The Plan Is My Guide, I Shall Not Stray
Goals are not achieved by accident. Therefore, we insist that our clients take time with us, their financial planner, accountant, and/or lawyer to develop a written comprehensive financial plan that details exactly how and when they will accumulate sufficient wealth to fund their goals.
We begin every one of our financial planning engagements identifying our clients' specific goals and dreams. Our question is always: "What would you do if you could?" No two clients give us the same answers. Things like purchasing a boat, starting a business, or funding a child's college savings account are short-term goals that must be addressed. Long-term goals involve such issues as achieving financial independence, establishing multi-generational wealth, and reducing estate taxes.
We rely on our years of experience with other affluent individuals to assign realistic levels of wealth accumulation and cash flow generation to these goals. These must always be specific and measurable. "I want to retire" is not a meaningful goal. "Generating $240,000 per year in annual income exclusive of social security beginning in the year 2012" is a meaningful goal. This tangible set of goals collectively becomes our destination - Point B.
After this, we proceed to take an inventory of our clients' assets/liabilities and income/expenses. We use this data to create a Family Financial Statement. This identifies our starting point - Point A.
Financial Planning consists of successfully plotting a course for our clients to sail from Point A to Point B. Our job is to construct the appropriate Plan which gets our clients get exactly where they need to be, when they need to be there. Once this Plan is firmly in place, we utilize our money management expertise to navigate that course.