Our Purpose. . .

We focus on two areas:  retirement planning and investment management.  Our 30+ years in has given us the opportunity to work with other professionals, and we would be quick to refer you to them should the need arise.

RETIREMENT PLANNING - For retired clients our goal is to minimize risk while generating adequate cash flow to maintain your lifestyle.  That is not always possible to accomplish.  For clients still at work our reviews address the amount you need to save and the growth you will need to experience to reach the "work because I love what I do" stage of life.  We consider your retirement plans, government programs and the other assets you own.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT - Except for your employer's 401K, accounts are managed at our discretion.  We will work with you to arrive at a strategy which we believe will allow you to reach your goals.  Our typical portfolio will consist of 15-30% dividend paying common stocks, a similar allocation to utility and energy securities, 10-25% in growth investments, and 10-20% in international securities.  All portfolios are balanced, having elements of preservation, income & growth.

If you are retired and taking monthly draws, we prefer to hold 3-6 months' income in cash, with possibly another 6 months in short-term debt securities.

Portfolios may include stocks, mutual funds, exchange traded funds "ETFs," separately managed accounts, bonds, certificates, master limited partnerships, and other alternative investments.


Portfolios are rebalanced or reallocated as market conditions change and investment opportunities arise.  We recognize that bull markets are conducive to buy and hold strategies, while bear market conditions often suggest capturing gains more quickly.

You can access your account, updated monthly, through the ModestSpark platform, and if all your assets are at Schwab, through Schwab's Alliance service.  Both services are available on our website Home page.

OTHER AREAS - We have relationships with professionals in the following areas:  INSURANCE, MORTGAGES (Schwab Bank's "no fee, no points" mortgages), REAL ESTATE, SPENDING PLAN, TAXES and WILLS & TRUSTS.



Jim Ellman
Founder & President



     A west coast resident all his life, Jim headed off to the University of California after graduating from Berkeley High (Class of '59).  Five years later he finished at Cal's School of Business, having majored in Finance.

The next two years were spent with the US Army in Okinawa.  Jim's Finance degree landed him a position as Assistant Finance Officer for the 30th Artillery Brigade.  Later he served as the commanding General's Aide.  Those 24 months provided him an opportunity to travel:  Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.  "It was a fantastic two years," Jim says.

Active duty behind him, Jim returned to California and started his career as a life insurance agent.  In the early 1970s his focus shifted to retirement and health plans for small businesses.  Nine years later he was handling plans for 85 clients.  At their urging, Jim obtained a securities license in 1982, affiliating himself with an independent broker-dealer.  His focus changed to providing investments for clients' retirement plans.

A year later, Jim founded Just Plans Etc.  He enjoyed helping clients identify financial goals and implementing strategies to achieve them.  He continued to handle investment and insurance matters with an emphasis on planning for retirement.  In 1991 he replaced commission sales with a fee-based strategy.  Jim selected the institutional side of Charles Schwab & Co. as his back office and started managing client money for a fee.  By December 1999, the transition was complete.  He was now 100% committed to fee-based investment management.

Jim met his wife, Linda, in 1967.  They married in 1969 and have one son, Zach, a grand-daughter, and sponsor five Compassion International children in Latin America, Africa and Asia.  "I do have a passion for my work, but at the end of the day, honestly, it is all for the family, both immediate and extended," Jim says.


  Carolyn Diggs



     Carolyn joined Just Plans in September 2004, returning to work after taking time off to raise her children.  After attending the University of Wisconsin and majoring in Business, she spent 15 years managing Client Service departments and Business Units in the financial and data-processing fields.

Responsible for providing all aspects of service to our clients, supporting and maintaining client accounts, Carolyn is available to answer questions you have regarding your account with Just Plans. She provides interaction with Schwab support and is in the office Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 2:30 pm.

Carolyn was born and raised in Wisconsin and relocated to California after college. In her free time, Carolyn stays busy with family both up and down a generation - and continues to actively support music, sports and other extra curricular activities at the high schools her children attended. Carolyn enjoys traveling, the outdoors and any opportunity to get away with her family.




Just Plans Etc., PO Box 1221, Lafayette, CA 94549          Tel:  925.988.0330     Contact Us


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