At FocusYOU, we use financial life planning tools as part of our process. We devote a significant amount of time to understand who you are, where you’re coming from and what you truly care about. This helps us hone in on your strengths, the challenges that may get in your way, and issues you may face in the future.
You are more than an account number at FocusYOU. You are a real person with unique circumstances, real concerns, and life goals that are worthy of respect. When you align your money with your life goals and aspirations, you will feel more secure and confident to engage in what matters most to you.
What are your goals and aspirations for the future?
Do your financial decisions support achieving your goals?
Real financial planning is about understanding you. This includes your past and present, and the future you wish to create.
Real financial planners act as change agents.
A real financial planner commits to helping you realize your vision for the future and preparing you for the unexpected.
What role do you want money to play in your life?
Prioritizing how you use your money is much easier when you have a clear picture of your goals. One of the first things we do together is clarify your goals. We get specific details about the what, when, where, and with or for whom.
We help you imagine the possibilities. We then help you sort and prioritize your goals and aspirations. Finally, we document in writing and images what you really want.
Once we know your goals and priorities, we use our technical expertise and knowledge to inspire you to move forward with confidence. We inspire you to act in a deliberate and an intentional way.
Our approach has helped our clients and will help you to:
- Organize your financial life.
- Plan for your financial independence.
- Protect yourself and your family.
- Match your investments to your personal goals.
- Maximize your after-tax income and wealth.
- Preserve your estate for children and heirs.
- Mange financial responsibilities across generations.
- Test your ideas before making major financial decisions.
Organize your financial life
Are you making progress towards your financial goals?
Hundreds of couples and individuals have told me their dreams and aspirations. But a review of their finances showed little evidence that their money was in alignment with what they say matters most to them.
To get your financial life in order is all about knowing where you stand today and controlling your money. You will no longer allow it to control you.
We assess your situation to determine your assets, liabilities, cash flow and liquidity. We then show your progress relative to your dreams and aspirations.
We help you to identify what you already do well. And, then identify gaps and opportunities.
We assist you in creating a spending plan that fits with your values. Your plan will serve your goals and guide your day-to-day spending decisions. (And, before you ask…No! A spending plan is not a budget. Managing day-to-day spending is critical, but budgets are like diets—they don’t work for most of us).
A spending plan is powerful because it is forward looking and gives you more freedom of choice. When done right, you can put your spending plan on autopilot. This makes it easier to fund your most important financial goals.
By focusing on your big picture WHY, you will begin using your money through conscious choice. You will no longer view your money as a choice between having something trivial now or denying yourself. You will see your money as an expression of your most important value(s).
Plan for your financial security
How secure will your “retirement” be?
How do you envision retirement? Is it an economic event? Or, is it an opportunity to pursue the future holistically?
For the vast majority of people who come in for a Private Financial Breakthrough Session, their focus is on building a nest egg for retirement.
In this step we:
- Determine how much you need to live a secure and comfortable life.
- Run scenarios to see how your retirement assets and income give you more options and freedom.
- Maximize use of your employee benefits or use of your business for yourself and your family.
You may discover—like others do—that the real issue isn’t about having a pile of money. The real question for you to answer is “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
The most satisfied people have both financial goals and life goals. They use their money to support their values and priorities.
Yes, retirement is about much more than the money. It’s about planning for the rest of your life.
We educate you on how your money intersects with all areas of your life (e.g., mental, emotional, spiritual). And that it is an instrument for creating the life you want—both now and in retirement.
Match your investments to your personal goals.
Do your investments provide you with financial peace of mind?
Many investors are ruled by two emotions: FEAR AND GREED. The result is they never experience peace of mind or have the success they would like.
These investors focus on things they cannot control: the markets, the economy, Fed actions, manager ratings, or the performance of an individual security or strategy. They overlook the fundamental principles that give them the best chance of success.
When it comes to your investments, together we focus only on things we can control:
- Defining your investment philosophy.
- Determining your risk preference.
- Choosing your investment strategy.
These three things mean more to your long-term success than any other investment approach.
We begin by helping you clarify and define your investment philosophy. This is the missing link to financial peace of mind for most investors. If you’re like most people, you may believe you don’t have one. The truth is that you do have one. You chose it unconsciously.
FocusYOU will help you clarify what you want your investments to do for you. As well as your family and community. And then choose an investment approach that works for you.
Next, we review your existing investments to understand what you own. We see how those investments fit into your bigger picture WHY. Many people don’t know what they own or why they own them. This is part of our risk assessment.
Third, we share the wisdom of fact-based investing and financial science. We educate you on how to use fact-based investments to help you reach your goals and stop stressing about the markets.
Our ideal model clients want a portfolio that works for them to achieve their goals and aspirations. They prefer this more conservative, fact-based approach because it:
- Is slow and steady.
- Protects the wealth they've already created.
- Builds a foundation for dealing with life and market uncertainties.
Our investment recommendations are always grounded by research and financial science. After adopting this scientific approach, you will:
- End speculating and gambling with your money.
- Stop stressing about which investments to buy or sell.
- Stop worrying if now is a good time to be in or out of the market.
- Cut unnecessary risk.
- Have more time to focus on living your best life.
In other words, experience greater financial peace of mind.
