Take a Vacation! 5 Steps to Plan your Vacation Fun and Budget

Now that your taxes are complete, you may feel you are ready for a vacation. Well, it’s actually a good time to start planning if you want a summer getaway.

Vacation budgets mean less stress

Too many people wait to start planning their vacation. Planning without a budget can cause higher costs, more stress, and an overall disappointing experience. If you can start your planning sooner rather than later you will ensure a fun, relaxing retreat.

Below are five categories or steps I recommend considering when planning for a vacation. They don’t necessarily need to be completed in any specific order; however, answers to certain questions may have an impact on your overall plan.

Step One -Vacation Buddies

First, who will be joining you on this getaway? I think this is the most important task. Determine who you will be vacationing with – significant other, kids, college friends, extended family or a mixture. Understanding this will guide you through the other steps in the planning process.

Step Two – What Kind of Vacation?

Second, what are you going to do? What do you want out of your vacation? Perhaps you want to take a “big” trip or maybe several “mini-vacas” makes more sense. You may even decide to do a local vacation, also known as a “staycation”.

Step Three – Where to Go?

Third, specifically where do you want to go? Perhaps it’s a country, city or an event. The answer to this question may lead to additional questions, such as what activities do you want to do. Perhaps you want to travel to a country and go on a long, planned hike or maybe you would prefer going to the coast and lay on the beach.

Step Four – Vacation Time and Accommodations

Fourth, when do you want to travel and for how many days? This is important do determine so you can get a jump on the last question addressing travel and accommodations. It can also prompt you to research the expected weather for the area you want to travel as well as special events/festivities that may be occurring during the time of your vacation.

Step Five – Vacation Budget or Fund

And fifth, how? How much are you willing to spend? How are you going to get to your chosen location? If you are spending the night, what are your accommodations going to be? It’s never too soon to start a “vacation fund”. Create a budget and figure out how much you need to contribute each month to have that amount ready before the vacation date arrives.

Travel and accommodations are the biggest items to address and the sooner you start researching for the best deals the better. Keep in mind you may be able to utilize mile rewards versus paying cash but remember the number of points needed is based on the dollar value of the ticket and ticket prices can go up as the plane fills, so booking early is important.

Conclusion

We all hope vacations are about relaxing and enjoying special time with family and friends. I want you to return from your vacation well rested, with great memories and less stress. Plan today so your retreat tomorrow is exactly how want it to be.

If you’re unsure as to where to begin, or you have not created a financial plan with vacations budgeted into your plan, consider requesting a consultation with me for productive savings ideas and assistance with getting started.

5 Areas to Measure and Check Your Financial Progress

Spring Cleaning? Good Time for a Financial Progress Check

Financial progress and how one measures it can vary between people. And nothing is wrong with that; however, it is important to establish your financial goals and objectives and periodically measure your progress preferably with the assistance of your personal financial advisor. Here are five areas to measure and periodically check:

  1. Net Worth

Keeping track of the growth of your net worth can be a valuable metric as you progress to your goal. Net worth is the total value of your assets minus your liabilities (Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth). Tracking the progress of your net worth shows you the results of reducing your liabilities while you increase your assets.

  1. Savings

It is important to start saving and get in the habit as soon as possible. Maybe you’ve calculated how much you need to save monthly using an online calculator and maybe that number seems too big right now. Not to worry, the point is to start with what you can afford and shoot for the recommended amount to meet your goal. Each year when you do a progress check you can now check to see if it is where it needs to be. Then, see how a 1%, 3% or 5% savings increase could get you closer to your goal.

It is integral to have a retirement savings as well as an emergency fund, which are totally different buckets of money. The recommended amount for an emergency fund is equal to 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses, but it really depends on your personal lifestyle.

  1. Debt Reduction

Having a large amount of debt can make one feel trapped and not forward moving. For many, financial progress is measured by debt reduction. Being able to pay it down can lead to confidence and a true feeling of financial freedom and success.

There are a number of methods to reduce debt. I subscribe to the debt-snowball method. Simply put, pay the minimum monthly payment for all your debt (excluding your mortgage) with the exception of the one with the smallest balance. Then pay as much as you can on the smallest debt until it is paid in full. Then attack the next smallest balance. As you pay down your debt you will feel a sense of accomplishment.

