Fee-Based Financial Planning
Ensure your goals and unique financial needs are prioritized and planned with the expertise of a credentialed fee-based financial planner.
Fee-Based Financial Planning
When you want a financial plan developed with your goals and interests put above all else, it’s a good time to engage a fee-based financial planner.
Fee-based financial planners design unique personal financial plans and are compensated for their time and expertise. Under this fee structure, the planner is a fiduciary and has a legal and moral responsibility to place your interests first.
Of course, your planner’s role goes beyond just providing expert guidance in the creation of your financial plan. A fee-based planner can also help you with the implementation of your plan through a combination of appropriate and innovative insurance, brokerage, advisory and/or private client platform solutions.
In the end, your planner is paid to work with you to make sure your financial needs are met with care, with expertise and with an understanding of your unique circumstances and individual goals. Together, you will agree on the appropriate fee structure based upon those needs and the specific services required.
Making great decisions about your wealth, whether you are deciding to grow it, protect it or both, starts with sound thinking – thinking that makes sense. Here’s how our thinking starts when it comes to helping you make important financial decisions.
The Planning Process
With financial independence, family legacy and social capital solutions in place, wealth optimization becomes the focus of the planning process. Your planner will use a unique and disciplined values-based approach to help you make wise choices and to help ensure that your plan is focusing on what you value.
The planning process consists of four quadrants or phases, each one representing one planning cycle: Discovery, Creative Solutions, Strategy Deployment, and Results Management.
- Discovery: Identify and think about the problem. The first phase begins by thinking clearly about the problem. This is called the Discovery phase, and this is where clarity on your goals is achieved and planning gaps are identified.
- Creative Solutions: Think about the solution. The second phase is the Creative Solutions phase, in which you think clearly about the solutions and make decisions regarding closing the planning gaps.
- Strategy Deployment: Implement the solution. The third phase is the Strategy Deployment phase, in which you implement the solution that helps you achieve your desired results.
- Results Management: Manage the results. The final phase is the Results Management phase; we establish a plan to manage and implement the results. This assures that you have confidence your plan will work over time.
Working with a knowledgeable and experienced planner who has access to current technologies and a thorough understanding of tax rules and financial planning techniques is important. Working with an advisor who takes the time to understand your unique desires and goals is critical.
Your planner will take the time to help you make that assessment, develop a plan that works for you and provide you with the tools and strategies necessary to successfully implement that plan.
A personalized wealth management strategy is necessary to sustain and grow your long-term wealth, meet your financial goals and align your comfort with market risks along the way
Our wealth management services go above and beyond what you might expect from a financial services provider. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company offers:
Investment advisory services, designed to:
- Provide high-quality investment services and products.
- Build and monitor diversified portfolios.
- Develop objective, personalized plans.
- Focus on long-term results.
Trust services and partnerships, designed to:
- Provide continuity of stewardship that can last multiple generations.
- Preserve family harmony when carrying out your intentions.
- Carry out detailed record-keeping and accounting.
- Calculate taxes and file returns.
Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company serves as trustee on Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. In addition, through our Trust Alliance Program, we partner with nationally-recognized trust administration firms that offer a broad range of services to revocable trusts, charitable trusts, endowments and foundations.
Online access to your account, so you can review:
- Comprehensive monthly statements.
- Performance reporting.
- Account access on a secure website.
- Current account balances on your investment holdings.
- Detailed transaction records on all accounts.
One of the greatest financial challenges is preparing adequately for retirement. And now more than ever, strategic retirement planning is crucial to help meet your goals.
Now more than ever, retirement planning is critical. Gone are the days when pensions and Social Security provided all of the income you needed for retirement. The new reality is that you are responsible for managing your own retirement, and that starts with making sure you're strategic in your planning.
We can help. At Northwestern Mutual, our approach to retirement planning is designed to help you get to—and through—retirement with a greater level of financial confidence, so you can relax knowing you have a road map to achieve your goals.
You'll want to start by considering how much to save for retirement and where to save it. By accumulating as much as you can as soon as you can, you can put time on your side—time to plan, time to weather the ups and downs of the market and time to let your money grow.
And then, as you zero in on retirement, you'll need a different set of strategies to manage risk and make your money last through retirement.
A will or trust are just one aspect of a broader estate planning strategy necessary to fully protect your family and assets, and build a lasting legacy.
Most people associate the phrase "estate planning" with having a will – a legal document that names your beneficiaries and spells out who gets what when you die. And while the transfer of your assets is an important part of estate planning, a will or a trust is just one aspect of a broader estate planning strategy to ensure your wishes are known, honored and carried out as efficiently as possible when you're no longer able to articulate them.
We work with a team of estate planning experts at Northwestern Mutual. Together, we can help you develop an estate planning strategy that may include the following:
- A strategy to help reduce or eliminate gift/estate taxes for your heirs
- A plan to protect your estate from mismanagement or from claims of creditors or ex-spouses
In addition to the expertise our team can offer, you'll want to work with an estate-planning attorney to establish:
- Health care directives and a living will that specify the extent to which you want health care professionals to treat you if you become ill or incapacitated.
