Our Approach to Planning and Investing
At The Millstone Evans Group, we take a holistic approach to planning that stresses the interdependence of the various aspects of your financial life.
We perform a detailed assessment of your financial situation and objectives, then construct your financial plan and implement specific decisions designed to satisfy your individual goals and objectives. Many of our clients follow the steps of the process below, which are applicable to their personal situations.
Having a financial plan can make a major positive difference in your financial life. According to a report issued in August 2012 by the Consumer Federation of America and the CFP Board, people with financial plans are more likely to feel they are on pace to meet all of their financial goals and more likely to feel "very confident" about managing money, savings and investments. High earning individuals with plans also report saving a higher percentage of their income and having built greater wealth than those without plans.
Our Five-Step Plan
Step 1 – The Discovery Process
The key to implementing and maintaining a successful financial plan is ensuring that both you and your advisor have a thorough understanding of your needs, values, priorities and goals. This is important because it enables you to make committed financial decisions consistently and confidently.
In addition to face-to-face discussions, we use several tools, some quantitative and some qualitative, to help us learn more about your unique situation, your experience with investing and your goals for the future.
One such tool is the Financial DNA® Profile, a helpful questionnaire that gives investors a greater understanding of their unique financial personalities. The Financial DNA® Discovery Process was established in 1999 by Hugh Massie and his team at financialdna.com.
The process involves two short diagnostic appraisals designed to help clients and advisors understand more about individual financial decision-making behavior, preferences and personalities.
If you would like to work more deeply with our team, you can complete these appraisals online to help us begin the discovery process. They will be scored quickly, and we will sit down with you to review the results and what they mean.
Step 2 – For Those in Transition
You may be considering a transition from working full time to scaling back. You may have received an inheritance that has changed your financial situation dramatically. You may have gone through a divorce and be adjusting to a new financial reality.
Transitions like these are a big part of what we call "sudden money." In many ways, "what was" no longer exists, and "what will be" has not yet taken shape. So, we work closely with you to help ensure that sudden changes in your circumstances can be made to last a lifetime.
A successful transition takes time and commitment, and is likely to result in a greater feeling of confidence and purpose. One key to achieving this is taking the time to re-examine your priorities and consider new choices in light of your most important life goals. The presence of new income and assets presents many opportunities, and it is up to you to consciously decide which opportunities will truly benefit yourself, your family or others. The exercises we'll walk you through are designed to give you a better sense of your financial boundaries and how your income and assets can support your desired lifestyle.
The exercises include making a "Bliss List" – a list of things you would do for yourself, your family and others in a perfect world. We focus on what would make you happy and fulfilled, and try to pinpoint the things you truly believe to be important.
You may also put together a "Personal Touchstone Statement," which is meant to be an expression of your core values, beliefs and desires. This will assist you in prioritizing the items on your Bliss List, and reaching decisions that reflect your most important life goals and beliefs. When the Touchstone Statement is complete, we will review it together to ensure we are all aligned to the same goals.
Step 3 – Gathering Financial Data
To ensure we build a thorough understanding of your current financial situation, we gather statements for all of your accounts and investments. Then we create an inventory of your assets, liabilities, income sources and expenses. With this information in hand, we'll begin to help you analyze your expenses and work with you to create a spending plan for the future. Finally, we'll assess risk management and insurance issues before we start to consider your full financial plan.
Step 4 – Scenario Financial Planning
Based on your goals and the data we've gathered in previous steps, we will analyze some likely scenarios with you, then test to make sure they are financially viable. This will give you a sense of what is possible now and what might be possible in the future.
Step 5 – Providing Solutions
At this point, the scenario planning has likely presented a clearer view of your goals and desires, as well as the financial steps necessary to achieve them. With that in mind, we will analyze your portfolio accordingly, suggesting any changes we believe are necessary to support those goals and desires. We'll lay out your portfolio in such a way that you will truly understand what you own, why you own it and how it fits into the bigger picture of what you are trying to accomplish.
For more information, or to schedule a confidential, no-obligation, no-cost meeting, contact us today.