The profiles below highlight several typical client situations, and illustrate our comprehensive approach to personal financial planning.
A Woman in Transition
A family law attorney called our office regarding a client who was getting divorced. Her client was very nervous about her finances and being on her own. We worked with her client from the initial meeting and after her divorce to give her peace of mind.
We engaged with her on the following:
- Preparing a Financial Goal Plan testing 3 different scenarios. These scenarios included different alimony payments and different spending levels. We reviewed her current budget with her to make sure it encompassed all of her expenses. As the proposed settlement agreement neared finalization, we continued to update our projections.
- Discussing purchasing versus renting. She decided to purchase a home and we helped her evaluate financing options.
- Determining an overall investment strategy for her divorce proceeds. We helped facilitate all the transfer of funds and reconciled everything to her Marital Settlement Agreement.
- Establishing relationships with a new Estate Planning attorney and accountant. We worked with her to provide all the information to these professionals.
- Advising her to check her credit rating to make sure that her credit was in good standing after her divorce.
- Establishing a monthly withdrawal amount and continuing to review her budget.
- Reviewing her Marital Settlement Agreement annually to make sure she was receiving all she was entitled to per the agreement.
- Continuing to meet with her regularly to review her portfolios and update her financial plan as needed.
A retired couple in their early 70s had several questions regarding their spending, leaving a substantial legacy for their children, and funding their grandchildren’s educations.
We engaged with them on the following:
- Updating their Financial Goal Plan – a long-term projection that offers a plan to meet their goals. We discussed several scenarios, including the impact of various spending levels on their ability to leave a desired inheritance for their children.
- Creating a cash and liquidity strategy allowing them to receive monthly distributions from their portfolios, creating a regular income stream that allowed them to plan and budget accordingly.
- Reviewing their current estate planning documents, suggested several areas that needed to be updated based on their wishes, and provided and introduction to an attorney that could implement a revised plan.
- Establishing college savings 529 accounts for their grandchildren, and recommended a funding strategy for each grandchild.
- Reviewing legacy annuity positions they owned, and recommended rolling the positions into lower cost alternatives.
- Using a portion of their IRAs to fund charitable contributions.
Looking forward to retirement
A couple, both senior executives at Chicago businesses, were looking to retire within five years. As part of their plans, they were looking to buy sell their suburban home and buy a condo in a Chicago high-rise. They wanted to make sure that they could maintain their lifestyle during their retirement years, while continuing to make substantial charitable donations.
We engaged with them on:
- Updating their Financial Goal Plan – a long-term projection that offers a plan to meet their goals, including spending and donations, over the years ahead.
- Creating a cash flow analysis, allowing them to feel comfortable with the proposed change in their residence.
- Performing a comprehensive analysis of their corporate benefits, including stock options, allowing them to make decisions regarding timing of income.
- Consolidating various portfolio accounts, creating less complexity and a more precise approach to asset allocation.
- Working with their CPA, we created a strategy to take IRA distributions in years that their income would relatively low – minimizing taxes.
- Reviewing various claiming strategies for Social Security, and suggested the approach that should maximize benefits received over their lifetime.
- Setting up their family’s Donor Advised Fund, a tax-efficient vehicle for charitable contributions.
- Reviewing all areas of insurance, including health insurance options, as they looked to transition from employer based health coverage.
Young Professional Couple
Budgeting. We reviewed their spending, and they made tough decisions regarding reducing discretionary expenses.
Life Insurance. We recommended that they increased the amount of their life insurance to protect them in the event of an unexpected and premature death.
Disability Insurance. We recommended that they purchase disability insurance which can be as important (if not as important) as life insurance.
Estate Plan. We recommended an estate planning attorney to prepare an estate plan and assisted in arriving at a structure for their minor children.
Mortgage Review. We reviewed the couple’s existing mortgage and helped the couple refinance. We also helped them obtain a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to provide an emergency source of cash.
401(k) Plan. We reviewed their 401(k) plans and made sure the clients deferred enough to take advantage of their employers’ match. We also suggested changes to their asset mix to ensure consistency with their overall financial plan.
College Savings. We set up college savings 529 accounts for their children and recommended a savings strategy for each child.
Investment Strategy. We established an investment strategy based upon their long-term goals.