Our Financial Planning and Investment Management Process

Most of us share similar financial goals: get organized with our money, stay clear of debt, accumulate enough money to retire comfortably one day, and - for those with kids - help pay for our kids' college education as we are able. As much as anything else, we want to enjoy life and not spend time worrying about money.

Wouldn't it be nice to "have all of your financial ducks in a row" and know that you are on the right track with your money?

We work with clients to do just that using a 3-step process.

  To-do List for Initial Meeting:

  • Review your income, expenses, debts and monthly cash flow
  • Look over your existing savings and investment accounts (401(k)s, IRAs, 529s, taxable accounts, etc.)
  • Review your current insurance policies (life, home, car, etc.) and coverage limits
  • Discuss any upcoming life events such as moving/buying a house, having a child, job change, starting a business, going back to school, etc.
  • Learn about your short- and long-term financial goals (ex. pay off student loans or credit card debt, increase retirement savings, saving for kids' college expenses)
  • Review miscellaneous items: income tax returns, current will and beneficiaries, social security benefits
  • Begin to share information and suggestions for action
Step 1 - It all starts with an initial meeting or phone conversation. We ask questions and get to know everything we can about you, your finances and your financial goals. (See the box to the right for a list of items we typically cover.) We will also answer any questions you have and begin to share information and suggestions that are relevant to you. Our initial consultations typically last 60-75 minutes, are free of charge and carry no obligation.

Step 2 - After our initial meeting or phone call, we put together a 4 - 6 page packet of personalized information and recommendations for you. Then, we schedule a 2nd follow-up meeting or phone call to share this information with you.

Our recommendations may include... (*Click to display*)

  • Open a Roth IRA - Roth IRAs are a great way to build additional retirement savings and complement workplace retirement accounts. Withdrawals from Roth IRAs can be made tax-free during retirement. Income and annual contribution limits apply.
  • Get a plan to pay off credit card and student loan debt - high-interest debt is "Public Enemy #1" when it comes to finances. If a client has problematic debts, we help come up with a plan to refinance, consolidate and/or get these debts paid off as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
  • Establishing an emergency fund - there is no substitute for having cash on hand in case of a financial emergency (job loss, medical expense, unexpected home or car expense, etc.). We will help clients decide on and build up the right amount of cash savings.
  • Adjust your monthly savings plans for retirement - between IRAs, 401(k)s and other accounts, what is the right amount to set aside each month for retirement savings? We make projections and help clients look at the big picture in order to come up with a plan.
  • Change your auto insurance coverage - clients frequently have unnecessary coverages and improper limits on their auto insurance, and making the right adjustments can save money.
  • Get your will and estate planning documents in order - 60-65% of adults do not have a will. We do not offer legal services but refer clients and assist them in getting their wills completed and reviewing beneficiary designations.
  • Review your Social Security benefits and pension benefits - Social security will be a significant source of income for most of our clients during retirement ($2,000 - $3,000+ per month). Clients should periodically look at their estimated Social Security benefits and be sure the SSA has the correct earnings history on file. Your highest 30 years of earnings will be used to calculate your monthly benefit during retirement, and full retirement age is 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later.

For parents with school-age children... (*Click to display*)

  • Apply for term life insurance - term life insurance is the most effective way to provide for one's family in the event of an unexpected death of a parent/spouse. Coverage is usually very affordable, and prices can be locked in for 10-20 years. Death benefit proceeds are received tax-free and can be used by surviving family members to help pay for housing, food, education and other living expenses.
  • Opening a college savings account(s) for your child(ren) - 529 college savings plans are an excellent way to save for college expenses, and withdrawals can be made tax-free (similar to Roth IRAs) as long as they used for qualified education expenses. There are no income restrictions with 529s, and they have very high contribution limits.

For those with existing investment accounts... (*Click to display*)

  • Rolling over an old 401(k) to an IRA - when you leave a job, it is usually wise to bring along your retirement account with you. Rolling over an old 401(k), 403(b) or other workplace retirement plan into an IRA is simple and allows you to access a wider number of investment options.
  • Review your existing investment mix - having a cohesive investment plan among all of your accounts is key to success. We review your current allocation and investments to make sure you are on the right track, and we make recommendations for improvements as necessary.
  • Roth IRA conversion - there are income limits on who can contribute to a Roth IRA, but current law allows anyone to do what is called a "Roth IRA conversion." This entails paying income taxes on money in a Traditional IRA or old workplace retirement plan, then transfering those funds into a Roth IRA. Future account growth can then be withdrawn tax-free during retirement. Depending on your current income and tax bracket, this could be an appealing option.
We don't sell financial products. As a registered investment advisor (RIA), our job is to provide financial planning and investment advice...period. We have a fiduciary duty to our clients, meaning we have an obligation to act with our clients' best interests in mind, so our clients can be assured they are getting unbiased advice and recommendations.