This method may not work for you, but do not worry. Your financial advisor is a great resource and can help you find the best method for your situation.

  1. Size of Your Portfolio

Many people have a certain number in their minds as to the ideal size of their retirement portfolio. If you are building toward a certain goal, the size of your retirement account can be a great indicator of where you are financially.

Ongoing contributions and ensuring the right diversification of investments helps to balance risk, while giving your money a chance to grow. Periodic reviews with your financial advisor is a good way to check in on your investments to see how you’re doing, and whether anything needs adjusting.

  1. Comparing Yourself to Others

Behavioral finance confirms that one of the age-old measures of financial progress is how you compare, in terms of possessions, to people you know. While I do not recommend this method– in fact, I caution you as this could be the road to unhappiness and a possible goal shortfall — I do recognize it is difficult not to look at what others have (or appear to have) and use it as a measure of success.

Conclusion:

If you haven’t already: meet with your financial advisor, take a few minutes to think about what defines financial progress for you, and establish your financial goals and objectives. Once you have a better idea of what financial progress means to you, you can begin to prioritize what you do with your money, helping you to see progress toward your desired financial future.

Behavioral Finance: Does Fear and Emotion Drive Financial Behavior?


Have you ever made a decision based on your emotions even though facts and statistics point you to a different choice? Maybe you offered to buy a house above the advertised price and higher than comparable home values because you believed you would miss out due to competition? Or maybe you have a fear of flying even though flying is far safer than driving? Perhaps you keep cash in a safe at home instead of a bank savings account, because you feel immediate access to your cash is more secure than the bank.

When establishing a personal investment plan, recognizing and understanding various financial theories can help develop the best plan for you. Rational based theories, such as the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and the efficient market hypothesis (EMH), assume that people, for the most part, make decisions rationally and predictably when all information is available.

However, there is a belief that rational based theories do not address all situations. The behavior finance concept sets out to answer the additional conditions through the following eight key ideas. It is believed that these contribute to irrational financial decisions and impact the financial markets. I’m sure one or more of them are familiar to you.

  1. Anchoring

Anchoring is based on the idea that our decisions are attached or “anchored” to some reference point, regardless of it being logically relevant to that decision.

Behavioral finance example:

A good example is the rule of thumb for buying an engagement ring equal to two months of salary. This has become the “standard” and it was established by the diamond industry and not based on what one can afford or not.

Emotion leads us to believe that love is valuable and therefore “worth” more. Opening a box with an engagement ring that knocks your socks off causes the fiancé to think “He loves me therefore he spent a large amount of money”.

Behavioral finance example:

Another example is investing in a stock whose price recently dropped and believing the anchoring thoughts: “buy low, sell high”, “now’s the time to invest, it will come back up”, when actually the price drop had to do with a recent change in the company’s fundamentals (i.e. loss of a large contract) and could mean that the changes will cause a lower company value.

  1. Mental Accounting

This is the concept that separating accounts based on different goals (i.e. vacations, education) will have a different and more positive effect on spending decisions.

Behavioral finance example:

This can be illustrated better with the following example: having a special “money jar” or fund set aside for a vacation or a new home, while still carrying substantial credit card debt. When actually eliminating the credit card debt will help increase savings for the vacation or new home.

Emotion leads us to believe that the separate accounts will garner success in meeting our goals and working toward something giving a sense of responsibility and self-discipline.

  1. Confirmation and Hindsight Biases

This idea is based on the saying “seeing is believing”. However, this may not always be the case, perhaps our minds allow us to see what we want to see?

Behavioral finance example:

Have you ever been formally introduced to someone after learning another’s opinion of that person and then recognized that your first impression was impacted by a preconceived notion or confirmed? The hindsight bias can be shown by the more recent example in the real estate market in 2008. For those in Arizona and many other markets around the country homeowners experienced home values dropping significantly forcing a record number of foreclosures. Many people now believe it was obvious and they should have seen it coming, however, was it?

Emotion leads us to believe that certain events were predictable or completely obvious at the onset.  We do this in an effort to find order by creating an explanation with links between cause and effect. The problem with this could lead us to erroneous links and incorrect oversimplifications.

