It all starts with a conversation.

We believe that proper investment planning starts with us getting to know you, and you getting to know us through direct interactions and conversations. During our conversations, we will first need to learn about your financial and investment goals and then we can help you develop a long-term investment plan to reach your goals. To properly do both, we need to ask a lot of questions, which leads to our simple, but in-depth four step approach to developing an investment plan for your personal situation.

Determine your financial needs.

Before we invest, we need to determine your investment goals. Your investment goals can typically be defined as the amount of money that you need at some point in the future. Once the amount of money or income that you need in the future is determined, an investment plan can be developed to help you reach your goals. Investing without goals, is like sailing without a compass or GPS.

Determine your required rate of return.

As with any goal, you have to determine the path to reach the goal. This leads to determining your required rate of return. Your required rate of return is the minimum amount of return that is needed to reach your investment goals over a given period of time. Your required rate of return is typically not the highest rate of return. Once your required rate of return is determined, an asset allocation strategy can be developed with the highest probability of reaching your required rate of return. It is your required rate of return that determines how much you should have invested in stocks, bonds and cash.

Determine your asset allocation strategy.

Determining your asset allocation starts with determining the amount of risk you need to have in your investment plan to reach your financial goals. Therefore, once we know your required rate of return from the prior step we can then determine how much risk you need to take in your investment plan, which determines what asset allocation strategy may be best used in your investment plan. Our philosophy is to always work with you to design an investment plan with the least amount of risk needed related to your required rate of return. This way you know what the minimum amount of risk is you need to assume to reach your financial goals, and if you choose to take more risk, it's because you want to, not because you need to take more risk.

We typically use asset class and index funds from Vanguard, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA Funds) and iShares when selecting investments for your asset allocation strategy.

Understand tax considerations.

Taxes should never be a primary driver of investment decision making, but improper tax planning can disrupt even the best and most well intentioned investment plan. We help to minimize your taxes by locating your investment assets in specific types of accounts based on your tax situation. Less tax efficient investments are typically held in your qualified tax-deferred retirement accounts, while more tax efficient investments are typically held in your non-qualified taxable accounts. In addition, when market opportunities will allow, we use tax loss harvesting strategies to generate tax losses in your non-qualified taxable accounts that can be used to offset future capital gains to help lower your taxes.

Let us prepare an investment plan for you at no cost.

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