Our Financial Planning Process

Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport, Rhode Island

We seek to do holistic financial planning for every client.

That means we cover all major planning areas: investments, retirement, estate, college, insurance, taxes, and more.
 

OUR PROCESS INCLUDES:
A vital part of planning involves regular financial review sessions. With most clients, our goal is to meet at least once a year - and more often if they’re in the midst of major financial events such as a retirement, a job transition or an inheritance.

Understanding finances is a complicated process that requires close attention. In our review sessions, we help clients focus by listening carefully, taking our time and not rushing through the meeting. We also use three primary tools to help them grasp their financial situation: a wealth worksheet, an asset allocation chart and a set of meeting notes.
Most advisors provide only a snapshot of where you are today. That’s simply not enough. We believe it’s imperative to know where you were five years ago, or ten, or twenty, and to chart your progress over that period. That’s where the wealth worksheet comes in.

The worksheet is a detailed historical record of your finances going back for years. With it, we track your earnings, savings and wealth over time. By seeing how your wealth changes, you can see how and if our financial planning strategies are working. Is your debt being paid down? How much are you saving in your taxable account versus your tax deferred accounts? The worksheet answers these and a multitude of other questions.

Doug Gross - “Credit for the wealth worksheet goes to my father, who has tracked his personal wealth throughout his lifetime. Watching my Dad chart his finances inspired me to track mine as well, beginning in my twenties. The worksheet has kept my spirits up in difficult years by letting me see how my wealth has grown over time. And it has encouraged me to save by showing me the results of previous investments. I know many wealthy individuals who maintain something like this for themselves. We are seeking to improve on what these individuals are doing and to offer it as a service to all of our clients.”
We use a color-keyed pie chart to illustrate your overall asset allocation. This tool provides a clear, at-a-glance picture of where your money is invested and allows us to quickly analyze the risk level of your portfolio. For clients who want more information, we can drill down for additional details.
Have you ever met with someone who promised to follow up on a list of items but never wrote anything down? That will never happen with us. During client meetings, we type notes into a document displayed on a large flat-panel monitor. We also assign tasks, to ourselves and to you.

At the end of the meeting, we can print out the meeting notes or e-mail them to you, whichever your prefer. We’ll also send you an e-mail reminder of your to-do items. Staff members receive their task list via our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. As a result, there is a history of what has been discussed and a process for taking action in a timely manner.
Probably the most important thing our clients can do is to respond promptly to calls and e-mails from us. We also insist that every client schedule an annual review session. Meeting regularly is the only way to track our progress in achieving your goals, and it is by meeting and planning that we help create your future.
In the past, we presented clients with a packet of materials at every review session. Today, in the interest of preserving resources, all information is presented on a large flat-panel monitor. Clients can then choose to have their reports printed out or e-mailed to them.