Regardless of where you are in your retirement journey, we can help make sure you are on the right track.
Bob and Karen Nelson
Age: 62 and 63
Education: College and some Grad school
Profession: Realtor and Office Manager
Family: Son, daughter, granddaughter
Bob and Karen felt ready to retire, but they weren't sure they'd saved enough to stop working. Although Bob and Karen were settling nicely into the "empty nester" lifestyle, they were still going to work every day. They had serious questions about their finances:
- How close are we to financial independence?
- Can we afford to retire in the next few years?
- How much can we spend if we stop working?
- When should we start taking Social Security benefits?
- How do our pension plan and 401(k) plan payouts work?
- What will be the cost of health insurance before Medicare?
- Should we change the investments in our 401(k) accounts if we'll be retiring soon?
- How much can we give to our favorite non-profits and our grandchildren while maintaining our standard of living?
- What is the best way to do that?
After an analysis of their overall situation, we were able to show them, not only how much they could spend in retirement based on their spending rate, net worth, asset allocation and Social Security Benefits, but in what order they should spend their assets. We also helped them decide whether or not they should consider Roth conversions for some of their qualified retirement plan money. With our guidance, they learned which adjustments to make in their company 401(k) accounts and how much they could give to charity and to their grandchildren during their golden years as well as the most tax-efficient ways to do so. The icing on the cake was when they learned that they could afford to retire within the next three years, provided they implemented the financial plan we created for them.
And, of course, we will be here every step of the way to make adjustments and keep them on track for retirement and beyond. Now they have renewed energy, optimism and confidence for the retirement that awaits them!
Tom and Katie Johnson
Approaching retirement with Executive Benefits
Ages: 58 and 60
Education: Both have graduate degrees
Profession: Corporate Executives
Family: Two daughters and a son
Managing Executive Benefits Better
Tom and Katie Johnson read about us online. At that time, Tom was hoping to retire at age 65, but was not certain he could afford it. He was a highly compensated executive, and his company stock comprised a large percentage of his investment portfolio. Tom tried to watch his investment accounts on his own; however, he was an extremely busy individual, and was not able to make their investments a top priority. Katie worked full time as a nurse and wanted to retire at the same time as her husband.
At that point, the Johnsons had many different investment accounts at various banks and investment institutions. However, an alarmingly large percentage of their investments were in Tom’s company stock. There really was no cohesive investment strategy, and their investments were not being actively monitored. Although Tom’s company was doing well at that time, he realized that its future was somewhat unpredictable.
The first issue we were able to address was the Johnson’s asset allocation. Over a period of three years, we worked to systematically sell off portions of Tom’s company stock in an advantageous way. Furthermore, we collaborated on an investment strategy that involved diversifying the Johnson’s assets across many types of investments, which helped them have a more balanced approach as they neared retirement. We monitored the investment strategy and made proactive investment decisions on the Johnsons’ behalf.
We worked with Tom and Katie to determine their long-term retirement goals including their desired annual expenditure during retirement and sources of expected retirement income. ODCM analyzed the Johnson’s goals and completed a full retirement cash flow analysis. Through this analysis, we were able to determine that Tom and Katie could, in fact, afford to retire at age 65 and maintain a comfortable standard of living.
Through this process, Tom and Katie were able to gain a much more diversified portfolio that was appropriate for their level of risk tolerance. The Johnsons also had greater peace of mind and understanding, nearing retirement with confidence that their portfolio would meet their long-term needs.
Education: College Educated
Profession: Mom and part-time interior designer
Family: Three sons and a daughter
Regaining Sound Financial Footing After Divorce
We understand that women have unique wealth management needs that can be different from men. Our ultimate goal is to deliver the knowledge and the peace of mind necessary to make solid financial decisions that will enable them to experience a life well-lived.
We work with women in a variety of situations, including women who come to us due to transitions such as divorce or loss of a loved one. In Sharon's case, we were able to help her determine an equitable settlement with her ex-husband, so that she had assets and insurance coverage as she started the next chapter of her life. Then we helped her establish an investment plan designed to see her through retirement.
Still taking things one day at a time, she is no longer lost and wondering what to do next. She has the peace of mind of knowing that she has defined her goals and objectives and is working on a plan to realize them.
Caring for parents
Education: Some college
Profession: Fitness Instructor
Family: 25-year-old daughter, 90-year-old father and 93-year-old mother
Being the Best Caregiver for Elderly Parents
Robin came to us as an only child whose parents were in need of her help. She moved them into an assisted living facility close by, but she had no idea how many decisions she would have to make for them or the impact those decisions would have. Who would manage their money, pay their bills, file their insurance? What would happen to her and her daughter when something happened to them? What was she allowed to do on their behalf? What kind of record-keeping did she need to do? What about Social Security and Medicare? Medicaid? And where was she going to find time for all of this in her already busy life? She obviously wanted to do what was best for her parents, but wasn't sure she knew how.
