What is Milestones Financial : In Terms You Care About


When discussing my financial planning firm, Milestones Financial, I try to avoid the common mistake of solely focusing on what we are most comfortable with rather than focusing on what you care about. If we are not talking about how we are going to make your pain go away, why should you care?

For some financial advisors, the automatic assumption of “clarifying the value they provide” refers to them telling you all about the services provided and benefits realized (which is more like “beating you over the head with the value they provide”).

The reality is that clarifying the value we provide has very little to do with us; it is all about what you want and need. Until we understand what you need and are looking for, we really have nothing to talk about.

As we explain the services provided through the Wealth Planning engagement in this article, we only elaborate in response to your interests or needs during an introductory phone call.

The 4 underpinnings of the Wealth Planning engagement

A helpful resource we provide that describes the benefits of our Wealth Planning engagement is the Wealth Planning Services brochure.

Talking you through the key points of the Wealth Planning Services brochure not only sends a consistent message, but it also provides a good structure for us to follow as we describe how the Wealth Planning engagement can address your financial planning priorities.

The front page of the Wealth Planning Services brochure addresses the four major points that every client can expect when working with us:

  • Straight talk
  • Access
  • All-inclusive approach
  • Value for your money

You have likely reached a tipping point in a problem to reach out to a financial advisor, and that concern will be top of mind for you. We can cover all points in the Wealth Planning Services brochure, but we would like to highlight whichever points most address your concerns during an introductory phone call.

Straight talk

As a fee-only financial advisory firm, we do not accept commissions, referral fees, or compensation of any kind based on selling financial products. The only money we receive is what clients pay directly under the terms of the engagement agreement.

Avoiding this inherent conflict of interest regarding compensation allows us to think strategically for the benefit of our clients by providing objective, unbiased financial advice that is always in clients’ best interests with every recommendation made. That is called being a fiduciary.

This correlation will mean even more to someone who has been “burned” by a financial salesperson in the past.


In addition to regularly scheduled appointments, you can email and schedule phone and video consultations at no additional cost.

It is to our advantage to be accessible as possible. Your situation will change as your life inevitably changes, and we would rather help keep clients from making a terrible mistake than help them dig out from it later.

One reason people make financial errors is because they don’t have an expert to ask, or they are forced to figure out if it will cost them more to ask for help than to make the decision themselves.

We want you to feel secure about your money and to contact us before making any big financial decisions.

All-inclusive approach

It is common for people to have one person handling their investments, another person their taxes (i.e., if there is any proactive tax planning being done over the course of the tax year), another person their insurance, and another person their estate plan. It is even more common for there to be no communication and coordination among these people.

We take a holistic approach to financial planning by integrating your investments, tax planning, insurance, and estate plan into one ongoing comprehensive plan. This allows us to bring all the pieces of your financial picture together and make recommendations based on the big picture.

Value for your money

We are committed to providing real value greater than the fixed engagement fee.

This value may come in the form of commissions saved, investment expenses reduced, additional tax deductions identified, or many other possibilities due to our all-inclusive approach.

Many of these benefits are hard to quantify, especially in advance, so we are always careful when we explain this point. There will never be any bait-and-switch with the information we share.

The coordinated approach to “life-integrated” financial planning

Next, on the back of the Wealth Planning Services brochure, we cover the Wealth Planning engagement services and the benefits you will receive from our coordinated approach to “life-integrated” financial planning.

We will continue to focus on your specific concerns and priorities and address how the services can fix your problems. If there are areas where we can save you money or help reach your goals more quickly, we can focus attention on those, too.

The services provided through the Wealth Planning engagement can include:

  • Worry-free retirement planning
  • Coordinated investment advice
  • Skillful tax planning
  • Value-based risk management
  • Proactive estate planning
  • Lifestyle spending review
  • Goal clarification and assessment
  • Flexible services adapted to your ongoing needs

Worry-free retirement planning

Our approach to retirement planning is likely a different method than many people have ever encountered before.

Traditional investment-driven views of retirement planning are designed to drive sales by frightening clients with reasonable sounding scenarios that often do not reflect real life (where assumptions of unpredictable factors, such as future inflation and investment performance, are used).

Our approach reflects the real-life experience of people, who acknowledge the uncertainty of projecting far into the future and need to consider the financial characteristics of their retirement many times during their lives.

