Financial Planning

Comprehensive, customized advice to help you reach your goals.

Investment Management

Professional management of your investment portfolio.

Financial Planning

Financial planning is the core of what we do. Our services are designed to provide comprehensive and customized advice for your unique needs. The sections below explain how it all works.

SECRETS to Success

These topics form the framework of our analysis and advice. It provides a holistic picture into your financial health.
*Please note that we’re not an attorney, accountant, or insurance expert. We will recommend outside professionals as needed.

S: Stewardship

The foundation of our view on money is rooted in the belief that God is the owner of everything, and we are merely stewards of what’s His. We also believe that as followers of Jesus looking forward to His soon return, we must arrange our financial affairs with that reality in mind. Thus, it is within this context that we provide all of our financial advice.

Some specific areas of emphasis include tithe, offerings, and charitable giving, but we recognize that stewardship principles encompass all aspects of our financial management.

E: Education and Employment Benefits

We pay special attention to financial needs surrounding Christian education, both for parents and guardians seeking to provide for their children as well as individuals who are responsible for their own education. We will help determine how much to save, where to invest, and the appropriate investment allocation to fund specific education goals. Strategies for student loan elimination are also considered.

Employee benefits are also analyzed to ensure our clients who work as employees are receiving the most value from them, and advice can also be given for business owners who provide benefits to their employees.

C: Cash Flow and Debt Management

We will provide guidance and counseling on your current spending plan and how it’s affecting your current financial position and future trajectory. If you don’t have a plan in place we’ll construct one together and establish a tool that will help you stay on track.

We will also determine the most favorable debt elimination strategies for your current debt and if there are any worthwhile refinancing, consolidation, relief, and/or forgiveness options.

R: Risk Management and Insurance

We provide a comprehensive review of your insurance policies (auto, life, health, disability, home/renter’s, etc.) and overall risk profile, in order to recommend the best risk management strategy for you. Our goal is to ensure you’re adequately protected at a reasonable cost.

E: Estate Planning

We will implement strategies for protecting your estate and transferring it to the next steward in line that you have chosen. We place emphasis in the planning of a will or trust, with special consideration toward providing for the necessities of dependents and for charitable bequests and transfers.

T: Tax Planning

Tax efficiency is considered in all aspects of the financial planning process and is carefully integrated into all recommendations. Our goal is to implement your entire financial plan in the most tax efficient manner possible and making sure you’re not paying more tax than you need to.

S: Savings and Investments

Savings and investment advice are given within the context of objectively defined needs. We can help determine the “Finish Line” of how much you’ll need to retire, partially retire, or pursue your next calling and how to go about getting there. The articulation and calculation of the concrete amount of savings needed is a fundamental part of our process, and our investment strategies are based on the rigorously researched, modern portfolio theory.

We will coordinate your personal risk tolerance, risk capacity, and time horizon to develop an appropriate investment allocation, along with selecting the investments that will serve you best.

Our goal is to ensure that you have a clear picture of your future goals, and have a definite roadmap to achieve them.

Please note: If you wish for us to manage your investments for you and not merely offer advice, you must be an ongoing financial planning client and have selected the investment management service.

Our Financial Planning Packages

For more details on our pricing model, click here.

One-time Financial Plan

Ideal for those…

  • Who know they need help but don’t know where to start.
  • Who have an idea of what they want, but have no clue how to get there.
  • Who need a plan but can execute it themselves.

What You Receive

  • Personal Financial Statements (Cash flow and Net worth).
  • Personalized advice on your comprehensive financial position.
  • Customized, actionable financial plan.
  • Personal support for the duration of the engagement.

Ongoing Financial Planning

Ideal for those…

  • With more complex personal finances that require more time, attention, and expertise.
  • Who need to optimize their time by outsourcing some tasks.
  • Who want ongoing recommendations, monitoring, and implementation.
  • Who need additional accountability because they’ve struggled to make progress in the past.

