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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Donald Mitchell, John Richards, and Darren James have all been appointed financial representatives by Northwestern Mutual in Springfield.

Before joining Northwestern Mutual, Mitchell was vice president of Facilities and Projects at the YMCA of Greater Springfield. He received a bachelor’s degree from American International College. Currently, he is an active member of Rick’s Place, a facility that provides support to grieving children and their families.

Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, Richards was a sergeant major in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was active in the Marines for nearly 30 years. Currently, he volunteers for the Down Syndrome Assoc. and Awana, a global ministry committed to teaching children.

James was previously the Food Service Director for Aramark. Raised in St. Maarten, he developed a passion for helping people that he believes is inherent to being raised on an island where hospitality is the mainstay of the economy. He received a bachelor’s degree from American International College.

As financial representatives, Mitchell, Richards, and James will join a network of specialists offering a wide array of products, including comprehensive financial planning, retirement planning, life-insurance planning, and more. For more information on Northwestern Mutual Springfield, visit springfield-ma.nm.com.

Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — Edward Garbacik has joined the team at Private Financial Design, LLC in South Hadley. For more than 30 years, he has been providing individuals and small-business owners with comprehensive financial planning as an advisor and planner, including investment-advisory services, retirement planning, estate planning, and other wealth-management needs.

He earned the certified financial planner designation through the CFP certificate program at Boston University and has also been awarded the accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) designation, widely considered the fiduciary standard for business retirement planning and plan-sponsor services.

Prior to joining Private Financial Design, Garbacik held the title of partner at a boutique investment firm specializing in retirement-income planning. He was also vice president and managing partner of investments at FSB Financial Group, where he led the group’s financial-planning and wealth-management team.

Private Financial Design offers comprehensive financial planning for both personal and business needs, including fee-based investment-advisory services, retirement plans, and other wealth-management services.

Retirement Planning Sections

For the Long Haul

By KATE KANE

Kate Kane

Kate Kane

Some people have a clear idea of how they want to live once they stop working. For many others, however, retirement is a step into the great unknown. The problem is, without a road map for turning your savings into a sustainable stream of income, it’s difficult to create the type of lifestyle you want for the future.

Planning for retirement is a lifelong process that should begin as soon as you start working and continue throughout your retirement years. Whether you are five years from retiring or 30, the following steps can help you achieve financial security for when the big day finally comes.

1. Practice Retirement

Like most people, you may spend years fantasizing about the day when you can finally stop working. But what will your retirement look like? Financial experts recommend that you think about what you want to do when you retire and then ‘practice’ some of it first.

For example, if you’d like to move to a warmer climate, try vacationing there several times to get a sense of what it might cost and how it feels not just in the winter, but in the heat of summer. Or, if you plan to watch your grandkids full time, take a week or two to do a test run. The goal is to try out your plans, determine whether you truly enjoy and can afford them, and make needed adjustments before you commit.

2. Match Your Expenses and Income

As you think about your lifestyle in retirement, your expenses will fall into two groups: essential expenses (your needs) and discretionary expenses (your wants). Within discretionary expenses, you also may have one-time expenditures, such as funding a grandchild’s education or adding a sunporch to your home. Whether you make a spreadsheet on your computer or simply list your expenses on a pad of paper, the goal is to create a retirement budget that captures as many anticipated costs as possible.

Next, consider the money you’ll have coming in. Typically, retirees draw from three categories of income in retirement: guaranteed sources of income (such as Social Security, pensions, and lifetime income annuities), savings and investments, and any employment income.

Once you know what you’re likely to have coming in, pair your income and expenses based on their priority, matching your needs with your guaranteed income sources first. If the predictable income you expect won’t cover all your essential expenses, you may want to either adjust your plans or consider converting a portion of your savings into a regular stream of income. Conversely, if you have a surplus, you can use the extra money to cover any discretionary expenses.

3. Decide Which Account to Tap First

One way to maximize the amount of money you may have in retirement is by planning the order in which you spend your different investment accounts. The starting point is to consider whether you plan to use your assets for ongoing expenses in retirement or to pass them along to your heirs or charities.

