Tying the knot

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Plan vs. Planning

By Brandon Schleter

When it comes to financial planning, it bears repeating that there is no one-size fits all approach. Each of our clients, whether just out of college or just retired, brings to us a unique set of challenges, goals and needs. That's why we take the time to sit down and get to know each and every client who walks through our doors on a personal, as well as a financial level.

That's also why we make sure to build an ongoing relationship with everyone we work with, long after we create that person or family's initial financial plan. Life isn't static. We know things will change, and those changes need to be reflected in clients' financial plans. We will never simply hand someone a plan and say goodbye - our approach always involves ongoing planning, follow-ups and adjustments as folks transition from one life stage to the next. This includes insurance planning over time, investing strategies as assets grow, lifestyle changes, and yes, the occasional splurge.

We find that it's always a good idea to have a third party to keep people on track, whether that's a personal trainer, a nutritionist or a financial planner. We don't just help clients get back on track after a splurge. We can help adjust for life events such as marriage and children, inflation and changing goals and dreams.

A big part of this approach is helping identify and focus on the things they can control, rather than worrying about those things they can't. The financial markets will go up and down, and we see many clients acting out of fear, or trying to "time" the markets. We try to shift their energy into things such as increasing the amount they're saving, buying the right home and sticking to a workable budget. No one can control the financial markets, but there are plenty financial to-dos that clients can do something about.

Research has shown that, as investors retire, there are five basic strategies people tend to fall into. Our team can also help folks in all categories control the things they can (and stress less about the things they can't!) as they create a withdrawal strategy. This could result in extra gains over the course of a person's retirement. Even after retirement, it's our philosophy that active, ongoing planning remains vitally important.

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