Can you relate with any of these people?

  • Dr. and Mrs. Cherry - Highly-educated, long-term prudent investors who desire clarity in their retirement plan to continue to be faithful stewards.

    (These hypothetical examples and other information presented regarding the likelihood of various conclusions, are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual clients or outcomes and are not guarantees of future results.)


    Dr. and Mrs. Cherry have lived in Harrisonburg for over 35 years. They are savers and have invested diligently for as long as they can remember. They have built up well over $3,000,000 in their retirement plans and other investment accounts. The vehicles they drive are over 10 years old. The Cherrys give at least 15% of their income each year to their church and organizations they care about.

    Retirement is right around the corner. Dr. and Mrs. Cherry know they would like to partner with an advisor they can trust to help them make the very best decisions with their money. However, they are also skeptical of investment advisors, because they feel like they have overpaid in the past for sub-par service.

    As prudent and highly-educated investors, this wise couple knows the vast majority of “actively managed” funds underperform index funds. This causes them to question if it makes sense to pay a financial advisor to manage their money for them.

    Several very important decisions lie ahead of them. This is what is running through their minds:

    • When should Dr. Cherry retire?
    • What should our strategy be for optimizing Social Security?
    • How should we take the hospital pension? Lump sum? Life payout? What about survivor options?
    • How should our retirement accounts funds be withdrawn in retirement?
    • What is our optimal level of risk given our long life expectancies and the amount of money that we need to live on?
    • How can we set up our estate properly so that everything passes smoothly when we are gone?
    • How can we be more tax-efficient?
    • What are we missing?


    During the initial meeting, the Cherrys asked thoughtful questions to the team at LWM. The team gave them several good ideas and answered 100% of their questions clearly and concisely. After assessing the complexity of their planning, they were quoted a flat fee of $3,000 to create a custom, written financial plan.

    Dr. and Mrs. Cherry decided to start with a one-time flat fee financial planning relationship with Larson Wealth Management. Before engaging in a long-term relationship, they felt more comfortable testing the waters to make sure they would receive the value from the relationship. It was a high priority for the Cherrys to know their advisors share similar values. They desired to partner with an advisor team for the next few decades and did not want to feel rushed into making this decision.

    Over the course of the next several weeks, meetings were scheduled to gather additional information, analyze the information, and revise their plan. After each meeting, Dr. and Mrs. Cherry were given “homework” assignments and then reported back to the LWM team between meetings.

    A few months later, the Cherrys were presented with a concise six-page document that outlines every major financial decision they should make now and in the next few years. It also included realistic projections and recommendations to help them move closer to their goals. The plan also included concrete recommendations and a checklist of next steps, so the Cherrys would know exactly what needs to be done next.

    They soon discovered that the $3,000 fee they paid for the plan was easily saved through recommendations and strategies uncovered during the planning process. They also enjoyed working with the team and decided to engage in an ongoing relationship.

    Shortly after the plan was delivered, Dr. and Mrs. Cherry transferred their investments to the team at Larson Wealth Management to be managed in the agreed-upon portfolio outlined in their plan. They also determined a meeting frequency to ensure their plan stays current and up-to-date. Now, they schedule each meeting three months in advance, occasionally changing it when life circumstances determine the need to do so. After each meeting, their written plan is updated and emailed to them.

    The financial planning fees they pay to LWM are $6,000 annually, and the fee to manage their portfolio is 0.30% of their invested assets.  All of these fees are deducted from their accounts quarterly. The financial planning fee was determined by the complexity of their planning and the investment management fee was determined by the LWM fee schedule.

    The Cherrys feel like these fees are very reasonable and are also glad to know that their fees may go down as their accounts grow or as life gets less complex. When they compared their “all-in” fees with LWM to their prior advisor, they were pleasantly surprised. Those fees were actually slightly less with LWM at the helm because the previous advisor failed to reduce fees over the years as industry-wide fees were reduced. Dr. and Mrs. Cherry received incredible value at a lower fee.

    The Cherrys were ecstatic they could receive both financial planning and investment help and tangibly recognized the benefits of a sound financial plan. The amount of confidence they had now in their financial future was priceless. The organizations they care about are now receiving even more giving. Beyond that, they are now in discussions about the best way to help their kids purchase their first homes. The complete clarity the Cherrys have regarding the fees they are paying assures them that they are being faithful stewards to everything that has been entrusted to them while here on this earth.

