Our Goal-Based Planning Process

Too often, we have seen financial planning and investment management as a single dimension service if not a one-directional service. We aim to change this for the better, one client at a time. We believe the planning and investment process should be an open, collaborative and engaging process. Our clients hire us to help them both create and manage a functional wealth plan—not to lay it on thick with fancy reports. Financial planning cannot be achieved with a one-hour meeting followed by “recommendations.” It requires a time commitment by all stakeholders.


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Step 1: Decluttering Goals

When it comes to financial planning, our first objective is helping our clients put everything of relevance on the table and gain a better understanding of where they are starting from versus where they want to be. This is the best opportunity for our clients to throw the kitchen sink of goals and concerns out into the open. Our first planning step tends to be open and free flowing. They often take the shape of a group brainstorming session, which we’ll admit can drift to a financial therapy session at times. Though we generally ask for financial details, we aren’t worried at this point about numbers and values. We just want to know what matters to you. 


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Step 2: Quantifying Goals

Once we’ve worked with our clients to put goals on paper, the next step is to put numbers to those goals so that we collectively have something we can measure. Some goals are easy to assign a value to. Other goals can be a somewhat more challenging and require a bit of reverse engineering. For example, a goal of a kitchen remodel in large part has a known value, sans “surprise” issues. Saving for a child’s college education or retirement tend to be tricky due to the variables often at play, such as inflation, age, etc. 


Step 3: Stress-Testing Goals

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that life is non-linear. There is no predictability from day to day. When helping clients to create a financial plan designed to withstand the “what ifs” of a lifetime, we often need to do some heavy-duty stress testing to measure their probability of success. This is where the number crunching really begins, employing the best technologies available to us. Within this process, we work with our clients to help fine tune their plans with realistic outcomes. It’s a good day when our clients can see that their goals are in reach.


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Step 4: Pursuing Goals

This is the “rubber meets the road” step of financial planning—where talk becomes action. It’s one thing to create a plan. It’s another thing to put into motion the actions required for a plan to become a reality. In this implementation phase to planning, we dive deep into actionable items such as cash flow and savings, considerations for estate planning with an attorney, making sure clients have the proper risk management in place, and investment portfolio management (our other specialty). In this step, clients wipe away years of worry by taking charge with a plan solidly in place that they can buy into—literally and figuratively.


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Step 5: Tracking Goals

It is important for our clients to have a means to track their plan. For clients who utilize our investment management and portfolio advisory services, we offer inclusive tools for our clients to aggregate their assets into a single monitoring program, but also monitor their progress on a regular basis, including their cash flow and budgeting if desired.


For clients working with us on more of a one-off basis with respect to planning, we can offer the aforementioned services for an annual fee.


[1] Aberle Investment Management LLC is not a law firm and cannot assist with the formation of an estate plan. [2] Insurance, whether it be life, health, disability or long term care can help clients to hedge against the low probability yet high consequence events in life. We do not sell insurance, however we can work with our client’s insurance agent(s) or help them find a good insurance resource for their needs. [3] Portfolio management and advisory services are subject to an annual fee based on assets under advisement.