Connecting the Dots on Your Financial Plan

Carin P. Roman, CFP®

Wealth Advisor


Wealth Advisor Carin P. Roman CFP® shares how Mercer Advisors connects the dots on your financial plan.

Man with glasses looking at paperwork.

Consider your comprehensive wealth management plan as the blueprint for the future you’d like to construct. You’ll need to weigh logistics, technical details, measurements, materials, and scenarios, just as an architect draws up plans to create a sound structure. To go from concept to groundbreaking to move-in day requires ample effort and the expertise of many people, as well as a seemingly endless series of decisions. Connecting your plan’s components—including details of your risk tolerance, investments, spending and savings, insurance policies, employee benefits, retirement projections, taxes, and estate planning—can help ensure that you achieve your long-term goals.

It’s nearly impossible to make consistently good financial planning decisions when you consider each decision individually, out of context, or without relative prioritization. Further, a successful wealth plan also weighs both quantitative and qualitative factors, including one’s emotional perspective and level of discipline.

A consistent, long-term relationship with your wealth advisor can help you thrive on your financial planning journey. There are times, though, when you may need to stick to the “hard path,” and, in those moments, your advisors can help you stay motivated and make prudent decisions that reflect your financial goals. Saving is not always easy; it’s hard to resist desires for those trendy shoes, weekly date nights at that fancy restaurant, a luxury vacation, or even a gourmet cupcake (hey, vices come in all shapes and sizes). Sometimes it’s easier to spend money now, even if your priorities necessitate saving. However, knowing why you’re saying no to short-term expenses, opportunities, or lifestyle choices is highly conducive to long-term success. Your advisor can be a friendly guide, helping you stay accountable to your goals.


The Mercer Advisors difference

Your client experience at Mercer Advisors likely differs from client experiences at many other registered investment advisor (RIA) firms or broker-dealers. Ultimately, our goal is to forge a long-lasting relationship with you. That means your advisor will get to know you and your relationship with money, helping you explore your financial motivations on a deep level.

At Mercer Advisors, we pride ourselves on a comprehensive, personal, and customized experience. This experience evolves alongside your needs as you navigate life choices impacting your finances, such as marriage, a home purchase, career changes, education planning, retirement, or estate planning.

What’s more, you are supported by others, in addition to your advisor. Your wealth advisor coordinates between teams at Mercer Advisors (e.g., specialists in taxes, estate planning, insurance, investment management, corporate trusts, or ultra-high-net-worth needs), creating an integrated experience based on your situation. Your advisor may evaluate savings strategies and tax projections with the wealth management team, explore asset allocation and portfolio customization with the Investment Strategy Group, or consult with our insurance team to evaluate your policies and coverage. Most of this work is performed behind the scenes, so you may never know how many hours we spend informing ourselves and bringing you our best ideas to support your financial journey.

For example, I have a client who, moving their residency from one state to another, wondered how they should handle their 529 plan accounts and contributions. Did it make “tax sense” to roll over 529 assets from their old state to their new state? Would there be tax-recapture provisions? Should they make 529 contributions in their new state? The Mercer Advisors tax team researched tax rules in the two states and made recommendations both on the rollover and the contributions, ensuring that the client could maximize their tax benefit.


The new-client experience

Our goal is to be as collaborative as possible. That means that, within your first 90 days as a new client, you’ll likely meet with your wealth advisor two to four times. During these initial meetings, your advisor will gather data, ask you about your goals, assess your overall financial situation, and determine the highest financial planning priorities with you. These conversations are meant to be educational as we create an informed environment, clarifying our recommendations and moving toward implementation.


The long-term client experience

After your initial 90 days as a client, you’ll have quarterly calls or meetings with your advisor to address your evolving needs, goals, and preferences; discuss questions; and monitor your plan’s stability and appropriateness. Your advisor may extend the ongoing planning process over two or three quarterly meetings each year, while performing in-depth research and analysis tailored to your specific circumstances and financial plan.

Research can include projections of how financial decisions—such as spending levels, savings strategies, Roth conversions, asset allocation, charitable giving, or acquiring long-term-care insurance—might impact your short-term and long-term taxes, goals, and overall financial stability. In addition, we can run hypothetical stress tests on your portfolio to estimate how recent or pending legislation could impact financial outcomes. We’ll also do ample and ongoing due diligence into investment vehicles suited to your specific goals and investment time horizon. The financial planning journey is meant to help you make informed and priority-conscious decisions on your path to economic freedom.


Topics for meetings with your advisor

Ultimately, the cadence and format of meetings and agendas will be customized to your situation, reflecting how you and your advisor choose to work together. The range of topics can include: 

Wealth planning. Depending on your situation, your advisor may need to check in on your goals, consider long-term projections, analyze comprehensive cash flow, review savings and balance sheets, or evaluate tax projections and charitable planning.

Market and economic discussions. A few times each year, the agenda for conversations with your advisor may include market and economic topics, with the goal of understanding your perspective and conveying how current circumstances relevant to you, your goals, and your financial plan.

Insurance and estate planning. Insurance and estate planning may require ongoing conversations if your situation is more complex, if implementation is incomplete, or if changes are needed.

Ongoing thought leadership. Beyond direct communication with your advisor, Mercer Advisors will also share the monthly Wealth Point newsletter, invitations to educational webinars, and other key insights. The latest webinar, for example, covers updates to required minimum distributions (RMDs) and other retirement plan changes implemented by the SECURE 2.0 Act (if you want a primer on what this is, check out our Knowledge Center). Other quarterly webinars cover topics about the market, while our Chief Investment Officer Donald Calcagni regularly provides forward-thinking economic commentary.

Our mission at Mercer Advisors is to understand your deepest financial motivations and personal goals so we can help you make informed decisions about your future. When we create a comprehensive wealth management plan, we help create the blueprint for a future that is stable, livable, and customized for your goals. Let’s build your future together.

Mercer Advisors Inc. is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc. and is not involved with investment services. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”) is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements.

All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Some of the research and ratings shown in this presentation come from third parties that are not affiliated with Mercer Advisors. The information is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed or warranted by Mercer Advisors. Content, research, tools and stock or option symbols are for educational and illustrative purposes only and do not imply a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell a particular security or to engage in any particular investment strategy. For financial planning advice specific to your circumstances, talk to a qualified professional at Mercer Advisors.

Mercer Advisors is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice to clients. All estate planning document preparation and other legal advice are provided through Advanced Services Law Group, Inc.

Trustee services are offered through select third parties with which a client would engage directly. Mercer Global Advisors has a related insurance agency.

Mercer Advisors Insurance Services, LLC (MAIS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercer Advisors Inc. Employees of Mercer Global Advisors serve as officers of MAIS. MAIS provides individual life, disability, long term care coverage, and property and casualty coverage through various insurance companies. For Mercer Global Advisors clients who wish to purchase insurance products, MAIS has entered into a non-exclusive referral agreement with Strategic Partner(s), where the Strategic Partner will provide necessary services relative to the marketing, placement, and servicing of the insurance products, including without limitation preparing and presenting illustrations, supporting the underwriting process, assisting with the completion and execution of applications, delivering policies, and servicing in-force business. MAIS and the Strategic Partner will be listed as “co-agents” on the policies. While Mercer Global Advisors does not receive a referral fee, MAIS and the Strategic Partner each receives a percentage of the commission revenue. More information about MAIS and our Strategic Partners may be found in our Form ADV 2A.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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