  1. Gambler’s Fallacy

The Gambler’s Fallacy is when one erroneously believes that because an event, or series of events, just occurred that the chances for a certain random event to follow is reduced.

Behavioral finance example:

This line of thinking is incorrect as illustrated by a series of 20 coin flips. A person might predict that the next coin flip is more likely to land with the “tails” side up. Understanding probability will tell you that each coin flip is an independent event and has no bearing on future flips. Or, as illustrated with the rise and fall of a stock price, the notion to invest in a stock that has gone down 20 days in a row because the next day it just has to go up regardless of any real fundamental reasoning for the recent price decline.

Emotion leads us to believe we have some control for the next outcome and that it’s going to go our way next.

  1. Herd Behavior

This is the propensity for individuals to follow the actions of a larger group whether rational or irrational. Individually, however, most people would not necessarily make the same choice.

Behavioral finance example:

There are a couple reasons for this behavior. We as people want to be accepted by a group and therefore we are prone to follow the group even though we may make a different decision as an individual. Another, more likely, reason is the common basis that it’s unlikely that such a large group could be wrong especially in situations in which an individual has very little experience. This was seen more recently with the “dotcom” investments. At the time fundamentals were not available to support the large investments; however, because venture capitalists and private investors believed in them as good investments, then they must be, right?

Emotion leads us to believe that the masses are right and since it’s different from what I think, I must be wrong. These beliefs come from self-doubt and insecurity.

  1. Overconfidence

Confidence versus overconfidence. Confidence implies realistically trusting in someone or something, while overconfidence usually suggests an overly optimistic judgement of one’s knowledge or control over a situation. Another way to explain it is by referring to my personal example of bowling. Yes, I’m talking about the sport. First, I should explain that I actually don’t really enjoy the sport, typically the balls are too heavy. But, every time I play I feel that I’m getting better and after a couple rounds I actually believe I could win. This is an example of my unwarranted confidence, i.e. overconfidence.

Behavioral finance example:

Most recently we can look at the 2008 Housing Crisis. There were many variables that caused it; however, the above average increase in home values can be attributed partly to the overconfidence of real estate investors who didn’t normally refer to themselves as real estate investors. Values in their homes were increasing and opportunities to capitalize on that were marketed to them. The value increase had nothing to do with their real estate knowledge; however, it made them feel confident in their ability to invest in another and make money.

Emotion leads us to believe that ultimately, we have control of the outcome. Perhaps it comes from our belief that we are entitled to the positive result.

  1. Overreaction and the Availability Bias

Emotions in the stock market help explain overreaction when new information is presented. Based on the availability bias, people tend to weigh their decisions heavily on more recent information, making their new opinion biased toward that latest news. Perhaps you have experienced this when driving by a car accident? Immediately you slow down and drive with more attention. You may even continue to do so the next couple of times you drive, but then over time you revert back to your normal driving behavior.

Behavioral finance example:

Perhaps we are experiencing an example in today’s market? As a whole, the U.S. economy is performing well and the stock market is at an all-time high. Given this positive news, perhaps more people are investing or more dollars are being invested in the market leading to more new highs.

Emotion leads us to believe that new current information is better and more accurate and we must pay more attention to it than the previous information available. This drives us to action.

  1. Prospect Theory

Prospect Theory believes that people value gains more positively than they value losses negatively, and therefore make decisions based on these perceptions.

Behavioral finance example:

To clarify, winning $50 is better than winning $100 and then losing $50. The end result is the same – $50; however, losses have more emotional impact than an equivalent amount of gain. This theory can also be used to explain the occurrence of the disposition effect. The disposition effect is when an investor holds on to a losing stock too long or selling a winning stock before necessary. Logically it makes more sense to hold on to the winning stocks in hopes of realizing more gains and to liquidate the losing stocks to avoid further losses.

Emotion leads us to believe that losing, regardless of the amount, relative to gains is bad. Additionally, we believe we deserve awards and positive results.

Conclusion:

What does this all mean relative to you and your investment risk management? We are emotional creatures and emotional investors, and consciously or subconsciously, this causes our behavior to focus on how winning or losing will make us feel.

With these behavior finance concepts illustrated above, it is no surprise that some investors question their confidence in the financial system and aren’t sure what to do and who to trust. At Maxima Wealth Management we assist our clients in developing a plan that meets their individual needs, we offer a structured, unemotional and highly diversified investment approach addressing risk management.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a consultation!

