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A few people may stumble into financial security; a wealthy relative may pass away or a business may take off. For most people, though, the only way to attain financial security is to save and invest over a long period of time. The journey to reach financial security—buying a home, educational opportunities for your children, and a comfortable retirement—starts with a financial plan.

The Importance of Having a Financial Plan

Financial planning is an ongoing process to help you make sensible decisions about money that can help you achieve your goals in life. There’s a lot more to financial planning than just managing your investments. Estate planning, insurance, college funding, income taxes, employer benefits, and retirement planning are just some of the other areas that should be addressed. As we go through life, our priorities and goals change. Creating a financial plan helps you see the big picture and set long- and short-term life goals—a crucial step in mapping out your financial future. When you have a financial plan, it’s easier to make financial decisions and stay on track to meet your goals.

The Investment Connection can help you create your financial plan. We evaluate your situation, provide appropriate recommendations, assist with implementation of the recommendations, monitor your situation over time, and make modifications along the way. The Investment Connection can also provide one-time project-based financial planning services if you only need advice on a specific topic.

Financial Planning

The Investment Connection provides financial planning advice to individuals and families regardless of their net worth, income, or investable assets. You don’t have to have a fortune to start building one, and today is always the best time to get started. Whether you are building assets for the future—or seeking to protect, enjoy, and pass on those you already have—The Investment Connection can help. No two people are alike. No two plans should be alike either. After a thorough analysis of your unique set of goals and financial picture, a good financial plan should be specifically tailored for you. Whether you are interested in buying your first home, saving for your children’s college, or maintaining a steady cash flow in retirement, your plan is customized according to your varied needs and changing circumstances. Most clients engage The Investment Connection to provide ongoing financial planning services. On occasion, to address individual circumstances, The Investment Connection can provide financial planning services on a one-time project basis. Please visit our Fees section for more information.

What is financial planning?

Financial planning is reviewing and providing recommendations on a broad array of your personal financial issues. Areas covered can include, but are not limited to, the following:

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  • Cash flow analysis (budgeting, saving)
  • Investment planning (investment strategy, risk tolerance, etc.)
  • Retirement planning
  • College funding
  • Estate planning
  • Income tax planning
  • Insurance planning and risk management (life, disability, long-term care)
  • Employee benefits planning (401k plans, stock options, pension plans)
  • Charitable planning

Investment

The Investment Connection can assist you with the ongoing management of your investment portfolio, taking into account your goals, investment preferences, and risk tolerance, as well as considering the overall investment climate.

Simplified: Access to professionally structured investment strategies that provide broad diversification across asset classes, investment styles, and geographic exposure.

Personalized: An investment strategy that is designed to meet your goals, risk tolerance, and other personal preferences.

Customized: In addition to building a well-balanced portfolio, The Investment Connection can handle a socially responsible mandate or include an alternatives component. You can also give us discretion to automatically place trades in your portfolio or retain approval to determine what recommendations are implemented in your accounts.

See our FAQs for more information.

The Investment Connection provides investment management services that are personalized to ensure that your portfolio balances the right mix of investments and is consistent with your investor profile. Together, we will agree on a long-term strategy that is aligned with your unique goals and is also appropriate for the size of your portfolio. Rest assured, The Investment Connection will constantly monitor and rebalance your portfolio to address changing circumstances.

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Key Investment Considerations

Asset Allocation: Asset allocation is the primary determinant of portfolio variability.

Diversification: Adequate diversification is crucial to reducing risk and also allows the portfolio to profit from exposure to multiple areas.

Expenses: Trading only when necessary and focusing on individual securities or low-cost ETFs keeps expenses low.

Rebalancing: Periodically rebalancing the portfolio back to the target allocation helps control risk and allows for profit—taking in holdings that have done well.

Taxes: Evaluating the tax effect of trading is important to maximizing after-tax returns.

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Do any of the following statements describe you?

  • I don’t enjoy investing on my own
  • I’m invested in high-cost mutual funds or separately managed accounts
  • I don’t really like or trust my current advisor
  • I tend to hold on to my losers forever waiting for them to come back
  • I don’t know how to factor taxes into my investment decisions
  • I like to concentrate my portfolio in the hottest stocks or industries
  • I never rebalance my portfolio

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…let’s chat!

Investment Strategy

The Investment Connection offers two equity strategies that can be utilized in your accounts along with a fixed income strategy: a Stock Strategy, which consists primarily of individual stocks, and an ETF Strategy, which consists primarily of low-cost broadly diversified ETFs. To balance the portfolio, The Investment Connection also offers a Fixed Income Strategy, which consists of taxable or tax-free bonds and/or bond ETFs and mutual funds. These strategies can be modified to incorporate a Socially Responsible Investment bias as well as an alternatives component. Upon request, The Investment Connection can also develop a custom strategy for you. To request our Investment Strategies Fact Sheet, please contact us.

