Life and investing are very similar, they are messy and ever changing but you do not untangle your spaghetti, you just eat it. Planning is like using a fork to spin the spaghetti. If done at the wrong speed and time it can make a big mess. However, that does not mean you should not plan (or just use your hands!)
Planning helps set the direction but the real value in a plan come in the second, third, and even hundredth version. Life happens, events change, and a plan that is unable to adapt is not much of a plan, it is ancient history. A real challenge in financial planning is having a plan that is strong enough to help you follow through on the actions but flexible enough to change as your life changes. There is never a point that is set it and forget it. Marriages, deaths, children, school, vacations, sicknesses, inheritances, and on an on as Leo Tolstoy wrote “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” We have the choice to either push against these changes or accept them and update the plan.
Over the years at Ascend Investment Partners we have developed a unique planning process that is strong enough to be time tested but flexible enough to handle whatever comes its way. We think of planning like hiking through mountains. As you summit one there is another one waiting to be climbed.
The CLIMB Process simplifies financial planning as to not overwhelm you from the start. Starting with the immediate problem and fixing that and then works to encircle an ever-broadening scope until the entire picture is found. The CLIMB Process finishes with enjoying the benefits of all your hard work. Planning is not just about solving the problem but also making the place to enjoy all the great benefits. We will get excited right along with you as you share with us your pictures and stories from the adventures you have and quality of life improvements you make. (One of our favorite stories is a couple getting excited over replacing their flooring in their home, simple but they were really happy to make it happen.)
CLIMB stands for
Characterize and Clarify
Let us take a deeper dive in each one.
Characterize and Clarify your goals/wants/needs/desires. Most likely when we start working together there will be one immediate problem that needs to be fixed. Simple examples are what to do with an old 401k or IRA. That goal will be characterized as a financial goal and to help solve that will be to clarify where you are at and where you are trying to go. This is a step that we will start with and gets revisited over and over and over again. As you know, life changes and you do not hire us for the first plan we create but all the other plans that will come after as life changes. But it all stems from what type of goals do you have and where are you wanting to go.
Leverage may mean a lot of things, but at the highest level it means add an extra force. Archimedes famously said “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world” We have experienced the same thing, with enough leverage we will work move your world wherever you want it to go. The leverage we apply comes in multiple forms, through our investment committee, our knowledge, our experience, or our professional network. All is applied to help organize and move you to an ever more stable position of strength right alongside our family investments.
Implement (the most important step in the whole process) Time to put the plan in motion. We frequently say of politicians watch what they do not what they say. The same goes for your plan, words without action are nothing but hot air. If you choose to work with us full time, we will put most of our recommendations into action for you. We will make changes on your behalf so you will not even need to lift a finger. Other places when it comes to taxes and estate planning, we will help you coordinate with the other professionals in your life so that everything works together seamlessly.
Monitor – have you ever been worried about your home when you go on vacation? Do you wish someone would come house sit for you just in case a faucet leaked, or you left the stove on? Someone needs to be consistently looking over your financial life, it can be you, or someone else. The CLIMB Process covers this part as well by having a systematic way to monitor your investments and financial plan. If something changes, we sit down or get on the phone and talk about it. Monitoring is not just reactive but being proactive. Keeping an eye during the good times so when markets or life get rough there is no panic, just a consistent action on the time-tested approach.
Benefit, victories big or small should be celebrated. Take a deep breath and enjoy the climb so far. Plan to take breaks and enjoy the view. Life gets a little better each time you reach a little milestone. If it is just consolidating an old account or reaching retirement, each is a step to the life for which you are hoping. It is also a good time to ask, am I going where I want to go? We have seen during times of stress or times of accomplishments goals can suddenly shift and priorities may change. Which will take us onto the next step of characterizing and clarifying your goals.
You are welcome to take our experience and apply it to your life. Remember a major goal of planning is getting your dollars in the right place doing the right job. If you would like personalized help and ongoing monitoring, we are here to help. Reach out!
The commentary on this website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Ascend Investment Partners employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Kesler, Norman & Wride, LLC dba Ascend Investment Partners or performance returns of any Ascend Investment Partners Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Ascend Investment Partners manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.