Our Planning Process

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Our Planning Process

Planning builds the foundation for our long-term relationships and provides the framework for making appropriate decisions today. In order to build an investment portfolio, a proper insurance program, or determine a retirement income strategy, we need a comprehensive financial plan that looks at all your goals in concert, matches them to your resources, and takes action accordingly. At Summit, planning isn’t just lip service. We spend meaningful time with clients building the framework for their financial life and making sure our recommendations fit their unique situation.


We begin by asking questions and getting real about the answers.

We start by sitting down, face to face to get real about your goals, understand your dreams, and candidly discuss your current financial situation.

When would you like to retire?
Where would you like to live?
How do you feel about paying for college?
Would you like to travel more in retirement?
What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

These are just a sampling of questions, the answers to which lead to further questions and valuable insight into what is important to you. As financial professionals we feel comfortable understanding the current state of your investments, insurances, debts, etc. – but we can’t read minds! Only when we dig into what really matters to you, can we build the framework for the analysis and recommendations that will put you on the path to achieving your goals.


We dig a little deeper to discover what you really want.

Participants in our planning process often tell us it is more granular than they expected. We dig a little deeper to make sure we understand what is needed to reach your goals. For example:

You say you want to travel more in retirement. Rather than just assigning a travel expense and inflating it for 30 years, we’ll try to determine how you travel today and what it might look like tomorrow. Are you a business class and five-star hotel traveler? Or are you happy in the rented RV at the KOA campground? How much more often will you hit the road when you don’t have to report to work on Mondays? Will you take your kids and grandkids on some of these excursions? Do you have some “bucket list” trips that might skew the expense for a few years before settling into something more “normal” for your lifestyle?

The details around even one item in your retirement plan (like travel) can have a dramatic impact on what it takes for you to be financially independent. We put in the time to build your dreams with you and make sure we have an accurate picture of the life you want to lead.


No plan is ever set in stone.

Planning is a lifelong dynamic process at Summit. Just when it seems you have life figured out, you can count on a curveball from somewhere. Your job may change. You may relocate. You could fall in love with a beach home. A loved one may pass on. The permutations are endless. For clients who choose Summit as their quarterback for the long run, these are the times we live for – to coach you through life’s changes. We leverage technology through your individual client website to keep your plan up to date in real time. That way, when life changes overnight, your advisor can instantly connect with you and help you take action in line with your dreams.

We invite you to experience this process and begin your planning journey. There is power in knowing what it will take to reach your goals and beginning the pursuit of your dreams. As advisors, we aren’t comfortable allocating assets or implementing financial products without first doing this work. As clients, you should insist on someone helping you see the big picture so that your action steps move you confidently toward your goals.

Separate from the financial plan and our role as financial planner, we may recommend the purchase of specific investment or insurance products or accounts. These product recommendations are not part of the financial plan and you are under no obligation to follow them.