How we work together
Schedule a complimentary call today to discuss your situation and needs. Here are typical questions we help clients resolve:
- How much do we need to save to reach our goals for retirement, children's education or to buy a new home?
- I'm receiving stock from my employer. How much employer stock is too risky for me? Should I exercise stock options?
- Are our investments sufficiently diversified?
- What strategies are available to minimize current and lifetime taxes?
- Are we ready to retire? Should we sell our home and leave California?
- What is the right age to start taking Social Security?
- I have some 401(k) accounts from prior employers. What should I do with them?
- Should we consider a Roth conversion?
Michael Garber Financial Planning has no client income or asset minimums. As an "advice-only" practice, we always put your interest first, and you can keep your existing brokerage accounts.
Open retainer services are delivered on a flat fee basis, billed quarterly. The fee is determined based on the complexity of each client's overall financial situation. This diagram shows a simplified overview of our annual process.
Additional service details are listed below:
Portfolio Review and Investment Recommendations
We take an inventory of your present investments, assess your risk tolerance using a unique life-stage endogenous risk model, and recommend investment changes to achieve adequate reserves and broad diversification. We include assets of both spouses, retirement plans, annuities, investment real estate and other assets to fill out a complete view. Unlike robo-advisors or other planning firms, we consider your entire financial situation and available investing choices as recommendations are developed.
RSUs and Stock Options
For clients who receive equity compensation in the form of Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), options (ISOs or NQSOs), or deferred compensation, cash flow can be uneven and taxation can be mysterious. Equity compensation creates challenges in planning spending while saving for long-term goals. We design a cash flow management approach that aligns with your lifestyle or stock sale blackout periods, and smooths the tax burdens and risks that come with these types of compensation.
Many clients have a goal to buy a first or second home, or a larger home. Especially in Silicon Valley, it's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of the ideal home, and overspend. We work together to balance the trade-offs involved in home ownership, in light of other goals such as children's education or your own retirement.
Insurance and Estate Plan Reviews
We review existing insurance and estate plans and offer recommendations to improve coverage, completeness and relevancy. Planning for disability or other incapacity is an often-overlooked reality. We discuss gaps in these plans, and as needed, refer clients to professionals who can help.
Retirement Planning and Education Planning
We assist clients in making the best financial decisions for income security in retirement, or accumulating assets to support the education of children. Often this involves balancing lifestyle, home ownership, and the timing of retirement. Care of aging parents and our own long-term care planning needs are considered as well.
Whether through gradual accumulation or liquidity event, clients sometimes find themselves with a concentrated position in a single stock. We develop approaches to minimize single-company risk while managing tax consequences of stock sales, in the development of a more optimal overall investment portfolio.
In other cases, exposure to an asset class can be missing, or investments have hidden risks from toxic assets or funds that hold the same stocks in common. Where needed, we develop an investment plan to balance asset class exposure, reducing volatility risk.
Tactical and Strategic Tax Planning
Federal, State and local taxes are typically the largest single cost item for most clients. In the open retainer model, clients have the option of professional tax preparation through the firm. In addition to tax preparation, tax planning is a central feature of our work.
Tactical tax planning involves strategies to minimize tax due on an annual basis, both as the portfolio is growing, as well as in retirement.
Strategic tax planning involves locating each type of asset in the type of account that is optimal, whether in individual or joint accounts, IRAs, retirement plans such as 401(k) or 403(b) plans, or Roth accounts. The goal is to minimize lifetime tax liability.
Simplification of Finances
Clients change jobs frequently in Silicon Valley and focus on their careers. This can lead to a trail of old 401(k) or IRA accounts. In our work together, we look for opportunities to reduce the number of accounts, and to ensure that each open account is aligned with your own goals, and funded sufficiently to reach them.