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What is Financial Strategizing?

Financial strategy is
  • Plotting the best choices for supporting the life you want

  • Learning how to manipulate savings accounts, investment accounts, and debt so that it serves you best.

  • Working towards creating the world you'd like to see.

Financial strategy is NOT:
  • the world of jargon and obsessive market watching you hear on the radio.

  • the idea that you must make more and more money

  • beating yourself up for not having more money

  • getting lectures for not having a more lucrative job

  • beating yourself up for "not doing it right"

  • beating yourself up for having debt

  • beating yourself up because your finances aren't as organized as you imagine everyone else's are. (Trade secret: they mostly aren't, anyway

What I charge and how I charge it:
The first consultation is free. Quick questions are free.
I generally charge by the project, in a "package" format.
For instance:

JUST INVESTMENTS: Starting new investment accounts


-An hour meeting to discuss investment goals.

-Research and suggestions on investments and strategy.

-An hour in person to explain strategy and a tutorial on research methods.

-An hour in person to help getting accounts open, and any account transfers started.

-Up to 2 ½ hours of phone calls with me regarding getting your accounts going.

-Check in’s by Phone and/or email after one month, 3 months, 6 months, and one year.


For instance:

-Research and make recommendations on your company retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k)s)

-Calculate likelihood of achieving goals under three scenarios of your choosing.

(example goals: retirement, buying a house, sending kids to private schools, college savings.)

SETTING UP YOUR FINANCIAL FOUNDATION: getting your money organized


-Create strategy for paying down credit cards and other debts in the most efficient manner

-Set up automatic payment of bills, where appropriate

-Set up automatic savings in an online savings account

-Set up automatic investing in your accounts

-If appropriate, consolidate and simplify your accounts

-If appropriate, research and help choose investments for your investment accounts

-Check in’s by Phone and/or email after one month, 3 months, 6 months, and one year.

COMPLETE FINANCIAL REVIEW: A full financial plan


-Two hour initial meeting to talk about goals

-Strategies for reaching life goals, with accompanying calculations about how to get there

(example goals: retirement, buying a house, sending kids to private schools, college savings.)

-Help with spending plans and debt repayment strategies

-Overview and recommendations about of all insurance needs & current insurance policies

-Overview and recommendations about all savings and investments.

-Overview and recommendations about work retirement plans

-Help getting investment accounts started, including individual retirement accounts

-Help make sure that if you die early (or late), the right things happen

-Overview and recommendations around tax efficiency

-Create policies for taking withdrawals from your investment accounts.

-Create policies for charitable giving.

-All of the above while working in conjunction with your other professionals (e.g., accountants, attorneys, brokers)

-In the end, a written document for reference.

-Another two hour meeting to discuss progress, clarify anything

-Another two hour meeting to discuss updates and next steps for keeping strategies on track

-Follow up calls or emails at one month, 3 months, 6 months, and one year.

I charge $200 per hour, with a $100 minimum. (edited 5.10.16)
I do not take commissions or referral fees.
What I do
  • Help people strategize how to get out of debt (without having to live on lentils)

  • Help people strategize how to get their credit score back up to snuff

  • Help people figure out if their credit cards or mortgages are as cheap as possible

  • Help people make sense of their 401(k)s or other company retirement accounts

  • Help people set up retirement accounts and figure out how to fund & invest them

  • Help people invest in a Socially Responsible manner. Every dollar changes the world- Socially Responsible Investing helps to change it in the right direction.

  • Help people figure out what they should be setting aside for emergencies, big ticket goals (that Bat Cave you've always wanted!), college savings for their kids, and retirement for themselves.

  • Help people figure out if they need more or less auto, renters', or homeowners' insurance.

  • Help people figure out if buying or renting makes the most sense for them

  • Help people figure out if they even NEED life insurance. If they do, how much?

  • Help people figure out if they need disability or long term care insurance

  • Help people figure out if they're paying unnecessarily high taxes

  • Help people figure out if they need a trust or Powers of Attorney.

  • (I am ALWAYS going to tell you that you need an Advance Directive & a Will)

*** I fear no bureaucracy. Let me help you with it. ***
How it often works:
1) Call me up or send me an email, telling me a little bit about what you're looking for.
2) If it sounds like I might be able to help, we'll set up an introductory meeting, which is always free. Usually I meet people at their homes or nearby but if you'd prefer to meet at an office, I can meet you in El Cerrito, near El Cerrito Plaza.
(If what you want isn't what I do, I will send you the name of someone who I think CAN help you.)
3) Sometimes the introductory meeting is enough to answer your questions, but usually it isn't. If it isn't, I'll tell you what information I need in order to get the work done and I will give you an estimate of what I think it will cost.
I will also give you a contract to sign and a copy of my ADV.
An ADV is a document that all financial planners, brokers, and managers are required to give you. The ADV tells you an advisor's legal troubles, conflicts of interest, and business structure.
4) Once you get me the information, I will give you a revised estimate of the cost and I will usually ask for a 50% of the estimated total up front.
5) Once I'm finished with the project (or the first draft of a project, if it's a big one, like a comprehensive financial plan) we will meet again, and I will present it. At this point you will tell me all the things you wish I had done differently.
6) At this point we're either done, and you pay me for whatever additional time your deposit didn't cover, or I go back and make the necessary revisions.
7) I am a fee-only financial planner.

What I don't do:
  • I am not a broker. I will not be the representative on your account. I will not make trades in your account. I will not "pretend to be you" and put in orders into your account. (But I will help you find a broker if you'd like one. I know a few. I will even interview them with you on the phone if you have one you're on the fence about.)

  • I am not a tax preparer. (But I will help you find one if you need one. I know a few of them.)

  • I am not an estate attorney. I will not help you write a trust or a will or even an Advance Directive. (But I will help you find one if you need one. I know a few.)​

  • I am not an insurance agent. I will not sell you insurance products. I may suggest that you buy some and if you would like, I will help you find one to make that happen.

I am very happy to coordinate all of the above and to give you second opinions on how to make all of these elements play nicely together.

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