Sharing the Load

For some reason, people love to ask the question, “Who cooks dinner in your household?” As much as I love to cook, I don’t enjoy the planning process one bit. I want cooking to be a creative outlet but as soon as I attempt to think through dinners for the week, my mood changes to one that rivals my mood when I file our taxes. I’d love to be so well-organized that I plan meals that use up all the ingredients I buy (without having to dump yet another unused a bag of spinach in the trash at the end of the week) and that use seasonally fresh produce. The planning takes all the fun out of cooking for me. Wesley is much more gifted than me at opening the fridge and pantry and coming up with something on the fly, so most of the dinner duties fall on him.

So when a favorite food blogger shared that she was offering a 12 week meal plan to help with fall hectic schedules, complete with grocery lists, Sunday prep ideas, and recipes, I was SOLD. To some people, this may seem like a silly small purchase, and I understand that perspective. The recipes are already free on her website, so she’s just recycling work that she already created. However, for me, this offered the ability to skip the annoying work about meal prep (finding seasonal recipes that use overlapping ingredients, consolidating the grocery shopping list, thinking through what elements of recipes could be prepared ahead of time) because it was all done for me! The only things left for me to do was cross out food I already had on hand, shop for the rest, and cook – all enjoyable tasks for me. This is just the first week of the meal plan, but I’ve loved having the joy brought back into evening routines – and I’m sure Wesley appreciates sharing that household task.

I know that I’m more than capable of meal planning. It simply takes the fun out of something I love to do. Plus, my attempts at a meal plan may still leave me with an unused bag of spinach to toss out on Friday. I found value in paying for an expert to take a portion of the meal planning duties off my plate so I can stay involved and engaged in dinner prep. The creative elements remain on my plate – I can tweak recipes to fit our tastes and omit any that don’t appeal. I’m simply sharing the burden with someone who devotes her days to her craft, which is much like how it works when someone decides to work with a financial planner.

When you hire a financial planner, you’re inviting someone to come in to learn who you are and what is important to you. We help you simplify and organize your financial life so you can spend less time worrying and instead focus your energies on other parts of your life. You can rest assured knowing a professional is involved in your financial life who can help equip you to make better decisions. Working with us still takes involvement from you, as we can’t do it all for you. But working with us hopefully brings more joy back to you and allows you to remain creative in your work, relationships, and broader community, since you’re sharing the load with others. We continuously revisit your financial plan and adjust as needed to keep you on track to accomplish the things you’ve identified as important to you.

Below are several of the ways we help share the load in your financial life – though this is not a comprehensive list!

  • Documenting life goals: Even if it’s a pipe dream, we want to hear about the things you hope and dream about in your life. We want to keep those on the forefront so that as we monitor your financial plan, we help you see what it may take to make that goal a reality.
  • Streamlining investments: We have a disciplined investment process that connects your portfolio to your financial goals. Assets that we manage are invested to minimize costs, be tax-efficient, eliminate market underperformance, and avoid behavioral mistakes. We also look at assets that we don’t manage because knowing your whole financial picture matters so we can provide better, comprehensive advice.
  • Setting targets: Now that we’ve named where you want to go, we help you figure out what it takes to get there. Sometimes this looks like setting a saving target if you’re in an accumulation phase of life. Sometimes this means limiting spending to a certain level if you’re in the distribution phase of life. We help keep you abreast of your progress and adjust targets when life changes.
  • Being proactive about key ages and dates: We keep up with planning opportunities that are based on certain ages. When to make a catch-up contribution to a retirement plan or your Health Savings Account, when can you take a retirement distribution without penalty, when do you have to take money from your IRA, when can you give out of your IRA via Qualified Charitable Distribution, when can you (and when should you) apply for Social Security and Medicare – that’s a lot for you to keep up with on your own! Not all of those apply to everyone so part of what we do is provide you with reminders that are appropriate for you and your specific situation.
  • Meeting regularly: Like I said earlier, we can’t do it all for you. We hope for our clients to be engaged in the planning process and follow through with their action steps, as we intend to do the same for the steps for which we’re responsible. We also want to hear from you about how you are doing – sometimes it helps to have an outside perspective nudge you a different direction.

Hiring a financial planner is not an impulse decision like buying a meal plan for the fall. We want you to know us well so you’re comfortable and excited about our partnership. We hope to work with our clients for many years as we continue building our relationship as time marches on. As we walk alongside you and take part in your financial life, you can set aside some of your worry and spend time doing the things you love.

Ellen Martin
[email protected]

After graduating from UVA (go Hoos!), I moved to Raleigh for the Raleigh Fellows program where I fell in love with the city, its people, and a fellow Fellow who is now my husband, Wesley. I worked for another wealth management firm in Raleigh for seven years before joining the Beacon team in June of 2021. When not at work, you can most likely find Wesley and me walking our dog, Ollie, on the lovely Raleigh Greenways, or enjoying a cup of coffee and a La Farm white chocolate baguette.