  • Heidi - Successful single mother, 10 years out from retirement who desires the flexibility to travel and assistance with estate planning.

    (These hypothetical examples and other information presented regarding the likelihood of various conclusions, are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual clients or outcomes and are not guarantees of future results.)
     

    Heidi is a single mother on the home stretch of her working career. She enjoys traveling and wants to be able to take some more lavish trips each year. Because of the nature of her career, it’s been nice to be able to work flexibly from wherever she is, and enjoys being able to work a bit while on vacation, allowing more opportunities to travel. It’s great to be able to take care of things at work, then step out onto the sand and enjoy the beach in the evening.

    She’s spent many years working with a local healthcare provider and has been a diligent saver up to this point. She has two children. Her daughter is a married homemaker, and her son is finishing up physical therapy school.

    She’s working towards a 10 year timeframe to retirement and has recently begun thinking about many of the major decisions that will need to be made as she gets closer to her retirement date to ensure that she makes the right decisions today. She wants to travel a lot, and she only wants to retire one time.

    Her wish is to take what we determined as a “big” trip at least every other year, but maybe every year early on, and then be able to continue to take the long weekends to the beach a few times as she would like. The plan is to stay put for a while yet, but at some point, she would likely move into something with a bit less maintenance.

    There were many important questions to navigate. She is asking:

    • How much can I spend in retirement?
    • How am I going to plan for healthcare as I approach retirement?
    • How likely is it that I can retire when I want to retire?
    • How will I generate income to maintain my lifestyle?
    • How much can I afford to spend on travel?
    • How best can I help my kids if they need assistance?.

     

    The company that she works with still offers a pension, so when the time comes she will need to determine whether or not it makes sense for her to take it as monthly income or to roll it over in a lump sum..

    Her largest asset is her retirement plan at work, and she was unsure if she has it invested correctly now that she is closer to retirement. She carries some debt on the house and is unsure if it should be paid down at an accelerated pace or if she should maintain the original 30 year loan.

    Many of her trusted friends and family are of similar age and she is seeking guidance for how to best set up her estate planning and who should be the executor of the plan. Her ultimate wishes are to make sure she’s taken care of and to help her family in the right way.

    She is very successful at her position and growing through the ranks at her company. As with most industries, things change over time and there is some uncertainty about her job as consolidation continues. As she thinks about retirement, there is a chance that if she were to need to move to another company that her income would be reduced.

    She wants to know if she can still plan to retire on her timeline with a reduced salary, if and when that time comes. It’s paramount that she understands how to put together a plan that is flexible to change, and will account for the worst case scenario.

    By taking the time to put together a financial plan she’s able to approach retirement with clarity and confidence. We were able to go through the many facets of her life to determine current expenses, what her retirement expenses are likely to look like, and how to most effectively plan to be able to retire in the next decade.

    With much of her investable assets tied up in the plan at work, and much of our planning being geared towards her cash flow planning, it’s likely if everything maintains the current status quo, there won’t be many changes needed each year.  As she nears retirement, there will be a need for more ongoing planning that would be necessary, and she would like to have an advisor in her corner to help carry out the plan.

    Heidi decided to engage in a flat fee financial plan relationship. For $2000 she was able to get sound answers to all of her questions from trusted advisors who guided her through the entire process.

    As we finished up the initial plan, LWM provided Heidi with a checklist of action items to complete now and in the future. The new plan has removed a great deal of stress from her life and once a major life event occurs, she has a financial planning group whom she can seek advice from to engage in an ongoing relationship.

  • Dr. T. - Young business owner balancing family life, investing in the business, and saving for retirement.

    (These hypothetical examples and other information presented regarding the likelihood of various conclusions, are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual clients or outcomes and are not guarantees of future results.)

    Dr. T. has a thriving medical practice and the responsibilities as a new dad often leave him feeling a bit stressed.

    He is a young successful business owner who is new to the Shenandoah Valley. He has been blessed with a new child Abigail, a loving wife Marie, and a good business. His family’s future is so promising.

    But with the thriving business came sizeable debt. His valuable education came with significant student loans. His beautiful new home comes with a mortgage and a hefty monthly payment to the bank. When you add it all up, he has well over $2,000,000 in loans that must be paid back one day.

    As he is juggling all of his affairs he often wonders, “Am I missing something?”

    Time is very precious to our young doctor. He needs to know that he’s using his time effectively. The decisions ahead of him are complicated and he needs to know he is making the very best financial decisions for his family.

