Black Swan Advisor's Advice Continuum

Integrated Financial Life Planning is:

  • Comprehensive: Covering all of the important areas of your financial life.
  • Collaborative: Working with you, our collaborative team, and your other professionals.
  • Coordinated: Making sure every area of your finances is working for you and aligned to your highest values.

Integrated Financial Life Planning is simply the fusion of three processes Comprehensive Financial Planning, Financial Life Coordination, and Life Planning.  Life Planning is an integrated field which includes helping people with; Lifestyle Design, Career Development, Transitions, and Changing Life Patterns.  Comprehensive Financial Planning is the optimization of: Retirement, College, Tax, Estate, Risk,  Insurance, Cash-flow and Debt.
Financial Life Coordination is financial doing: coordination, oversight, guidance on the implementation of your financial plan. Of course we are Advice-Only; we believe it is the most objective way of getting paid for advice. 

A Comprehensive Financial Plan, prepared by a CFP® Professional, normally cost From $3,000 to $6,000.  And that is actually a very good value, the problem is that most financial plans are sitting on a shelf and outdated 3 months after they are created.  That is why we use Modular Financial Planning. It is everything you need at that moment, without paying for things you don’t need.  This gives you access to ongoing advice, planning, coaching, and coordination.  Exactly what you need, but in bite size sections.  This efficiency allows us to better serve our clients; as a bonus, it is often at a lower total rate than other financial planner and financial advisors. 

If you were to hire all three Life Planner (Avg $150 an hour),  a Financial Planner (Avg $300 an hour), and a Financial Life Coordinator (Avg $200 an hour)… there would be a lot of work overlap.  Again, that means wasted time and money,  and answering a lot of the same questions over and over.  We integrate all three processes for a more efficient and effective process. 

This fusion of methods creates an agile, modular process of next steps.  The goal is to give all the advice and help you need to make big decisions, but only what you need, and only when you need it. That saves you money, time, and effort. The process puts your long term interests first, and focuses on increasing your sense of confidence in your future, and life satisfaction. We help you do more with what you have.

The clearer you vision, the easier it is to see the next step. 

The first step will focus on; who you are, what you value, what you want, where you are now, and where want to go.  Your life, your long term happiness, your values, and purpose are the center of all life planning. No one can even invest properly, unless they know the what and why. It is just about clarifying what matters most to you, then finding the next best step to get you there. So the start of the financial planning process is a Road  Map, which is the very cornerstone of a foundational plan. 

Integrated Financial Life Planning can include:

  • Proactive Tax Planning & Forecasting not Tax Preparation
  • Total Risk Management not Insurance Sales
  • Portfolio Positioning not Investment Products 
  • Guidance on all of your assets, not just stock and bonds
  • Estate Implementation not a “dusty Estate Plan on a shelf”
  • College Funding Planning not just College Savings
  • Student Loan Planning not just 529 payment advice
  • Intergenerational Planning not just Inheritance Planning
  • Legacy Planning not just Charitable Giving
  • Social Security Optimization not just Retirement Planning
  • Values Based and Cash Flow Based Planning not just Goals Based Planning
  • Medicare Timing Decisions 
  • Tax Efficient Liquidations
  • Home Equity Advice
  • Employer Benefits Planning 
  • Foundational Small Business Planning
  • Help you become aware of habits and attitudes that will either harm or help your financial health
  • Meaningful Life Planning on Purpose not just Life Coaching
  • Advice on specific decisions and implementations not just Financial Counseling or Financial Coaching
  • “What If?” Planning: estimate your long-term financial needs based on various health, employment and economic scenarios

"When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier." Roy E. Disney

We only work for you & your family.
We help you make smarter and wiser choices about your money, helping you get to your goals while honoring your values. We want to be partners in your journey towards living an even better life.

