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How Having a Financial Plan Can Help You Save for Your Long Term Goals

Whether you are saving for retirement, establishing a college fund for your kids or beefing up your emergency reserves, it pays to have the help of an expert. Having a financial planner in your corner can increase your knowledge, boost your returns and allow you to establish a financial portfolio that makes sense for you and your family.

You would never build a house without a blueprint, so why would you invest without a solid financial plan? Whether you are well on your way to retirement or just getting started, a good financial planner can provide real value and help you stay on track.

Financial planning is not something to be taken lightly, and the expertise a financial planner brings to the table cannot be overstated. You are an expert in what you do for a living, but chances are you are not an expert in the stock market. By hiring a financial planner, you can benefit from their expertise and knowledge, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Planning for your financial future is no easy task, and the sooner you get started the better off you will be. If you have been putting off your financial blueprint, now is the time to get started. Developing that financial blueprint is the first step toward a comfortable financial future, and an experienced financial planner can help you create a plan that makes sense for yourself and your family.

Hiring a financial planner is a great way to maximize your retirement savings, college funds and emergency reserves. When you have an expert on your side, it is easier to develop a smart plan for all your financial goals.

A good financial planner can also help you with more than just investing. From the amount of life insurance you need to whether you need long-term care insurance, your financial planner can help you understand your situation and build on what you already have.

It is also important to keep in mind that a good financial planner should not cost you anything at all. By boosting your returns and helping you understand your insurance needs, financial planners bring real value to their clients. Far from costing you money, an experienced financial planner can actually make you money in the long term.

If you have been putting off your financial planning, you can still make up for lost time. It does not matter how old you are or how close you are to retirement - finding a financial planner you can trust can add real value to your life.

Many people hesitate to call a professional financial planner because they are concerned about cost. This is certainly understandable given the many financial obligations we all have. But a better question might be this: What will it cost you to go without professional advice?

In the age of the Internet and DIY mentality, many are tempted to deal with personal finance issues on their own.

But you don’t know what you don’t know. We live in complex times and actions in one area have long-term consequences in other areas like taxes, retirement and credit.  Too often decisions are made that have far-reaching consequences – when to choose Social Security, how to structure a pension, and optimal ways to fund college, just to name a few.

In my fiduciary financial and tax planning practice you get more than investment advice because there is more to financial planning than choosing investments.

What you are paying for is access to a trained, certified, licensed, bonded, insured and experienced professional – one with more than twenty-five years of advanced and specialized continuing education with access to multiple tools to get you the answers to your questions and help you choose the path that is right for you and your family.  

 

HOW MY TEAM AND I SAVE YOU MONEY:

You receive objective advice not tied to the sale of a product.

While every client situation is different, there are many ways we help clients make smarter money moves that save them far more now and in the long-term than our fee.

Insurance Coverage

Often we find that clients have improper coverage that puts them at unnecessary risks for which they are unaware.  In one case, we helped a client with two new teenage drivers find better auto insurance coverage at a savings of nearly $2,000 in the first year alone. In another situation, we helped a pre-retiree business executive get more value by replacing an existing policy with one offering FIVE TIMES more life insurance coverage at a similar price to her existing policy.

Tax Planning

Often clients even using professional tax preparers are not aware of opportunities that can reduce tax liability. Tax preparers are focused on recording your financial past.  Our job is to help you navigate your future.  In some cases clients have issues with how best to exercise stock options or deal with the sale of an appreciated asset.  Self-employed clients have numerous opportunities that may help them lower their taxes now and help them save for other goals like education funding or retirement.

In one situation, we showed a business owner client how to structure his business expenses that saved him nearly $32,000 in tax liability over four years – enough to pay for one year of college for his son. In another case, we showed a real estate investor how to sell his commercial property and defer nearly $250,000 in federal and state taxes while receiving full control of his sale proceeds for other investments.

Social Security Strategies

We use advanced tools to model how clients can optimize their Social Security benefits in combination with their other retirement income sources to meet their household living expenses.  It is not uncommon for us to find two or three options that generate $100,000 or more in increased lifetime benefits.

Investing

When a client comes to us, we’ll do a detailed analysis of their risk using advanced tools.  Often we find that how they are invested is NOT IN LINE with their stated risk profile.  They are taking on more risk than they need to for their situation.  That unneeded risk may cost them in terms of higher potential losses.

More often, the biggest savings we offer clients occurs when we replace high-cost actively managed mutual funds with low-cost index Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).  In many cases, we see a reduction of at least one-third or more in terms of expenses. Compared to a $100,000 portfolio managed by a BIG NAME firm, this can mean $750 or more per year in savings.  With one client who was a trustee of his daughter’s special needs trust, we showed him he was paying more than 2.25% per year plus trading commissions.  Compared to a lower cost, more diversified portfolio, he would have saved $2,060 in the first year alone.

‘FREE’ FINANCIAL PLANNING IS NOT FREE

Many times prospective clients will mention that there are other providers who provide financial planning for ‘free’.  That is not likely the case.  Most financial advisors are not CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ Professionals, much less offering ‘planning’.  Most are not fiduciaries looking out for your best interests.  Most only offer ‘planning’ that is limited to investing and do not have the tools, training or the incentive to provide advice on other matters.  Why? Because they get paid only on what you invest. For investments you’ll pay them a commission (up to 5%) or an asset management fee (up to 1.5% PLUS mutual fund expenses of 1.25% on average) or the insurance company may pay them (up to 15%) for you to buy an annuity.  Does that sound like ‘free’ planning to you?

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*Winners appearing on this page do not pay a fee to be considered or to win the Five Star Award. Professionals with a digital profile have paid a promotional fee.
This award was issued on 2/1/22 by Five Star Professional (FSP) for the time period 05/24/2021 through 11/19/2021. Fee paid for use of marketing materials. Self-completed questionnaire was used for rating. This rating is not related to the quality of the investment advice and based solely on the disclosed criteria. 4090 Boston-area wealth managers were considered for the award; 513 (13% of candidates) were named 2022 Five Star Wealth Managers. The following prior year statistics use this format: YEAR: # Considered, # Winners, % of candidates, Issued Date, Research Period. 2021: 4069, 480, 12%, 2/1/21, 5/25/20 - 11/30/20; 2020: 3580, 463, 13%, 2/1/20, 4/1/19 - 12/13/19; 2019: 3619, 566, 16%, 1/1/19, 4/18/18 - 11/6/18; 2018: 2819, 532, 19%, 1/1/18, 3/23/17 - 11/10/17; 2017: 2467, 623, 25%, 12/1/16, 3/26/16 - 11/23/16; 2016: 2530, 632, 25%, 12/1/15, 5/18/15 - 11/6/15; 2015: 3542, 801, 23%, 1/1/15, 5/18/14 - 11/6/14; 2014: 1707, 655, 38%, 1/1/14, 5/18/13 - 11/6/13; 2013: 2362, 713, 30%, 1/1/13, 5/18/12 - 11/6/12; 2012: 2591, 454, 18%, 1/1/12, 5/18/11 - 11/6/11.
Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. The award is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria-required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser (RIA) or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a RIA or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by FSP, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or FSP's consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through FSP's consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client's experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria-considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations. FSP does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. The award is not indicative of the wealth manager's future performance . Wealth Managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their clients' assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by FSP or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by FSP in the future. Visit www.fivestarprofessional.com.