Click here for more information on Indexing, Socially Responsible Investing, and Alternatives

Discretionary or Non-Discretionary Management?

Discretionary Management: The Investment Connection will make all investment decisions without your prior approval. Such decisions will be made within the investment guidelines and constraints as set forth in a personalized Investment Management Agreement. Remember that The Investment Connection is acting in a fiduciary capacity and acknowledges in writing that any trading will be done in your best interests.

Non-Discretionary Management: The Investment Connection will not place any trades without your approval. This means that The Investment Connection will contact you to discuss all suggested changes to your account. Non-discretionary client accounts will not be traded at the same time as discretionary client accounts and the portfolio holdings in discretionary client accounts compared to non-discretionary client accounts will likely differ.

What’s the Value of Good Advice?

The Vanguard Group (one of the world’s largest financial institutions and one that caters to do-it-yourself investors) issued a groundbreaking report in 2014 indicating that good advisors can add 3% per year to investor returns. That’s substantial!

The report shows how advisors can add value through financial planning, investment management, and overall financial guidance.

In large part, The Investment Connection adheres to the investment principles shown to add value in the study.

You can read the entire report by clicking here { PDF | 500KB } …

FAQ

Do you only provide services to Generation X/Y?

No… I work with clients of all ages. However, I am pleased to be part of the XY Planning Network because I enjoy working with younger families, who are often so busy dealing with everyday life—going to work, taking care of the kids, and maybe even enjoying a bit of a social life—that they don’t have enough time to keep their finances in order.

Aren’t financial planners only for rich people?

No… The Investment Connection has no minimum net worth or account minimum requirements! Whether you’re single, just married, starting a family, divorced, widowed, starting your career, or retiring, there are important financial decisions that need to be made and The Investment Connection can help.

Who is NOT a good fit for The Investment Connection?

If you expect to see a lot of trading activity in your account, The Investment Connection may not be the best investment advisor for you because this approach isn’t consistent with our investment philosophy. Also, if you are in a difficult financial situation due to overwhelming debt, you may need credit counseling rather than a financial planner.  The National Foundation of Credit Counseling or Debtors Anonymous may be better able to help you.

How does The Investment Connection make money on investment services?

The Investment Connection is based on an independent fee-only advisor approach, with advisor fees that are based on a percentage of the clients’ assets under management. Thus, our incentives are aligned—if your investments increase in value, so does the fee. The flip-side is also true—a decline in the value of your investments results in a smaller fee.

Will I be pressured to buy products?

No… As an independent fee-only financial advising firm, The Investment Connection has no products to sell or commissions to earn. Our sole objective is to provide the best advice to our clients and our recommendations come without any conflict of interest.

How does The Investment Connection invest in the stock market?

Generally, a sound way to earn big profits in the stock market is to buy and hold a diversified portfolio of good-quality companies. Most of the time, this can be constructed using a combination of individual stocks or low-cost ETFs. Avoid excessive trading and capital gains, which can detract from performance.

Where are my assets?

Your accounts are held by an independent brokerage firm.  Currently, we are only working with Charles Schwab & Co.  This brokerage firm prices the securities in your accounts, sends trade confirmations, monthly statements, and any 1099 tax information directly to you. They also provide Internet access to your account so you can check on your account at any time. With a limited power of attorney, The Investment Connection is able to coordinate services through the custodian on your behalf.

Who can I talk to when I have questions?

Although you can always contact your account custodian, The Investment Connection is here to help you with everything related to your portfolio, so most of the time you should contact The Investment Connection with any investment or administrative tasks. Additionally, The Investment Connection is here to help with any financial planning issues.

What about my other advisors?

The Investment Connection is willing to meet and work with your other professional advisors, such as accountants or lawyers, to make sure your financial issues are being addressed properly. If you need a referral, The Investment Connection has a broad network of professionals and we would be happy to arrange an introduction.

What if I decide to discontinue The Investment Connection’s services?

  1. Financial Planning:

    A Client may cancel the financial planning service agreement for any reason during the first five (5) business days from the date of signing the agreement and will receive a refund of 100% of all fees paid without cost or penalty.  Thereafter, if you engage us for ongoing financial planning with a monthly retainer, fees will be prorated for the number of days that services were rendered during the termination month. If you engage us for project-based financial planning services and cancel before the project is completed, any prepaid fee will be refunded on a prorated basis based upon the percentage of work completed.

  2. Investment Management:

    Our investment management services can be cancelled at any time by giving ten (10) days written notice. Upon termination, fees will be prorated for the number of days that services were rendered during the termination month.

How do I get started?

Come chat with us for a complimentary initial consultation.