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Our Process

Winning Process at Empowered Retirement

OUR PROCESS is simple. First, we listen to hear where you are – personally, professionally, and financially. Then, we ask you where you’d like to be, now and into the future.

This frames our discussion, serving as the foundation or our engagement.

We have several discussions, teasing out new (and previously abandoned) goals as well as taking an inventory of all your assets – real and financial.

Our financial planning and income tax software provides the technical data from which we determine whether you have:

  • Too Much
  • Not Enough
  • Just Enough

assets relative to the lifestyle of your dreams. That will direct our next steps together.

Together we map out a plan, with easy to implement strategies that best match your means with your meaning.

The Empowered Retirement process of Life Centered Financial Planning underlies our penchant for giving you Return on your LIFE, as well as your money.

We can branch into any number of discussions about comprehensive financial planning, estate planning, income tax planning, and/or investment management as they relate to you now.

We mutually agree upon whatever direction and/or service(s) may be prudent, both in the short-term, and in the medium-to-longer-term and we take the next step, together, in professional partnership with you.

Empowered Retirement happens when people PLAN.

Of all the things we’ve learned in our collective 62+ yrs of experience, the most important lesson is that is better to PREPARE than REPAIR!

You may have heard the adage, measure twice, cut once. At Empowered Retirement, Inc. we, too, are passionate about limiting mistakes, stopping portfolio and income tax leakage….

By working with us as Independent, Fee-Only Certified Financial Planners™ you avoid being ‘sold’ a commissionable product. We sell no products, nor earn any commissions or referral fees.

We are fiduciaries, serving your needs, period.

At Empowered Retirement, Inc., we’re committed to partnering with high net worth women, widows, and those that love them, to design and build a plan to meet your life goals using scientific and academic research, not media hype. We typically manage portfolios with a minimum of $1,000,000 in investable financial assets, to both preserve and grow that hard-earned capital through disciplined management, so you can better enjoy the next chapter of your life.

We’ll position your investments with an eye to minimizing fees and taxes, with the intention and strategies best suited to provide a lifetime income, so you can focus upon ‘living your dreams’.

For Financial Planning, we use a process called Design, Build & Protect:

Much like an architect drafting plans for the structure about to be built, we draft a blueprint for your success. We then assess what assets you have that we can incorporate into the building process, and determine what additional assets, if any, may be needed in order to custom build your dream life. After we’ve built the financial plan that will fit with your objectives, we’ll put safeguards in place to protect the plan and your dreams.

For Investment Analysis we use a nifty tool called the Portfolio Gap Analysis, which details the expenses, returns, asset allocations and turnover rates of your current portfolio, in an easy-to-read report. I LOVE analogies if you haven’t discovered that yet. So I like to think of my prospective clients, sitting in their own proverbial ‘lifeboat’. A happy thought indeed, until someone notices that the boat is taking on water, and unless the hole that is letting in the water is found and repaired quickly, depending upon the size of the hole, that ‘lifeboat’ will soon sink. The Portfolio Gap Analysis Tool helps us identify potential ‘lifeboat’ holes so we can repair those holes before it is too late.

We then discuss investment risk by:

  • educating you as to the types of risk that you want in your portfolio—risks that add significant value towards your potential for enhanced return are deemed ‘compensated risks’,
  • teaching you which risks simply are NOT worth taking with your hard-earned money, and
  • identifying which risks you’ll want to eliminate from your portfolio, right here, right now.

We’ve seldom met individuals or couples who understand the myriad types of risk; rather, people tend to focus in on one specific risk to the exclusion of other, often-more-deadly-risks. The December 4th, 2006 edition of Time magazine stated, “We pride ourselves on being the only species that understands the concept of risk, yet we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities, building barricades against perceived dangers while leaving ourselves exposed to real ones.” Based upon our 6+ decades of experience advising people about their money, we fully agree.

We prefer to start with life’s probabilities and plan strategies to manage those, and then put back-up strategies in place to manage the unforeseen risks. In this way we can act prudently, while conserving resources—time, money and energy—on aspects of life that we simply can’t control.

We talk about what you can & must control as a successful investor.

You Can Control:

  • Your spending
  • To some degree, your earnings
  • Your savings
  • To some degree, your taxes
  • Your trades within your portfolio
  • Your portfolio expenses

You Can’t Control

  • The direction of interest rates
  • The value of the yen, yuan (or any currency) relative to the dollar
  • The future price of gold, or stocks or bonds
  • Whether the US will give us greater returns
  • When you will die
  • How your investments will perform every day or every week or every month
  • Future income or estate tax rates

So, how about we focus on the former things we can control, and manage the latter through constructing effectively diversified portfolios within an Asset Allocation that matches your goals. That’s fancy language for saying, we determine how much of your portfolio should be invested in large stocks, tiny stocks, US stocks, and International stocks, and bonds of all types. You’ve most likely seen an investment ‘pie’–Asset Allocation is how the pie is sliced up–which types of investments we’ll use, as well as the size of each ‘pie’ slice.

The final piece to this academically rooted arithmetic centric investment discipline is determining the particular percentage you will want to invest into each of the asset classes selected. In other words, it’s not enough to state, “ok, we want to invest in both the US stock market and the International Stock Market. We have to drill down and say, “historically, where have the excess returns come from in both the US Stock markets and in the International Stock markets. And, WHY did the math turn out that way? And are those reasons likely to carry forward into future analysis and probabilities?

We incorporate the wisdom and market pricing research of Nobel Laureate Prize Winners in Economics including yet not limited to, Harry Markowitz—the Founder of Modern Portfolio Theory and 1990 Nobel Prize Winner, as well as Eugene Fama, Founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors and 2013 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics. These men have analyzed hundreds of thousands of pieces of data and price histories to prove that over time, something called Passive Investing BEATS Active Investing.

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