    At this stage in his life, he does not have a lot of money to invest, and most of what he does have is tied up in his business or his retirement accounts at work.

    A few of the questions he is asking himself are:

    • How do I manage my debt properly?
    • How do I find the right balance between investing in my business and saving for retirement?
    • How can I ensure that we are on track to fund Abigail’s college education?
    • When uncertainty arises, or when opportunities come up, who can I call on short notice and get solid answers?


    He did not need a “product” or a “portfolio.” He simply wanted advice.

    After the initial meeting with Larson Wealth Management, Dr. T. decided that a flat fee subscription planning engagement was best for him. He felt that he needed to know where he stands financially, and where to focus his energy next. After asking some questions to understand the complexity of his planning, the team at LWM quoted him a flat fee of $6,000 annually. Half of this fee was paid when he signed the engagement letter, with the rest coming as monthly installments after 6 months.

    Over the course of four meetings, he met with the Larson Wealth Management team to create his written financial plan. Together, they prioritized and organized his entire financial life on paper and on his personal secure financial website.

    His written financial plan summarizes all of the major decisions that he has to make now and that he will need to make in the coming years. It also includes a checklist of action items, so that he knows exactly what needs to be done and exactly how to do them.

    When the final draft of his plan was reviewed with him, he experienced a level of confidence in clarity in his financial life that he has never felt before.

    His quarterly meetings with the team at LWM are always scheduled far in advance and they always have a clear agenda, set in advance. He knows he can call his advisors any time when opportunities or challenges arise. His personal financial website contains every aspect of his financial life, and both he and the LWM team can access it at any time.

    He now has complete clarity about his current financial state, and the confidence to make wise decisions for his family and his business with a team of experts he can trust.

  • Denise - Early 50’s divorced mother of two college-aged children wanting a simplified, clear plan for retirement.

    (These hypothetical examples and other information presented regarding the likelihood of various conclusions, are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual clients or outcomes and are not guarantees of future results.)


    Denise lives outside of Rockingham Co., but visits the Shenandoah Valley often to visit family, and was referred to the team at Larson Wealth Management by her wise uncle Ben. Ben and his wife Clara were one of Dave’s first clients nearly two decades ago. Denise has never seriously worked with a financial advisor before, for two reasons. First, she had a bad experience in the past with an advisor who just wanted to sell her products. She hated that encounter and did not want to go through that again. Second, she was unsure that she had enough to invest to work with a fiduciary who would put her needs ahead of their own.

    Denise is divorced, in her early 50s and her two children are now out of the house. Even though they are no longer living at home, they are still on the payroll, and she is navigating how best to help them with their college expenses. One is a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill, and the other is in her third year at the University of South Carolina.

    Household expenses for Denise have changed a lot in the last few years, and she expects them to change even more as the kids go through school and out on their own. When the kids were little, retirement seemed so far off, but now it appears much closer. She wants to make sure that she’s doing everything possible to have a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. Denise wonders:

    • Am I saving enough?
    • How much risk should I be taking?
    • I really have no idea what fees I am paying now, and I’ve heard that investment fees can be hidden.
    • How should I help my kids manage their student loans?

     

    A Google search might be able to help her answer some of these questions, but Google does not know her personally, and it also does not understand how everything fits together. Knowing the right questions to ask was also an area of insecurity. She needed to find someone she could trust to help her prioritize, organize, and execute her plan.

    During the initial meeting, Denise asked thoughtful questions to the team at LWM. The team gave her several good ideas and answered 100% of her questions clearly and concisely. After assessing the complexity of her planning, Denise was quoted a flat fee of $2,000 to create a custom, written financial plan.

    Over the course of the next several weeks, meetings were scheduled to gather additional information, analyze the information, and revise the plan. After each meeting, she was given “homework” assignments and then reported back to the LWM team between meetings.

    A few months later, Denise was presented with a concise six page document that outlines every major financial decision she should make now and in the next few years. It also included realistic strategies to help her move closer to her goals. The plan also included concrete recommendations and a checklist of next steps, so she knew exactly what needed to be done next.

    During the process, Denise realized her accounts were much more conservative than they should be for her age. She gained clarity about her student loan options and chose the best one for her family. Lastly, she discovered that she could actually save much more than she previously thought.

    She also discovered that the $2,000 fee she paid for the plan was easily saved through recommendations and strategies that were uncovered during the planning process. She also enjoyed working with the team and desired engaging in an ongoing professional relationship.

