Why Flow | How We’re Paid | Resources | Career Help | Location | Target Client |
Cancellation Policy | Wealth Requirement | DIY | Financial Planning | My Qualifications | Business Continuity | Information Security
I know other financial advisors. Why should I work with you?
I spend my time focused on issues that you face: stock options, paying off debt, high home values, prioritizing savings goals, and many others. Most financial planners (me, included) operate as your financial "quarterback" (I am not a huge football fan, but this analogy seems most effective): directing you to specialized players (insurance agent, accountant, estate planning lawyer) when I see a need. Women in tech need an additional set of professionals, this one to help further their career: recruiters, career coaches, leadership coaches, patent lawyers, etc. I consider one of my most important roles to be putting you in touch with these other professionals.
Lastly, I am a fee-only planner who abides by the fiduciary standard.
How do you get paid?
I want to know more about personal finances and investing. Where should I go for information?
- this free PDF from William Bernstein. The guy is a neurosurgeon, an investment advisor, and a finance theorist...yes, he's crazy impressive. It's a short read, targeted at "millennials" but applicable all up and down the age range, and covers a lot of ground.
- On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl's Guide to Personal Finance Written by Manisha Thakor, who happens to be a fellow Wellesley alumna, this book gets rave reviews from women I know.
- The One-Page Financial Plan Written by Carl Richards, best known for his Sharpie-on-napkins drawings in his New York Times column, this is a short, simple book whose title says it all. Really, anything by Richards is going to be entertaining, easy, and helpful.
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich An entertaining, snarky (at times, annoying, I must admit) book about personal finance, written by Ramit Sethi. Despite the title, it's got tons of prudent advice.
- Personal Finance for Dummies Yes, really. I read it myself when I first transitioned from tech to financial planning.
I feel stuck in my career. What are some resource for getting unstuck?
- Designing Your Life. Written by the head of the design program at Stanford, it helps you find a new career path when you have little vision for what it could be.
- Working Identity Instead of being a how-to book, the book presents case studies of several people who made career changes and helps you understand what the process looks like. Here's a short interview with the author, where she talks about why women have midlife crisis in their 30s.
- My favorite suggestion: Seek out a career coach and ask specifically about how they'd help you through this stuck-ness. Books are great, but they rarely translate into action.
I don’t live near Bellingham, WA. Can I still work with you?
I’m not a woman in tech. Can I still work with you?
Can I cancel my ongoing planning relationship?
Do I need to have a certain amount of money to work with you?
You don't need a minimum account balance or wealth level to work with me.
Many fee-only planners get paid based on the investments they manage for you. Which means you have to have a minimum investment balance to make it worth their while. Many people don't achieve that level of investment wealth until later in their lives and careers.
But think about the major financial decisions you make long before you reach that "later" stage: buying a new home, everything that goes along with having a baby, buying life insurance, switching jobs, moving.
That is why Flow runs on a different model:
- The cost depends on the complexity of your situation and the value I provide.
- You pay the fee out of cash flow (typically).
So as long as your monthly income can cover the fee, you're golden.
Can’t I just do all this financial planning business myself?
What does financial planning cover?
- Identifying Goals. This is the raison d’etre of financial planning. Whether your goal is “Get my child through college with no debt” or “Retire early” or “Take an annual family vacation.” Knowing where you are now is the necessary first step to reaching your goals.
- Risk Management. This term is often used simply as a synonym for “insurance,” but it is so much more: ample cash reserves, adequate savings rate, estate planning documents to care for your family, an appropriate investment portfolio..
- Real Estate Planning Strategies. You might have a lot of your net worth tied up in real estate, especially your primary residence, and especially if you live in a high-cost-of-living area. We look at the role that real estate plays in your total financial picture and how to best balance the risks and potential rewards of real estate ownership with those of your investment portfolio and the rest of your financial picture.
- College Preparation. No matter how old your child is, there’s something we could be doing to prepare for the cost of his or her education, either savings or ways to lower the cost. I can help you figure this out your best strategy at every strategy, and can even help review your financial picture as it relates to eligibility for financial aid.
- Employee Benefits Optimization. October and November of every year is usually a stressful time: Open Enrollment. 401(k) contributions, life insurance, employee stock purchase plans, legal services...the list is long. We review your benefits and determine whether you are taking full advantage of the benefits available to you.
- Stock Compensation. Stock options, restricted stock units, employee stock purchase plans, and so on: these all have different tax consequences, different risks, and they all affect your financial picture differently. We review your available stock compensation and advise you on how it could best serve your goals.
- Estate Planning. For most people with young families, estate planning is first and foremost a way of protecting your children in case anything happens to you. I can help identify needs in your existing estate plan and coordinate with your attorney to ensure that your estate plan works well with your overall financial plan.
- Investment Analysis. Do you have investments spread all over the place--your 401(k), your spouse’s, an investment account, a savings account, a CD, a 529--and little idea how they all work together? I provide a high-level view of your entire portfolio as it exists today and recommend how to tailor it to better meet your goals. I can also explain how various investment vehicles and strategies work.
- Cash Flow Management. We review your income and expenses to determine how much or how little you are saving, how much you should be saving, and where. I can help you set up a system for saving that is automatic and makes it easy to stick to your plan. If you have debt, we can also advise you on how best to pay down debts.
- Retirement Planning. Though you are probably still years away from retirement, retirement planning cannot wait until you’re 60. I look at when you are likely to achieve financial independence given your current savings and spending goals, and we adjust your plan to get you back on track if necessary.
- Tax Planning Strategies. I want you to understand your taxes and how they interact with the rest of your finances. I also look for ways to minimize current and future income taxes as a part of your overall financial planning picture. A knowledge of your tax situation will help guide strategy for investing, income, philanthropy. I coordinate with your tax professional to make sure your tax decisions work well with the rest of your financial plan.
What qualifications do you have?
I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. I have a Masters in Financial Planning. And I've been listening to people’s stories since 2010.Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP®(with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.
You're a small firm. What happens to the firm and to me if something bad happens to you?
Flow Financial Planning is, indeed, a small firm. We take seriously, however, our obligation to our clients to make sure they are taken care of at all times. As such, we have a Business Continuity Plan, which we review annually and update as necessary.
How do you keep my information safe?
- RightCapital (financial planning)
- DocuSign (digital signature)
- Wealthbox (client relationship management)
- LastPass (password security)
- MindMeister (mindmapping)
- Google's G Suite (email, calendar, document storage, File Stream, etc.)
- AdvicePay (monthly payment processing)
- PaySimple (monthly payment processing)
- SmartRIA (compliance)
- ScheduleOnce (meeting scheduling)
- MailChimp (all-client and other group emails)
- TD Ameritrade (client investment management)
- Capitect (investment performance reporting)