- Powers of attorney that grant people you trust the legal authority to act on your behalf in case of sudden accident or illness.
- A will or trust to ensure your assets are transferred according to your wishes. And Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company can serve as trustee, co-trustee or successor trustee in a wide range of situations.
- The naming of a legal guardian for children under the age of 18.
Risk Management Solutions
When your financial plan includes wealth protection and risk management, you’ll be helping to ensure your family is secure.
Risk Management Solutions
When your financial plan includes wealth protection and risk management, you'll be helping to ensure your family — and your vision for the future — is secure.
We'll work with you to develop strategies to:
- Provide for your family in the event of death.
Life insurance policies can be designed with different needs in mind. They can provide temporary protection, cash accumulation or may be utilized as part of an estate plan. Through our association with Northwestern Mutual, we have access to Northwestern Mutual's high-quality, competitively priced life insurance products, including permanent, term, combination and variable policies.
- Provide for you and your family in the event of a disability.
Disability income insurance helps to protect your most valuable asset, your ability to earn an income. But what if the unexpected happened and you suddenly weren’t able to earn a living because of illness or injury? Not only would you have the stress of meeting everyday living expenses, but you might also have to put other goals, like saving for a child's college or for retirement, on hold.
- Provide for long-term care.
Long-term Care events can have a significant impact on your financial security. Planning for long-term care events can help provide options on how to fund and receive care, should you need it.
Your business is unique, and it takes a personalized business planning approach to help you create, grow and protect your business’s value.
Whether you’re thinking about launching a new business or hoping to expand an existing one, we can help you create, grow and protect your business’s value with comprehensive business planning services.
We’ll work with you to develop a personalized financial plan with solutions designed to meet the unique needs of your business, with strategies to:
- Integrate all aspects of financial planning for your business and your personal life to ensure success on both fronts.
- Minimize risk by being prepared for the unexpected.
- Safeguard your business with coverage to help offset the loss of cash flow if you become sick or hurt.
- Recruit and retain employees with competitive benefits programs.
- Enhance your benefits programs to reward employees who are key to the success of your business.
- Transition your business smoothly with a properly designed and funded business succession plan.
A personalized education funding plan with saving and investment strategies can help keep your other goals on track while ensuring one of the best gifts for a child.
If one of your financial goals is to pay for a child’s education, the earlier you establish a college savings plan, the better. A personalized education funding plan will not only help you save more, it will also give you more time to ride the ups and downs of the financial markets if you choose to invest your savings.
Two of the most common college funding vehicles are 529 Plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, though there are many ways to save for a child’s education.
And although your wish may be to fully fund your child’s education, don’t allow that goal to put your own retirement at risk. It’s much like the instructions you’re given by flight attendants when you travel by air: In case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before putting it on your child. If you don’t take care of funding your own retirement, you may end up weighing down your kids with that responsibility later in life. Children have options for funding their education, such as loans and scholarships. Retirees don’t.
Working together on your education funding strategies, we can help you better understand your options to meet all of your financial goals.
Life Insurance Planning
A well-constructed life insurance policy should be a valuable part of your overall financial security plan.
Life Insurance Planning
You work hard to give your loved ones every advantage. But would your family have the financial resources to maintain its lifestyle if you died?
While nothing can replace you, a life insurance policy can help ensure that your loved ones have the financial security necessary to live out their dreams. Life insurance benefits can help:
- Pay the mortgage or any other debt.
- Maintain your family’s standard of living.
- Keep your children in their current school and fund college.
- Pay for final expenses.
- Leave a legacy.
Life insurance can also be more than a safety net. Depending on the type of life insurance, it can also be the foundation for a sound financial strategy. With permanent life insurance, for example, as you pay premiums, the policy accumulates cash value that grows tax deferred and can become a source of funding you can utilize to help meet your financial goals.*
That’s in contrast to term life insurance, which does not build cash value but is one of the more affordable types of insurance you can buy.
If you’re a business owner, offering life insurance as part of a comprehensive benefits package will help to recruit and retain valuable employees and give them the financial security they need while contributing to the success of your business.
Life insurance can also minimize the financial impact felt by the death of a key contributor to your business. Its proceeds or cash value can be used to cover the potential loss of business or recruit a successor.
Employee Benefits Planning
A well-designed benefits package can give you a competitive advantage in the war for talent. Our team can help you with benefits planning to help attract and retain top talent.
Employee Benefits Planning
One of the biggest challenges faced by business owners today is the need to recruit, retain and reward talented employees. Good benefits planning can help you get the top talent.