Our clients are smart, capable people, mostly parents who are busy & blessed.  They simply do not have the time to learn (and keep up on) everything they need to know about finances – and still focus on the people they love.  Some are single, some are married: most want to help their kids get through college, without massive debt.
We start with whatever you need most.  We put together the whole picture for you, and help you optimist your ideal financial life.  You are busy with your blessed life… let us do some of the work and worry for you.

Below are some of the modules and components of Integrated Financial Life Planning, displayed in groups for explanatory clarity.  We do not offer these services individually, unless specifically stated on our website.

Cradle to Career Education Funding & Advice

Saving for college is great if you had the opportunity, but not everyone was able to.  We start wherever you are now. College Funding includes advice on how to save for college, but also how to save on the cost of college.  We find the optimum way of funding college to help you reduce stress and uncertainty. Using the College Pre-Approval™  process, we help families create a comprehensive college funding plan to: maximize financial aid, minimize taxes, and save for a comfortable retirement - at the same time. We can also help with Student Loan Repayment Planning after college.

Total Wealth Planning Oversight

Often clients want others to manage investments for them.  Some want to manage them personally. We are certainly fine with either, and will sometimes recommend a combination of both.  Whatever you choose, we want you to have a coordinated, aligned, tax efficient portfolio that is working together for you. That is why Wealth Planning and Oversight is included in our process. We care more that it gets done right, than who gets to do it. Whether we are acting as a investment coach, counselor, consultant, or as a Portfolio Planner we want you to understand your money.  How and why your money needs to be managed that way - in ways that align with your possible life events, values, and future goals.

Small Business & Employee Benefits Planning

401(k)s, 403(b)s, PERS, and SERS. HSA, FSA, SLI... It can get a little complicated. We help you with your choices and trade-offs. So that you know you and your family have the optimum finical protection in case of unforeseen events. Life happens. So you need protection from possibilities like; disability, illness, injury, or unemployment. We also collaborate with professionals that specialize in different areas of tax planning, succession planning, and things you have never heard of. We will thoughtfully and thoroughly analyze your situation to find any opportunists; to pay less taxes, for efficiency, or to protect your business and family better.

Personal Risk Management

Risk Management is simply the process the minimizing the total risk in your financial life.  Sometimes you can avoid a risk, like not eating that gas station sushi. Sometimes you can reduce a risk, like wearing a helmet. Sometimes you can transfer a risk, letting a firefighter fight a fire. Sometimes you can accept a risk, like swimming in the ocean. We transfer the big risk that we cannot easily handle, that is insurance.  We reduce the risk we can, like installing fire sprinklers.   What is important to understand is how much of a threat each risk really is to you.  Then we can work on finding the optimum path.

Retirement and Senior Life Planning

The most concern is retirement.  It is important, but we also want to plan for Long Term Care cost, and caring for elderly parents.  We help you define your Values, Dreams, and Goals - and we help you watch out for the pitfalls that can derail those goals.  Together, we "get your life together" financially... so we can see the whole picture. Then we start the process of financial planning, financial doing, and financial navigating.  Plan, Provide, Protect, Prosper.  The process of planning is much like piloting a ship.  Having a navigator that won't let you forget anything, brings a lot of peace and clarity to you, the captain.  We show you the course corrections so that you can steer clear of rocky shores, storms, and other hazards.

Legacy, Estate, & Charitable Planning

We start off with an Ethical Will.  It is a legacy tool that does three things. It helps us get clear on your values, so that we can make sure decisions and suggestions fits your values.  It acts as a cover page for the rest of your estate documents: so that executors know why you wanted things that way.  It helps you pass down your values and cultural legacy to the next generation explicitly. We are not attorneys or accountants.  We don't do all the work for you.  We help other advisors plan for exactly what fits you and your life.  We make sure all the important work gets done, and is implemented right.  

