How the Process Works
The planning process begins with a complimentary 30-minute call (video call or phone, your preference) to explore whether we might be a good fit to work with each other. The following are a few things that are important in order for us to be a good fit:
- You appreciate simple portfolios, built from low-cost products like ETFs or index funds.
- You are not looking for somebody to make predictions for you. (I cannot time the stock market, I cannot predict interest rate fluctuations, I cannot predict inflation, and I cannot predict what legislation our Congress will pass. My goal is to help you plan in spite of that uncertainty, rather than pretend that I know what will happen next.)
- You have no interest in Bitcoin or other crypto-related assets.
- You’re comfortable communicating via email or scheduled calls.
After that initial call, I prepare a formal agreement that describes what will be included in the engagement, an estimate of the cost, and the estimated completion date. If the terms are suitable to you, we each e-sign that, and I begin the work.
The details vary depending on the engagement, but I will need a variety of information in order to perform the requested analysis. This often includes:
- A pdf of your most recent tax return, including all forms and schedules that were filed.
- Copies of your most recent statements for all brokerage accounts and retirement accounts.
- Information as to other assets (e.g., bank account balances, real estate).
- An online questionnaire that asks about things such as who is in your family (e.g., number of kids and their ages) and assorted financial information (e.g., your intended level of spending per year, projected income from work, insurance coverage, and so on).
- Your earnings history from the Social Security website.
- Any other information that you think would likely be relevant to the specific questions/decisions you would like me to address — for instance if there is anything about your overall tax picture that you expect to change in the future (e.g., you expect a particular source of income to disappear, or you expect to inherit an IRA or sell a home).
I will provide a link for you to securely upload all of the above information, rather than sending it via email. For reference, I am required by both federal law and state law to keep client information confidential. I take this responsibility seriously.
When I have finished performing the requested analysis/research, I send over a written document explaining my recommendations. I do my best to write-up the explanations as clearly as I can, but most clients have some follow-up questions on various points. Often those are simply addressed via email. Other times the client prefers a follow-up phone/video call.
Once you feel that I’ve satisfied the terms of the engagement, I send over an invoice.
This entire process can take as long as a couple of months.