Managing Risk – Managing and Capitalizing on One’s Exposure to Risk Factors

Everyday life is the perfect illustration that risk is involved in everything we know and managing it is an action we address with everything we do. In our daily lives we may wonder about things such as: Should I take the umbrella today? Should we drive city streets or freeway to get to the doctor’s appointment? Which water heater should we buy?

Risk and Investment Decisions

Of course, risk is also involved with investments. But as with the examples above, there are steps we can take to manage and capitalize on the risk with which we are comfortable.

Three steps in the overall process of managing risk.

  1. The process of understanding the risk. This is done by gathering information or data to help make an informed decision. With investments we start this process by understanding our personal risk tolerance and time horizon.
  2. Understanding that there is a certain reward with each risk and assume the level of risk consistent with one’s comfort level as discussed in 5 Investment Risks.
  3. Respect history and the research/statistics available when taking action. This step is the act of managing. With the knowledge in the first two steps, one can decide which risks are appropriate to assume and how much one should assume.

Recognize Risk Factors

At Maxima Wealth Management we recognize the following principles that influence our structured approach to managing risk based on compensated risk factors:

  • Markets work—Intense competition drives the market to near-instant efficiency. Securities prices are fair and reflect the best estimate of the company’s actual value. Efforts to identify undervalued stocks or markets are not rewarded consistently.
  • Effective diversification is key—It reduces the impact of individual securities and enables investors to scientifically employ the risk factors that offer higher expected returns.
  • Risk and return are related—Only non-diversifiable risk is systematically rewarded over time. So, differences in the average returns of portfolios are due to differences in average risk. Multifactor investing brings a systematic approach to harnessing these risks to deliver above-market performance over time.
  • Portfolio structure explains performance—Asset allocation, not stock picking or market timing, accounts for most of the performance in a diversified investment strategy.

Research shows that most of the variation in returns among equity portfolios can be explained by the portfolios’ relative exposure to three compensated risk factors:

  • Market Risk—Stocks have higher expected returns than fixed income securities
  • Size Risk—Small cap stocks have higher expected returns than large cap stocks
  • Value/Growth Risk—Lower-priced “value” stocks have higher expected returns than higher-priced “growth” stocks

Structuring a portfolio around compensated risk factors can change priorities in the investment process. The focus shifts from chasing returns (through stock picking or market timing) to diversification across multiple asset classes in a portfolio.

Understand Risk

The key to managing risk is first to clearly understand what risk is, second recognize with every risk there is some level of reward, and third acting on what history has shown and what level of risk/reward you are willing to assume. It is important to stay focused on your investment goals and objectives along with your risk tolerance and time horizon.

Opportunity in the market is sometimes disguised as volatility. This can increase investor emotions and affect decision making. My next blog will address risk management from the behavioral finance perspective.

5 Investment Risks: Is Risk a Necessary Factor of Return?

Those of you who live in Arizona know that October is usually the month that the temperatures start decreasing and people are excited to be outside. I am one of those people. I live in Arizona for the opportunity to hike, bike and just enjoy the beautiful southwest outdoors.

Over the years, I have come to recognize the benefits, but also the hazards, associated with the different types of outdoor activities — and of simply being outdoors. Some of those benefits include: healthy workout, vitamin D, access to beautiful views.

In turn, some hazards associated with those benefits include: spraining an ankle while hiking, sunburn, running out of water. Knowing my desired outcome I am able to gauge my capacity for risk, and plan accordingly.

Risk and investment returns

This is also true with investments. One can get higher returns if they are willing to assume more risk and equally true, the lower their risk, the less they are expected to receive in returns. Historical data shows us that investors are compensated in proportion to the risk they take.

This research identifies five risk factors that explain most of the expected returns associated with different asset classes.

