Q&A: Can You Do a One-Time Review of My Plan?

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We receive some version of this question very regularly:

We are looking for a one-time analysis to [FILL IN BLANK].

  • calculate my safe withdrawal rate
  • craft an asset allocation
  • plan my Social Security filing
  • double check our numbers
  • help us identify factors we may have missed
  • create a college savings plan
  • help figure out my inherited RMD
  • review my investments
  • see if I am on track for retirement

I’m not interested in investing help at this time.

We do offer our bonus services for planning fees based on the hourly rate listed on Our Fees page. However, we generally discourage people from hiring us on an hourly basis.

In our experience, financial plans are best reviewed by someone who is intimately familiar with your case and who is monitoring the plan on an ongoing basis. When we are a lifelong financial advisor to a client, we have that familiarity and can do our best work.

In contrast, if we are only assisting on an hourly basis, our analysis will only be as strong as our understanding of your financial situation. If we try to keep costs low for you by keeping our hours small, that understanding will be limited to what we can quickly understand.

That is why we recommend that those interested in hourly services either see if they can do it themselves first or if they can enroll in our Collaborative service level where these services are included.

Take the Safe Withdrawal Rate Analysis for example.

If you want to try and do it yourself, we have written several articles on the topic. Our article “Maximum Safe Withdrawal Rates in Retirement” provides some withdrawal rate targets at 5-year intervals, and our articles “How to Calculate Safe Spending Rate from a Fixed Pension,” “How to Factor Social Security into Your Safe Withdrawal Rate,” and “Safe Withdrawal Rate Adjustments” help to address the most common adjustments that are necessary.

If you would like our assistance, our first step would be to request or create a Net Worth Statement and a list of all your current income sources, so we can establish what you have. If we are hired for an hourly service, this step is either “on the clock” or something we would ask you to do so that you can save on our fees. If you are younger than age 70, we would also generally recommend creating a Social Security Plan to see what potential retirement income you may have or could better maximize. This is an important step we would do for clients under our management, but which hourly clients are tempted to skip to cut costs.

After those steps of establishing what you have for spending, the next step is to verify what your goals are and what you are spending. Adjustments might need to be made for anticipated large expenditures such as buying into a nursing home, a tour traveling the world, or a desire to fund your grandchild’s college education.

While the actual calculation is simple mathematics, the financial planning is as complicated as life is. Cutting corners on the assumptions to save on the hourly rate, compromises the integrity of the final plan.

We do our best work when we are a lifelong financial advisor to the client.

​To receive personalized investment advice or financial planning, you must enter into a formal relationship with a financial advisor. If you are interested in becoming a client, we would be happy to meet with you. Our prospective client meetings are free and it is easy to get started as a client.

Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

Follow Megan Russell:

Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.