For many, it makes sense to draw from taxable accounts first in order to keep the assets in retirement accounts growing tax-deferred for as long as possible. Tax-exempt accounts, such as Roth IRAs, should be spent last. However, there is no rule of thumb when it comes to the order in which you should liquidate your assets.

If you plan to pass your assets along to your heirs or charities, you may want to spend tax-deferred assets with the intention of bequeathing taxable assets, which receive more favorable tax treatment when inherited.

The order in which you withdraw your retirement savings is an important decision that becomes even more complex once you reach age 70½. That’s when you must begin taking annual required minimum distributions from your IRAs and retirement plans.

Because each person’s situation is unique, you should include both your financial professional and tax advisor in these discussions.

4. Protect Your Savings

Consider putting enough money into a savings or liquid money-market account to cover your withdrawal needs for at least two years. This can help prevent taking money out of your investments when the market and share prices are trending downward.

If you haven’t already, consider funding a long-term-care (LTC) plan as well. LTC funding can help protect your retirement nest egg from the financial impact of the costs of extended care either at a facility or in your home.

5. Fine-tune Along the Way

Spending retirement assets can be even more complex than building them. Your retirement savings need to provide reliable income to meet your ongoing expenses for the rest of your life. Reviewing your plan annually and keeping it current is vital to making this happen.

Consider just some of the things that can change in a year: your marital or health status could change, your investment returns and inflation rate could fluctuate, and your employment status and expected retirement date might shift. Each of these can have a profound impact on the amount of money you may have to spend in retirement.

That’s why it’s important to work with a financial professional who understands that retirement planning is an ongoing process — someone who knows what it takes to accumulate assets for retirement, mitigate the risks that can affect your retirement years, and turn your funds into a distribution plan designed to generate sufficient income to meet your lifestyle needs for as long as you need it to.

This article was prepared by Northwestern Mutual with the cooperation of Kate Kane. Kane is a wealth management advisor with Northwestern Mutual, the marketing name for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. (NM), Milwaukee, Wis., and its subsidiaries. Kane is an agent of NM based in Springfield; (413) 748-8700; [email protected]; springfield-ma.nm.com. This information is not intended as legal or tax advice.

Daily News

HAMPDEN — Monson Savings Bank is holding a complimentary workshop titled “Social Security: The Choice of a Lifetime.” It will be presented by Kevin Flynn, regional vice president of Nationwide Financial, and an expert on retirement planning and helping people to understand Social Security and how to optimize their benefits.

The event is designed to give people a comprehensive understanding of the rules and details regarding when and how to file for Social Security. It will be held Tuesday, June 16 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hampden Senior Center at 104 Allen St. in Hampden. The free event is open to the public.

“This workshop is back by popular demand,” said Steven Lowell, president of Monson Savings Bank. “Knowing when and how to file for Social Security can have a big impact on retirement income. We have offered this workshop before, and those who attended were very appreciative of the information.”

Those interested in attending should call Anna Driscoll at (413) 267-1221 or e-mail [email protected]. Seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — The Continuing Professional Education Forum, held at the Westfield Athenaeum, has announced its seven-week spring series. All programs are three hours in length and start at 3 p.m. on the following Tuesdays:

• April 21: “The Dollars and Cents of Divorce,” Attorney Julie Dialessi-Lafley, Bacon Wilson;
• April 28: “Social Security Questions Answered,” Tim Flynn, Edward Jones;
• May 5: “Dealing with IRS Collection Division,” Attorney Eric Green, Green & Sklarz;
• May 12: “Income T’s: Today, Tomorrow, and Taxes,” Garry Heiney, Income & Wealth Advisors;
• May 19: “Why Are We Afraid to Invest?” Michael Callahan, Retirement Plan Advisory Services;
• May 26: “Exchange-traded Funds in Retirement Planning,” Michael Callahan, Retirement Advisory Plan Services; and
• June 2: “Massachusetts Employment-law Update,” Attorney Karina Schrengohost, Royal LLP.