After reviewing and discussing our recommendations, we explain how we work with clients, including the fees we charge, and if we mutually agree to move forward and work together, we proceed to step 3.

Step 3 - If we mutually agree to move forward and begin working together, we begin to take action:
  • Finalize a to-do list and schedule, fill out paper work.
  • Open new accounts and/or transfer existing accounts and get online access set up
  • Establish automatic monthly savings and investment plans
  • Make improvements to insurance policies as needed: life, home, auto, etc.
  • Re-allocate existing investments in workplace retirement plans, IRAs, college savings accounts
  • Create and maintain "to-do" list spreadsheet to track all tasks, progress and goals
We take the lead in getting things done so our clients can focus on living, working and enjoying their daily lives. We keep track of the details, and over time, we periodically communicate with clients to review our progress, revisit goals, update our "to-do" list and make adjustments as necessary.

See the "Additional Information" link at the bottom of this page for more information about our financial planning and investment management services.

**Retirement Plans for Small Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations**

Saving for retirement is a necessity for almost all of us, and doing so through an employer-sponsored retirement plan is one of the easiest ways to save for the future. Money is withheld from employees' paychecks each pay period to go into a retirement account, it (along with any employer contributions) is invested and allowed to grow, and over time employees can build a substantial retirement nest egg. An added bonus: employee contributions reduce their taxable income, allowing them to save money on income taxes.

While most large businesses and non-profit organizations have retirement plans in place (401(k)s and 403(b)s being the most common), many smaller businesses and non-profits (such as those with 10-25 employees or fewer) do not offer retirement plans due to the perceived high cost, administrative headaches and/or lack of knowledge. We specialize in affordable retirement plans for small businesses and non-profits with 25 or fewer employees. A retirement plan can make a small organization stand out from the crowd and help attract and retain valuable employees.

7 Common Retirement Plan Questions

 Question:  Answer:
1) What are the main retirement plan options available? 1) The most well-known options are 401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA, SEP-IRA and Individual 401(k). All of these plans allow employees to defer part of their salary into a retirement savings account and invest their money. Annual employee contribution limits range from $13,000 to $19,000 for employees under age 50 and $16,000 to $25,000 for those age 50 or older. Most plans also require the employer to at least offer to contribute to employees' accounts.
2) Why choose one option vs. another? 2) These plan options differ by contribution limits, employer matching provisions, vesting schedule, availability of loans, maximum number of employees allowed, type of intended employer (for profit vs. non-profit), etc. They also differ in complexity and cost of plan set up and administration.
3) What if I'm self-employed and have no employees? 3) A SEP-IRA or Individual 401(k) will allow a business owner with no employees to defer and save a significant amount of money in his or her retirement plan account (up to $56,000 in 2019). Deferrals are deducted from gross income, saving the business owner in income taxes owed in the year of the deferral..
4) Do I have to contribute money on behalf of my employees? 4) In general, if the business or non-profit has employees, there must be some provision to either contribute to employees' accounts each year or offer a matching contribution (ex. 3% of employees' salary). However, the employer can limit eligibility for its retirement plan (must have worked for company for some number of years) and/or create a vesting schedule for employees to fully earn employer contributions.
5) What is a plan custodian? 5) A plan custodian is the financial institution that will maintain employees' retirement plan account. We will recommend a custodian based on several factors: low fees, quality investment options, good customer service, etc.
6) What costs and fees can I expect? 6) You can expect to pay an up-front fee to get your plan set up (plan documents, employee enrollment, IRS forms, etc.) and an on-going administrative fee to keep your plan in compliance and have all annual filings and duties performed. Fees for 401(k) and 403(b) are generally higher than those for SIMPLE-IRA plans, and fees vary with the number of employees participating in the plan. Fees for plans set up for businesses with no employees (SEP-IRA or Individual 401(k)) are minimal.
7) How do I get more information about which type of plan is right for my organization? 7) Call or e-mail us. We will meet with you or talk on phone, ask questions about your organization and your preferences, then explain your plan options to you along with an estimate of costs to get things set up.

***Additional Information***

Click here to view additional information, including fees we charge, our account custodians and account minimums. (This will open a new window.)

Next: Read about our Philosophy and Core Beliefs

R1 Financial Group
13154 Coit Rd., Ste. 102C
Dallas, TX 75240

Phone: (214) 628-9100
E-mail: Brad@R1FinancialGroup.com