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Our Financial Planning Process Thumbnail

Our Financial Planning Process

Hi, everyone.

I'm Matt Daley, and welcome to the Financial Success Academy.

Today we want to talk about our financial planning services and how they have been tailored to meet the needs of our Washington State first responder families. By being continually involved in financial planning conversations, you can be prepared for the important decision points that come throughout your life and career.

The remainder of this video will give you a brief look at what that process entails, how you can prepare for your financial planning meetings, and some of the most common questions and conversations we have. Although financial planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event, it's important to get your foundation built to help you get started on the right path, and help facilitate future conversations. We've worked hard over the last decade to tailor and refine this process to help you achieve financial success.

Our first meeting is a discovery meeting. During this meeting, we will dive into your current financial picture and ask questions to facilitate a conversation around your goals and hopefully have a clear understanding of what you're hoping to accomplish. A few of the most common questions we hear in these meetings are:

"When will I be able to retire?"

"How much money do I need to have saved?"

"Which pension survivorship option is right for me and my family?"

"How do I best save for my child's college education?"

"Or how much will I be able to take out of my investment accounts on an annual basis once I'm retired?"

We will answer all of these and more throughout the course of our meetings and help ensure you have a clear path moving forward.

When you schedule your discovery meeting, we will provide you a list of information to gather ahead of time. You will also be provided a secure link that will allow you to upload copies of that information to us electronically, in advance. This allows us to spend time beforehand reviewing your information and creating a framework for our conversation. Our meetings are much more productive and streamlined when you're able to do this.

Before your next meeting, we will take time to digest our conversation, sort through the information. We will perform investment analysis, cash flow projections, and other modelings to help you visually see the impact your decisions made.

Our next meeting will be a planning and strategy meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to present you with our analysis and recommendations, look at the long term impact of your financial decisions, and create a clear roadmap moving forward. We will start the meeting by presenting you with your financial scorecard. The scorecard is used to measure and track important information. It will be updated over time to show the progress you're making in specific areas.

Some areas of focus are your estate plan and life insurance. For most people, these are often overlooked or not in place as they should be, yet very important for planning for the unknown.

We are not attorneys ourselves, but we have negotiated substantial discounts with competent attorneys on behalf of all of our first responder families. As fee-only fiduciaries, we also don't sell commission products like life insurance, but can help you identify: "What is it?" "What type is best for me?" "How much do I need and where do I get it?"

Next, we will go through an investment analysis of all of your accounts. For some that's simply your 457(b). For others, it's more complex and involves spousal retirement accounts, outside Roth IRAs, brokerage accounts or other things. We want to ensure there is a cohesive investment plan across all of these accounts and will provide recommendations if we think adjustments need to be made.

Lastly, we will review your debt rate and savings rate. These ratios can help to paint a picture of where your money is going each month and help us know where to focus your extra dollars.

The culmination of our meeting is typically centered around a Monte Carlo simulation. During the Monte Carlo, our software runs a thousand different iterations of your situation, applies different market volatility in each one, and produces an overall probability of success. If needed, we will run alternative scenarios to show what actions can be taken to improve the long-term outcomes. This frequently means adjusting our assumptions for your retirement age, living expenses, or showing supplemental work or income after public service retirement.

After our initial meetings, we can meet as frequently as necessary to update your plan and help you make decisions. For most people, this is 24 to 36 months between formal sit-down meetings. However, we are always available to talk and answer questions, and we'll have continued conversations through our semiannual account reviews, station visits, and other opportunities.

As always, stay safe and let us know if there's anything we can do for you.