Trail Financial Planning, LLC is a fee-only financial planning and investment management firm located in Bellingham, WA

What Is Going On For You?

What Is Going On For You?


There are events in life that may compel a person to seek out the assistance of a financial planner. This page has a list of common concerns, and brief descriptions of how a financial planner may help. It is sort of like a list of common symptoms and remedies.

Am I on track?

Do you just want to know if you are on track?  People in this situation might wonder:

  • If they are you on track to retire,
  • If they are saving enough to pay for their kids’ college,
  • If they can take a year off work to travel, or pursue a dream,

Your goals are your own. Do you just want to figure out if you are living in a way that will allow you to reach them?

How we can help

We start by getting to know you, your family, and your values. We help you refine, or create goals, then prioritize them. We analyze your current financial status including your cash flows, assets, debts, investments, taxes, insurance and estate plan. We assess how well you are positioned to achieve your goals, and whether your finances match your values. We create an action plan, and we help you implement it.

Build a trail map for your finances.  Then, start hiking!

I have a chunk of change

Do you have money or assets that you aren’t sure what to do with? Maybe you have received an inheritance, a settlement, or a rollover from an old retirement plan. Are you unsure of the best way to use it?

People in this situation often ask questions like,

  • Should I pay down the loan on my house or invest my money?
  • Should I save for my kids’ college or retirement?
  • Is the stock market safe?
  • Should I buy a rental property?

How we can help

We learn about you, your family, your values. We help you define goals, and make sure they align with your values. We assess your current financial position and your trajectory towards meeting your goals. We develop a specific, individualized action plan, so that your chunk of change will be put to to work in a way that matches your values and goals.

We don’t sell you products; we help you develop solutions.

My family has changed

We understand that life changes. A family transition such as marriage, birth, divorce or death may be accompanied by questions about how the new reality will affect your finances. Your questions may include:

  • How can my partner and I talk about money more effectively?
  • Should I save for college, or for retirement?
  • What is the best college savings plan to use?
  • How will this career change affect my future financial plans?
  • Now that I am managing my own money, how do I do it?

How we can help

We work with you to understand how the changes affect your present and future financial life. We start by learning about you, your values and your current financial situation. Then, we help you establish goals. Together, we determine how to use your resources effectively, to navigate your transition with purpose and insight. Our approach is holistic, incorporating cash flows, assets and liabilities, your taxes, your insurance, and your investments.

Change can be stressful, but also hopeful.  A good plan will bring hope into your reality.

I own a small business

If you own a small business, or are self employed, you have to/get to decide on all business-related decisions, including financial ones that affect you and your family. Your questions may be:

  • How do I manage cash flow in my business and keep my books accurate?
  • How much money do I need to keep in my business and how much can I use for my family?
  • How do I pick the right health insurance for myself, my family and possibly my employees?
  • What types of retirement accounts should I set up?
  • How much should I be saving for retirement?
  • How do I plan for taxes, or make sure I am not paying too much?

How we can help

We assist you by answering these questions and others.  We get to know you and your business. We learn about your values, and we help you define your goals. We evaluate your current financial situation, listen to your ideas, and create a plan for you and your business that matches your values, and helps you position to reach your goals.

We help you be smart, decide, and act.

I want to simplify and prioritize

Does your financial filing cabinet look like an over-stuffed burrito spilling out of its tortilla? Do you feel as though you have accounts scattered to the four corners? Or are you just unsure if you are saving the right amount, in the right account, for the right purpose?

People in this situation often:

  • Recognize the importance of their financial life, but are too busy to deal with it
  • Have complicated financial lives including lots of different accounts
  • Just want someone they can trust to take care of this aspect of their life

How we can help

We help you organize and simplify your financial life by making a plan. Planning is an integral part of life – a date night with your spouse on the calendar, the matrix of what each kid is doing when and how they are getting there; even a grocery list is a way to live purposefully. You should do the same thing with your financial life.

A financial plan is the way to make your finances more thoughtful, more intentional. We start by getting to know you and your values. We help you establish and prioritize goals. We analyze your current financial status including your cash flows, assets and debts, investments, taxes and insurance. We assess how well you are poised to achieve your goals, and whether your finances match your values. We create an action plan, and we help you implement it.

Get organized. Simplify. Align your finances with your values.

I have no idea what to do, where to start, who to call…

Sometimes when you look at a project, or a task, you have no idea where to start, or even what question to ask. Managing your finances is no different. It can be difficult when you feel as though you are the only kid in class with a question. It might feel embarrassing, or you may feel badly about how you have managed your own finances to this point. You are not alone. Many people were not taught about finances in school, or from their parents. It is okay.

How we can help

Our goal is to provide a non-judgmental environment where you can have honest money conversations (including with your partner), become more mindful of your situation, and create a plan that is achievable and in line with your values.

Gain clarity.  Prioritize.  Breath.