Service Models

Description of service models

We offer financial planning as an ongoing service, or in a project-based format.  Our investment management service is ongoing.  Wealth management is both ongoing financial planning and investment management. How is “ongoing” different from project-based work?  Ongoing financial planning allows you to address your financial life in bite-sized chunks.  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  We take financial planning one step at a time.  However, it can feel like a big commitment for some people. For a more limited engagement, some people prefer a targeted planning process (where the scope and end product are well defined). We offer either service, and can help you decide which is appropriate for your situation. Trail Financial Planning Analogy.  Because financial planning can be difficult to visualize, we provide an analogy for each service as if it were a component of planning for, and travelling on, a long backpacking trip.

Ongoing financial planning 

This service involves working one-on-one with a planner over an extended period of time. Clients get continuous access to a planner who will work with them to implement, monitor, and update their comprehensive financial plan, as well as address ongoing financial planning issues.

Details, and what you receive:

  • Regular, strategic consultation with your advisor.  At least once per quarter we meet with you to address the next topic on your implementation plan. Contact may be in person, by phone, or virtually.
  • Ongoing support about any financial planning topic you wish to address.
  • Annual, or biennial, update of comprehensive financial plan (per client preference).

Fees for this service are described on “fees” page.

Trail Financial Planning analogy:  Ongoing financial planning is like traveling with a guide.  We walk with you on your financial journey – helping you pack your bag, set up a trip plan, assess risk, make route decisions, keep a sustainable pace, and celebrate beautiful destinations.  Sound financial planning will help you keep on route, keep a steady pace, and make appropriate adjustments when the going is easy or tough.

Mt Baker Wilderness Green Trails map.

Develop a financial plan

In this service, we address your full financial life by developing and presenting a comprehensive financial plan. We explore your values, your goals, and your current financial situation.  We assess how you are utilizing your financial resources. We address each of the relevant topics of financial planning listed in the general description. We analyze the information to produce multiple scenarios, or plans of action. We work together to select a preferred strategy and develop an implementation plan.  For one month after an implementation plan is presented, the client may access the planner by phone or virtual contact (email or video conference) for any follow-up work.

Details, and what you receive:

  • Clarify and organize meetings – Meet with your advisor to explore, develop, and hone your goals.  Advisor will find out what is important to you (your values), as well as collecting your financial data.  Meetings may be in person or done virtually (by email or video conference).  Usually, this process is 2 or 3 meetings.
  • Analysis – Advisor analyzes the information, ensuring that all pieces of the puzzle are on the table and considered.
  • Scenario preparation and recommendations – Advisor creates multiple scenarios, including an assessment of “maintain current plan.”
  • Financial plan presentation – Advisor presents the plan and recommended scenarios to you, in person or virtually.
  • Implementation plan – Client and advisor together create an implementation plan. The implementation plan does not necessarily include the services of the advisor.
  • One month support – You may contact your advisor for one month after the creation of the implementation plan for questions or clarifications regarding the plan. Contact may be made by telephone or virtually.

Fees for this service are described on “Fees” page.

Trail Financial Planning analogy:  A comprehensive Financial Plan is like making a map of your financial world.  It will show where you are, where you are going, and have information about the terrain. Everyone’s financial situation is unique; everyone’s map is unique.

Targeted financial planning – a single issue financial analysis

This is also known as “project-based financial planning.”  If you have a single question of financial planning you wish to explore, such as “Will you (the advisor) see if my investments make sense for me?” or “How can I better manage my tax bill?,” we can do a project-based planning engagement.  The work includes data gathering, analysis, recommendations, and plan presentation.  Once the plan is delivered, you have 30 days’ access to the planner by phone or virtual contact (email or video conference) for any follow-up work.  After 30 days, the Targeted Financial Planning engagement is terminated.

Details, and what you receive:

  • Discovery Meeting – We meet to gather financial data, and to clarify the scope of work. This meeting can be done in person, or virtually (email or video conference).
  • Analysis – Advisor analyzes the information.
  • Targeted planning presentation – Advisor presents the analysis to you, and multiple recommendations if appropriate, either in person or virtually.
  • One month support – You may contact advisor for one month after the presentation. Contact may be made by telephone or virtually.

Fees for this service are described on “Fees” page.

Trail Financial Planning analogy:  Targeted Financial Planning is like taking a compass bearing.  We help you determine the direction, then you head off on your own.

Investment Management We can manage your investments, or a portion of your investments.  We are purposeful investors, where the “why” comes before the “how.”  How you save and invest to help your 16-year old daughter pay for college in two years will be very different from how you save and invest for your retirement in 20 years.  Thus, we always start with “why.”  For more information on how we invest, see our Investment Management Strategy.

Details, and what you receive: All communication may be done in person, or virtually (through email, phone or video conference).

  • Discovery Meeting – We meet to understand the purpose for your investment accounts.  We collect information about your wider financial life including other investments you have.  We also ask questions about your risk tolerance, and gather some other financial data to help determine what level of risk is appropriate for you.
  • Analysis – We analyze your information.
  • Investment Policy Statement (IPS) – We prepare a written report that describes some of your financial context, and a recommended investment strategy.  The IPS will include type(s) of investment accounts we recommend as well as the investment strategy.
  • Presentation – The Advisor will present and explain the IPS to you.  You must agree to the plan before we proceed.
  • Implementation – We will help you set up investment account(s), contribution levels, and we will make the investments according to the IPS.
  • Quarterly Reviews – Every 3 months your Advisor will send you an electronic report of the status of your investment portfolio. Fees for this service are described on “Services and fees” page.

Fees for this service are described on “Fees” page.

Trail Financial Planning Analogy:  This is part of hiking towards a destination.  Sometimes the weather is beautiful, the scenery is incredible, and there are no bugs.  It will seem like the easiest, most pleasant activity in the world.  But, there will be other times when we must weather the weather, endure the bugs, or put up with long slogs to reach a vista.  It is those times that test our character, and willingness to stay on track!

You’ve persevered all the way to the bottom of this page!  To read more, you might want to visit our Fees page. Or, you can reach out for more information by going to our contact page.