Helping parents make sound financial decisions | MomsCharlotte.com

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Michelle Lloyd is a freelance writer and contributor to MomsCharlotte.com.

Helping parents make sound financial decisions

10/23/13 22:50

William Courtland Creeden (also known as Court), 35 of Sedgefield started Parent Financial in 2011 to help parents plan for their own and their children’s future. Keep reading to learn more about Court and how his company can help your family!

Q. How did you come up with the idea for Parent Financial?

A. Financial planning is typically geared towards those individuals about to retire, or those with significant wealth. In my experience I realized that far too many parents were not receiving the planning guidance they needed to balance managing a family’s expenses today with saving for college, weddings, retirement, and other expenses in the future. As a result parents were going years and decades not knowing what they should be doing for their family. I wanted to create a firm that could start helping moms and dads understand where they are today to begin to make informed decisions for the rest of their lives.

Q. What drew you to the financial world?

A. I was working as an analyst for the government and the US Embassies and had always enjoyed that type of planning. After having a very close friend pass away and another friend get diagnosed with cancer I realized that many people I cared about did not have an understanding of how a death or disability could impact their family financially. I decided then to change my career and dedicate my life to helping parents put themselves in the best position possible to protect their family and plan for their future. If I can help a family save for college, achieve retirement, or avoid a major problem in the event of an untimely death or disability then I believe I’ve had an amazingly positive impact on that family.

Q. How exactly do you help parents?

A. The vast majority of parents I meet with have “stuff”; meaning they have investment accounts, insurance, and a budget, but they don’t know if what they have is what they need and if it will get them to where they want to be down the road. I help them by first creating a strong financial foundation by reviewing insurance benefits, establishing a savings plan, helping them understand what their investment accounts are, and building an emergency fund. Once this is completed we shift our focus to creating wealth and saving for college and other financial goals. We take parents from where they are today and work with them over time to help them achieve long term goals through a step by step process.

Q. What types of plans do you help parents set up?

A. We start parents in our “Foundational Planning Process” which helps them have a strategic plan for their savings and emergency fund, a detailed life insurance and disability insurance review, and an investment account analysis. Once the “Foundational Planning Process” is completed we then move parents to “Comprehensive Family Planning” where we develop a strategic plan to save for college, plan for retirement, and implement a wealth management program that allows our clients to monitor all of their accounts in real time 24/7. As a result we help them with life and disability insurance, investment accounts, 401k rollovers, college savings, and estate planning.

Q. What is the main thing parents forget to plan for or overlook that is important?

A. Moms and dads are busy and want to make good financial decisions, but simply put, most of them do not make the time to take a detailed look at their financial lives. They know they need life insurance, but they assume that what their employer provides is enough, or they want to save for college so they set up an account for their child. What they don’t do is take the time to learn how the employer provided insurance works, or whether the college savings account they created is actually going to help them, or decrease their ability to qualify for financial aid. They assume something is better than nothing, so they set up accounts or guesstimate not knowing if what they are doing is best for their family.

Q. Can parents purchase insurance plans or create wills/trusts with you?

A. Through our process we help parents understand what their insurance needs are and if there are any shortfalls we provide them with options from various insurance companies that they can use to purchase insurance through. We do not handle wills and trusts.

Q. What are your fees?

A. Our Foundational Planning Process is provided for your family without a planning fee. Once your family has created a strong financial foundation through that process you are ready to move to our Comprehensive Family Planning. The one-time fee for the Comprehensive Family Planning is typically between $1,500 and $2,500 depending on the uniqueness of your family’s plan and the amount of time the plan will take to create.

Q. When should parents begin planning for college?

A. Planning for college needs to be part of a strategic family plan. Too many parents begin saving for college without understanding whether or not they have properly saved for their own retirement, or emergency fund. While saving for college should be done as soon as possible, it should never be a process where you simply pick an amount (say $50) and start putting it into an account. Parents need to understand how colleges determine your financial aid eligibility and how certain accounts count more than others as it pertains to qualifying for aid. By putting money in one account you may not realize it, but you may be decreasing your ability to get financial aid had you placed the money in another account. In addition, parents need to know whether or not they need to be saving more for their own retirement, before addressing potential college savings for their children. Kids can always get financial aid or take out loans, but parents don’t have the option to take out loans or get scholarships to retire.

Q. Where can expecting parents find information about the classes you teach?

A. Our website has the list of our classes at both Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) and Novant (Presbyterian) Hospitals. Simply click the link that says “Expecting?” at the top right corner of our home page.

Q. Any savings tips?

A. Many parents can tell you how much they spend each month on the mortgage, car payments, cell phone, groceries, dining out, etc. As a result they create a budget for these items, but never seem to save as much as they think they should over the course of the year. When tracking expenses and savings be sure to look over the entire year and include those items that aren’t typical monthly expenses. Don’t forget haircuts, oil changes, gifts, weekend trips, car maintenance, medical bills, birthdays, concerts/events, lawn care, housecleaning, dry cleaning, etc. If you factor in all of these “non-monthly” expenses you may find an additional few hundred or thousand dollars that you are spending each year, but maybe not each month. Plan and save accordingly!

You can find more information online at www.parent-financial.com or call 704-557-9754

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