Financial Planning

Some of life’s financial events are planned. Some are surprises. No matter the event, you may not have the time, desire, or expertise to bring all of the pieces of your financial life together. Instead, you may benefit from the objective, third-party perspective of a financial advisor on what are often emotional, difficult decisions.

But not all advisors are created equal. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional has met rigorous educational and experience requirements, and is held to high ethical standards. Consequently, only 17% of all financial advisors hold the CFP ® mark of distinction.

Financial planning typically focuses on these major areas:

  • Cash flow analysis & budget planning
  • Insurance planning
  • Employee benefits planning
  • Investment planning
  • Income tax planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Estate planning

In six steps, we address these topics to help you stay focused and follow through on improving your life. Here’s how we do it.

  • 1. Form the Foundation

    The purpose of setting goals is to form the foundation of planning itself–to begin the life journey with the clarification of a destination. But too many people begin with no specific goals in mind, or instead, their goals are whatever so-called conventional wisdom has taught them. Your life goals might be different. The purpose of money must follow the purpose of your life.

  • 2. Gather the Facts

    How you answer questions related to your goals, time horizon, attitude toward risk, and other questions about your life, your values, your money, and your family, helps VanTrust recommend sensible solutions and personalized strategies. The data gathered can change from event to event. Retirement, marriage, and college, for example, may require different questions and different data.

  • 3. Study Your Status

    The data we gather helps us to arrive at some basic assumptions. These may include personal assumptions such as retirement age, projected life expectancy, income requirements, risk tolerance and time horizon. We also consider financial assumptions such as inflation, taxes, and expected investment returns. As we evaluate your situation, these assumptions help us determine what must be done to achieve your goals.

  • 4. Present our Recommendations

    After gathering your data, VanTrust develops and presents our financial planning recommendations that meet your objectives in a way that is easy for you to understand. We help you make sense of our recommendations and allow you to make informed decisions now, and in the future should changes occur. We’re also not afraid to tell you when the best recommendation is to do nothing at all.

  • 5. Set Your Course

    Put your plan to work! As simple as this sounds, it’s not. Many people find that implementing a plan is the most difficult step in financial planning. It takes discipline and desire to put into action. Getting started is the most important aspect of success. Perhaps instead of jumping into something too challenging, too fast, your strategy should first be slow and achievable. We can help you with this.

  • 6. Stay on Track

    Life evolves and changes. Before you know it there is a marriage, a birth of a child, college, career changes and more. Once a plan is created, it’s history. This is why the plan needs to be monitored and adjusted from time to time. Then there are financial events beyond your control like tax law changes, increased inflation, stock market losses and economic recessions. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can offer support and a fresh perspective on how to react to these events.

Investment Management

Like other investors, you may often feel unsure about what you want from professional advice. Some investors express a desire for greater stability. Others seek assurances about meeting their life goals, and many are just looking for a second opinion. If this describes one of your motivations, we hope that you will consider contacting VanTrust for our expertise in financial industry knowledge, leading-edge investment strategies and investment management solutions.

Because we want you to feel comfortable with us, please explore below our disciplined approach to investing and its process to help you achieve your goals.

A Word about Diversification

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. We’re not certain of the origin of this piece of advice but it could not be more appropriate for managing your investments. It basically says you should not concentrate all your effort and resources in one area as you could suffer a loss. Another way to say this is diversification. At VanTrust, we are steadfast in our commitment to this concept when it comes to managing your investments. Few things will set you back quicker than market timing and over-concentration in a single investment style.

Individual asset classes go in and out of favor over time. Conversely, when some investors try to build their own portfolios, they sometimes dismiss asset classes that can be highly effective in providing diversification and smoothing returns.

Our Investment Philosophy
  • Asset Allocation

    Research shows that this important first step accounts for the majority of the variation in a portfolio’s return. Working with VanTrust, we allocate holdings among the broad asset classes such as stocks, bonds and cash that you can live with long-term and has the potential to meet your objectives.

  • Portfolio Construction Levels

    We believe that diversification within the broad asset classes can increase the stability of the portfolio. We employ multiple levels of asset diversification, designed to optimize return while managing risk.

  • Professional Management

    Often an investor lacks the time, expertise or the inclination to manage the portfolio. In these situations, the investor should consider utilizing professional money managers.  These managers are given specific asset management assignments. Managers are monitored carefully and changed when necessary to enhance consistency and potentially lower volatility.

  • Tax Management

    Smart investing includes techniques to help you keep more of what you’ve earned. If not managed carefully, taxes can reduce your after-tax return by up to 60%.

    However, it is essential to recognize that an economic return is of primary importance and income tax considerations are not the major determinant in investment decisions.

  • Continuous Portfolio Management

    Market movements can cause asset allocations to change from their targeted positions.  A regular rebalancing of the asset mix will keep the portfolio on the right course.  A portfolio should also be adjusted depending on whether the economy is in expansion or recovery, under stress or contraction.

You can build a powerful portfolio with VanTrust.

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