DDO Advisory Services offer custom and sophisticated financial planning solutions. A financial plan may seem like an overwhelming laundry list of “to-do” items, so we’ve developed a structured approach to help you develop and manage your plan.
1. Laying a Solid Foundation
Nothing can be built without a solid foundation, especially a financial planning program. So we begin and build from here, because even the most disciplined savings and investment program can be derailed by an unexpected emergency or tragedy. Focusing first on your Foundation allows us to assess your current financial health, and identify any areas that need to be addressed before focusing on your Future goals. The two main areas in this phase involve Getting Organized and Protecting Against Financial Tragedies. At the end of this phase, our goal is that you’ll know more about your finances than you ever have, and that you’ll have the confidence to make informed decisions, and move forward.
1A. Getting Organized
Assets & Liabilities
What if you had an inventory of every account, valuable, and property that you own, and every debt or liability that you owe on one sheet of paper? That’s where we begin, because it is establishes your sense of control by providing an accurate overview of your Net Worth, helps us identify opportunities for consolidating accounts, and is a useful component for preparing your estate plan.
Budgeting & Cash Flow
After an assessment of your cash flow, you’ll know what money is coming in, and what is going out, which can help you develop a budget.
Income Tax Review
We will review recent tax returns to determine your current tax profile, and attempt to identify whether there are opportunities for improvement.
Establishing Your Team
We strongly advocate working with professionals to help you manage your financial life – accountants, attorney, insurance and investment advisors. If you don’t have your team in place, now is the time to start.
Employee Benefits Review
A fair amount of your compensation can come from group benefits, such as health insurance, flexible spending accounts, or retirement plan contribution matching. Have you taken the time to take full advantage, or are you leaving money on the table?
1B. Protecting Against Emergencies
This fund is essential to helping you react to unexpected emergencies – immediately. It is meant to provide instant liquidity for a lump sum emergency, and to replace income on a short-term basis if you lose your job or become sick or injured.
Insurance Review & Assessment
Just about everyone needs insurance – for different reasons. Long-Term Disability Insurance to replace your income if you are unable to work because of an illness or injury. Life Insurance to protect your family should the worst happen. Health Insurance to help defray the ever-increasing costs of health care. Homeowners, Auto, and Personal Liability to protect you and your family from unforeseen tragedies.
Estate Planning Review
Formalizing your estate plan allows you to maintain control over major life decisions in advance. Who will care for your children? How will your assets be distributed? Who will make health care decisions, or sign legal and financial documents on your behalf? How do you want end-of-life decisions to be made? We guide you through these issues and decisions, so that you are prepared for your meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney. Includes an overview of all major documents, including Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will.
2. Pursuing Future Goals
We all want to start here; buy a home, send your children to college, and save enough for a comfortable retirement. In this phase, we build upon your Foundation by examining your goals within the context of your financial planning program – attempting to identify not just how much you need to fund your goals, but how much you can afford to fund them based on your current circumstances.
Buying a Home
How much home can you afford, when considering all carrying costs. What financing options are available to you in the current dynamic environment? How do you effectively save for a down payment, and where should you keep it?
Saving for College
College costs continue to increase beyond the rate of inflation. How much will a public and private college cost when your child enrolls? What savings vehicles are available to you, and what impact will your asset have financial aid eligibility?
Saving for retirement is just about the greatest concern and biggest goals of our clients. We examine how much you might need to save (based on a number of current assumptions), and what types of savings vehicles and investment accounts you can use to commit to a long-term, disciplined savings and investment program.
We review your existing personal and retirement investment accounts, and analyze the investments to determine whether these assets are being effectively deployed in the context of your long-term goals.
3. The Final Stage
Enjoying a comfortable retirement is just one of the many aspects of the final stage of your life. Now that you’ve arrived, your financial program still requires ongoing planning, management, and maintenance. For Boomers and Retirees, there are difficult issues and questions to face:
Did you save enough? Will you need to work for supplemental income? Will you outlive your assets, and what steps can you take to prevent that from happening?
Have you considered the possibility that you may need some form of long-term care and living assistance? How will you pay for it?
Gifting & Asset Distribution
If you have a desire to share your estate during your life or after, have you updated your estate plan to reflect your wishes?
Legacy & Charitable Planning
Are you considering leaving some or all of your estate to charity, and if so, what vehicles are available to assist you in this process?
You may be faced with a unique situation or special goal, or perhaps have a problem that needs solving. We have helped clients through a wide range of situations and solved quite a few problems, including career changes, relocation, the transfer of real estate, or launching a business – it’s what we do.
All financial planning engagements are conducted after we carefully define and agree upon the project scope, hourly fees, and services that will be performed.