Worry-free retirement planning is also more than just accumulating money for retirement. It involves using the most tax-efficient investment methods among the many sources available to provide the nest egg needed for financial independence.

We can help you sort out and clarify your retirement goals and objectives (i.e., financial and otherwise) and determine whether or not you are on track to meet them.

Coordinated investment advice

The investment planning process we take clients through has three primary stages: Portfolio analysis, asset allocation plan, and investment selection.

The first stage is portfolio analysis, where we review all your current investments, let you know exactly what you have, and share with you whether or not your investments are appropriate for your risk profile, tax bracket, and goals and objectives. This allows us to more fully understand your current financial picture.

The second stage is asset allocation plan, where we develop an investment blueprint that maintains balance in your portfolio; striving to protect you from financial ruin in a down economic cycle and providing growth opportunities sufficient to meet your goals and objectives in an up economic cycle.

We also incorporate asset location into our review (which is a tax-minimization plan that takes advantage of different types of investments getting different tax treatments) of your asset allocation plan.

The third and last stage is investment selection, where we analyze and recommend specific investments.

In addition to being fee-only, we are an “advice-only” financial planning firm. This means we perform analyses, provide advice, and make recommendations (i.e., the time-consuming, “heavy-lifting” work) without requiring you to move your money to a custodian where we control it. You get to keep your accounts where you want, maintain full control of your hard-earned money, and choose whether you want to implement our recommendations during our meetings together or to do it on your own. Our clients appreciate the fact that investment planning is far more intricate than simply placing trades in their accounts for them.

Skillful tax planning

Tax planning is not as glamorous as other areas of financial planning, but this is where we can potentially save our clients substantial sums of money.

We want to meet with you throughout the year to project your income tax liability and help you implement tax-saving strategies.

Our focus is on reducing your tax liability so that you give the government only what is legally required and not any more.

The bottom line is that every tax dollar saved is another dollar you can put towards the things you want to do.

Value-based risk management

We can review your insurance policies (e.g., life, auto, home, umbrella, disability, health, etc.) and let you know what you are and are not covered for and make recommendations for coverages you should have.

Most people get insurance advice only from someone who is trying to sell it to them. For many people, this is the first unbiased review of their insurance coverage they have ever received, and it is a welcomed change, as is taking the time to make sure you understand your coverage.

Our approach to insurance is based on the belief that insurance should be used only to cover true economic risk.

Proactive estate planning

We can review your situation, help you think through legacy issues, and help develop an estate plan that addresses the pertinent estate matters.

If you need a will or trust, we can help gather information for the attorney (which may result in fewer attorney fees) and refer you to a qualified attorney who will prepare the documents.

If you already have a will or trust, we can provide fresh eyes and ensure it says what you want it to say to accomplish your wishes.

Lifestyle spending review

We can help you identify your spending to be sure you are making progress toward your goals and objectives and have enough money set aside for emergencies and special opportunities.

We can also introduce you to tools you can use to help track where your cash goes and how to arrange your money to have cash flow and savings organized automatically.

Goal clarification and assessment

The Wealth Planning engagement includes an appointment dedicated to goals, where we use in-depth exercises to help you identify your long-term goals and set annual financial objectives to attain those goals.

We can discuss tactical goals throughout the year, but this one meeting focuses on these broader, strategic-level life goals: What your money and all this financial planning is really all about; what it is that truly brings you the most satisfaction in life.

Goal visualization also helps guard us against us imposing our goals on you. Ultimately, our work together is on creating your financial plan.

Flexible services adapted to your ongoing needs

Because life situations change, we view financial planning as an ongoing process and not a one-time event.

We can help address your unique financial planning concerns (e.g., health concerns, employment-related issues, etc.) as life circumstances change.

Ready to get started with financial planning?

We hope that the answer is an unqualified “YES!”

Since the services offered from one financial advisor to the next can be drastically different, the Wealth Planning Services brochure can help correct any major misconceptions on the part of people considering my financial planning firm, Milestones Financial. It can also help you discern if the services we provide are actually what you are seeking.

If you are ready to realize your retirement dreams and take control of your finances, please schedule an introductory phone call to see if we may be a fit!


Joshua A. Gallogly, CFP®, EA

Josh Gallogly, CFP®, EA is the Managing Member and Founder of Milestones Financial, LLC in Columbus, Ohio. He serves clients age 50+ who like maintaining full control over their money and provides professional advice on things like reducing their tax bill, investing smarter, and creating retirement income.