The CPE Forum was established in 1980 by Josephine Sarnelli, CPA. She continues to volunteer her services in organizing 40 hours of educational programming each year. “The CPE Forum’s mission is to provide high-quality educational programs at a low cost to business professionals, including certified public accountants, enrolled agents, and others seeking continuing professional educational credits for licensing purposes,” she said. “It is also open to the general community.”

The cost of attending the entire series is $50, which provides 21 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credits. “Besides being an incredible value, the CPE Forum offers a place for business professionals to meet, exchange ideas, and network,” Sarnelli added.

All sessions are held at Lang Auditorium at the Westfield Athenaeum, 6 Elm St., Westfield. Payment to the CPE Forum is due at the time of attending. For more information, visit www.cpeforum.org or call (413) 746-9067.

Daily News

LUDLOW — PV Financial Group announce that Lou Curto, one of its top retirement-plan advisors, has earned the specialized designation of professional plan consultant (PPC).

Recent regulatory changes to the qualified-retirement-plan industry have made navigating through the process more difficult for business owners. These regulations have sparked an urgency to ensure that retirement-plan service professionals have specialized training and the resources to help sponsors meet their fiduciary and prudent-practice obligations. The PPC designation was developed by Financial Service Standards to help professionals who specialize in this increasingly regulated niche. Curto sat for a two-day training class, passed a comprehensive final exam, signed off on the FSS Code of Ethics, and committed to ongoing training in retirement-plan management.

Curto specializes in working with business owners to help develop retirement-savings-plan options that help ensure maximum benefit to employees. Recognizing that “many individuals do not participate in retirement planning because there is a lack of awareness and understanding around the process,” he utilizes a common-sense approach when working with business owners and employees, increasing plan participation and maximizing individual savings plans.

“We are proud and excited that Lou Curto has received this distinguished designation,” said PV Financial Group Managing Partner Edward Sokolowski. “It requires industry experience and a dedication to raising the service standards in the qualified-plan industry. PV Financial Group is proud to have the designation represented by a member of our firm.”

Ludlow-based PV Financial Group has been providing individuals and organizations with financial guidance since 2002. For more information, visit www.pvfinancial.com.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — Michael Sarsynski, CFP, vice president, Investments; Joseph Miller, CRPC, associate vice president, Investments; and Barbara Turcotte, senior registered client associate, have joined the Northampton office of Wells Fargo Advisors. The trio previously served with Merrill Lynch.

A certified financial-planning professional, Sarsynski has been helping clients and businesses reach their financial goals for more than 20 years. His formal education includes a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and an MBA from the Wharton School. He is a trustee for the Brattleboro Retreat Board and is actively involved with the Hampshire Council of Governments.

A 20-year veteran of the industry, Miller is certified as a chartered retirement planning counselor by the College of Financial Planning. He is a Series 7, 63, and 65 registered representative and holds life, annuity, and long-term-care licenses.

“With Mike and Joe, we have found experienced financial advisors whose client-centric philosophy matches our own. We are pleased that their careful deliberation brought them to us. Their experience will provide significant value to our team members and clients,” said Pam Nichols, senior vice president, complex manager.

Agenda Departments

Planning for Healthcare in Retirement
July 30: Monson Savings Bank will hold a complimentary workshop titled “Planning for Healthcare in Retirement,” featuring Kevin Flynn, regional vice president for Nationwide, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at La Cucina, 1 Allen St., Hampden. It is free and open to the public. The event is designed to help people plan for retirement and learn how healthcare costs can impact their retirement income. This can be an unfamiliar area of retirement planning, and the workshop will help make it simpler to understand the ins and outs of healthcare costs, Medicare coverage, and available options to help people plan for these expenses when they retire. “Too often, people don’t fully account for healthcare costs or understand what Medicare pays for when they decide to retire, and, unfortunately, they’re unpleasantly surprised at the adjustments they need to make to their budget and retirement plans when reality hits,” said Steven Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank. “This workshop is designed to help people avoid that difficult scenario.” To RSVP, call Anna Driscoll at (413) 267-1221 or e-mail [email protected]

