Comprehensive Financial Planning / Wealth Management

A Cohesive Strategy to Manage Complex Challenges

It’s challenging to reach your destination if you don’t have a plan in place. That’s especially true when it comes to your financial future. You have dreams, goals, needs, and possibly a broad range of concerns and risks. A comprehensive financial plan helps you take action to reach your goals and implement steps to protect you from risk.

At Johnston Investment Counsel, we start the planning process by gaining a full understanding of your goals, needs, risks, and concerns. We then use that information to develop a written plan with custom recommendations tailored specifically to you. After the plan is developed, if desired, we work with you to implement recommendations and start the journey towards reaching your goals.

The planning process doesn’t end with recommendations, though. A financial plan is only effective if it is followed over the long-term. We monitor your plan so adjustments can be made as economic, financial, and personal changes occur.

Every Johnston Investment Counsel financial plan is customized for each individual client. However, there are some elements that are commonly found in most plans. Some of those elements include:


Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is a major financial goal for many Americans, but it can mean different things to different people. Your vision for your retirement is unique. Your retirement plan should be unique, too.

We start by learning about your retirement dreams. When do you want to retire? What activities and goals do you have planned for your retirement? What will your spending needs look like? What income sources do you have available?

Once we understand your goals, we simulate different scenarios to determine how changing factors or variables could impact your plans. Think of it as a stress test for your retirement. Our goal is to use realistic, but conservative, assumptions to see what events or factors may pose a risk to your plans. Some of the variables we consider include:

  • Different retirement ages.
  • The impact of varying contribution and withdrawal amounts.
  • A range of different retirement income goals, including both static and changing income levels.
  • A variety of different portfolio allocations.
  • The impact varying investment returns may have.
  • Different mortality assumptions.

We use this stress test to shape our recommendations and help you make informed decisions about how to move forward.

JIC’s written analysis highlights the key decision points that will shape our our recommendations and help you make informed decisions about how to move forward.

Investment Management

At Johnston Investment Counsel, we believe investment management is about much more than simply getting the highest possible return. Your investment management plan should be tailored to your unique goals, needs, and risk tolerance. Your plan should be implemented in a way that is as tax-friendly as possible. When creating investment policy recommendations, Johnston Investment Counsel analyzes the following:

  • Your mix of various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and more, in relation to your goals and risk tolerance.
  • Diversification within a particular asset class.
  • Opportunities to improve portfolio tax-efficiency by using the specific tax characteristics of each type of account (401k, IRA, non-qualified, and more).
  • Cost basis of existing taxable investments.
  • Comparison of individual holdings to relevant benchmarks and peers.

Our analysis and recommendations are provided to you in a comprehensive and transparent investment policy statement designed to meet your financial objectives.

Learn more detailed information about JIC’s specific investment management services.

Education Planning

Every parent wants the best for their child, especially when it comes to education. Unfortunately, the best possible education is becoming more and more difficult for many families to afford. At Johnston Investment Counsel, we help you understand the potential cost of college and help you implement a plan to not only save for your child’s education but on your child’s education.

We generate an education funding analysis that helps you better understand all of the costs of college, including tuition, room and board, books, and much more. We also include inflation in our analysis, so you can see how costs may increase by the time your child starts college.

Finally, we help you decide what funding strategy is right for your family. Some of the considerations we may discuss include:

  • The amount and frequency of contributions.
  • The tax characteristics of various funding alternatives.
  • The ownership (estate planning) characteristics of various funding alternatives.

Estate Planning

It’s never pleasant to think about your own death, but it’s a critical part of the financial planning process. That’s especially true if you have a legacy that you want to pass on to your family, friends, or even a favorite charity. An estate plan protects your wishes, and helps you make sure that you leave the legacy you’ve always imagined.

The first step in developing your estate plan is identifying your goals and objectives. What assets do you want to pass on to your loved ones? Which individuals should receive which assets? What unique or special situations exist that may complicate your planning?

After prioritizing your objectives, we then determine which documents and tools may best serve your needs. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and much more could be used to protect your estate and your legacy. We also analyze your beneficiary designations to make sure they align with your goals, and review your estate’s potential tax exposure.

Estate planning isn’t a one time process. Life changes. As it does, your estate planning goals and needs could change too. It’s important to meet regularly, review your plan, and make changes as needed.

Insurance Planning

Risk management is the foundation of any solid financial plan. There are a broad range of catastrophic risks that could threaten your ability to reach your financial goals. At Johnston Investment Counsel, we help you identify those risks and implement a protection strategy.

We are a fee-only firm. That means we do not sell insurance. We have no financial incentive to recommend that you buy more insurance or that you increase your coverage.

Rather, our incentive is to make sure that you and your family are adequately protected against risks that could threaten your financial stability. We analyze your various policies, coverage amounts, premiums, deductibles, and more to develop a comprehensive analysis and set of recommendations.

Tax Planning

Tax management should be part of your ongoing financial strategy, not just something you do once a year at tax time. At Johnston Investment Counsel, we analyze your tax exposure and recommend strategies to reduce your tax liability.

Those recommendations could include a broad range of strategies. You might be able to take advantage of different types of IRA accounts. You may consider structuring your investments differently or taking advantage of tax efficient asset classes. If you are a business owner, there are other tools available that could reduce your taxes. We approach tax management from a comprehensive angle and work with your tax professionals to implement the right strategy for you.

Special Situations

Financial lives can often times get complicated. Business success, promotions, or other factors can increase complexity — and your time to manage it is less and less. You do not want to spend your limited free time worrying about your finances.

While every fact scenario has unique characteristics, experience has shown us that some of the following situations may require special evaluation and strategies: