October 12th, 2023 marks 1 year since my firm Ruby Pebble Financial Planning LLC was registered as an investment advisory firm in the State of Washington. Happy first birthday to RPFP! I, Jamie, am the sole owner, employee, and financial planner of the firm.
I have been blown away by the interest that I have seen in fee-only financial planning for the LGBTQ community and other folks with non-traditional goals, in the Seattle area and beyond, in this first year in business.
How I work with clients
- All clients start with an initial financial plan project, where we do a thorough deep dive across all areas of your financial planning over the course of 2-4 meetings.
- After the initial financial plan, clients can choose to receive continued support at my hourly rate. The level of support can be adjusted to fit your needs with an ongoing financial planning relationship, with or without investment management, billed quarterly for our prior quarter’s work or hourly projects. I can provide you with a customized quote after the initial plan process.
Reflecting on my clients
- I have worked with 15 folks on initial financial plan projects.
- My average client age is 38 and it is so hard to tie a bow on your financial planning for folks in your 30s and 40s.
- I am honoured to be working with 5 folks on an ongoing basis, which enables us to implement, monitor, and chat about their financial plan, one bite-sized piece at a time.
- My marketing around non-traditional goals has landed differently with so many folks, in particular around half of my clients are childfree, like me.
- Some folks want to manage their own investments with my advice, while some folks would prefer for me to manage the investments for them, and I’m happy to work either way.
- The highlight of my week is my client meetings and I spend a lot of them smiling and laughing with the wonderful, funny, smart, cool, and intentional people I am working with.
What have I helped clients with this year?
- Get financially organized and on the same page with their partner, if they have one.
- Visualized their cash flow.
- Establish an emergency fund.
- Develop a monthly spending target.
- Develop a savings order of operations.
- Pay off their student loans in full or make a plan to do so in the next few years.
- Re-evaluate cash flow as their income goes up and/or down.
- Discuss possible methods of paying for college.
- Visualize what a possible retirement trajectory could look like.
- Compare buying a home versus renting and visualize the impact of varying home prices and down payments.
- Discuss strategies for managing finances as a couple, including financial pros and cons of getting married.
- Roll a Traditional IRA into their current 401(k) so we can do Backdoor Roth IRA contributions.
- Invest for the first time outside of their 401(k), in an IRA and/or a taxable investment account.
- Increase 401(k) contributions. (And sometimes decrease!)
- Invest their Health Savings Account contributions instead of holding the funds in cash.
- Develop a plan to diversify from a large employer stock position.
- Align their investments with their values, time horizon, and risk tolerance.
- Recommended investment account options they didn’t know about.
- Re-evaluate filing their income taxes jointly or separately with their spouse to save money.
- Increase withholding on future vesting Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) to hopefully reduce large income tax bills going forward.
- Set up a payment plan for a prior year income tax bill to better manage cash flow.
- Evaluate which stock options to exercise and when.
- Verify that IRA contributions are properly documented on their tax return.
- Apply for life and/or disability insurance outside of work.
- Acquire umbrella insurance and increase liability limits on their auto and homeowner’s/renter’s insurance.
- Evaluate the benefit of existing insurances and consider if it makes sense to keep or cancel.
- Evaluate which health insurance plan it makes sense to use.
- Encourage them to develop an estate plan.
- Review beneficiaries listed on their various accounts and confirm they’re aligned with their wishes.
- Review work insurance coverage for gender affirming care surgeries.
Reflecting on being self-employed over the last year
- I really love the work that I am doing. Financial planning is a wonderful mix of technical work and authentically connecting with other humans on a deep level, much more so than my prior career as a software engineer.
- I truly believe that I was meant to be self-employed, though I did not realize that until I started this venture.
- There is so much more to running a business than I realized before I decided to do this.
- Technology really makes running your own small business much easier, especially online calendaring and investment management software.
- I have started to lean into the fact that I create the rules, though my spouse does have to remind me of this regularly, which some days looks like starting work at 7am, some days 11am or 1pm, and some days finishing work at 9pm, though usually I start sometime around 9am and finish by 5-6pm.
- The financial planning community is truly a space of abundance and incredible people.
- My business is cash flow positive and I have started to pay myself a bit.
- Ruby Pebble Financial Planning® is now a federally registered trademark!
Starting a business is not an easy endeavour and for that, I am really grateful for my spouse, his wonderful health insurance, and the heavy savers that our past and current selves have been to afford me the luxury of building an intentional career.
I want to take this moment to thank my family, friends, community, and clients for all of your support over the last year. It has meant so much to me! All of y’all have given me the hope that this dream will work!
I always enjoy having conversations with wonderful, funny, smart, cool, and intentional people, so if you or anyone you know is interested in chatting about your financial planning, please reach out!
Disclaimer: This article is for general information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment, financial, legal, or tax advice. It is not a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security or investment advisory services. Please consult your own legal, financial, and other professionals to determine what may be appropriate for you. Opinions expressed are as of the date of publication, and such opinions are subject to change.