Our Financial Planning Philosophy

Let’s start with Investment philosophy, not because it’s the most important area but because it’s one of the most common questions that I get asked first. Please also continue on to the other sections as they are just as important.
Investments – low fees; high value: whether you have a portfolio or not, we will establish and define one based on your goals. We will also help you make regular investment decisions. We utilize low cost Exchange Traded Funds for the majority of portfolios which means lower fees for you. We do not profess to “beat the market”.
We also have the ability to buy and sell individual securities. Of course, you can do this on your own, but we will help you to stay objective throughout the emotional rides of the financial markets. When the stock market is down and without the right asset allocation and support to suit their nature, people will panic and sell. It’s neither right nor wrong; it’s just human nature.
We’ll guide you on which investments to hold, together with the allocations you should hold. Most importantly, we will help you to avoid the human behavioral tendencies that cause people to miss 8-12% returns averaged by the stock market over longer periods of time.

Objective investment advice – a case study:

Here’s a humbling story from the 2008 crash. Take Tom (not his real name); 65 and in retirement, living on his money when the stock and bond markets took a dive. After months of extreme volatility, Tom gives up and sells his investment positions. Tom has been in Certificates of Deposit (CD) investments ever since. Worse still, he had to pick up a job to supplement his income, and of course the investment world has more than recovered. The loss of returns has had a detrimental effect on Tom’s quality of life. He certainly didn’t expect to be working in his 60s.

Tom’s scenario is common and is, most likely, the cause of a bad analysis of risk. You see, Tom really has three types of risk tolerances: his perceived risk, his actual capacity for risk, and his spoken risk (or what he tells you his risk tolerance is.)

Most risk analysis assessments want you to give them a risk tolerance – even though you may not really know yourself – so that they can put you in “suitable” investments and move on.

At Maxwell Wealth Planning, we put your interests first. We undergo a true risk assessment for you and your specific situation. It is equally essential to evaluate what your capacity for risk is AND educate you on the risks and rewards. By doing so, only then will you truly understand what the risks are, which helps us to define your financial plan accordingly. (You’ll also get to learn about your three risk tolerances).

Better Cash flow planning: How much do you really need to retire, based on your specific circumstances and spending habits. Realistically, it’s going to be more than you think given the likelihood of higher taxes and job volatility. But how much more? Because we see the value in longer term relationships with our clients, we can work together with you collaborating to match, and exceed, your expectations. A broker is not likely to have the expertise, ability or frankly, inclination, to spend time with you on these issues.
Minimizing Risk Management: What is a realistic amount of insurance coverage to you? Some insurance is necessary, some isn’t. By working together, we’ll understand what’s important to you – and what isn’t! You can be assured that our views are objective – we will not sell any products i.e. insurance.
Taxation insights and knowledge: having worked in the Tax Financial Education practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers as only one of three certified financial planners, we can bring real insight and value in delivering a one-stop tax shop, evaluating and preparing your tax returns.
Efficient Estate Planning: Based on our partnership, we will make recommendations based on your specific situation, acting as your advocate in estate planning discussions with Attorneys. This helps to ensure that you are financially covered where you need to be; we can ensure that you won’t pay for unnecessary work.

Neil is tied to the Fiduciary Standard, a financial reform which means we put you first. Neil is also insurance licensed, although he has not sold insurance to 80% of his current clients. Once clients understand our philosophy, they see great value in having an adviser who has the training and expertise to go to the insurance marketplace and make sure that clients get something that is in their best interest. Neil also completes tax returns for certain clients.