You probably have questions.
We definitely have answers.

Choosing Modern Assets

We build long-term, meaningful relationships with all of our clients, standing beside you through the many chapters of your personal and financial life.

  • We go above and beyond in everything that we do, remaining at the very cutting edge of our industry.
  • We stay current so you don’t have to (unless you want to of course). We pay close attention to what’s happening in the world, the economy, the markets and financial and social trends in order to bring you relevant feedback about how it relates to you and your life.
  • Our investment philosophy is evidenced based. You can rest assured that your unique situation is being monitored with a disciplined and sophisticated approach to wealth management.
  • We’re accessible and approachable, and continuously strive to make investments and financial planning simpler.
  • We work to build a trusting relationship with clients and make it clear that your interests come first. Always.
  • We take a proactive view of financial planning and wealth management.
  • We help you imagine what’s possible.

This is a very good question. We strive to develop long-term relationships with all of our clients, so you can feel assured that you always have a trusted ally and advocate standing with you throughout life’s many chapters. It’s important you’re able to adequately determine our compatibility from the outset, and as such we endeavour to be totally transparent with you about our approach. You would be a good fit for Modern Assets if:

  • You’re interested in a long-term partnership with an advisor dedicated to helping you organize your financial life and keep it that way.
  • You’re looking for a partner to help you make sense of your present state of financial affairs, and to help you see what the future might look like based on what you have in place today.
  • You’re willing to let go of the illusion of market timing. We follow a disciplined investment process to save our clients from making incredibly costly emotional investment mistakes.
  • You’re willing to meet at least annually where we can keep each other up to date.
  • You value advice from professionals, and recognize that value comes at a cost.

It’s not a given that you should, to be honest. You should interview several planners before you choose one. You need to understand their philosophy, process, and personality. And you need to like each one of those. I have built my firm to address the needs, concerns, opportunities, and constraints of women moving through our many stages of life. So, if you want a more intimate relationship with an advisor who starts from a place of compassion, non-judgement, and understanding that life is not always about the monetary bottom-line, I’m a good place to start. We will find a way to get towards financial balance, without losing what matters to you. I have thought long and hard about my philosophies of wellbeing, financial planning and investing, and I’ve codified it in my firm’s processes. Also, occasionally, I let an unprofessional word fall from my lips.

I spend my time focused on issues that you face: putting others before yourself, dealing with loss of life and love, challenges with children, big and small, paying off debt, high home values, prioritizing savings goals, and many others. Most financial planners (me, included) operate as your financial “quarterback”: directing you to specialized players (insurance agent, accountant, estate planning lawyer) when I see a need. Women need an additional set of professionals to help further their wellbeing and success: career and leadership coaches, family law attorneys, therapists, health and wellness specialists, etc. I consider one of my most important roles to be putting you in touch with these other professionals.

Modern Assets welcomes clients of all races, ethnicities, and sexual identities and orientations. If you can check the “I’m not a jerk” box, we’re good.

Lastly, I am a fee-only planner who abides by the fiduciary standard.

Yes. We abide by the fiduciary standard 100% of the time. It’s part and parcel of being a Registered Investment Advisor (which Modern Assets is), and we have signed an explicit Fiduciary Oath.

I believe that there’s “the right planner” for everyone. I spend my time and effort regularly learning how to better serve women, and often their families, in our many stages of life. I’m often approached by men who want their wives, sisters, or relatives to feel more comfortable with their finances, or worry about how they will manage if they are left to handle things alone.

I am happy to work with all genders, sexual orientations and identities, and ethnicities, but if you do not want to answer personal questions about your past, and would feel uncomfortable disclosing more than your financial statements to me, I probably won’t be the best fit for you. But I probably know a planner who is! I would be happy to refer you on to a few planners, one of whom might be the right planner for you.

A lot can happen in one conversation. As such, our initial meetings are complimentary. While I might not be right for everyone with respect to an ongoing advisory relationship, I’ve always believed it’s good to share our experience and observations about your situation in this initial discussion. Our goal in this first meeting or phone call is to learn more about the items that are on your mind that led you to us, about you and your family and your priorities, and finally to determine if we might be a good fit for a long-term relationship. Whether you become a client or not, I’m confident you’ll find this meeting beneficial.

