How We Work Together
Our advice is golden; it is not just a “loss leader” and professionals must charge for it because their advice can make the difference between success and failure. Carpe Diem charges clients only retainer fees. Yet these fees allow for long term financial therapy and coaching, which we offer in abundance. Quarterly retainer fees allow us to do planning as an ongoing process, and we believe they eliminate biases against realty and business investing, 401k investing or merely withdrawing for retirement. We generally set retainer fees lower than typical AUM or commissions; I hope to make my clients wealthy, healthy, and wise.
Our financial process is based on the CFP Board’s seven-step financial process.
1. Understand the Client’s Personal and Financial Circumstances
Let us meet over tea in a confidential and comfortable environment—and there certainly is no charge for the initial meeting. “What brings you to my doorstep?” or “Tell me about yourself?” I might ask. We start by knowing each other as people and hopefully future friends who have the highest levels of confidence in each other. Empathy is our goal and affirmation our practice. Without “Understanding the Client’s Personal and Financial Circumstances,” we have no clue what personal and financial resources can be mustered to realize dreams. If we agree upon terms of engagement, we proceed. Your experience comes first: “What would you most like to accomplish in our time together?”
2. Identify and Selecting Goals
We usually schedule a second meeting for “Identifying and Selecting Goals”; the planner, freeing clients from temporary anxieties, helps you refine and envision goals for a life “richly yours”; following the life planning visionary, George Kinder, you will know when we have “lit the torch” in your heart.
3. Analyze the Client’s Current Course of Action and Potential Alternative Couse(s) of Action
On our own, but with questions, we “Analyze the Client’s Current Course of Action and Potential Alternative Course(s) of Action.” We seek the usual financial documentation to proceed into sound advice towards financial statements: bank and brokerage statements, wills and trusts, insurance policies, business, P&L statements, etc. In addition, we seek money history, and risk tolerances and calendars may be just as important as we plot dreams realized.
4. Develop the Financial Planning Recommendation(s)
Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. Only at this point can we “Develop the Financial Planning Recommendation(s)” based upon our extensive experience in business and finance and master’s level education in life planning.
5. Present the Financial Planning Recommendations
When all is well, we meet again to “Present the Financial Planning Recommendations.” My presentations balance humor and seriousness, compassion and wisdom illustrated with a balance of pictures, graphs and numbers. In this “Obstacles” phase Kinder describes, we relight your torch and together overcome impediments for “the heart’s core to be realized.”
6. Implement the Financial Planning Recommendation
We may work with your team of professionals to “Implement the Financial Planning Recommendations.” Lawyers may redraw trusts as insurance agents adjust policies and custodians trade funds for superior portfolios. SIPC insured Shareholders Service Group helps this RIA with funds held ultimately with the Bank of New York Mellon—the world’s largest custodian of investment funds.
7. Monitor Progress and Update
“Monitoring Progress and Updating” is our final and lifelong practice and we hope 90% of our life work will fall into this category. Your values will change with conversation, time, and resources. So planning is a process and not a product and long-run we spend most of our time together understanding you better, coaching you to success in diverse ways, and leading you to a life of integrity and fulfillment.
“Care more than others think wise. Risk more than others think safe. Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible.” — Howard Schultz