These asset classes are:

I. Stocks

  • Large Capitalization Companies: Growth/Blend/Value
  • Medium Capitalization Companies: Growth/Blend/Value
  • Small Capitalization Companies: Growth/Blend/Value

To differentiate and define risk within each stock asset class below are three factors:

        A. Market Risk —generally, stocks have higher expected returns than fixed income securities

       B. Size Risk—small capitalization stocks have higher expected returns than large company stocks

       C. Value/Growth Risk—lower-priced “value” stocks have higher expected returns than higher-priced “growth” stocks

II. Bonds

  • Long-Term (generally greater than 10 years): High to Low Credit Quality
  • Intermediate-Term (generally 4 to 10 years): High to Low Credit Quality
  • Short-Term (generally 1 to 3 years): High to Low Credit Quality

And then below reflect compensated risk in the bond market:

         A. Maturity Risk—longer-term bonds are riskier than shorter-term instruments

         B. Credit Risk—instruments of lower credit quality are riskier than instruments of higher credit quality

Assessing risk when making investment decisions

Just like we recognize the benefits and hazards associated with the outdoor activities we enjoy (risk/reward concept), we must also go through a similar process with investments. This risk/return concept is one of the essential components when making investment decisions and assessing a portfolio. My next blog, Managing Risk, will address the idea of managing and capitalizing on one’s exposure to risk factors.

2 Key Questions to Answer: Understanding Your Risk Tolerance and Time Horizon

With my birthday on the horizon I’ve been thinking about what I’ve done throughout my life and what I’d still like to do. It’s interesting to look at those two lists and compare. Perhaps you’ve done this exercise. When reviewing these lists, I see a clear change in my personal risk tolerance over the years.

Risk assessment is something we all do every day of our lives. And regarding our investments, it’s definitely something we should be doing and reviewing at least annually. It is important to know that with each risk there is a certain return associated. Identifying early which risks one is willing to take, given the related return, can reduce a great deal of heartache in the future. There are numerous questionnaires available to help identify your risk profile. I use two such questionnaires which can be found at http://maximawealth.com/resources/resources/.

When assessing risk and identifying your risk tolerance there are few key questions to ask and answer.

1. Can you handle short-term losses?

The answer to this question is going to be different for everyone, and may even be different for you, depending on your individual goals. An investment policy statement (IPS) can help you maneuver through the ups and downs of the market, as well as address matters such as long-term goals and desired returns. I assist each of my clients in establishing an IPS after we define goals and objectives and clarify their current financial situation.

2. What fundamental factors can influence your risk tolerance?

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that age is an important consideration; however, the second one might be a foreign concept – time horizon.

Risk and time
As we age, the amount of time we have to make up our losses is reduced. These losses could be in the way of money, time or even broken bones. This is why as I compared my two lists I wrote about earlier I recognize my desire to skydive when I was younger has now turned into specifying my desire to indoor skydive. So, it makes sense if one might gradually reduce the amount of risk in their investment portfolio over time just like one might adjust the different recreational activities as they age.

But what exactly is meant by time horizon. Basically, it is your timeline to the specific goal in which you are investing, such as retirement. This timeline can influence your risk tolerance. Identifying the desired time horizon is very important when it comes to choosing investments and your overall asset allocation for a particular portfolio.

With longer-term goals we can often afford to be more aggressive than with shorter-term goals. Take my skydive example above. If I were to skydive now and break my leg on the landing my recovery would likely be longer because of my age, whereas if it had happened when I was a young adult my bones and body could recover quickly.

“The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

There is a relationship between risk and return. Risk is a necessary factor of return. Investors need to recognize this risk/return trade-off. Understanding this will lead one to recognize the importance for investors to manage risk even more than simply trying to reduce it. And this begins with understanding your risk tolerance and time horizon. Check in for my next blog discussing the risk/reward concept.

Organize, Plan, and Get on a Consistent Schedule with a Family Budget

Are you ruled by the academic school calendar? Do you live by the football calendar? Maybe you begin planning your next year’s budget when the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back on the menu.

Whatever it is that motivates you to organize, plan, and get on a consistent schedule, I want to challenge you to include creating a BUDGET. Understanding where your money is going and where you would like it to go in the future is the beginning of empowering you and your money.

Following a budget helps you proactively save, spend, and grow your money. Most people don’t have a clear understanding of their monthly spending habits and may actually feel they are spending too much. Some are pleasantly surprised to find that they have more money in their budget allowing for increased savings. So, the first task I ask my new clients is to spend the time to create their budget.