Cash-Flow Planning, Debt, & Credit Advice

Oh no, not a budget! Don't worry, this is about awareness not finding every penny. Cash Flow Planning is really just about bringing a touch of sophistication to your Savings & Spending Strategies. We help you save better, spend wiser, and fix those common issues with credit.  Money is very sharp, double edge tool... it can help you make your life more meaningful or more maddening. "A Cash Flow Plan is simply telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it went." John Maxwell

Caretaking, Special Needs, and Home Advice

Being a caretaker is one of the most meaningful roles in the world. It is also one of the hardest. I probably do need to tell you, that taking care of your loved ones can often mean forgetting to take care of yourself. We help you figure out what can be done with your money, so that everyone you love is taken care of the best way possible. Home & Equity Advice: Moving? Upgrading? Downsizing? Remodeling for an Aging in Place Plan? Should you take that home equity loan or Refinance? What will it look like if you... ? No matter how exciting, scary, frustrating, or complicated we help you walk through everything you are thinking, do the math, and then give your truly objective advice.

Collaboration, Special Needs & SME's

We collaborate with your Subject Matter Experts. We don't do everything, we help make sure everything gets done right. We can give some really great advice, but nobody can give all the advice you need. Eventually we need to find the right collaborative team for your specific situation. This is an advanced type of planning, and different because you have to plan separate for at least two different life cycles. Then those plans have to be unified and optimized into something new. And this all had to be done as efficiently and effectively as possible, to make sure all the money needed is there for care.

Full Service Financial Advice Spectrum

We are passionate client advocates: and so, we use proactive, collaborative, comprehensive, and integrated financial life planning to create custom tailored advice for your family, and your life. .
Our unwavering loyalty to client families means that we will always act in your best interest, even after you are gone.
Our Business model is built on integrity. Doing what is right for your family is also what is in the long term best of our business.

Our Planning Principles

We Believe in...
Financial Transitions Planning:
Life transitions can be really difficult. If yours is difficult, we can make it easier. If yours is going well, we can make it even better. Virtual Family Office & Collaboration Coordination is available.
Family Focused Finance:
We focus your core family. Our planning is optimized to get the best overall results for your whole family, not just one person, and not just for retirement. We only do Family Governance for very select clients, but that type of thinking effects everything we do.
Female Friendly Finance: We believe in gender balanced, personally tailored finance. We will treat you both as individuals, and make sure you are both fully heard. Every area of our service is crafted by these guiding principles.

Our Collaboration Principles

"Nobody knows everything, and everybody knows something."
Very often it takes a team of advisor to fix a complicated situation. We make sure that we do the right thing for the client, even if it takes longer, requires more work, and more collaboration. Our business, advice fees, and planning process are built with coordination and collaboration in mind. We make sure everything gets done. We have collaborative teams of professionals that we normally work with.
And we would love to work with your current professionals, as long as they are up to our high standards.


Black Swan Advisors is a “Fee-Only” advisor, and other than its advisory fee described above, neither the firm nor its employees receive or accept any direct or indirect compensation related to investments. We do not sell Investments or Insurance products, nor do we receive any other commissions. This means that Clients will not be guided toward products or services that create additional fees or compensation to benefit Black Swan Advisors or its employees or its affiliates other than those described in this Brochure and on the Site. We have no monetary stake in any recommendations.

The Comprehensive Financial Planning Process can take as little as 10 hours a year and as much as a 80 hours depending on the complexity of analysis and research required.  Black Swan Advisors’ fees are not charged in advance. 

We do not accept client payments of any fees in advance. We only offer a signed Formal Letter of Client Engagement after; the first meeting, giving the client the disclosure brochure, and a 3 day waiting period.

Black Swan Advisors reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to negotiate, reduce or waive the advisory fee for certain Client Accounts for any period of time determined by Black Swan Advisors.

Note: In Illinois, unless a client has received the firm’s disclosure brochure at least 48 hours prior to signing the investment advisory contract, the investment advisory contract may be terminated by the client within five (5) business days of signing the contract without incurring any advisory fees (Ill. Section 130.846).