What You Receive

  • Help with implementing the plan.
  • Year-round monitoring and proactive services. (Tax strategies, investment advice, etc.)
  • Meetings twice a year to review your financial plan and position.
  • Updates and revisions to the plan as your financial picture changes.
  • Direct, personal support for additional questions that arise at any time.
  • Accountability to stay on track with the financial plan.
  • Ability to cancel anytime with 30-day written notice.

Hourly Engagement

Ideal for those…

  • With issues of a limited scope.
  • Who are capable of managing their finances, but need advice in one or a few specific areas.
  • Who are seeking a second opinion on a particular issue.
  • With a significant one-time financial situation that require professional expertise.

What You Receive

  • Precise professional advice on a narrow topic.
  • Professional advice without a large or ongoing commitment.

Steps in the Process

This is the systematic approach that we walk through with our clients. This process ensures that the plan is tailored to your specific needs. We strive to provide you value through information, education, and guidance so you can be confident in making decisions about your financial future.

You're in Control

No pressure. No hard sells. You get to decide how fast or slow you progress through this process, if at all. Generally, the creation of a financial plan takes roughly three months from the official start of the engagement.

Cost and Obligation

No cost or obligation until you become a client. Even at that, the initial financial plan is a limited engagement. You decide how to move forward after the initial plan.

Flexible Meetings

We serve clients around the country and so conduct our meetings primarily via video conferencing, but can also meet in person if near the Chattanooga, Tennessee area.

1. Getting to Know You: Introductory Meeting

All clients start with a free, no-obligation 30-minute meeting for us to get to know each other, and to determine if we are a good fit. We will listen to your needs and share about our firm to make sure we are able to provide value to you. We will suggest the best option for how we can help you achieve your goals, but if we aren’t the right fit or what you need, we’ll happily get you pointed in the right direction.

The goal of this meeting is to help you determine if you’d like to pursue this process further. If you wish to proceed, simply schedule the “Getting Started” Discovery Meeting when you are ready.

2. Getting Started: Discovery Meeting

This meeting will focus in greater detail on your concerns, goals, and desires so we can best understand your unique needs and objectives. We’ll also consider your history with money, your values and convictions on this subject, and other qualitative information that will inform the financial planning process. Also, this would be a time to ask us any remaining questions you may have about our firm, services, processes, etc.

The purpose of this meeting is to give you the information you need to make an informed and educated decision about whether or not this service is best for you. We will provide a service agreement to sign if you wish to officially hire us.

3. Making the Decision: Service Agreement

We’re looking for mutually beneficial relationships, not just a transaction. So it’s important that you take as much time as you need to make a decision.

To help you make a smart decision around hiring an advisor, consider these questions:

  • Do I like, trust, and respect Alistair (or insert another firm/advisor)?
  • Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
  • Do I understand and agree with their beliefs and values?
  • Are they able to provide value to me and my situation?

We will follow-up with an email within a week after our meeting. But other than that, it’s completely up to you in deciding whether to move forward.

To officially get started, simply sign and return the service agreement. But if you decide that this isn’t quite what you’re looking for then this process has served its purpose.

If we don’t hear back from you initially then we may follow up until we get an answer. We know life is busy and people often forget to respond but getting a formal “No” allows us to close our open case and move on.

4. Getting Organized: Information Gathering Process

Once the service agreement has been signed, we will schedule a “Getting Organized” meeting to kick off the information gathering process. This meeting is when we onboard you to our various software platforms and discuss all of the various pieces of data we will need to gather. This process will consist of multiple steps that include meetings, email communication, questionnaires, and collecting of various documents. The exact details will vary depending on each client’s unique circumstances.

The importance of this step cannot be overstated, because the final plan will only be as good as the data that we have for analysis. It is more important to be thorough on this step and capture all the necessary information than to rush through with incomplete data. This may be the longest step in the full financial planning process.