Two things happen when clients create a budget:

1.First, most people find areas in which they are overspending and immediately make adjustments resulting in savings.

2.Second, they have more clarity about their financial situation.

Sometimes during this process I see the “deer in the headlights” look and the “stop” statement: “I don’t know how to create a budget.” Your budget does not have to be perfect and it does not have to track every penny. The best plan is the one you will stick to on a consistent basis.

Budget tools

With today’s technology, there are a number of budgeting tools that can help automate the process. Your bank or credit union usually offers a budget tracker and of course I offer a simple Monthly Budget spreadsheet that can easily be adjusted to meet your needs. I even support the old school pen and paper method as long as it works for you. Whatever you use, the important point is that you DO IT.

Yes, creating a budget may require some work and effort, but the benefits can have long-term life-enhancing effects. A few of those benefits are:

  • Control over your money
  • Focus on your financial goals and objectives
  • Awareness of where your money is spent
  • Organization of your spending, saving and investing
  • Proactive investment, spending decisions
  • Plan for unexpected costs

Keep in mind a budget won’t really save you from bad spending habits. But, it will give you a goal and plan to keep you focused. Financial knowledge is not about prevention, but instead about empowerment. The more you understand your personal finances, the more opportunity you have to make smart and effective money decisions.

The Evolution

Welcome to the final installment, blog #3 in the Maxima Wealth Management rebranding.

With everything in place to officially launch my new identity, I wanted to review the final outcome along with the process I took to get there. This step is actually referred to as The Review and is the final step in the financial planning process. At Maxima Wealth Management, I believe that planning is the cornerstone of financial success, so it should not be a surprise that The Quest and The Identity are an illustration of the “5-Steps to Planning” — a strategy I have found useful whether for personal use or for wealth management.

Assess the Situation

The first step to this five-step approach is assessing the situation. In my first blog, The Quest, I did some informal and formal assessments. Part of the assessment was recognizing I needed to re-ignite my passion for my profession. This assessment led me to the analysis and clarification of my short and long-term goals. This step is very important in the financial planning process and one that we would accomplish before anything else.

Develop a Plan

For the second step, I worked at developing the plan to meet my goals. I have found that realizing my goals, whether they are personal or professional, is a much more successful process when I have a plan. When you decide to develop a financial plan it’s important to take into account several considerations.

The first is to address any obstacles standing in the way of you and your financial goals.

The second consideration is to determine the tools available to help overcome and avoid the obstacles.

Finally, it’s important to make sure that your plan is workable and makes sense. It will do you absolutely no good to develop a plan if you cannot follow it. This is where professional assistance is necessary.

I was able to identify and overcome my obstacles through the utilization and implementation of a personal self-assessment tool. This process required me to assess my strengths, clarify what is most important to me and then define my Ideal Client. As I discussed in The Quest, this process became one of the most important aspects to my plan.

Choose Planning Tools

The third step required me to decide on the tools to use that could help me achieve the desired results. As with most tools – the user needs to know how to properly use the tool before it can be of use to them.

For my purpose, I chose tools that would illustrate my level of commitment to my clients, which include my original Client Service Experience and a newly developed client-friendly website. Just as a hammer is meant to drive a nail and is not intended to cut through wood, certain tools have specific uses.

At Maxima Wealth Management, using a holistic approach to planning, we look at your entire financial picture and recommend tools that will integrate well with the rest of your plan to create synergy. We take the view that a proper financial plan will utilize the most appropriate tools available and that there is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all” in the financial world.

Implement a Structure

Implementation is the fourth step in the planning process. With the website complete and a client agreement in place my quest was nearing the final stage.

Just as a hammer will never drive a nail into wood unless somebody picks it up and swings it, your tools and your plans will do you no good unless you use them. To help facilitate the use of the financial tools, Maxima Wealth Management has developed, and makes available to our clients, resource materials designed to help educate our clients so that they can properly use the structures and tools created.

Review the Structure

I see my quest as an ongoing way of life, much like I see the requirement of a regular review of your financial plan. Once you have developed and implemented a plan, it is important to review the plan periodically as required by the fifth and final step. It makes good sense to review your plan and to reassess your situation at least on an annual basis.

