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Focus On What Matters AND What You Can Control

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In recent years we’ve learned that as a team we really appreciate a one-page, succinct summary of an investment idea or economic commentary. To that end, we’ve been working on creating our own infographic “one-pagers” to explain complex topics in our industry. One of the most recent examples is in regard to your financial plan. There are three categories of things we discuss when reviewing your financial plan:

  1. Things you can control
  2. Scenarios that may affect your financial outcome, but that we have no control over
  3. Strategies that we can assist with to improve your financial outcomes

My hope is that you spend your energy focusing on the things you can control. Have us stress test your plan when it comes to things we can’t control (it’s pretty comforting to know even if tax rates rise by 20% that you’ll be okay). Finally, allow us to assist you in executing efficient planning and investing strategies to help you meet your financial goals. 

The beauty of a personalized, comprehensive financial plan is that you get to decide what the priorities are. There are a multitude of levers that we can pull to help you achieve your financial goals—but you control which options are non-starters, and what things you are willing to sacrifice. We are here to help and guide you as you prioritize your goals and your choices. 

It basically comes down to four things that only you have the power to control. 

Things you can control:

  1. Save and invest more now and/or in the future
  2. Be willing to accept volatility in your portfolio to achieve higher investment returns over time (at least historically)
  3. Plan to spend less in the future (adjust future goals)
  4. Work longer/retire at a later age

Things we cannot control: 

  • The age at which you die
  • Changes in Social Security benefits
  • The rate of inflation
  • Stock & bond market returns
  • Income tax rates
  • The cost of health care
  • The political party in power
  • Winning the lottery or receiving an inheritance

There are strategies that we can help you implement throughout your life (both pre-retirement and post-retirement) that improve the likelihood of success in attaining your financial goals. This is where we add value to your life with our tools, team and expertise.

Throughout your life:

  • Investing efficiently for your risk tolerance, not just your age
  • Asset location, to minimize investment taxes
  • Tax-free real estate exchanges (1031)
  • Roth conversion strategies to minimize taxes over your lifetime
  • Tax-efficient estate and beneficiary planning
  • Charitable giving strategies to maximize tax benefits and giving impact


  • Directing contributions efficiently to investment/retirement accounts
  • Tax diversification (pre-tax, tax-free, and non-tax-sheltered)
  • Helping you choose the optimal age at which to retire
  • Projecting cash incomes and outflows in retirement


  • Social Security benefit claiming strategies related to your unique income and assets
  • Tax efficient distribution plans from investment accounts
  • Consideration of relocation to a low-tax state
  • Dynamic spending strategies (safe-withdrawal rate adjustments over time)
  • Retire from land-lording duties through tax-free real estate exchanges (1031) into truly passive rental income

Let's have a discussion about how you'd like to prioritize the things you can control, and then what strategies you'd like us to discuss and implement on your behalf. We'd love to have an engaging, interactive, impactful planning discussion to help get you where you want to be.