How the Process Works
The planning process begins with a complimentary 20-minute call (video call or phone, your preference) to discuss whether I might be a good fit for your needs and exactly what you would like me to address in the engagement.
After the call, I prepare a formal agreement describing what would be included in the engagement. This document will include an estimate of the cost. If the cost and other terms are suitable to you, we each e-sign that, and I begin the work.
The details vary depending on the nature of the engagement, but I will need a variety of information to actually do the requested analysis. For tax planning engagements, this generally includes at least the following:
- A pdf of your most recent tax return, including all forms and schedules that were filed. (I would provide a link for you to securely upload it, rather than sending it via email.)
- Information as to your balances in various types of accounts (i.e., Roth, tax-deferred, etc). This could be a spreadsheet of yours or brokerage statements.
- Information as to your desired/intended level of spending per year.
- Information as to your projected income from work each year.
- Information as to your projected Social Security benefits.
- 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).
You are welcome to provide the above information before or after the initial call. Most clients provide this information before the call, because it makes the time spent on the call somewhat more productive. Some people, however, feel more comfortable waiting until afterwards. (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 the analysis and 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.
After the initial project, most clients continue to engage my services on an as-needed basis for periodic reviews and to answer questions as they arise or life circumstances change.