Financial planning is not a one-time event. It's an ongoing process that enables you to make informed decisions throughout life and it involves much more than your investment portfolio.
You encounter more critical financial decisions in your 30’s & 40’s than at any other point in your life. This is also the phase of life when you have the least amount of free time to devote to such tasks.
The benefits of professional financial advice are a combination of tangible results like better financial outcomes, and intangibles like reclaiming your leisure time and having peace of mind.
What to expect from the RWM financial planning process
Perhaps you’ve been considering hiring a financial planner for some time, but you’re not sure what to expect from the process or how it all works.
You can use this high-level overview to get a feel for the steps we'll take together in our financial planning program.
The financial planning process at its core is all about enabling you to make smarter decisions that will grow and protect your wealth over time. The process is also designed to reduce the amount of time you spend second-guessing your decisions or stressing about money so you can use this time with friends and family or pursuing your passions.
We gather all of your relevant financial information, documents, and data. This gives us a baseline for your plan and identifies any immediate needs to address.
Define Your Goals
The first step in building your financial plan is defining your values & goals. We work with you to categorize your list into must have's like basic living expenses and more aspirational goals like a vacation home.
Develop the Strategy
We combine your goals, resources, risk tolerance, and other relevant information to map out what we consider to be the optimal strategy to achieve your goals and to live the life that you want.
Implement the Plan
We begin to execute your financial plan and start to make progress. Everything from opening accounts, to re-allocating investments, to engaging with a CPA or estate attorney. We will provide specific action items and identify who will be responsible for each.
Monitor, Motivate and Adjust
After meeting 4-6 times during our first year working together, we’ll meet at least 2 times annually thereafter to discuss changes in your life, to monitor progress toward goals, to provide coaching and motivation, and to adjust your plan accordingly.
Below is a list of common questions, issues, and challenges that we’ll tackle together to get you on track to financial wellness today and financial freedom tomorrow:
Why is money important to you and what would you like your money to enable you to accomplish in life? This is step 1 and it informs us on what we’re planning for.
This term is most often associated with insurance, but it actually covers much more: sufficient cash reserves, adequate savings rate, estate planning documents to care for your family, an appropriate investment portfolio.
We can evaluate if you should buy or continue to rent, how much you can afford and the required down payment, refinancing options, and whether you should explore real estate investing.
Everything from choosing the best savings vehicles, to helping you find ways to lower the cost. We can help you figure out your best strategy, including your eligibility for financial aid.
Stock options, restricted stock units, employee stock purchase plans, etc. These all have different tax consequences and risks, and they all affect your financial picture differently. We review your available stock compensation and advise you on how it could best serve your goals.
For most people with young families, estate planning is primarily needed to protect your children in case anything happens to you. We can identify needs in your existing estate plan and partner with your attorney to ensure that your estate plan works well with your overall financial plan.
Are you following a strategic investment plan? Can the strategy be adjusted to better align with your goals? Are you paying too much in fees? Are you taking on too much risk? Not enough? We’ll answer all of these questions and give you a consolidated view across all of your accounts.
We review your income and expenses to determine how much or how little you are saving, how much you should be saving, and where. If you have debt, we can also advise you on how best to pay down debts.
It can be difficult to think about retirement when it’s likely 20+ years down the road, but retirement planning cannot wait until you’re 60. We look at when you are likely to achieve financial independence given your current savings and spending goals, and we adjust your plan to get you back on track if necessary.
Taxes play a major role in your financial life. We look for ways to minimize current and future income taxes as a part of your overall financial plan. We also coordinate with your tax professional to make sure your tax decisions work well with the rest of your financial plan.
401(k) contributions and investment options, life & disability insurance, employee stock purchase plans, Health Savings Accounts…the list is long. We work together to ensure you are taking full advantage of the benefits available to you.
Meet Your Advisor
Ron Guay, CFP®, EA, BPC
After spending the first 20 years of my career in corporate financial planning & analysis roles, I made the decision to leave a strong six-figure salary and Vice President title to pursue my passion for promoting financial wellness in the community while running my own business.
I launched Rivermark Wealth Management in early 2018 to make this vision a reality. We help our clients to reduce taxes, make smarter investment choices, and find financial peace of mind.
I’m a proud graduate of the School of Business Administration at the University of Dayton and the Executive Financial Planner program at Santa Clara University.
Certifications and Professional Associations:
In addition to holding the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation, I am an IRS Enrolled Agent, a licensed insurance agent by the CA Department of Insurance, and Bucket Plan® Certified: