When it Comes to Planning for the Future, There Is No Time Like the Present
It is never too early to explore what is possible when you work with a financial advisor. Forum advisors consider how things in the background of your financial life affect your overall wealth management picture, such as how existing debt and significant expenses (for a new home or saving for a child’s college tuition) play into the financial decisions you make today.
Financial planning is not just about retirement. When we design financial plans at Forum, we look at everything — from the short-term goals that matter to you now to planning for retirement — all with a focus on realistic saving. With our approach, you can rest easy knowing you have taken care of the things you were worried about, and you can check them off your list.
Wealth Management Solutions That Meet You Where You Are Right Now
This is the time to reflect on what you have accomplished from a saving and investing perspective. Are you on track to achieve your financial goals? We can help you stay on course or recalculate to get back on the right path. Forum offers a range of wealth management solutions to offer you the guidance we would expect to receive ourselves.
As your advisor and financial coach, we are there to help you with more than your investment portfolio. At this stage, you need to look at everything that encompasses your financial life. We coordinate with other financial professionals such as attorneys and accountants to make sure all your financial bases are covered. That is how we define integrated wealth management.
Plan for Retirement With a Supportive Advisor and a Comprehensive Plan
WHERE TO SAVE (AND HOW MUCH)
There are many decisions to make about where to save, how much to save and how to balance saving against paying down debt. Along with saving for retirement, you might have short-term goals such as to save for a down payment for a home, build an emergency fund or start a business. We help clients establish a realistic savings plan for present goals and horizon goals, including making the best use of any company-sponsored retirement plans, recognizing there are typically added benefits via matching contributions from an employer.
CAREER AND LIFE GOALS
We have reached a pinnacle moment where life goals no longer play second fiddle to career goals. At Forum, we place great value on setting life goals, which are found at the center of every financial life.
Moreover, work/life balance should be accounted for when establishing career goals. By reviewing career trajectory, we help clients set short- and medium-range career goals with equal weight given to hopes and dreams and the life goals that come from them.
BUYING OR RENTING
You may have moved many times and know the process — from investigating neighborhoods for general livability through the intensity of moving day. According to an estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau, people move at least 11 times during their lifetime. Even with the benefit of personal experience, it is useful to have a purely financial view when deciding to buy or rent your next primary residence. We help clients identify the opportunities and tradeoffs of buying or renting evaluating multiple factors such as finances, family needs, career trajectory, taxes, current interest rates and cost of living.
The idea of saving for a rainy day is forward thinking. The baseline for an emergency fund is 6–9 months of living expenses as a safety net with a case for one year of expenses, depending on career industry and life stage.
In 2020, people who never thought they would use their emergency fund turned to such funds as a financial resource. The place to start is with one month of savings with regular contributions growing over time.
Four years to earn a college degree may seem like a long time to a high school student but paying college expenses decades after graduation is even more difficult to fathom. With the rise of student debt, which originated from misleading student loans and unclear payment terms, a generation of college graduates will continue to pay student loans over the next 15–20 years. We help new career professionals tackle student debt and advise families on how to avoid student loan traps when considering college acceptance offers.
Even as you are considering essential insurance for home and health, you may begin to receive different insurance products from third parties offering insurance in the form of investments. High-cash-value policies, indexed annuities and variable annuities can seem appealing but may not be in your best interest. We help our clients understand the value of incorporating appropriate insurance into a good financial plan.
WHERE TO SAVE
Over the past several years, you have saved in various accounts for different purposes such as short-term goals, emergency savings, college expenses and retirement. So that everything is in line with your financial goals going forward, we review your overall savings and suggest potential adjustments. It may be prudent to consolidate 401(k) accounts from former employers. In addition, there could be significant tax benefits associated with contributing to a Roth IRA and considering a Roth conversion.
While equity compensation can take many forms, it usually involves receiving or acquiring company shares from an employer. Also known as stock-based compensation, there are several ways an employer can give shares to employees, including stock options, stock purchase plans and restricted stock units. We assist by analyzing the overall effect of such financial incentives within a diversified portfolio and develop a plan for how highly concentrated stock positions should be handled so there is not an overabundance of company-specific risk.
Most people feel as if a weight has been lifted after completing (or updating) their estate plan. Contrary to popular opinion, estate plans do more than specify what happens to assets and property. They provide instructions to care for children and family members, safeguard family businesses, designate individuals to make health and financial decisions and support organizations via charitable giving plans. From our experience working with clients on this endeavor, we know that nearly everyone can benefit from having an up-to-date estate plan.
Insurance needs change as you move through this stage to protect you against different risks. For example, you may want to increase life insurance to ensure your family will be taken care of in the event of the loss of income from the primary earner.
There may be additional costs associated with health insurance as your family grows. We start by understanding potential risks and then build case scenarios based on needs to determine appropriate solutions.
PAYING FOR COLLEGE
When contemplating how to pay for college, most families expect to cover expenses through a combination of three sources: 1) savings, 2) student loans and 3) scholarships. The college landscape has changed drastically over the past decade with colleges offering need-based financial aid and (non-need-based) merit money.
