeting, but I’ve found it’s the single best way to make sure you’re making the progress you’re looking for.
Fifth Meeting: the Review Meeting, about three months after the Accelerate Meeting, where we will:
- Review your progress toward your financial goals since the Accelerate meeting.
- Determine whether you’re interested in continuing to work together.
Usually, these five meetings occur over a five month period. At this point, some people decide they want to continue the plan implementation on their own, and others want ongoing support in implementing, monitoring, and updating their financial plan. If you decide to continue after the Review Meeting, we will have review and update meetings three or four times a year to make updates to your plan as your life changes, identify and implement new financial strategies to make your money work for you, and make sure you’re still on track to meet your goals.
What’s it Cost?
Cost for the initial plan is calculated based on the complexity of your needs. Development of the financial plan typically ranges from $1,500 to $3,500, which covers the financial plan development process outlined above.
If you’re ready to get started, or interested in learning more, click here to set up your free breakthrough session today!
I also help clients manage their investments. My investment philosophy is centered around building a well-diversified, tax-efficient portfolio of low cost investments such as ETFs and Index Funds, complemented by holdings of blue chip stocks, as appropriate. Any investment holdings will be structured around your specific goals and comfort with taking risk.
Setting up and monitoring a portfolio is important, but even more critically, I help my clients manage the emotions of investing. It can be very easy to overreact when the market jumps or falls – my job during particularly good and bad market times is to help you stick to your plan.
Investing fees start at 1% assets under management per year, and tier down with larger account values.