Wine & Canvas Event
Aug. 8: The board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County (BBBS-FC) is organizing a Wine & Canvas event, the second one this year. The first event was a sellout. Participants in this fun-filled evening, to take place at the Montague Elks Lodge in Turners Falls, can learn to paint a take-home work of art. The agency has teamed up with Wine & Canvas, a leading art-entertainment company. An art teacher from Wine & Canvas will lead the group in creating a rendering of our local Bridge of Flowers. The $45 cost includes dinner, all the art supplies, and the donation to BBBS-FC. A cash bar will be available at the event. The first such event was held on June 19, and the sold-out crowd of 100 painters created a cherry blossom scene. “We were overwhelmed by the interest. It was great to see so many new faces coming out to support our agency,” said board President Laurel Guy. Dinner include Hillside Pizza, salad, and dessert, sponsored by HitPoint in Amherst. Door prizes will be sponsored by Absolutely Fabulous Hair in Greenfield. To sign up, visit www.wineandcanvas.com/private-events-calendar-springfield-ma.html and click on Aug. 8, or call the BBBS-FC office at (413) 772-0915. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and sales will run until Aug. 1 or the event sells out, whichever comes first. Proceeds from this event will fund Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County programs, which serve children facing adversity in Franklin County and the North Quabbin towns of Athol, Royalston, Petersham, and Phillipston.

Jazz & Roots Festival
Aug 9: Following in the footsteps of the Hoop City Jazz and Arts Festival, which drew more than 20,000 people to downtown Springfield, is the inaugural Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival, intended to celebrate the emergence of Springfield’s Cultural District and promote an arts-driven, community-oriented, and sustainable revitalization of the city. The free, outdoor festival, to be held in Court Square in downtown Springfield, will feature locally and internationally acclaimed musical artists, a variety of ethnic cuisines and local food producers, and more. This inclusive event aims to bring people from Springfield and the surrounding region together to foster connection, stimulate the local economy, and highlight positive initiatives contributing to the betterment of Springfield’s residents, and uniting the city with the rest of the Pioneer Valley. For more information, contact Stephanie Killian at (413) 303-0101, ext. 102, or [email protected]

Western Mass.Business Expo
Oct. 29: BusinessWest will present its fourth annual Western Mass. Business Expo at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield. The business-to-business show, which last year drew more than 2,000 visitors, will feature more than 100 booths, seminars, and Show Floor Theater presentations; breakfast and lunch programs; and a day-capping Expo Social. Details about specific events, programs, and featured speakers will be printed in future issues of BusinessWest. Comcast Business will again be Presenting Sponsor, while the social will be sponsored by Northwestern Mutual. Current Silver Sponsors are Health New England and DIF Design, and additional sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information on sponsorships or booth purchase, call (413) 781-8600.

Daily News

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank will hold a complimentary workshop titled “Planning for Healthcare in Retirement,” featuring Kevin Flynn, regional vice president for Nationwide. The event is slated for July 30 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at La Cucina, 1 Allen St., Hampden. It is free and open to the public.

The event is designed to help people plan for retirement and learn how healthcare costs can impact their retirement income. This can be an unfamiliar area of retirement planning, and the workshop will help make it simpler to understand the ins and outs of healthcare costs, Medicare coverage, and available options to help people plan for these expenses when they retire.

“Too often, people don’t fully account for healthcare costs or understand what Medicare pays for when they decide to retire, and, unfortunately, they’re unpleasantly surprised at the adjustments they need to make to their budget and retirement plans when reality hits,” said Steve Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank. “This workshop is designed to help people avoid that difficult scenario.”

To RSVP, call Anna Driscoll at (413) 267-1221 or e-mail [email protected].

Banking and Financial Services Sections
Deliso Financial Services Spans the Gap Between Present and Future

Jean Deliso, left, and Trina Moskal

Jean Deliso, left, and Trina Moskal take pride in educating people about measures they need to take to become financially secure.

Jean Deliso has always asked questions — lots of them.

The habit began in childhood during dinnertime conversations that revolved around her family’s business, and it continues today in her role as a comprehensive financial planner.

Queries are important to the president and founder of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in Agawam because the answers she receives are key to creating individualized plans for clients.

But she says retirement planning is something many people fail to do, even though life expectancy is much greater than it was years ago and company pensions have all but disappeared.