We help families understand their options and then create a realistic plan for managing college expenses. This includes helping families select an appropriate 529 college savings plan, in which savings are tax-free when withdrawn to pay for qualified college expenses.
PLANS FOR CAREGIVERS
We help families understand the long-term care process, why insurance is essential and what happens throughout the claim process. As caregivers ourselves, we know what a family goes through when a loved one becomes care dependent, including the responsibilities that caregivers assume even when professional healthcare services are in place.
We create structured financial plans to provide assistance for loved ones and comfort to the individuals acting in the role of caregiver.
Without question, the day you retire is a pinnacle moment. From that point, you will take a different approach to saving and spending as you begin to use some of the savings you have accumulated over decades. We help clients reset their mindset by formulating a plan for spending that focuses on sustainable cash flow. This includes reviewing the assets including Social Security that will serve to fund retirement spending for many years. Our goal is to provide a reliable spending plan despite market fluctuations.
To devise an optimal timeline, we look at the opportunity cost of delaying or taking Social Security benefits early. Then, we form a strategy sustainable to age 95. Planning to take Social Security benefits early? We first consider a spouse’s age and whether one spouse is still working, which are major factors that can change the timing of when to apply. Choosing to postpone benefits? We assess the impact of withdrawing more from an investment portfolio now while delaying Social Security for a higher monthly payment later.
PLAN YOUR RETIREMENT
Every vision of retirement should be translated into a practical plan of action. We address three questions to better define what retirement will look like.
WHEN: Timing comes into play to determine the optimal age to retire and successfully optimize Social Security benefits.
WHERE: There are many factors to consider, such as proximity to family and friends and the cities and states affording the most amenities and tax benefits.
HOW: It is essential to know how much will be required to maintain a specific lifestyle and how to preserve savings with asset allocation and location strategies.
MEDICARE AT AGE 65
Medicare is a valuable healthcare benefit for people over age 65. However, complexities of the federal program can leave many unsure of how to proceed. Merely enrolling in Medicare can be challenging with penalties for failing to sign up during the enrollment period. In 2021, The New York Times described the program this way: “Medicare features an alphabet soup of plans, coverage choices, premium levels and enrollment rules.” We explain what Medicare covers to help clients determine optimal timing and selections for Medicare Part A, B and D and the need for additional coverage.
Healthcare expenses grow each year and not by a small amount. Every year, Fidelity estimates how much a retired couple might spend in healthcare costs over their lifetime. In 2021, that amount was $300,000.
We think healthcare expenses should be a main topic of discussion when making plans for retirement. We help our clients by building plans that account for healthcare costs and protect the savings they have accumulated so they can continue to enjoy retirement.
A charitable giving strategy should focus on more than where to give with emphasis on how to give using the proper charitable giving vehicles. We know when it would be advantageous to use a charitable remainder trust.
We can explain when a charitable gift annuity would be appropriate and the circumstances in which you might need a donor-advised fund. We help design optimal charitable giving plans to support the organizations and causes our clients hold dear.
A PERSONAL APPROACH
Tell Us About Your Financial Life and Aspirations
Your experience begins with an initial meeting to identify your financial vision for the future and risk tolerance levels. We review our investment philosophy and approach with you so that you fully understand each milestone of our process and how our relationship will evolve over time.
Discuss Topics Crucial to Your Financial Success
Over the course of the next few meetings, the content and breadth of each meeting is defined by your personal needs. We can review your estate planning and risk management needs, discuss retirement accumulation or distribution planning, evaluate educational funding needs, review your tax situation, and go over any other items crucial to your financial success.
Develop a Strategic Plan Unique to You
Once you select an allocation, we put together a strategic implementation plan that will coordinate investment of your portfolio between qualified (tax-advantaged) assets and non-qualified assets in order to maximize tax efficiency. The topics we address during our time with you vary depending on your unique needs and situation.
Putting Your Plan Into Action
We establish your Forum account based on the portfolio allocation we discussed and what we learned about your risk tolerance and financial goals. With your new Forum account now in place, you will have the opportunity to access your Forum Client Portal for the first time and connect with members of the Forum Client Service team.
Review Goals and Plans When Your Life Changes
You will receive reporting that will clearly show your performance net of all fees and compared to applicable market indexes. Additionally, your assets are held at a reputable third-party custodian that furnishes independent monthly reports so you can feel confident about the safe handling of your money.
OUR INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY
Derived From Decades of Academic Research
TO REACH YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS, CHOOSE WISELY, DIVERSIFY WIDELY
Many investors believe that managing their investments actively is more likely to lead to success, but when they make their own investment decisions, they may not even be fully aware of how emotional their investing strategies are.
We believe that a widely diversified portfolio of investments tailored to each client’s unique risk tolerance level and financial goals is key to financial success. Our investment program is a fee-based, highly diversified, low-cost investment strategy using primarily the mutual funds of Dimensional Fund Advisors and based on an evidence-based investment philosophy derived from decades of academic research in financial and market theory.
Assumed annual rate of return is 7% and annual rate of inflation is 2% with interest earned on the beginning balance.