Financial Planning and Investment Philosophy

Financial planning is not investment management and investment management is not financial planning.  While we deliver advice and services in both of these areas, they are distinct from one another.

Financial Planning

Financial planning is a process that we use to help clients gain clarity about what is important to them, where they stand currently, and how they can best use their financial resources to realize the goals that they have for their lives.  As it relates to a well constructed financial plan, we believe the following:

  • Cash Flow management is the primary driver and greatest predictor of long term financial outcomes
  • Risk Management tools should be used to protect against events that are any combination of rare, unexpected, and catastrophic in nature
  • Characteristics of robust Balance Sheet include an ample cash reserve, cautious use of debt, and long term savings that are able to produce lifetime income without undue portfolio stress
  • A sound Estate Plan allows for uninhibited enjoyment of assets during life and adequate control in the event of incapacity or death
  • Intelligent Income Tax Planning is integrated into the financial planning process on an ongoing basis with the goal of minimizing a client’s lifetime effective tax rate

Investments

Investors often pay attention to the wrong things when making investment decisions and evaluating the wisdom of prior choices.  The following principles guide our advice given to clients:

  • All investment decisions should be goal-focused and planning driven (not market or performance driven)
  • A robust portfolio is low cost, tax efficient, and diversified across many asset classes
  • The short-term performance of a benchmark (index) is irrelevant to an investor’s long-term success
  • Risk isn’t fluctuation. Risk is the probability we won’t achieve our goals – and that is the only risk we consider
  • Investor behavior (choices, reactions) has the greatest impact on the long-term success of a portfolio