Protect yourself and your family from the devastation of catastrophic events
What's the worst that could happen? This is the first question FocusYOU considers when thinking about protecting your wealth. It’s essential to our risk management philosophy.
Insurance provides the financial safety net that protects you and your family. (This is what risk management is all about.) These are rarely conversations that our clients want to have.
Yet, the right insurance can bring you a sense of calm that only comes once it is in place. It is critical to understand your:
- Personal insurance (e.g., life, disability, medical and long-term care)
- Property coverage (e.g., home, auto and business)
- Liability protection (e.g. personal umbrella, commercial and professional insurance)
Insurance is an excellent tool and a powerful element of a sound financial plan. It can help protect against many financial risks. The creative use of insurance can also strengthen your wealth, financial confidence and financial peace of mind.
Most people feel that they need more insurance. Yet, the dizzying number and complexity of insurance products causes most people to do nothing rather than make a mistake. But the cost of doing nothing is usually much greater than the cost of doing something.
That's where we come in. We help you understand your options and coach you through your decision. There is no "one size fits all" solution, so we help you balance what you can afford with what you want. We have relationships with several insurance agencies. So, we can offer you cost effective alternatives for your situation.
Maximize your after-tax income and wealth
Death or taxes? Federal income tax, FICA tax, state and local income taxes, real estate taxes, sales tax, usage tax., estate tax… Need I say more? It’s mind boggling. We can’t avoid either, but we can reduce the tax hits.
You work hard to build your savings and investments. The consequences of tax decisions you make today will have an effect on your future income. The tax effect is greater than the effect of your investment returns or interest rates.
With few exceptions, it is your net income after taxes that determines your standard of living and future lifestyle.
Through robust tax planning, we work to help you keep more of your income and wealth for yourself and family.
Our tax planning begins with a review of your prior tax returns. This review lets us see what’s been going on in your financial life and what strategies may be available to you.
We run long-term tax projections to test ideas and see which strategies may be best for you and your goals.
We also collaborate with CPAs, and other tax professionals, to consider all short-term and long-term implications of varies strategies.
In today’s ever evolving and complicated tax environment, we help you think strategically about your income, deductions, and credits. Not just 1-3 years out, but over your lifetime and future generations.
Preserve your estate for your children and heirs
We read and hear stories in newspapers and TV news all the time about estate plans gone awry. This happens because people don’t understand the relationships among their assets and the estate laws governing them. The unintended consequences of not knowing what you don’t know.
In this step, our goal is to make sure each element of your estate planning plays well with the other parts to fulfill your wishes.
First is the review of your legal documents. This includes wills, trust, powers of attorney, prenuptial and other agreements that aim to protect your personal property. For business owners we also review your buy-sell agreements and other business documents that aim to preserve your business interests.
Next, we review your beneficiary designations and asset titles. We address other concerns as well, such as protecting heirs, roles and responsibilities, and any charitable gifting.
These comprehensive reviews often reveal gaps and shows a lack of coordination in your estate planning. We’ll educate you on how to fix the gaps and improve the coordination.
Together, we will create various scenarios to see how they achieve your wishes. You get to test ideas in real-time and see which strategies may work for you and your desired outcomes.
Finally, we collaborate with estate and probate attorneys and other professionals to consider all the implications of varies strategies.
Manage financial responsibilities across generations
The needs, wants, and expectations of our children, grandchildren, and sometimes our parents can weigh heavy on our hearts and minds. Our relationships with the people we love can undermine our objectivity and interfere with our financial goals.
Many times, these same relationships create financial stress. They can lead to feelings of guilt and/or resentment
Money is emotional.
No matter how objective you want to be, your relationships can have a profound impact on the financial decisions you make.
In our work together, we discuss your expectations and those of others who “depend” or “lean on” you. We strategize ways to manage expectations and also integrate love, family and money.
We help you to engage in difficult family discussions. Many of our clients use this service to have the hard, but necessary conversations. For example, discussing:
- changes to the parent’s wills and trust with adult children
- when is it time to move mom or dad
- how to get your adult child out of the nest.
Our goal is to help you respond appropriately to your money and personal relationships. We work with you to be more confident and effective in your ability to communicate with your loved ones about financial matters.
Test ideas before making major financial decisions
We are your sounding board and thinking partner.
Education is the key to success. You can access our knowledge and expertise to test ideas and possible tactics before committing to anything.
Our clients who keep us in the loop before making major financial decisions often feel more relief. This is because they understand the implications of the potential decisions and don’t derail their long-term goals or success.
We keep you informed of financial changes and opportunities. But, we don’t bombard you with irrelevant noise (e.g., product de jour or useless information).
Financial peace of mind is about more than money. It’s about the confidence and quality of life that result from managing your money successfully.
By working with a knowledgeable and trusted Certified Financial Planner™ and coach, you will increase your own sense of financial confidence and peace of mind.
- Are you ready to increase your financial confidence?
- Do you want to make decisions that align with your values?
- Are you committed to have your money to support your life goals and aspirations?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then schedule your complimentary, no-obligation Private Financial Breakthrough Session. Come see how professional guidance will help make sure your financial planning, investments and insurance programs align with your goals and your big picture WHY.