We want to be able to help you at any stage in your early to mid career, and you won’t necessarily have lots of cash lying around at that point. There are so many other big life things going on: buying a new home, travelling, saving to your 401(k), everything that goes along with having a baby, buying life insurance, switching jobs, moving.

For individuals who want to work with Modern Assets but don’t yet meet the asset minimums, we charge a flat fee per year. See the details.

We also offer investment management on a standalone basis until you’re able to graduate to our integrated wealth management. Your investments are managed with the same philosophy, care, and concern. We will be there when you’re ready for us!

No question, you can do this! There are so many great tools for those people who want to handle their own investing and financial planning. What we’ve found though, is that many people have a tough time implementing their plan consistently.

While they may be able to research a great fund, or do their own taxes, the key is bringing all the pieces of your financial life together. Taxes, insurance, employee benefits, investments, cash flow and retirement planning, estate planning, and now even credit reports, and so much more. Whether our clients are raising children or planning retirement, that’s where real financial security and wealth creation happens, a few small but strategic steps over and over again, over many years.

The reason our clients choose to work with Modern Assets and pay for our services – is because there is a lot to learn. And the cost of making a mistake is high. What if you didn’t save enough to cover for inflation before and during retirement? How do you know if you’re really saving enough? Or if you’ve saved enough? Should you work another year? Or more?

What if you pay off your mortgage at retirement with your 401k and you end up running out of money and you have to sell your house anyways? When is the right time to sell during a market correction? Or is there a right time? When should I take social security? When should I downsize? Should I buy more company stock? Should I pay for college or save for retirement?

All these questions might have their own separate isolated answer, but how do you weave together all the pieces of your financial life to provide perspective on each of those decisions. There is no one size fits all answer and it’s hard to google your way to financial security.

Clients choose Modern Assets because they don’t want to get it wrong. They want a partner they can trust.

One way to look at it is to ask yourself if you think it’s possible that you’ll have more money or a bigger nest egg or net worth by having a financial professional involved – even after paying the advisory fee. In many cases, I find clients are paying a lot in fees already (like in 401ks) – even without a real financial planner involved.

We make sure our clients do the things they say they want to – save what they need to save, spend what they need to spend, and invest when they need to invest – all in order to help create the life they want to live. How much is that worth?

Between taxes, investments, legal issues with estate planning, priority setting and having a clear vision of the future – there’s a lot to know and to keep organized and on track. And it takes a lot of time. The cost of getting it wrong is high, and my clients must agree;  I deeply value these long-term relationships and the level of trust and respect afforded to me.

That’s great news! I invite you to head to our Contact page, where you can send me an email or call to schedule a conversation. We’ll set aside 60-90 minutes to have that initial discussion where I learn more about you, and you learn a little more about Modern Assets.

Working With Modern Assets

All of our clients accounts are held with Charles Schwab. So that means they hold your money and investments, and produce your account statements and tax forms every year. Charles Schwab also provides us access to some of the brightest investment insights, cyber security and technology support. Your money is safe with a large institution, while maintaining the personal, one client at a time approach, best offered through a small, independent firm.

Modern Assets is a fee-only firm, which means we get paid only by you, the client, not by selling any products or making any referrals to other providers. We are also a fiduciary, which simply means we put your interests first. Investopedia explains it like this: “A fiduciary’s responsibilities are both ethical and legal. When a party knowingly accepts a fiduciary duty on behalf of another party, they are required to act in the best interest of the party whose assets they are managing.” Put together, this means that if we recommend an insurance policy or a mutual fund to you or suggest you take some action, you know it’s because it serves your needs the best, not because Modern Assets is making money off of it.

Yes, of course. You can cancel the relationship at any time. Because asset management fees are deducted at the end of the quarter, you’ll never be charged for management fees before they’re incurred. Planning fees are also paid “in arrears”, or after the service has been provided, and will be canceled immediately upon your request.

Modern Assets believes in a simple, but sophisticated and disciplined approach to managing our clients’ investments. It is important that clients understand their investments, and the process we use to select and manage your portfolio should be consistent. In order to do this, Modern Assets utilizes an evidence-based approach to the steps in our investment management process; including – goals-based risk assessment, strategic asset allocation, manager selection and rebalancing. Most importantly, we do not try to time the market.

Integrated Wealth Management sounds good, but you’re not sure what it means?

Communication and trust is at the heart of everything we do. I am passionate about developing long-term relationships, standing beside you through the many changes that life inevitably holds for us all.