This is especially true for business owners and women, who tend to put retirement planning on the back burner, citing lack of time, resources, or knowledge as excuses. And although Deliso has clients from all walks of life, she has chosen to focus on these two populations.

“I really enjoy empowering women and watching them gain a sense of accomplishment by taking steps to secure their financial future. This is especially true when I see women who have just come through a divorce or the loss of a spouse,” Deliso said, adding that she works with many women who are experiencing a life transition.

“The problem with women is that they become overwhelmed,” she went on. “They say they don’t understand finances and don’t have the time to meet with a financial planner. But they live seven to eight years longer than men and make less money, so it’s critical for them to take control of their financial lives.”

Deliso noted that 90% of people in nursing homes are female, and 36% of women 65 and older are widowed, compared with 12% of men 65 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Women also make up half of the U.S. population, represent nearly two-thirds of the American workforce, and are the sole or primary breadwinner in 40% of households with children.

Deliso said a woman turning 65 today can expect to live to age 85. The 2010 Census counted 53,364 people age 100 and older in the United States, and for every 100 women who are centenarians, only 21 men have reached that age.

As for business owners, Deliso said many of them have their own reasons for failing to create a financial plan.

“Most think their business is their retirement. But quite often, something happens to that plan. They may not be able to sell it, or a child may not want to take over. And even if children do, they may not be as successful as the parent was. There are also industry changes and the fact that businesses go through cycles, and when the owner wants to retire, it may be in a down cycle.”

Other rationalizations include a lack of money or discretionary income. “But everyone can plan, and everyone can save. It’s a matter of priorities,” she added.

For this issue, BusinessWest examines how Deliso, by asking all those questions, helps clients establish priorities and, ultimately, plan effectively for both today and tomorrow.

Dollars and Sense

Deliso’s business education began in childhood. “My grandfather and parents were entrepreneurs who founded their own businesses, and I was washing windows at my parents’ company, ToolKraft, when I was about 7,” she explained.

She graduated to working after school at age 12, and says dinnertime conversations almost always focused on matters pertaining to Chicopee-based ToolKraft. “I worked in receivables, payables, and inventory as a teen. Being a hard-working entrepreneur is in my DNA, and I understand the challenges of owning a business.”

Deliso had always thought about starting a business herself, but the decision to take control of her life was cemented during her sophomore year in college. “I was visiting my mother, who was our company’s comptroller, when the CPA walked in and told her she had to do something. I wanted to know why, and realized I didn’t ever want that to happen to me.”

So she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, moved to Florida, and worked for a CPA firm. Although Deliso was slated to become a partner, after eight years she made the decision to leave.

“I wanted to run my own business, and started an electronic-component distribution company,” she said, explaining that this was a division of a firm owned by her brother. “I knew nothing about electronics, but understood the guts of business because my specialty at the CPA firm had been financial planning for business owners.”

Seven years later, the two companies merged, and Deliso returned to Massachusetts. “I was in my 30s and wanted to start a family,” she explained.

Her next stint was selling long-term-care insurance. But she soon found the work unsatisfying. “I didn’t like the fact that I was just selling a product. I thrive on relationships and wanted something more comprehensive,” she explained.

So, when she received a job offer from New York Life Insurance, she accepted it, and discovered she enjoyed building relationships that helped people.

Then, in 2000, Deliso founded her own company. Deliso Financial and Insurance Services has prospered since that time, and three months ago, junior associate Trina Moskal was hired to help with the growing clientele.

Deliso said that, when her associate began working, she was surprised by the amount of time spent Deliso spent with clients. But she reiterated that it’s necessary to get to know them and understand their beliefs, expectations, needs, relationships with family members, job, attitude toward spending, as well as the amount of money they will need to live comfortably in retirement.

Deliso is passionate about financial education, and says many working adults allocate a percentage of their paycheck to a retirement fund, but don’t understand how it is being invested.

“People throw money at retirement like it’s going into a big, black box,” she said. “But they never look into the box and don’t calculate if there will be enough to pay their bills in the future. It’s important because people are living longer and can spend as many years in retirement as they did in the workforce.

