Financial Planning

Map out your future with Bell State Bank & Trust

Goal planning, risk management, and retirement plans can be intimidating topics for individuals without financial backgrounds. It can also be difficult to grasp what retirement might look like when it is still 30 years away. Understanding the difference between a standard 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) can take some digging, and those are relatively well-known products! Finding a professional to help guide your financial plan can take stress out of your present and future.

Becky Walen, AFC®, CFP®, is a senior wealth management advisor at Bell Wealth Management. Her job is to bring the right team of professionals together to work with you to determine your short and long term financial goals and devise a plan to help you get there. Her role exists to break down the complexities of wealth management and make it easier for you to build your financial future.

“At Bell, we’re dedicated to a single mission: to help you navigate a complex financial world in pursuit of your goals,” Walen says. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s that no two clients are alike. That’s why we collaborate with you, creating a holistic financial plan that’s as unique as you are. And it’s why we’re here to advise you on investment scenarios, goal planning, risk management, retirement plans, and estate planning techniques.”

The world is fast paced with smart phones, tablets, and wearable technology. There is an emphasis on quickness and efficiency in almost everything from fast food to job applications to banking. If it isn’t happening now, it’s probably happening too late. Life moves quickly, so if something is difficult to understand, people may pass on it all together. Even if that something could help them enjoy life more in 12 months or 12 years. That’s where Bell can help you understand and slow things down.

Informed and comfortable are words that describe the Bell Wealth Management approach.

“We can help provide clear strategies and solutions to accomplish your goals. Our financial planning process is transparent, efficient, and accountable,” Walen says. “And we make it convenient, fun, and easy, too.

“First, we’ll create a personal financial website where you can see all your accounts and information in one secure place. You’ll be able to see the big picture anytime on your mobile device, computer, or with your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ at Bell.”

Bell takes the approach of truly getting to know their clients and making recommendations that fit their current situation and long term vision. Changes happen and Bell is prepared to handle those, too. Flexibility is a continued need for clients and the Bell Wealth Management team continues to deliver.

The Bell strategy is technology-driven with quarterly newsletters that address topics like investments, financial planning, personal trusts, and more. They also provide a monthly economic outlook courtesy of Bell’s chief investment officer Greg Sweeney. There is a wealth, no pun intended, of information on their website along with regular updates through Twitter.

The biggest focus is that everything is done together, with a plan.

“Together we can map out your future in the decision center, an interactive planning tool, where we can test strategies to strengthen your financial plan,” Walen says. “You work hard for your money. We work hard to help you grow and protect it.”

For more information on the wealth management services offered by Bell Wealth Management, you follow Bell Wealth on Twitter @GoBellWealth.


  • Assessment of financial goals, time horizons and risk tolerance
  • Financial planning
  • Retirement income planning
  • Estate planning
  • In-house investment research
  • Consistent contact and follow-up on investment success

Bell State Bank & Trust’s comprehensive financial services go well beyond basic investment options. Bell Wealth Management is your financial GPS.  We see ourselves as your co-pilots or navigators on your financial journey.  We invest your funds only after careful consideration of how they fit into your overall financial situation, risk tolerance and goals. Your trust & investment team will work with you in a five-step process to develop your financial plan for a secure future.

5 Stages of Financial Planning

  1. Comprehensive review of your investment objectives and risk tolerance
  2. Learning the facts about your overall financial situation and assets
  3. Solid recommendations based on your financial profile
  4. Finalizing a plan that best meets your financial goals
  5. Ongoing partnership and regular communication with you and your attorney, accountant and other advisors

Here to Help You Prepare Financially

By Becky Walen, Senior Wealth Management Advisor, Bell State Bank & Trust

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning,” Thomas Edison wrote. Our job at Bell State Bank & Trust is to help our clients accumulate, grow, preserve and distribute wealth. How we do this is through financial planning and more specifically, life planning.

Not so long ago, between October 2007 and March 2009, the S&P 500 index dropped from 1,565.15 down to 676.53, an annualized change of -44.69%. Ouch! How can anyone without a plan succeed in meeting any goals in the near future or the long term? You cannot do this without luck—and nobody wants to rely on luck for their financial security. Instead, let us help you gather the proper documents and position yourself on the right path for your goals and your life.

We have found that people define retirement as financial independence – and obtaining that independence takes time and proper planning. Determining what constitutes enough money for financial independence differs for each individual. By looking at a few key items in your life, we can help you figure out what defines your financial independence. Here’s how, in 5 basic steps:

5 Steps to a Financial Plan

  1. Our lives are filled with unknowns: unexpected bills for your car and home, illness, job loss, salary cuts, flooding costs, nursing home expenses. We recommend having at least three to six months of expenses in a money market or short-term savings instrument (such as a certificate of deposit) for emergency purposes.
  2. Each of us has wants and needs. I want to buy that new Aston Martin that goes 250mph but I need a dependable car that gets me to work. Once you have established your emergency fund, consider setting your priorities into three timeframes or savings buckets for short-, medium- and long-term goals.
  3. For many of us, it is relatively easy to save for things like vacations and even used cars,  but as price tags rise and time horizons push farther into the future, it becomes harder to keep financial goals in perspective. For those more major goals, you may need to look at some other savings and investment options. For example, if you are saving toward your child’s or grandchild’s college education, you may want to consider investing those dollars into a section 529 plan. Section 529 plans give you the option to invest in mutual funds and other investments and, if the child goes to a qualified institution, the withdrawals of the principal and earnings from the 529 for their education will be tax-free. Consult your tax advisor and see if this option is right for you.
  4. Do not forget to evaluate your long-term goals. Your retirement account is perhaps the one savings bucket where the time horizon is long enough to ride out volatility and market corrections. One of the easiest ways to save for your retirement is through your employer’s retirement plan and IRAs. If you don’t know what your asset allocation should be within those accounts, or even what that means, we are here to help.
  5. When you start to distribute money from your retirement plans to provide income for you and your family to live on, it is sometimes challenging to find an appropriate balance between preservation of principal and enough growth to keep pace with inflation. It all comes back to basics. If we go back to thinking in terms of short-, medium- and long-term goals, we can start to build a foundation in which you will have enough safe cash available for your living expenses and enough growth in your long-term investments to keep pace with inflation.

Log into Bell Financial Planning, your personal wealth management website.

Bell Wealth

Contact Us

Contact our financial planning team to start the conversation about your plan for long-term financial security and peace of mind!


Becky Walen, Senior Wealth Management Advisor



Learn more about our financial planning team.


Find what you're looking for...