Observations from My Trip to Australia

In late summer, I traveled to Australia on a ten-day trip under the auspices of the Financial Planning Association of the United States.

Because our primary objective was to better understand how the financial planning profession operates in that country, we met with Australian financial advisors, money management and investment firms, university professors, regulators, and accountants and attorneys who work in the field of financial planning.  By the way, the professors we met were teaching students who were working to earn a degree in financial planning.

One of my first impressions was that, as much as we are different, we are very much the same.  The main difference is in regulatory structure.  But, in talking with the financial advisors, we found their clients have the same general concerns and objectives as clients in the United States:  having enough resources to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, not outliving their money, owning their own homes, and so forth.

And, the Australian financial planners share the same challenges as the advisers in our travel contingent – ensuring their clients set realistic goals and then save enough money to meet them.



How to Create A Spending Plan

My previous blog discussed the value of having a spending plan.  Let’s look now at how to create one. 

To start, you need to know where your money is being spent, and you can begin by separating fixed expenses from discretionary ones.   Fixed expenses are easy to identify.  These are the things you pay for every month, like mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, and so on.

Thanks to You, It Will Be A Happier Thanksgiving for Many

Thanksgiving is a special time in America, an occasion when we pause to reflect on the blessings in our lives.


This week, we at Thorley Wealth Management pause to give thanks to you, our many clients, and thank all those who helped gather 21 food boxes to provide a holiday meal to needy families through the Small Business Council of Rochester’s “2018 SBC Cares 3000+ Thanksgiving Appeal.”

Have a Spending Plan? Here’s Why You Should

In accordance with full disclosure, I’ll admit right away that a spending plan is another name for a budget – but with a more positive connotation.  (Kind of like referring to a diet as an eating plan.)  Although a spending plan is meant to achieve the same ends as a budget, it somehow doesn’t feel quite so restrictive.

I am frequently surprised when I begin working with clients who are setting up their first general financial plan or a retirement financial plan.  Too often, it seems, they find the idea of a budget – or spending plan – quite foreign to them.  And perhaps there is a historical explanation.

Do Upcoming General Elections Matter to Your Portfolio?

At this time of year, a good deal of attention naturally is paid to the upcoming mid-term elections.  We find articles and essays attempting to correlate what might happen to various investments depending on the outcome, especially in terms of congressional results.

A fair question is:  “Does it really matter to one’s portfolio?”

More States Looking Into Offering Retirement Plans

In recent years, legislatures at both the federal and state levels have continued to pay attention to what might be called “the retirement coverage gap,” meaning a large number of people in the United States are not financially prepared for their older years -- a situation that could cause future problems for the country as a whole.

In my last blog, I noted that many people do not have ready access to retirement savings options, such as those offered through most large employers, and the federal government is exploring ways to address the problem.   One possible solution is a bill that would permit multiple employer retirement plans (MEPs), which would enable small employers to join together to offer such plans.

Those Without Retirement Plans May Cause Future Problems for All

Congressional Action May Be Coming

Since these blogs are most often read by Thorley Wealth Management clients, one might suggest that addressing the need for retirement planning is “preaching to the choir.”


However, there is increasing concern that large numbers of people approaching usual retirement age are not financially prepared for their older years, a situation that could strain any variety of social services and affect the country as a whole.


A Proactive Aging Plan Can Avoid Future Problems

In this current series of blogs on whealth care planning, we’ve looked at why it’s vitally important to consider future health care possibilities in a good financial plan.  We’ve also reviewed two of the instruments we use to gather data to help us in this preparation – one focused on personal caretaking and the other a risk profile for cognitive failure.

The next step we call a proactive aging plan, and, again, we have a questionnaire that helps clients identify for us their preferences and attitudes as they age.  This would include many of their future lifestyle goals and objectives, but most certainly would address their attitudes toward health care.

A Risk Profile for WHealthCare Planning

Once clients have completed a questionnaire aimed at personal financial caretaking, the next step in the “WHealthCare” planning process is a questionnaire we refer to as a risk profile.


And, before I go any further, I want to emphasize that the questionnaires we use in the WHealthCcare process were jointly developed by financial advisors and medical professionals.

What’s the Process for WHealthCare Planning?

My last blog underscored the need for financially planning for clients’ possible future health care needs.  The next logical question is “what is the process for building a strong plan that takes into account health care factors?”