Working with the Firm
We work with people from all walks of life. However we have developed two areas of focus; baby boomers and CT public school teachers. Why did we develop these areas of focus? Because these groups of people have unique challenges that they face, have only once chance on retirement and are looking for a financial planning firm with in-depth knowledge the topics that impact them.
Baby boomers have important decisions to make about social security. They need to understand their health insurance options after they retire and plan for the costs associated with them. They need to carefully manage their investments and coordinate withdrawals. They also need to plan for the phenomenon of aging and plan for needing care and transitioning their assets when they pass away. By focusing on working with these topics, we can manage many aspects of a baby boomers retirement planning needs. For services that are beyond our firm's scope, we have a large network of CPA's, estate planning attorneys and other professionals that we can engage to help service our clients.
How did we end up working with teachers? We started working with Connecticut public school teachers years ago and quickly realized that they face a unique set of challenges as they plan for their retirement. They have a very confusing pension plan that allows them to buy back time and has various payment options with some unusual survivorship options. There are specific deadlines and forms that need to be filed at retirement. They don't pay into social security and are impacted by the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset. Lastly, their retiree health insurance options are different from those of the general public. So by understanding the details of these topics, we can add tremendous value to Connecticut public school teachers and their families.
It may be helpful to understand a bit more about how we work with our clients. We usually begin working with our clients about 10 years from their anticipated retirement date. Doing so provides us with plenty of time to clearly identify our client’s financial goals and run a thorough analysis of their situation. For most pre-retirees, planning in advance of their retirement allows them to make any final adjustments they may need to while they are still working.
The relationship that we build with our clients is a life-long, holistic relationship. It often involves working with other family members, especially as our clients age. And it goes well beyond simply monitoring their investments. Our firm has a wealth of knowledge and experience that adds value to many aspects of our client’s lives. We also have a vast network of professionals with complementary areas of focus that we often collaborate with to help our clients through various stages of their retirement and their lives as they age. This includes CPA’s, Estate Planning Attorneys, Medicare brokers, Life Coaches, Care Managers and home health aids just to name a few!
What could you expect if you want to work with us?
Below is a general outline of how we work with our clients. Note that although our general process is followed for every client, the financial plan that we develop and the topics that t we cover are tailored to each client's situation.
Our Intake Process
When a new client is referred to us, we usually have a brief phone meeting to understand what the client’s needs and ensure that our firm is a good fit for their needs. It also allows the client the opportunity to ask their questions of the firm and begin to understand how we can add value to their situation. We set a date for our first meeting and we send out our intake material. This includes a thorough intake form along with a list of supporting documents that we’ll need well in advance of the first meeting. Once the client sends these materials back to the office, our team begins their analysis of the situation and starts drafting their preliminary comments.
During our first meeting, we expand upon the information that was gathered in our intake material by having in depth discussions about the client’s family, goals and resources. The client can ask questions about topics relating to their situation and our advisors can begin to provide advice and guidance. By the end of the meeting, our advisors provide an outline of their findings and recommendations. At this time, the client has the option of taking these recommendations and implementing them on their own or working with the firm. If they decide to work with the firm, the advisor and staff work with the client to develop a long-term plan that is developed to meet the specific needs of the client. Our next meeting date is set to begin implementing the client’s plan.
During this meeting, we review the key items from our discovery meeting and the plan that we developed in the prior meeting. We then help the client complete any steps necessary to implement their plan. This can include organizing and making changes to existing investment accounts, opening new accounts assets, changing beneficiaries, etc. The details of this meeting depend on what the client needs and their individual situation.
Ongoing Review Meetings
As mentioned earlier, we develop life-long relationships with our clients to help them manage many aspects of their life and finances in retirement. This is done through regular review meetings to solicit updates about their situation and changes in their needs, lifestyle, family, health, etc. We provide updates on the economy, market and any law changes that could impact their financial plan. When changes to their investments or plans are needed we help them understand their options and implement any changes that may be needed.
As a client ages, the topics covered in our review meetings vary. We often help our clients begin claiming their social security and apply for pension benefits. We review their estate planning documents and if need be, refer them to an estate planning attorney to discuss updates. This can happen as families, assets, laws or legacy plans change. Some of our clients end up needing care as they age. We help our clients plan for that care and when the time comes, help by working with their families or other professionals to help care for our clients and fulfill the plans that they have worked so hard to develop.
You can see from the information above that our firm becomes a life-long, valuable partner to both our client and their families. We work to advocate for our client’s well-being, taking care of as much of their situation as possible. This allows our clients to relax and enjoy their retirement.