From Me to We

When I started this firm eight or so years ago I really wasn’t sure what my goal was other than being able to work with clients in the best way possible. For me this meant charging out on my own, leaving the brokerage world and its sales culture behind, and building from the ground up. It was rocky along the way, both in the struggles of business and, at times, the markets, but I never considered turning back.

As my business grew I brought Brayden on to assist. That was over four years ago and now he’s a Certified Financial Planner and ready to take on additional responsibilities within the firm. And like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we’ll soon be onboarding a team of highly skilled virtual assistants to take some of the administrative stuff off both of our plates. I’ll share more about them as we get closer to their start date. So, we’re growing and taking steps to account for that.

This week’s post will cover updates to some of the services we provide, how we’ll provide them, and what we’ll be asking of you.

Retirement Plan Updates –

This is a big part of what we do every day in addition to managing investments for most of our clients. I’ve been doing this work myself with Brayden’s help, and now he’ll take on a more active role. The buck, as they say, still stops with me but hopefully you’ll realize benefits from two CFPs working on your behalf.

We’ll reach out to our ongoing clients (those who we manage investments for) twice per year to ask a couple fundamental questions like:

  • Are there any changes to your financial life that we should be aware of? Such as…
    1. Income changes?
    2. Planning to retire or perhaps going back to work?
    3. Births of children or grandchildren, marriages, deaths, or other family status changes?
    4. Any need for larger amounts of cash in the near-term?
  • What questions do you have and how else can we help?

As always, we know you’re busy and you can feel free to add our emails to the delete pile until they’re relevant. If anything is truly time sensitive, we know where to find you.

But if your answer to any of these questions is Yes, then let us know and we’ll take it from there. Brayden will often take the lead on this but, importantly, please know that we work as a team. You can talk with either or both of us and that will never change. We’ll put our heads together and get back to you with questions, relevant documents requests, and next steps.

Tax Planning –

This is something we’ve been approaching slowly along with the evolution of software. Now we’ll be doubling down on offering this service to you as the software is exceptional and we have more experience with it. Our ongoing clients receive this service at no additional cost whereas our hourly clients will pay accordingly based on complexity.

Here’s how this works...

We need your last year’s tax return in a digital format. Paper can work but it’s not as clean as a PDF. Ask your tax preparer for a digital copy of your return. They all use software so this should be a simple thing to get. And if you can make a mental note to get us a copy every year at tax time, that would be great.

You can upload your return securely on our website No login is required – here’s the link, but it’s easy to find in the Clients dropdown and by clicking on “Secure File Upload”. We can also email you a link at your request. Our system encrypts your file and adds it to the encrypted folder we already have for you – securing your data is critically important and we take that seriously.

Once we have your return we’ll need the answers to a few questions before getting started.

  • Since we’re looking at last year’s taxes, how will your income change this year?
  • Have you bought a home, started a business, or have other changes to deductions?
  • Any sizeable capital gains or losses?
  • What are your big tax questions?

We’ll run an initial analysis and look for planning opportunities. Worse case there aren’t any and you’ve spent a few minutes uploading a document and confirming you’re in good shape. Best case is we’re able to present you with some options to potentially save money now, in the future, or ideally both. Tax law changes frequently and the SECURE Act 2.0 has added more complexity, but also more opportunity. We’ll delve into retirement accounts and savings rates, Roth conversions, assessing the impact of extra income and timing of distributions, RMDs, capital gains and losses, and more. We’re also willing to interact with your tax person to ensure they’re onboard with anything you might end up doing. Brayden will often do the initial analysis here too, and then we’ll confer before communicating our findings to you.

The tax world is going through demographic issues just like everywhere else, so there’s a shortage of tax professionals to help with stuff like this. We’re not CPAs and don’t want to be, but we can help fill the gap that often exists between the filing of a return and longer-term planning.

Again, this is potentially a big benefit and all we need is your tax return.

For clarity, and just in case you’re wondering, I have no intentions of retiring or otherwise getting out of this business anytime soon. I see my time horizon as lasting decades. Instead, we’re evolving to serve you as best we can for the duration.

Have questions? Ask us. We can help.

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