How do I make the first appointment?
Please get in touch with Laurie (email is usually quicker, but please also include your phone number) to let her know of your interest and best available times to get in touch with you. If you are located in the regional area, it is nice if we can first meet in person but that is not a requirement. For distance clients, we can arrange phone or video conversations.
As each client’s needs are unique, I will answer as many questions as possible during our conversation based on the information you provide and offer insights and suggestions as they appear appropriate – you’ll be pleasantly surprised just how much we can cover in one hour! At the end of this first working meeting we’ll know if there are additional questions and planning to be addressed. We will also have a good sense of what future arrangement (a monthly retainer, project fee, or periodic hourly rate work) is most appropriate for any follow-up communications.
Before continuing further, you will be able to approve a jointly created outline that includes issues to discuss, implementation steps, and an estimated time frame for getting those steps in place. The full hour service rate depends on your current financial position, the complexity of services you request, and whether the services are for individuals or a business/group; however, an initial reference point is $150 for a full hour. This service model was designed this way so I can assist as many people as possible while still providing the value, guidance, and independence that is the foundation of this practice. If you are not in a position to prudently cover the hourly consultation, please let me know and we may be able to arrange for a shorter time consult or other arrangement.
There is a reservation fee to hold and cover our first appointment ($150 per individual – one full hour; $250 for couple/family and businesses – one full hour), and this is submitted on the “Make a Payment” page on the menu bar as soon as we have arranged for the meeting time.
Do you have any requirements for minimum income or assets?
Because I focus on financial education and planning, and want to assist anyone looking for information in these areas, there are no such minimum requirements. My services are based on hourly-rate, monthly retainer, or set project fee basis. So, as long as a client is willing and able to make that commitment then there are no other criteria for your current financial status. Once we determine what your needs are and the appropriate fee, it may be paid at one-time, as a monthly retainer, or over the length of the project as we mutually agree.
What types of clients do you work with?
My clients are people who want to be involved in their financial education and decision making, who are interested in getting an independent verification of what they are thinking about, and who want to have an ongoing, accessible resource for information, options, and implementation of actions steps. With all the communication tools available, clients can be located anywhere in the country and we can easily keep in touch and work together effectively. Please note: During in-depth planning engagements, the first two to three weeks of working together is most important for our working relationship and setting the momentum for your new plans, so you will want to set aside some extra time during this period to support this priority. It will be well worth your commitment!
Gift certificates for education/coaching time for college grads, engaged couples, new parents, beginning business owners, and others in transition are a thoughtful idea too.
What actually is comprehensive financial planning?
Comprehensive financial planning is a vital, flexible process between the Certified Financial Planner and the client that can cover an entire spectrum of needs including: personal and financial goals, financial education/savvy/confidence, reviewing investment and savings accounts, discussing insurance coverages and risk sharing/management, spending and saving plans, lifestyle choices, retirement planning and projections, long term care choices and Elder Care options, discussing money matters with children, assisting parents and other family members, financing and purchasing of assets, and much much more. I believe there are very few “absolute” answers in the planning process….the solutions that will work for you are based on your own particular situation, needs, financial confidence, and goals. See my Natural Awakenings Magazine Holistic Financial Planning Interview.
Where can I find some other information on financial planning and how to select an Certified Financial Planner?
Please visit the web sites for the Certified Financial Planner Board and the Financial Planning Association for consumer resources and verification of planner credentials.
If I currently have other professionals that I like to work with, such as an investment manager, insurance agent, attorney or CPA, can I still continue to use their services?
Absolutely! There are many fine professionals in all these fields and I’m glad to share information with them as needed and help coordinate all solutions for your plan. If you are not currently working with anyone – or are not comfortable with your experience with a current advisor – I can certainly provide you with information for qualified resources that you would then interview and select.
Education & Informational Resources
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Find consumer information on a variety of topics, guidance on protecting your financial security, and much more.
Certified Financial Planner Board – CFP Board is a non-profit organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP® certification. Lets Make A Plan Learning Center
Annual Credit Report – The only free information-only site to get your personal credit report, which lists all your credit and borrowing history. You are entitled to get one free report from each of the three reporting agencies once a year – and you can stagger the timing, for example January, May and October, to regularly check that information is correct and up-to-date. Your actual FICO score can be obtained as part of your credit card benefits or purchased from one of the three reporting agencies for a small fee. Please also periodically check on minors’ credit reports, as over 10% of children’s social security numbers are involved in identity theft.
Glossary of Financial Terms (CFPB) – Better understand financial literacy materials, informational websites, and more.
MyMoney.gov – MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education.
Money Smart for Young People: For Parents and Educators from the FDIC
Money Smart for Adults: Learn, teach, grow savvy!
Federal Trade Commission – Protecting America’s consumers: Identity Theft reporting, Do Not Call Registry, File Complaints
360FinancialLiteracy American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Military OneSource: Focused on military service members and their families
Youth.gov: Facts About Financial Knowledge & Capability
AARP Foundation Reserve Mortgage Study – A “reverse” mortgage is a loan against your home that you do not have to pay back for as long as you live there. With a reverse mortgage, you can turn the value of your home into cash without having to move or to repay a loan each month. This paper explains all the considerations you need to review to determine whether this tool is a good option in your situation.