For most of our clients, Springwater has developed a comprehensive financial plan. The plans address the core areas of financial planning: budgeting and cash flow management, risk management (i.e. insurance), tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning and investment management. Other important planning areas that may be addressed include education planning, debt management, Social Security planning, income distribution planning and charitable giving.
We’re very familiar with what our clients should do in each of these areas, and we can offer thoughtful and considered recommendations. However, we’re not able to implement those recommendations in all of these important planning areas. In some cases, we’re not permitted to provide a service, because we don’t hold the necessary credentials. For example, we’re not lawyers and, therefore, we can’t draft estate planning documents (e.g. wills, durable powers of attorney, trusts) for our clients. In other cases, we’re not able to provide a particular product that a client may need. For example, as fee-only advisors, we don’t sell insurance products such as life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance (or any other financial product for that matter). One of our principals (Terry) carries an insurance license, because it’s not clear that we can provide even general advice on insurance-related matters without a license. We refer clients who need a financial product to their own insurance agent or, if they do not have one, to a qualified and credentialed agent we trust and respect. We do not produce and file tax returns for clients. Springwater’s Frank Remund is an enrolled agent with the IRS. However, we generally encourage our clients to work with a CPA who can provide a variety of tax services, including filing a return.
We focus our efforts on retirement planning and investment management. We build very robust retirement plans for our clients, which are designed to help our clients to get on track, and stay on track, for a retirement that will allow them to live comfortably for 30 to 40 years or longer. We design, build and manage investment portfolios for our clients that are designed to generate returns that will support their financial goals, while incurring as little risk as possible. For all of the other planning areas, we direct our clients to others who can provide the plans, products and services we identify our clients need in the course of the comprehensive financial planning process.
You might think of Springwater as the generalist you see at your doctor’s office. The generalist can perform a comprehensive exam and conduct some important diagnostic tests. However, if you need advice and/or treatment related to some very specific medical condition, your generalist will refer you to a specialist.
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