A Roadmap for The Year Ahead

One of the most common questions we hear from new clients is this:

“How often will I hear from you?”

At The Bahnsen Group, that question is easy to answer. In some form or another, you will hear from us every day. We take pride in our proactivity when it comes to communication. You’ll hear from us systematically in all the following ways:

  • DC Today: A daily missive of the latest and most relevant market information & insights. Written and Podcast forms.
  • Dividend Café: A more detailed ad hoc market perspective with evergreen truths and principles posted every Friday.
  • Weekly Portfolio Holdings Report: client-only email sent every Wednesday covering recent investment activity and valuable insights on our portfolio.
  • Other TBG Advisor Content: Yours Truly (C-Suite), Thoughts on Money, Alt Blend, and Fiscal Feminist.

The above communication is vital in this industry. We want clients to review such content and reach out with questions. We are always available to respond to emails or jump on a call. That is our job; the more we communicate with clients, the better.

“But how else will I hear from you?”

As a client of The Bahnsen Group, you can expect to hear from us in two other major ways:

  • Client touch points: Consider this a check-in. We’ll ask if there’s anything top of mind that you would like to address.
  • Review meetings: Some clients prefer to meet once per year for a full review of their investments, and others like to meet twice per year. We will follow your lead on this.

Knowing that we will proactively reach out to schedule annual (& semi-annual) meetings is a big value add for our executive clients. There is enough to worry about at work and at home – we will worry about getting you on our calendar.

But don’t get the idea that our clients are restricted to seeing us only twice a year – of course not! Life changes, and sometimes it is appropriate to schedule additional meetings to discuss.

Speaking of lives changing, much has changed in 2022 for our C-Suite clients. It has been a difficult year for all investors (ours included), even though our bread-and-butter portfolio is positive for the year. We want to hear from our clients when they are nervous and when they are pleased. Behavioral management is one of the most important aspects of financial planning.

2022 has been more challenging in other ways for our C-Suite clients as well. Many are traveling quite a bit after a two-year hiatus (pent-up demand). Because of their busier schedules, many prefer that we provide a roadmap for the year ahead, schedule such meetings in advance, and prepare a brief proposed agenda for each meeting. What would a full year of meetings look like?

You’ll notice we mention the “Parking Lot List” in the sample schedule provided below. What’s a “Parking Lot List?” The first thing to note is that we are comprehensive planners. Investment management is vital, but there are many other areas of client service that require expertise and attention. Often in our meetings with clients, a specific to-do item arises, but it is not the highest priority at the current moment. An example might be a review of estate planning documents or a tax planning review. We track those items on our Parking Lot List. Thinking of an actual parking lot, the cars in the front row are today’s priority, and the cars further back are still important but not presently urgent. Both sets of cars are important, and we want to oversee implementation at the appropriate time with polite persistence. It is our job not to lose track of these items and to proactively communicate with our clients how and when to make a dent in the list.

In our Fall/Winter yearend meetings, we add the Parking Lot list at the bottom of the agenda. At the end of the meeting, we ask our clients to select two to three items from the list that they have the capacity and desire to tackle in the year ahead. Once a few parking lot items are selected, our meeting summary paints the picture for the meetings to come in the year ahead.

A Roadmap for the Year Ahead

Spring Meeting:

  • Investment Review
    • The conversation includes: account performance, portfolio changes from book-wide rebalance, macro allocation overview, portfolio income, and investment strategies with upcoming account contributions via exercised options.
  • Monitor and update the financial plan
  • Parking Lot List item – Estate Planning
  • Add new items to the Parking Lot List for the year ahead
    • Added this year: Tax Planning

Next two to three meetings (Spring & Summer Months):

  • Attorney introduction
  • Estate Plan drafting meeting
  • Implementation – signing and then titling/beneficiary changes
  • We are involved here from start to finish.

Summer/Fall:

  • Many of our C-Suite clients have permanent life insurance and annuity policies in place.
    • We take time to review policies in detail, compare current values to as-issued original values, and use the financial model to demonstrate the long-term plan for the policy.
  • Make an introduction to our in-house CPA and review the last two years of tax returns.
  • Any items to add to the parking lot list.

Next Discussion: review proposal/engagement letter from CPA and determine the best next steps for current year tax planning

Annual Review Fall / Winter:

  • Comprehensive Investment Review
  • Charitable giving strategies via a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)
  • Tax-loss harvesting opportunities, if applicable
  • Benefits enrollment window
  • Review of Stock Options, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), and Performance Stock Units (PSUs)
  • Every two years – review of existing estate planning representatives selected: Health Care Directive, Power of Attorney, Guardian, etc.
  • Look ahead to the upcoming year with an in-depth review of the Parking Lot List.

All private wealth advisors at The Bahnsen Group take a comprehensive approach to serve TBG clients. Clients of TBG know that they have a one-stop financial shop right at their fingertips. Sounds a bit corny, but it’s the truth. Our services cover charitable strategies, estate planning, risk management (life, disability, annuities), financial organization and modeling, investment solutions, behavioral management, and tax efficiency/tax return services.

Clients can become alarmed in challenging markets. We know behavioral self-management is a critical element of investing success. We help clients maintain thoughtful alignment between their expectations for performance in each asset class against what is happening in a challenging market. Proactively providing market feedback through the communications mentioned above is aimed explicitly at behavioral self-management so that clients may enjoy an emotionally calmer ride and do what is best – stick to the long-term plan.

If your current advisor fails to reach out proactively or lacks the skillset to take a comprehensive approach to your financial world, please do reach out. We would love to paint the picture for your family, specifically on what it feels like to be a client of The Bahnsen Group.

Stoddard Barnhill, CFP®
sbarnhill@thebahnsengroup.com

Sarah Leitzke, CFP®
sleitzke@thebahnsengroup.com

Phillip Barnhill, CLU®
pbarnhill@thebahnsengroup.com

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The Bahnsen Group is registered with Hightower Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Securities are offered through Hightower Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Hightower Advisors, LLC.

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About the Authors

Stoddard Barnhill, CFP®

Private Wealth Advisor

Sarah Leitzke, CFP®

Private Wealth Advisor

Phil Barnhill, CLU®

Director of Risk Management

For nearly 25 years Phil has worked exclusively with senior leaders of public and large private companies. Over the past seven years Stoddard has been carefully mentored in this niche market and is now mentoring Sarah, leading to a highly-specialized practice knowledge within the team. This focus on corporate executives and their family dynamics comes with significant insights into executive compensation, stock concentration, equity monetization, and the full life-cycle of a career in the C-Suite.

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