We can help you design a quality, affordable benefit plan that may include features such as:
- Group health insurance
- Group life insurance
- Group disability income insurance
- Dental insurance
- Vision insurance
- Flexible spending accounts
- Qualified retirement plans such as SEP IRA or 401(k) plans
Group health services are offered through an independently owned and operated company, which offers access to comprehensive employee benefit services and is not affiliated with, nor a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Long-Term Care Planning
Help minimize the financial risk of a chronic illness or a disabling injury with long-term care planning.
Long-Term Care Planning
Most people hope to enjoy a long and healthy life as long as it’s on their own terms, which likely includes the desire to live as independently as possible. But life doesn’t always happen according to plan.
An unexpected accident, illness or injury can profoundly change your life — sometimes suddenly. And if it does, you may find yourself needing help with the tasks of everyday living.
Long-term care planning may be one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the future financial security of you and your family.
It takes a team of experts to navigate the complexities of special-needs planning. Our specialty financial professionals work with you and your family to create a financially secure future.
For the family of a person with special needs, financial planning is a necessity. Well-designed and properly executed special-needs planning can have a profound impact on your loved one’s quality of life and can help turn your dreams for his or her future into reality. A comprehensive plan can also help you avoid some common mistakes and oversights that could jeopardize the lifetime support of your loved one with special needs.
With so much at stake, it’s vital to work with professionals who understand the complexities of planning for a person with special needs. In fact, getting advice from someone without this expertise may do more harm than good.
That’s why it’s so important to seek help from a team of advisors who are experts in special-needs planning. In our experience, the most valuable teams include an attorney, a financial professional and a social services professional, as each brings specific areas of expertise to the table that are needed to develop a comprehensive special-needs plan.
We can help you build your team of experts and coordinate efforts on your behalf. With our collective guidance, you’ll be empowered to make informed decisions, take appropriate actions and help provide the highest possible quality of life for those who depend on you.
Business Succession Planning
Make sure the business that you’ve worked hard building will continue to move forward once you’ve decided to step back.
Business Succession Planning
Whether it's a few years from now or decades away, there will come a day when you’ll want to step back from your business. Succession planning will chart a course to move your business forward after you leave. And having a plan in place can also give your business a competitive edge while you’re still calling the shots—employees, clients, and suppliers will have greater confidence in the stability of your business.
Our team of experts can help you develop a strong succession plan by helping you:
Set your goals: We start with what you want for your business and yourself after you step away. If you’re not sure what that might be, it’s ok. We’re experts in helping people discover their goals—big and small.
Build your plan: A recent survey1 found that the top concern of business owners is who will take the reins when they leave. We’ll help you identify the right successor and create a personalized plan based on what you want.
Evaluate your risk: Life is unpredictable, and everything can change overnight. We can design risk management strategies that will help account for the unexpected such as if you become disabled, pass away, or get divorced.
Value your business: Many business owners don’t understand how much their business is truly worth. We have access to proprietary technology with patented algorithms that take the guesswork out of business valuation.
Review your plan: Our advisors will be your trusted partner at every step of the process and provide you with expert advice should your personal or business goals shift today, or down the road.
Now more than ever, people are putting their money where their values are. As part of your financial plan, charitable giving can help support the causes and organizations that are important to you, while maximizing tax efficiencies.
Planning for charitable giving
Now more than ever, people are putting their money where their values are. As part of your financial plan, charitable giving can help support the causes and organizations that are important to you, while maximizing tax efficiencies and defining your legacy.
There are many ways to give back. Our experienced team will work with you and your family to help identify philanthropic goals and develop your charitable giving strategy, which could include some of these options:
Cash: Transfer directly to the charity(ies) of your choice
Stock: Donate shares of stock you own
Other kinds of property: Donate items such as clothing, computers, cars, even life insurance
Donor-Advised Fund: A charitable investment account that offers flexible and efficient ways to manage donating to charities
Private Foundation: A charitable organization funded primarily by a single donor or small group of donors
Charities in your estate planning: Create a legacy of giving by including your favorite charity in your will or trust
Charitable Trusts: Transfer assets out of the estate with the goal of using them for charity
No matter if you’re just starting to craft your philanthropic vision or need help with more complex giving strategies, we have the expertise to help you make an impact.
For more sophisticated investors who are interested in opportunities beyond publicly traded stock and bond markets, alternative investments can play an important role in diversifying your portfolio through broader exposure.
Alternative investments can be tangible assets like precious metals, art, or wine, but are usually financial assets like private equity, private credit, hedge funds, or private real estate.
They can be a powerful tool to help achieve greater portfolio diversification, add protection in falling markets, cut down on volatility, and have the potential to generate higher yields over the long term.
Northwestern Mutual offers a variety of alternative investment products, including interval funds, hedge funds, private credit funds, private equity funds, private real estate funds, and opportunity zone funds.
However, because alternative investments tend to carry a high level of risk and low liquidity, they aren’t right for everyone. Let’s talk about if they make sense for your investment strategy.