Just Getting Started

Case Study #1

The Challenge

Our client, age 30, is a geologist at a major oil company.  He spent the last few years paying down his student loan debt and now had some extra cash in the bank.  He liked the idea of investing but was very afraid of getting in at the wrong time or buying the wrong stocks.  He’d seen way too many of his friends and family get caught up in stocks only to have a 2008 or dotcom meltdown happen and lose more than they started with.  Also he was anticipating getting married, buying a house and starting a family in the next few years so he wanted guidance on several fronts.  He called a couple wealth managers that his parents recommended but didn’t meet their minimum account requirements.  Plus he didn’t want to be the smallest client at a big firm.  So he came to us for help.

Our Strategy

To start, we spent time listening to his goals and concerns, both short term and long term.  We asked him where he wanted to be in 10 years, 20 years and much farther out in the future.  Together, we looked at his current financial picture, including his income and spending, 401k plan, savings accounts and other interests.  We worked together figuring out his ability to take on risk and used that to agree on how his investments should be structured going forward.  Then we put all that into a plan that included clear action steps and target dates. That way we could help keep him accountable to his own goals.

Then, we helped him invest his money in a way that matched his goals.  We explained that our use of low-cost ETFs helps him keep more of his money working for him.  Since he’s young, that can make a huge difference going forward.  We also recommended several adjustments to his 401k plan investments to better control risk.

Between our regularly scheduled meetings, we heard from him as he was buying his first house, and we helped provide a second opinion on the range of home price that made the most sense.  We also answered questions and helped him decide on the type of mortgage that would work best.

The End Result

Our client now feels the peace of mind you get from having your own customized financial plan.  With the plan to refer to, he always knows if he is on track to accomplish his goals.  With that knowledge he finds himself saving more than ever and feeling confident about the future.  And with quarterly virtual meetings, we’re always addressing what’s next and how to continue making his financial situation better.

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  • Uncertainty about investing
  • Prioritizing competing savings goals


  • Peace of mind, confidence
  • Clarity on his path to the future