As we approach the end of the year, I thought I would share some practice updates for you. Mostly these will help you get that nap you have been searching for.
- We all know the stories about medical expenses in retirement. I am not getting into that now as you know I think those advertisements about high medical costs are rather misleading (short version is overall expenses do not increase much because as healthcare costs go up other costs in retirement go down). Instead, I am focusing on the fact just getting a better understanding of and arms around medical expenses in retirement should be the bigger focus. With that, I will be adding another service component to the practice. It will be focused on retiree healthcare planning. I will share more about this as we get into 2023.
- Another update is related to Social Security optimization. Short version is I am adding a more robust software for figuring out the optimal Social Security choices for clients. Social Security is complicated. Anyone who tells you they are an expert is lying, in my humble opinion. There are nearly 3,000 rules and who knows how many codicils. Heck, there is even a good chance you will get bad information from Social Security representatives themselves. Again, it is just too complicated for a person to know it all. Regardless, the software allows me to get much more granular as opposed to just saying “take it at age 70,” which is where most software defaults.
- One big insight I have received as a result of starting my new advanced financial planning process with clients is the need for more financial education. This comes directly from my clients. I was rather surprised at this since I think I do a good job with financial education. But you know what they say about when you assume. Regardless, I have listened and will be starting a series focusing on increasing financial education. However, this will be a resource only available to clients as part of my service model.
- I am doing more short videos where I share my thoughts on wealth management-related topics. The easiest place to see them is my Facebook business page, which I just started. Hopefully I linked it correctly.
- I’ve already mentioned how I will be increasing my one flat fee next year for new clients. No reason to mention it again besides a quick note here in case you missed the previous notice on it. Again, the fee is based on my service level, knowledge and experience. I’ve been operating this way for nearly a decade and think it’s a better approach than paying your advisor based on what the market does, which no one controls.
- Taxes. You know my two favorite mantras when it comes to taxes. First is – It’s not what you make; it’s what you keep. Second – No reason to tip Uncle Sam. With that background, tax planning will continue to be paramount with my clients. The TCJA tax cuts are going to be gone sooner than we realize and we might as well take advantage of their lower tax rates now while we can. With that, I will be talking a lot about taxes next year. And doing even more with my clients as I have some more slick resources available for them.
- The One-Page Financial Plan has been a theme within my world of financial planning for what seems like forever. The concept comes from Carl Richards. The short version of the primary benefit of a One-Page plan is simply most people have no desire to read a 100-page financial plan. These dust collectors are replaced with a single page that hits all the important items for a client. Honestly, it is a unicorn I have been chasing for years and never been happy with my results. Until now. Fortunately, I have been working diligently on it. My version of this will have the quantitative and qualitative key elements for every client in a page that match up values and money.
- As a follow-up to my previous sentence on values and money, I will be touching a lot on that theme going forward. Let’s be honest. The more you can connect the use of your money to your values the happier you are. At least that is what my years in this world of financial planning have revealed to me. Expect more on the deep thoughts end from me. With a bit of Jack Handey thrown in there (hopefully you get the reference).
- Finally, I will be getting even more transparent. I’m sure my wife and kids would just call it being a grumpy old man, but I figure the more sun I can shine on this big and confusing world that is the financial services industry the better off you as consumers can be.
I’m Dan Johnson, CFP®, founder of Forward Thinking Wealth Management. I run a flat-fee financial planning and investment management firm located in beautiful Akron, OH. Although I am in Akron, OH, I work with clients regardless of location. I cater to owners of equity compensation positions who are looking to organize their financial lives, keep more of what they make, and do the things they want in retirement and even now.