James Mayer:

Hello, my name is James Mayer from the Huffman Mayer Paolo Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. I'd like to tell you a true story about my life today. I've been a financial advisor for 25 years, I've learned quite a bit from my clients and their experiences. For instance, I've learned that in most family, people divide their responsibilities at home. You cook dinner, I'll do the dishes. You mow the lawn, I'll water the flowers, you manage our finances, well, and I won't. To illustrate my point, I'll reference my own parents. My father is in his late 60s and I'm pretty sure he has never written a check, balanced a checkbook, or been involved with doing the taxes and that's okay. That's my parents' arrangement. He mows the lawn, fixes the car, plays golf and does laundry.

I saw this growing up and I assumed it was how things worked. So what did I do? I went out and I married a wonderful woman who is exactly like my father, and it works wonderfully until it doesn't. What if something happened to my mother? What if something happened to me? Which things would slip through the cracks without us? We know where everything is, the passwords, the taxes, investments, life insurance, wills, trusts and most importantly, the bills. If something bad happened, how would they know where to start? Who to call or what to do during one of the most stressful and emotional periods of their lives? So we thought we should build a map that could help people in case they need it and now I'm thinking maybe we can do the same for you. This year we're promoting our financial strategy action plan with our clients.

Financial strategy action plan is a detailed inventory of your current and complete financial situation. We review the details of your family, your children, your grandchildren. We look at your team, including your lawyer, your CPA, insurance agents, and other important advisors that you work with. We document all of your accounts, review your beneficiaries to make sure they are who you want. We also document and review your cashflow, income, debt, as well as your investment risk, style, savings plan and taxes. And the full scope of the action plan often includes a review of life insurance, estate planning documents, real estate, business plans, and other important family matters. But most importantly, we take a look at what happens when you're gone. Now, most people don't want to talk with their children about what their last wishes are, what funeral director they like, or how they would like things to be handled.

Most children don't want to think about life without their parents. I've tried to have this conversation with my wife, and despite her growing up in a funeral home, even she is uncomfortable with it. The question I always go back to is what if you do nothing? In other words, if you have multiple children, there may come a time when one child remembers you saying something about wanting to be buried near your parents, and another child remembers the time you said something completely different. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a clear, concise document that lets your family know your wishes and helps bring clarity in possibly one of the most emotional and stressful points in their lives.

That's why the financial strategy action plan exists. We feel that reviewing this document every year will be a positive exercise for our clients, especially when it can be done with both spouses. But beyond your review, what do you do with the document after it's been updated and reviewed with your spouse? First thing, you tell your children or executor. There is a binder containing this document and it will help them if something ever happens to you. And second, you hope they don't need it for a very long time. If you would like to talk about updating your financial strategy action plan or building one, please give us a call. Thank you for watching our latest video and as always stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy and hopefully, we will see you very soon.