I understand you and your needs because I share many of them, too. From financial priorities like retirement, educating our kids and seeing them happy and fulfilled, to other goals like career aspirations and creating a sense of community at home and at work, we view life from a place of connectedness and balance.

Financial Planning and Priority Setting

This is where we identify what matters most to you. What are you trying to accomplish? What concerns you most? And of course – what’s top of mind? We’ve noticed that even if there’s a bigger financial issue at play, sometimes we just need to identify the most pressing one before we can move on to the bigger picture.

Tax and Estate Planning

While we don’t actually complete your taxes or write your will or trust for you, we do spend time understanding your current tax return and estate plan and how unexpected life changes might impact those plans. We proudly partner with leading local CPAs, and attorneys to be sure our clients get the best advice.

Cash Flow Analysis and Budget Support

All good planning starts from awareness. While I don’t require you to set up a budget, or even stick to one – I want to be sure I understand our client’s income and spending – now and in the future. We work through a process to help ensure that your money is successfully aligned with your life and your priorities.

Retirement and Life Planning

We help you understand your lifestyle today, and how that might translate into retirement given your current saving, spending and income. We also examine how you spend time, and how that will change in retirement. Each situation is unique, and I help you craft a meaningful life post-employment that you can feel proud of.

Investment Analysis, Strategy and Implementation

Investments don’t have to be complicated. Modern Assets is committed to helping you understand what you own and how building wealth and financial security works. As such, we use a simple but sophisticated and disciplined approach to investing, and purposely guide your through it so you can easily understand what’s happening.

Risk Management

There are many risks to achieving financial independence. That might be losing a job, getting sick, extended stays in healthcare facilities, or even death. There are many ways to mitigate risk, but no matter what you decide to do about the risks, we make sure you understand how they affect your personal financial situation

Employer Benefit and Retirement Plan Reviews

We help with all aspects of your financial life, not just those we manage. That’s why we review your outside accounts, and offer advice on employee or executive benefit packages and retirement accounts. We act as a sounding board during contract negotiations, and feel privileged to be included in these important decisions.

Financial Organization and Security

We provide one secure client portal coordinated with all your accounts to offer a streamlined view of your net worth. We have a shared, secure digital file cabinet where you can store important documents and send things to us. We offer best practice suggestions on file organization, and help you protect yourself from identity theft.
Real Estate Planning

A sale or purchase of real estate can be one of the biggest decisions of our lives. Too often it’s driven by emotion rather than proper planning. We work with you to ensure purchases are viewed within the context of your goals, while also offering clarity and perspective during what can be a very fraught experience.

About Modern Assets

A degree in Applied Mathematics at UCLA got me in the door, albeit, inadvertently (I wanted to be a college professor!) to a well-regarded mutual fund company working as an analyst in mortgage-backed securities in time to witness the overconfidence of financial markets, followed by the swift and painful financial crisis of 2008/2009. I oversaw billions in pension funds for large institutions, banks, states and countries, and fielded the calls of panicked investment managers. That was a pivotal experience, because it started making me think about the PEOPLE in the pension funds, and the lives that were ravaged by outside forces that they couldn’t control.

What began as a gift for numbers became a deeply personal passion for learning how to weather the financial storms in our lives, whether under our control or not.

After obtaining a Masters Certificate in Financial Planning from NYU, I obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ credentials and have been working ever since to improve the lives of those I work with.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® and CFP®(with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Modern Assets is, indeed, a small firm. We take seriously, however, our obligation to our clients to make sure they are taken care of at all times. As such, we have a Business Continuity Plan, which we review annually and update as necessary.

DIY Resources

Regardless of whether you work with a financial planner, it’s imperative that you know at least the basics of how to manage your money. No one will care more about your money more than you do. Financial Planning: Seven Stages of Money Maturity by George Kinder – considered the father of Financial Life Planning Smart About Money is a resource from the non-profit National Endowment for Financial Education.  This site provides a wealth of self-guided information on a range of personal finance topics.
  • The One-Page Financial Plan Written by Carl Richards, best known for his Sharpie-on-napkins drawings in his New York Times column, this is a short, simple book whose title says it all. Really, anything by Richards is going to be entertaining, easy, and helpful.
  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich An entertaining, easy book about personal finance, written by Ramit Sethi. It covers the basics, and you won’t get bogged down in details.
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