An Expert's Tips to Achieving Financial Wellness

While addressing physical wellness is far more conventional, the new year offers a unique opportunity to consider financial wellness, too. And no matter your life stage, it’s an essential exercise that warrants an expert’s guidance.

Enter Volume 9 Member, Aspen Wealth Management, a fee-only, non-commission wealth management firm dedicated to creating ultra-personalized financial plans. Armed with a vision of each client’s future, the Aspen Wealth Management team faciliates open, honest communication to chart a unique course of action. A goal without a plan is just a wish, after all. And the Fort Worth based firm offers a variety of planning services, from investment management to tax planning, exit planning to retirement planning, and more.

To help set us on the right course, we chatted with Jim Davis, CFP®, Senior Wealth Advisor at Volume 9’s Aspen Wealth Management. From tips to setting financial “resolutions” to barometers for financial wellness, Mr. Davis shared a wealth of knowledge.

The Scout Guide Fort Worth: What are your tips for setting financial resolutions?
Jim Davis: A key element in any sound financial plan is understanding the difference between where you are today versus where you want to be tomorrow. For some goals may be specific, like funding a big trip or purchasing a new home. Others might be more continuous, like never running out of money or traveling throughout retirement. When you sit down to write out your goals — however short or long-term they may be — start with a strong understanding of your current financial position. This is helpful in creating a tangible roadmap to the things you want to accomplish or experience throughout your lifetime.

The Scout Guide Fort Worth: What are your tips for keeping to financial resolutions?
Jim Davis: There’s an old saying that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Or, in other words, to simply set a goal is insufficient. To be achieved, a goal must be accompanied by a roadmap. At Aspen Wealth Management, we build a client’s financial plan around their goals – like paying for college, retiring early, selling a business, etc. Then, we do our best to quantify what it will take to achieve those things in specific, tangible, and tax-efficient ways. Is it through savings? Through investments? Through tax planning? The answer will likely involve a combination of strategies, and every client’s roadmap is – and should be – uniquely their own. We also take into account the goal’s time frame. The shorter the time frame, the clearer you should be on the action items.

The Scout Guide Fort Worth: What are barometers of financial “wellness” that readers should be aware of?
Jim Davis: While it’s difficult to quantify financial wellness, our team monitors several markers to ensure a client’s financial plan remains successful. Those markers include a client’s savings rate, debt-to-income ratio, tax efficiency, and the like. From there, we evaluate how assets are positioned across investments and what “tax buckets” (e.g. taxable non-retirement accounts, tax-deferred accounts, and tax-free accounts) a client might hold. Typically, the challenge for clients is not understanding the importance of these barometers, but knowing how to make these components work together to achieve their goals.

The Scout Guide Fort Worth: How does Aspen Wealth Management help clients achieve their financial goals?
Jim Davis: Aspen Wealth Management exists to help clients navigate the financial, emotional, and technical complexities of managing wealth. We start each client engagement with a comprehensive financial plan that encompasses every aspect of their financial lives, from retirement planning to investment management, asset allocation to estate planning. This helps clients understand exactly where they are in the present, so they can feel confident, prepared, and empowered about their financial future.

The Scout Guide Fort Worth: How do you help clients navigate life’s uncontrollable elements?
Jim Davis: We also understand that there are things we can and can’t control. While we can’t control the markets, we can make decisions that meaningfully impact our clients’ lives over both the short and long-term. What separates Aspen Wealth Management as a firm is how we focus these key variables (e.g., ongoing tax planning, asset location positioning, tax-efficient retirement withdrawal strategies, maximizing benefits, etc.), to ensure our clients are continually doing everything in their power to improve their financial well-being over time, regardless of market conditions.

Ultimately, we take great pride in being a fee-only firm, which means we do not work on commissions. This model – in our belief – minimizes conflicts and ensures that we always act as fiduciaries for our clients. Furthermore, all advisors at Aspen Wealth Management operate as CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, which means we have each met extensive training and experience requirements and are committed to always putting out clients’ interests first.

Aspen Wealth Management is uniquely positioned to widows & divorcees, successful professionals, emerging retirees, and small business owners. To learn more about their wealth management and financial planning services, inquire here. And don’t forget to tell them Scout sent you!