Remember, if a ship leaves port and is off by one degree when it departs and the crew does not catch the mistake for a week, they will be many miles off course when they do discover that they made a mistake. A periodic review allows you to get back on course if things change or new obstacles arise.

Ongoing Journey

I encourage you to come in and go through this five-step approach whether it’s for you, your family or your business. It’s never too late to take The Quest and make sure your financial plan is in place and leading you to the financial future you envision.

Please take some time and peruse my new website, http://maximawealth.com/. Make sure you continue to check back for upcoming blogs!

Open House

“It takes just a moment to change your attitude. And, in that quick moment, you can change your entire day.” – – Author Unknown

Please join me for Maxima Wealth Management’s:

Positive Thinking Open House

Positive Thinking Day is September 13, 2017. This day is all about a positive attitude and my celebration of The Quest, my firm’s rebranding and recommitment to my clients. You are an important part of my business, and my success. Please allow me to express my gratitude by treating you to beverages, hors d’oeuvres, and a fun social gathering.

The power of positive thinking is awesome. Medical research confirms that a positive attitude can work wonders at fighting disease and illnesses, from the common cold to cancer. People with a positive attitude such as “I think I can” or “I can do this!” are more likely to succeed at work and accomplish more goals that they’ve set in life.

Please join me:

When: Wednesday the 13th of September

Time: Starting at 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Where: 60 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Ste 900

Tempe, Arizona 85281

Please feel free to bring a friend.  I look forward to seeing you there!

The Identity

Welcome to blog #2 in the Maxima Wealth Management rebranding quest.

In order to move forward with my company rebranding, I realized I must embark on a set of actions, and taking action involves a number of steps. I developed my goals and had a clear idea of who my ideal client was. This information would guide me in meeting my mission and realizing my vision. During this process I developed a tool: the Client Service Experience; this would continue to guide me throughout my quest.

Next came the concept of creating an identity for my company. I started this quest in an effort to renew my passion for why I became an independent financial advisor. It made sense that rebranding was a necessary step. I realized my previous brand no longer reflected me or my company. It was my desire to create an identity that was a reflection of me, personally and professionally, as well as a statement of my promise to my clients and my company’s values. My identity would include the visual elements of a company name, its logo and colors.

A Name With Meaning

I started by wanting to personalize the name of the company. Yes, I wanted it to speak to my clients, but I also wanted it to speak to me. I reached deep down inside and realized I wanted the name to illustrate my legacy. A big part of one’s legacy is one’s surname, mine being Wagner. But it also includes intangible gifts left by those who are no longer with us; such as, experiences, memories and character.

You may not know this, but my mother passed away when I was a teenager. I learned a lot through this experience and it played into my overall development. I wanted to take this opportunity to honor that legacy, to honor my mom. Her name was Maxine, so I set out to incorporate her name into the legacy I was creating. The ancient Roman form of Maxine is Maxima and it means the greatest. This was the perfect start of creating my new identity.

I knew I wanted the name to be descriptive of what I did. As I brainstormed the variety of possible descriptive company names, I chose Wealth Management. To me, the word wealth speaks to abundance and prosperity and many times refers to material goods. It was my intent to choose words that illustrate both physical and abstract ideas.

So, the new name of my company was decided: Maxima Wealth Management. And it actually rolled right off my tongue.

Colors, Symbols, and Meaning

The next task was to select my colors and assist my graphic artist in designing a logo. I knew I wanted to incorporate a graphic that represented Arizona desert mountains, not only because I live in Arizona but also because I love the desert and hiking.

Every morning I’m fortunate to look toward the Four Peaks just east of Phoenix. The Four Peaks symbolize for me the opportunity we all have to reach our goals and realize our purpose. Additionally, I wanted to incorporate the colors, burnt orange and navy blue. Burnt orange reminds me of the Arizona desert as well as a visual representing energy. And, navy blue has always been a color of calm and strength to me. I was very pleased when my graphic artist designed the logo now depicting Maxima Wealth Management.

Ongoing Journey

Having my Mission, Vision, Ideal Client, Client Service Experience and a company Identity in place, I was now able to put it all together and display it for client viewing. I was ready to continue my quest towards a more relationship-based profession, one that is more satisfying to me and to my clients. Please take some time and peruse my new website, http://maximawealth.com. Make sure you check back in for blog #3 of The Quest!