Client Stories:

How we've helped

These are true stories of clients we have worked with. Let us help you take control of your own financial future and set you on a path for security and success.

A married couple in their mid-sixties: The husband was still working but expected to need to work at least a couple more years, while the wife had retired recently. A parent had passed away recently after living with them for several years and they were still adjusting to this new situation.

 

They had two main questions:

 

First, they wanted to know if they would be able to maintain their current standard of living while in retirement and still have money for some extras like traveling more and helping their grandchild with college expenses.

 

Second, they had several income sources to draw from: a 401(k), IRAs, a taxable brokerage account, a pension, and Social Security, each with its own rules and decisions to make. How could they best obtain the income they would need in the next several years?


What we did together:

 

  • Determined what would need to happen for the husband to retire in one year. We carefully estimated their living expenses and income sources for the next three years, projected how much cash they would probably need to take from investments or savings each year, and advised them on where to obtain this money. We recommended what to do so that they would not have to worry about selling during market downturns in the first couple of years they are both retired.

  • Recommended which payout option for the husband’s pension is likely to be best for them in light of their other income sources and the history of long lives in both their families.

  • Recommended which filing strategy for Social Security is likely to be best for them in light of their other income sources and history of long lives in both families.

  • Provided specific investment recommendations for each of their existing investment accounts and created an investment policy statement specifically designed for their requirements. Wherever possible, we used low-cost, tax-efficient investment options.

  • Provided suggestions for reducing their future tax burden through a series of small steps they can take over the next few years.

  • Evaluated the likelihood that their investments and savings will last throughout their lives. As a result, we concluded that the husband could reasonably expect to be able to retire about a year sooner than he had hoped.

A woman in her early 70s, recently widowed: she had a number of different accounts held at various financial companies. She owned IRAs, a brokerage account, variable annuities, and group retirement plans. Her late husband had done almost all the financial management. She wanted to simplify her life and gain peace of mind regarding her finances. She also wanted to travel more and to purchase a new home.

 

What we did together:

 

  • Evaluated the likelihood that her investments and savings would last throughout her life. As a result, we concluded that she can reasonably expect to be able to maintain her current standard of living plus make some extra trips and buy a new home that better suits her new life on her own.

  • Provided a detailed set of low-cost investment recommendations. We helped her make a few phone calls to set up some new accounts and to move the money. Putting the new recommendations in place reduced her average expense ratio from 0.8% to 0.15% a year, a savings of over $12,000 per year in her situation.

  • These recommendations reduced the number of financial companies where she has accounts from five to two, vastly simplifying her overall financial affairs.

  • Best of all, she has gained a lot of peace of mind, knowledge, and self-confidence about her finances.

A married couple in their thirties with four young children came to us seeking advice. They had a good income. Still, they needed help to invest wisely for long-term goals like retirement while saving for several shorter-term goals they wanted to accomplish while their children are still at home.

What we did together:

  • Developed a long-term plan for the couple’s retirement and their children’s education.

  • Set up a spending plan that ensures everyday expenses are covered but provides for plenty of flexibility as the family’s needs change and the children grow up.

  • Developed priorities for several shorter-term goals and provided advice on how to save for each.

  • Recommended additional life insurance for both the husband and wife. Although the husband is the sole breadwinner for now, life insurance for both was important.

  • Additional long-term disability insurance for the husband was also important. He had long-term disability insurance but his coverage had not kept up with his income. We were able to help him obtain a higher monthly benefit based on recent increases in his pay and even to ensure that should he be disabled, his retirement savings would still be funded.

  • Provided specific investment recommendations for each of their existing investment accounts and created an investment policy statement specifically designed for their requirements. Wherever possible, we used low-cost, tax-efficient investment options.

  • Helped this couple have more peace of mind. They know that they are making real progress in getting where they want to be and that their family is protected should something happen.

Contact Dogwood Financial Planning today to get more information and to schedule your free Get-Acquainted meeting.

 

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