“That requires a lot of money,” she went on, “especially since 50% will live past the life expectancy set up by actuarial tables.”

However, money evokes emotions, and financial decisions are not always rational. For example, a person’s primary goal may be to pay off their home mortgage by the time they retire.

“But if they don’t have cash in savings and have very little in a retirement plan, their house won’t provide them with the money they need to buy groceries,” she told BusinessWest. “Many people become too focused on one goal.”

In other instances, money is spent for purely emotional reasons, which Deliso says can be fine. “A person who has gone through a divorce may need to take a vacation or get away even though they can’t really afford it,” she explained.

But people do need to think about their future and plan for the unexpected.

She said she will never forget a client who called her hours after his wife died suddenly at age 32. “They had children, had just bought a home, and needed both incomes to make the payments. He told me he didn’t even have enough money to afford the funeral.”

Thankfully, the couple had taken out a life-insurance policy that allowed the man to meet his family’s financial needs. “He had a check two weeks later,” she said. “Although many people are afraid of life insurance, if this couple hadn’t purchased a policy, the man would have had to sell the house.”

Saving Grace

Early in her career, it became clear to Deliso that women were an underserved population in the financial world, and she was determined to do something about that.

“As I grew my business, it became apparent that women suffer from financial paralysis,” she said. “They’re afraid to make a mistake, and many don’t understand their 401(k) or retirement plans and their risks, as well as what a secure financial future looks like.”

And they need to understand these things, she went on, because statistics show clearly that people are living longer in general, and most women can expect to live longer than their husbands.

As a result, she goes above and beyond to educate women, and has conducted free seminars for this constituency for the past 10 years. Her next free talks, titled  “Creating Financial Independence,” are slated for June 5 and June 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Delaney House in Holyoke; call (413) 785-1100 to register.

Overall, there are many facets connected to spending and saving, and Deliso says everyone has a relationship with money that stems from their own history — and often begins in childhood.

“It’s part of the reason I ask so many questions,” she said, adding that the answers help her guide clients so she can build a bridge between their present and future needs. “I need to understand the person, so I think carefully about what I can ask because everyone’s values and life experiences are different.”

She added that many people don’t understand the difference between a financial planner and an investment banker. “The planner looks at the overall picture and competing needs of a person, while the banker focuses more on the investments,” she told BusinessWest.

Her clientele includes many business owners who appreciate the fact that she can speak their language. “Because of my background, I understand cash flow, budgets, sales projections, payroll, receivables, and inventory,” she said, adding that she has helped develop succession plans as well as company-sponsored benefit plans. She also continues to devote time to education.

“As a comprehensive financial planner, I look at cash management, risk management, investment planning, retirement planning, and estate planning, and one of my strengths is that I can take complicated topics and make them easy to understand,” Deliso explained. “Financial planning is not complicated. It can involve complex topics, but if you go through a process, it can be handled easily.”

Her work has earned her many awards, which hang on the walls of her office and include an appointment to the Million Dollar Round Table, a benchmark of achievement for insurance agents. She is a registered representative with NYLIFE Securities and a registered investment adviser with Eagle Strategies LLC.

Deliso  — who was named Woman of the Year in 2013 by the Professional Women’s Chamber — also believes in giving back to the community. “It’s a value I was brought up with. I have been blessed and want to continue the legacy.”

To wit, she is chairman of the board at the Community Music School and a member of the board of Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, the Baystate Health Foundation, AAA of Pioneer Valley, Pioneer Cold, the Hampden County Estate Planning Council, the National Assoc. of Life Underwriters, and the Assoc.for Advanced Underwriting. She is also a past chairman and board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, the Bay Path Advisory Council, the Executive Women’s Golf Assoc., and the Community Foundation.

Sense of Accomplishment

Deliso says she went into business so she could control her own destiny. “I was able to accomplish my goal, and today I want to help others control their finances,” she said. “People need a coach to help them understand what to do, how to reach their goals, and then hold them accountable. But just having a plan provides them with a real sense of accomplishment, and I enjoy making that happen.”

Which means Deliso will continue to ask questions so she can bridge the gap between the present and the future to ensure that clients achieve financial independence without having to sacrifice the things that matter most.