Case Studies

Silver Lining Plan

A ray of hope for difficult situations such as divorce, separation, or widowhood.

Meet Sally (Divorce)

At age 56, Sally separated after a long-time marriage and needed help understanding her current financial position and how legal separation or divorce would impact her family’s financial future.

Sally didn’t have a clear view of her financial situation because her spouse was the primary manager of the household finances. Though she was employed, she wanted to ensure she could keep her home and meet future financial obligations.

Sally needed to:


Understand her current financial resources/division of assets


Determine how much money she needed to support her current and future lifestyle


Learn the tax impact of separation or divorce


Understand her retirement plan


Get an analysis of her housing

On average, women experience a 41% decrease in standard of living after divorce.

We helped Sally:

Get organized. Since she hadn’t been involved in the day to day finances, we gave her a checklist of documents to gather to have a complete inventory of all of the family assets, liabilities, and income sources. 

Understand retirement. We explained the rules governing the division and distributions of 401(k) assets. Since Sally was under the age of 59½ , we helped her avoid tax and penalty by taking a distribution that was transferred to an account in her name instead of a withdrawal. 

Analyze her housing. Sally was interested in keeping the family home. With our housing analysis she was able to compare if exchanging a larger portion of cash or retirement assets for home equity in her divorce settlement made sense.

Understand income replacement. Sally’s spouse had a significantly higher income, so alimony played an important part of Sally’s overall financial plan. We also helped her make a contingency plan in case of the spouse’s unexpected death or other circumstances.

Using the Silver Lining Plan, we helped Sally gain a clear picture of her financial future by modeling out how a divorce settlement might impact her finances. With our guidance and support, Sally was able to understand her current financial position and navigate her divorce proceedings from a position of strength and confidence.

You can take confidence in knowing we are a fee-only fiduciary planner, with no commissions, no minimums, and no conflict of interests.

Meet Margaret (Widowhood)

At age 65, Margarent became a widow and needed help managing her finances.

Margaret’s late husband, Henry, was a do-it-yourself type when it came to investing and managing the family finances. She needed help understanding her investment portfolio, finding out if any accounts required a transfer of ownership, and navigating the paperwork for settling the estate.

Margaret needed to:


Understand her current investments, types of accounts, and location of accounts (i.e. house titling, insurance policies, checking/savings)


Get help with recordkeeping requirements


Ensure her financial resources would provide for her current and future needs (i.e. pension, retirement)


Confirm her estate plan and retirement was on track

We helped Margaret:

Review her investment portfolio. We provided her with a second opinion that she could continue with her late husband’s investment approach, or she could choose to invest with our guidance and professional money management services.

Identify her assets. We explained all the necessary requirements regarding transfer of ownership and assisted with recordkeeping for tax preparation purposes.  

Enjoy concierge service.We facilitated conversations with family and other professionals, and held meetings where she was most comfortable: virtually, in her home, and at our executive office space.

Using the Silver Lining Plan, we helped Margaret take control. She especially appreciated the crisis checklist that we provided to her. Margaret is now equipped to manage her finances with clarity and organization.

Trailblazer Plan

The perfect way to prepare for retirement and the certainty of uncertainty when you’re at least 5-10 years away.

Meet Emily

At age 50, Emily, a mid-career professional, started a new position and needed to get serious about retirement. 

Her new company offered a retirement plan and other benefits, and she had retirement savings from her previous employer, but wasn’t sure if she was on track for retirement or how to take advantage of all the benefits her company had to offer.

She and her husband Steve have two children: Sarah, 14 and Ben, 12.

Emily needed to:


Evaluate her retirement plan investment options


Determine if she had adequate insurance coverage


Discuss estate planning


Make sure she was maximizing all available tax benefits

Financial security comes from having a plan. If you don’t have a written financial plan and are over age 50, you most likely need one!

We helped Emily:

Evaluate her current and former retirement plans.  We helped Emily understand her risk tolerance and retirement growth objectives. We provided her with investment recommendations that fit within her investment objectives so she could customize her employer’s plan instead of just investing in the default plan.

Consolidate her retirement. We showed Emily that she could simplify the management of her retirement plan by rolling her previous plan to her current one or into an Individual Retirement Account, with the option of receiving our guidance and services. 

Determine Insurance. Though Emily was on track to a comfortable retirement, she wasn’t protected against premature death or disability. With no commissions or referral fees, Emily obtained supplemental life and disability insurance from a local agent that we referred her to. 

Plan her estate. Emily needed to name a guardian for her children and establish a living trust, so we referred her to a local estate planning attorney so she could have peace of mind about her children’s care, and that her estate will not pay any unnecessary taxes.

Using the Trailblazer Plan, we helped Emily check all the boxes and get on target to improve her overall wealth and health. She and her family now have less stress, more confidence, and more time to focus on leading the lifestyle they designed.

Savvy Woman Plan

A collaborative partner to sort, sift, and make sense of your finances when you’re in or near retirement.

Interested in learning how your appreciated assets can benefit your favorite charity—while minimizing capital gains and estate taxes? We can help.

Meet Wendy

After a 25-year career in healthcare, 62 year-old Wendy was ready to retire.

Wendy worked both in the private and public sectors, so she was fortunate to have a pension, social security, and other retirement assets, but she still wasn’t sure it was enough to support her dream retirement lifestyle.  

Wendy had strong charitable intentions and wanted to be prudent with her overall plan. Her vision for retirement focused around spending more time with family, travel, and volunteering–she was also considering relocating to be closer to family.

Wendy needed to:


Choose a pension plan option


Decide when to start taking social security benefits


Understand how much she can comfortably give to her favorite charities


Make sure her assets will support her retirement

We helped Wendy:

Understand her income sources. We showed Emily how her different sources of retirement income, when properly combined, would provide the maximum benefit to last throughout her projected life expectancy.  

Decide when to apply for social security benefits. We explained pension plan distribution choices, which is essential to get right, as it is an irrevocable decision. Working with a fee-only fiduciary advisor, Wendy appreciated the full transparency of her options. 

Align her money with her values. With our values-based planning approach, Wendy was able to align her philanthropic goals in a meaningful way that connected her money and time to her favorite charities. Wendy now has peace of mind, knowing she established her charitable legacy through beneficiary designation accounts.  

Weigh pros and cons. Our detailed planning process provided Wendy with a comparison of different scenarios; i.e.: social security at age 62 vs 70, lump sum vs. monthly annuity, selling vs keeping her home. With access to our client portal, Wendy viewed, modified variables, and asked for our assistance as needed.

Using the Savvy Woman PlanWendy is living a healthy and wealthy life with meaning and purpose. She no longer worries about cash flow, she understands other charitable vehicles available to her, and is looking forward to developing her personal charitable plan over time.  

After years of working tireless hours taking care of others, she is now taking care of herself and her financial future.