    Now that she has her plan, her life is much simpler, but she still needs to meet with her advisors at least annually, knowing unexpected life events still come up from time-to-time. Denise needed to have a team in her corner to answer all of her questions, and now she has that - along with great peace of mind.

    When her all-in fees were fully explained to her, she realized that her total fees with the new accounts were very comparable to her previous fees with her old company. She transitioned all her accounts over to take advantage of the comprehensive planning that came with the lower fee for service.

    For the fee Denise is paying the team at LWM, she receives an annual “deep-dive” review meeting. During this meeting, her written financial plan is discussed and amended with her advisors. She can also track all of her accounts and financial life on her own personal financial website, and can call the team at LWM anytime questions arise. She has the clarity and confidence she has been looking for, and knows that her plan is in place.

    Now she can rest assured knowing that her retirement funds are managed properly by the team of Larson Wealth Management. She breathes more deeply when these competent professionals meet with her at least annually to review and update the written financial plan completed at the start of the relationship.

  • Daisy - 71 year old widow who planned well financially and now wants to ensure she is investing wisely, simplify her accounts, and smoothly pass assets on to her children.

    (These hypothetical examples and other information presented regarding the likelihood of various conclusions, are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual clients or outcomes and are not guarantees of future results.)
     

    Daisy is 71 years old and retired from the local bank just over 5 years ago. For over 40 years Daisy and her husband Bob saved and prepared for a long retirement together. Sadly, cancer had other plans, and now Daisy was facing retirement solo. She did have her Bible, her close group of ladies who met every week, and a determined attitude. She was ready for this next phase of her life.

    Thankfully, Bob and Daisy had planned well financially and their children are healthy and on their own. Finances didn’t worry Daisy.. Life was so much simpler now than it had been in the past. She wanted to ensure she invested wisely and did not make any big mistakes. She also wants to trim down the number of accounts she owns. Through job changes and moves, she had accumulated seven investment accounts, not to mention the various savings accounts, CDs, and money markets.

    Daisy’s main goals are to:

    • Invest wisely and ensure that her portfolio is measured against established benchmarks
    • Trim down the number of accounts she owned. She knew further consolidation would help her track investments more easily and reduce stress.
    • To take her required minimum distributions the right way. She knew she needed to take them soon and manage taxes and risk properly.
    • For her assets to pass smoothly to her children, minimizing trouble and taxes when she is gone.
    • To pay reasonable fees and know exactly how much she is paying.

     

    Daisy had received help from a financial advisor in the past. She liked him at first, but as the years passed, she felt like he was often trying to sell her something. Many times there was some new product that he thought she should invest in. Sometimes, she was more confused leaving his office and felt like he was speaking quickly, using terms she did not fully understand. She mostly trusted that he was doing the right thing, but for years there had been some underlying skepticism in her mind and she wanted a second opinion.

    The team at Larson Wealth Management scheduled a complementary initial meeting with Daisy to discuss her goals, income needs, and attitude towards risk. The team listened closely and acknowledged her concerns, knowing they could help her with these important decisions using a simple agenda and some thoughtful discussions, rather than a full written plan. They also offered to send Daisy their meeting notes after each meeting, to ensure everyone remained on the same page.

    For many months Daisy had been planning to change advisors, and the meeting with the LWM team was the third group she interviewed. After the initial meeting she felt ready to move forward, but her diligence caused her to pause, to write down more questions, and to schedule a “regroup” meeting two weeks after the first one. At the “regroup” meeting, she decided to move forward and bring over $750,000 of her invested assets. She felt that the 1% annual advisory fee was very reasonable for the services provided and was excited that the number of investment accounts went from seven down to three. The team also encouraged her to consolidate her cash accounts at her primary bank, simplifying her life and reducing stress even further.

    Over the course of three meetings the team prioritized Daisy’s goals and gave her a clear list of action items they helped her implement. Now she feels great, knowing that all of her initial goals have been met, and her fees have actually come down, even with the higher level of service.

    She meets with the team once per year to review her allocation, manage the distributions from her accounts, and to discuss anything else that comes up throughout the year. She also checks in with the team from time-to-time between meetings as questions pop up and she desires their input.

    Daisy feels much more confident, knowing she has a team on her side to help her manage her funds wisely during her lifetime, and also to see them through to the next generation. Now, each time Daisy leaves her advisors’ office, she knows she is no longer paying for a product. Now she is paying for advice, clarity, and a relationship with a team she trusts.