At the outset, we were able to help Robin establish a local team of professionals for her parents. Their new estate planning attorney updated all of their estate planning documents (Wills, Trusts, Durable General Powers-of-Attorney and Advance Medical Directives). Once she had Power-of-Attorney, their day-to-day business became much easier to transact.
The new CPA was able to get copies of prior tax returns and let Robin know what quarterly estimated income taxes were due and when. We set up an investment account which provided enough income to cover their expenses and worked with an affiliate to have their bills paid from this account. In the end, Robin has only one account to monitor for her parents (and only one tax statement), and she can meet with her advisor whenever she has a question or concern.
Although nothing in life prepares you for the role-reversal that takes place when you become the caregiver for your parents, at least, with professional guidance, you can take comfort in knowing that you are making the best decisions possible.
Susan and Rob Moore
Married with children
Age: 40 and 42
Education: College and Technical School
Profession: Engineer and Director of Advancement for a non-profit
Family: Son and daughter together; another son from a previous marriage
Managing a Career While Planning for Retirement
When life got busy with children and careers, finances took a backseat but the Moore’s realized that it was time to take control. With the kids excelling in high school, Susan's non-profit career taking off and Rob getting promoted to his dream job, a lot was going right. Still, Susan and Rob had nagging doubts about their financial life. They wanted to know more about:
- saving and paying for college
- managing their stock options
- how much, if any, life insurance they needed
- whether they needed to establish a trust
- should they buy rental property for passive income
- what mutual funds should be in their retirement accounts
- whether to contribute to a Traditional or Roth 401(k) (or both)
- were there blind spots in their financial lives that they simply weren't aware of
After gathering some data and discussing long-term goals, we were able to show them the best ways to set aside money for their children's future while saving for their own retirement. We were also able to give them a clear picture of the potential opportunities and pitfalls of real estate investing, as well as how that would fit into their overall financial picture. They learned which investments and insurance coverages made the most sense for their family. And, we were able to work with them and their estate planning attorney to come up with a plan that works for their blended family.
Now Susan and Rob have a clear picture of their finances and a path to achieving their goals. And since they are still incredibly busy with their lives, they are relieved to have us to turn to for investment management and ongoing financial guidance.
Education: Highly Educated, but not in Finance
Profession: Retired Professor
Family: Recently widowed with one son
Making Sure Family is Provided For
Mrs. Carla Smith was referred to us by one of our clients. At that time her husband was quite ill, and she felt anxious and uncertain about her financial situation. After determining that the family already had a competent estate planning attorney, we arranged for Mrs. Smith and her son to promptly meet with that attorney to make sure the wills reflected the family’s current wishes as well as the current law, to be sure that all assets were titled correctly and that beneficiaries of retirement plans and insurance policies were correct. Mr. Smith died a couple of weeks after this process, and Mrs. Smith was confident that these items were in order.
At this point, the Smiths had many different accounts at different financial institutions. Mr. Smith had a company retirement plan, an employee stock purchase plan and other investments in his own name. Mrs. Smith had some accounts in her own name and there were several accounts in their joint names with rights of survivorship.
The first concern was to establish that Mrs. Smith had adequate cash available to meet her immediate needs. We helped her convert the joint checking account, as well as several of the other joint accounts, into her own name. Next, we helped her get together all of her account statements, and we determined what was to be done with each of those accounts. We then supplied her with a comprehensive set of paperwork to open investment accounts in her own name and in the name of her husband’s estate and to retitle all assets and consolidate them in these new accounts.
We helped Mrs. Smith file for life insurance benefits on five different policies. Before this process, the Smith’s had some securities in certificate form, they had many different mutual fund accounts, five life insurance policies, three accounts at Mr. Smith’s employer, and several different brokerage accounts.
We worked with Mrs. Smith to determine her investment goals. We agreed on an income figure and arranged for automatic monthly electronic transfer of that amount to her checking account. We agreed on a minimum cash position to keep on hand for unforeseen circumstances.
We suggested a strategy to immediately begin diversifying the investments and to complete that process over a specified time period. We agreed on an asset allocation and a long-term investment strategy that took into account her income needs, her risk tolerance, her desire for reasonable long-term return, and the tax implications of these things.
Through this process, Mrs. Smith’s anxiety about her financial situation and about the work she would have to do to keep up with all of it began to disappear. Regular discussions with her account advisor led her to understand her financial situation and to have confidence in the long-term investment approach. Her sense of financial well-being increased to the point where she enjoyed being able to help her children with some of their financial needs, knowing that she was financially secure.