5. Presenting the Plan: Delivery Meeting

Once all of the data has been gathered and analyzed, we will construct your custom financial plan and formulate our recommendations. This meeting will focus on sharing the reasoning behind our recommendations and answering any questions that arise. We may also evaluate together some live, dynamic adjustments to the plan using the financial planning software to consider alternative options together. The goal is to help you be confident in understanding what is in the plan.

Upon acceptance of the plan, you may choose to implement the plan yourself, at which time our engagement will come to a close. Or if you wish for us to help you implement the plan and provide ongoing, year-round financial planning services, you may opt into an ongoing financial planning engagement at that time.

6. Ongoing Financial Planning

If you choose this option, we will implement the financial planning recommendations together with you and will meet semi-annually to ensure that we are making progress. We will operate an annual service calendar to maintain your plan, and to monitor the details in case any adjustments are needed. This option ensures that you have someone looking out for you throughout the year, and is required if you wish for us to manage your investments for you (more on this below).

If you choose this option, you will also have direct access to us with questions at any time, and additional meetings can be scheduled whenever you need.

While we hope to continue to serve you long into the future, there is no long-term commitment, and you are free to cancel anytime.

Contact Us to Get Started!

When you are ready to get started, contact us to schedule a no-obligation introductory call to see if we can be of service to you.

Investment Management

Professional management of your investment portfolio.

The investment management service allows us to not only advise you on your investment portfolio but actually invest and maintain your investments for you. We will help create a custom portfolio allocation that is matched to your goals and specific risk profile, open accounts for you at our custodian, and apply our expertise in trading, monitoring, and rebalancing your portfolio. You will have access to and remain in control of your funds at all times, and will receive regular statements and required tax documents.

Ideal for those...

  • With assets that result in material tax ramifications.
  • Who have little interest in learning about investing.
  • Who are looking to save time for other pursuits.
  • Who want someone to hold their hand throughout the entire investing process.
  • Who want to be hands-off but still in the market.
  • Who want to outsource the maintenance of their investment portfolio.

Management Fee

0.50% Flat Fee on Assets Under Management

This fee is calculated only on the assets that we invest for you, and not on assets held away in other accounts. There is no minimum account balance required for this service. Fees are billed quarterly in arrears, and are generally debited directly from the investment accounts.

For more details on our pricing model, click here.

Investment Philosophy

We invest based on Modern Portfolio Theory.  The following are some of the basic tenets of Modern Portfolio Theory.

Markets are efficient.

The market as a whole knows all the information about a company, and reacts instantaneously to any new information. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to predict the future direction of the market as a whole or of any individual security. Current market prices are fair based on available information.

Asset classes are more important than individual securities.

The design of the portfolio as a whole is more important than the selection of any particular security within the portfolio. The appropriate allocation of capital among asset classes will have far more influence on long-term portfolio performance than the selection of individual securities.

Risk management is central.

Investing in the market involves risk. Different types of investments have different levels of risk. A rational investor will take on more risk only if they are expecting a higher return as compensation for that risk. The ideal portfolio for a client is one that allows for the greatest potential return while matched to their particular risk tolerance.

Diversification is key.

Portfolio risk can be decreased by diversifying the portfolio across multiple asset classes. Different types of investments behave differently in the market, so diversification is accomplished by owning varied investments that behave differently from each other.

Equities can pay off.

Equities offer the potential for higher long-term investment returns than cash or fixed income investments. Investors seeking a higher return in their portfolio should allocate a higher percentage of it towards equities and accept the volatility that comes with equities.

Time in the market is better than timing the market.

Based on the principles above, the best path to long-term returns is through a buy and hold strategy that does not depend on timing the market, but rather invests regularly and systematically throughout all market cycles into a well-diversified, low-cost portfolio of assets.

Contact Us to Get Started!

When you are ready to get started, contact us to schedule a no-obligation introductory call to see if we can be of service to you.