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Case Studies

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Independent Planning

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Story: A family asked us to provide an independent assessment of their overall finances in a comprehensive manner.

Problem: They wanted advice about how they were doing and what they should be doing differently across every aspect of their financial life. The family wanted an arrangement that provided them advice for a fee with no strings attached.

Solution: They wanted to receive advice, explained in a simple and organized fashion, and be able to implement ideas on their own. After gaining an in-depth understanding about them, their goals, and their resources, RFC analyzed their situation as if we were in their shoes and worked to create a plan of action. The family achieved greater understanding and were able to adjust many aspects of their finances to improve their situation.

Result: Upon the completion of our financial planning process, they shared how much of an eye-opening experience it was and how they really didn’t understand their situation as well as they had originally thought.

Small Business Financial Planning

Story: A successful business owner hired us to prepare a comprehensive financial plan for their family and practice.

Problem: Because the owner didn’t have much time to dedicate to this task, they greatly needed our a thorough and organized plan, that didn’t require their attention.

Solution: We were able to identify and share ideas on making the most of their financial resources in ways that were easy to understand and implement. RFC helped ensure that they were preparing smartly for their upcoming and future financial goals. We suggested various risk management strategies for their personal and business finances.

Result: Based on our work, they could make decisions quickly and confidently, understanding that they were taking a logical, consistent approach.

Retirement Planning

Story: A hopeful retiree hired our services to evaluate whether she was on track to retire at 65.

Problem: She had an investment advisor she was satisfied with, but wanted an independent assessment. Her main concerns were whether she had been saving and earning enough to stay ahead of inflation and provide income throughout retirement. She also wanted to understand and create an income plan taking into account Social Security, her employer retirement benefits (401k and pension options), and health care benefits/costs. Having saved her whole life, she was very nervous about transitioning from collecting a paycheck to having her investments generate an income.

Solution: We analyzed her financial situation and generated a comprehensive financial plan that laid out a step-by-step retirement plan. She learned that she could retire at age 65 without worry and possibly even enjoy an improved lifestyle in retirement.

Result: RFC implemented the recommended strategy for her and consolidated her investments. Just as planned, at age 65, she kicked off retirement by fulfilling her life-long dream of a trip to Italy.

Investment Management

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Story: A widow hired RFC for comprehensive financial planning and investment management services.

Problem: Having had no children, her primary concern was having her money generate income and growth to sustain income needs adjusted for cost of living/inflation. Prior to hiring RFC, she handled her investments on her own through accounts held at a large national firm. With a fair amount of investment knowledge, she drilled the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals at RFC with questions and analysis until finally realizing she was in good hands.

Solution: We implemented a consolidated investment strategy, created a simpler way for her to view her accounts, and provided easy access to CFP® professionals and helpful staff members.

Result: Through a variety of independent institutional investment managers and other investment strategies and tools, she now has a well-balanced investment strategy. RFC continually monitors and provides active investment management for her accounts and notifies her directly when updates or changes are needed.

University Fidelity & TIAA CREF Accounts

Story: A University of Michigan employee requested a complimentary initial consultation to evaluate her University of Michigan benefits and retirement 403(b), 401(a), and 457(b) plans.

Problem: We discovered that she was not aware of some major limitations with a specific investment option within the TIAA CREF accounts. She had been allocating a majority of her retirement contributions into the TIAA Traditional Account, which only offers restrictive withdrawals, even after retirement, no matter what age.

Solution: Since RFC has University faculty, staff, and employees as clients, we had the documents on hand to assist her. We notified her HR department to adjust her retirement contributions.

Result: We developed an investment strategy and implemented it, initiating the transfer and consolidation of her TIAA CREF accounts over time into her Fidelity retirement accounts, which RFC actively manages. She also wanted a financial advisory firm that knew the details of her employer retirement plan but could also continue helping her with these accounts and other investments if and when she left this employer. RFC continually monitors and provides active investment management for her accounts.

Risk Management

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Story: A new client asked why his annual life insurance cost continued to increase over the past few years. It was getting difficult for him to afford the cost, but he still wanted to keep his coverage.

Problem: We discovered that his policy, and its past fixed cost structure, had matured. His costs had increased each year since maturity and would continue to rise annually for the length of coverage.

Solution: We determined that he needed to keep the amount of his insurance in place to provide for his wife, and that his current health prevented us from working with many insurance companies.

Result: Through diligence and communication with various insurance company underwriters, we were able to secure a new policy with a lower annual fixed cost for the length of his coverage.

Socially and Morally Responsible Investing

Story:A couple came to us who were concerned about their investment’s financial return, and about making a positive impact on society through their investment dollars.
The couple was very intent on making their money not only work for them, but work for social betterment.

Problem: The client wasn’t sure how to know if their investments were simultaneously meeting their financial return, and social impact goals.

Solution: By using our screening tools to eliminate companies that were not in-line with their values, the client was given conclusive guidance for how to allocate their investment.

Categories that the couple wanted to include were big promoters of environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights, and diversity. Conversely, company categories they wanted to avoid were: fossil fuel production, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, contraception, abortion, pornography and weapons.

Result: We were able to implement and continue to monitor the client’s ideal investment portfolio. It is comprised of investments that support their values, desire to better the world, and at the same time helps them stay the course for their retirement planning.

College Planning Case Study

Story: A couple who had two young elementary aged children and hadn’t saved anything for their college yet, came to us for help. They were worried about not having college savings for their children when the time came, and letting their children drown in student debt post-college. The couple was thinking about tapping into their 401k retirement accounts instead of a setting up a college fund.

Solution: Fortunately, the couple came in for a second opinion. We showed them how they can balance funding college without running the risk of not funding their retirement goals.

Result: We were able to help them navigate how to save for both college and retirement in the most efficient manner.

Estate & Legacy Planning

Story: The phrase “estate and legacy planning” often triggers images of the richest in the world passing their wealth while incurring the least amount of taxes possible. That is the picture that one of our clients had in mind when they asked us about estate and legacy planning.

Our client wondered if estate and legacy planning was not for them because they didn’t have millions of dollars. We were able to show them why this is a common misconception, and that estate planning is a much needed process for anyone.

Solution: We explored estate planning that would save their loved ones’ time, money and hassle in the future. We discussed having a will, power of attorney and a type of trust if needed.

Result: We set up legacy documents for our client. This will protect them and their loved ones from unnecessary and unintended consequences when the client is no longer present. The client left knowing that estate and legacy planning is much more than passing on wealth and saving taxes. It is how you pass on your legacy to the ones you love while possibly saving in taxes and administration costs.

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