Broker Check

How to Choose a Financial Advisor - Top 10 Financial Planning Questions

1. All the websites/advisors I have reviewed all look the same. Why should I talk with you?

  • We get to know our clients. Our true “job” is to help clients determine what is really important. We then guide them on a path towards achieving their most important goals in line with their true values.
  • We practice true comprehensive planning/wealth management. Most firms give this lip service as a way to sell products.
  • We have taken a fiduciary oath. We work to uphold a fiduciary standard for your best interests. Because we aren’t selling products, we are able to sit on the same side of the table with our clients.
  • We are a Fee-Only firm – You will know exactly what our services will cost. You will never wonder why we are recommending a product or service. The only reason will be because we think it will be in your best interest.


2. What is a fee-only account?

We prefer an investment account in which the advisor's compensation is based on a set percentage of the client's assets instead of on commissions. Contrast this to commission-based investment, in which the advisor makes money based on the amount of trades made or the amount of assets sold to the client.


3. Is it worth hiring a financial advisor to help me?

  • An independent financial planner can offer guidance with the goal to protect from financial

         predators.

  • An independent financial planner helps you keep track of--and make more efficient--your financial affairs
  • An independent financial planner will stand between his/her clients and the dysfunctional emotional decisions that everybody makes with their own investments.
  • An independent financial planner is a strong advocate for your future.
  • An independent financial planner helps people identify what is important in their lives and prioritize their goals.
  • An independent financial planner can help people turn seemingly impossible goals into a routine that they can potentially achieve them.


4. What type of people do you work with?

Generally, our clients are business owners, executives or affluent couples within 10 years of retirement or in retirement.


5. What financial areas can you help me cover?

It is critical to think long term to put a plan together that makes sense to you and to ensure you are doing the right things to achieve your most important financial goal in line with your values. This is how we help. You might be worried about when you can retire? Are you on track to retire? Can I help my children? I have been saving all my life and now how do I live off my investments without running out? Our ongoing wealth management services helps in the following areas:

  • Financial planning for your most important goals including retirement, college, etc.
  • Ongoing attention from a Certified Financial Planner™ who looks after the details of your plan.
  • Proactive assistance with the paperwork, deadlines and administration necessary to keep your plan on track
  • Updated plans that reflect substantial changes in your life or your financial situation
  • Professional management and guidance of all your investment accounts, even your 401k, 403b and 529 plan
  • Institutional-grade investments from leading fund families.
  • Cash Flow planning to determine savings programs and for enjoying retirement with a well thought out plan for spending.
  • Tax Planning assistance aimed to reduce the impact of taxes and the creation of an annual tax packet to give to your tax preparer.
  • Liability and Debt Planning to achieve goals for debt payoffs and put a plan in place that makes sense.
  • Client Aging Planning to carry out your wishes for aging gracefully and for end of life.
  • Client Loss Process to help a spouse make sure they are ok financially and guide them through the grieving process.
  • Insurance Planning Yearly update of insurance needs, including assistance with “shopping” for coverage. Ultimately the “right” coverage for the premium dollars.
  • Business Planning to review both personal and business to make sure you are taking advantage of all the opportunities.
  • Estate Planning to identify your wishes for your family and then work with the attorney so the proper plan is in place and implemented.
  • Gifting Strategies to transferring wealth to your heirs and/or fulfilling charitable goals.


6. What is your approach to financial planning?

Financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important things: (1) An in-depth review of your current financial situation, and (2) a blueprint that shows you how to work towards achieving your goals and objectives for the future. It is important to remember that financial planning is a process…not an event. We are unusual in that we look at all areas of our client’s finances to make sure their most important goals are addressed. We become true partners to help our clients pursue their most important goals.


7. Do you have the qualifications and experience to potentially help me?

The simple answer is yes. Our qualifications:

  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) Designation – Many people think all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Many can use the title “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP Board can display the CFP® certification trademarks which represent a high level of competency, ethics and professionalism. And because they are held to a fiduciary standard of care, a CFP® professional is required to act in your best interest.
  • An independent firm that isn’t compensated by selling you products.
  • Developed processes to help clients through the aging process and for life’s major transitions like death, disability, retirement, job loss, career change, etc.
  • Started in the profession in 1988 and experienced in helping people just like you.


8. Tell me about your investment philosophy.

As financial planners and investment consultants, we believe in the following fundamental principles with regard to designing an investment portfolio and making specific recommendations: The purpose of a client’s investment portfolio is to fund current and/or future financial objectives. The design of the portfolio must take into account the client’s financial objectives, tolerance for risk, needs for current income or liquidity, and special considerations such as income and estate taxes. The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future. It is a difference of opinion that makes a market. Investment and economic “experts” provided with the same information often come to different conclusions. We do not suggest that we can, or that any of the money or mutual fund managers that we recommend, will make the correct decision every time. We believe that having a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, following long-term buy-and-hold strategies, and having patience; will increase the likelihood that one will achieve their long-term financial objectives.

Investing involves risk including loss of principal.  There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio.  Diversification does not protect against market risk. 



9. Do you have a client portal where I can see my plan?

Yes, we have a great user friendly client portal for our clients. Our clients find it is a comprehensive tool that allows seeing all their finances in one place.


10. I have already accumulated substantial assets and think I am doing quite well. But as I progress and build for the future, things seem to be getting more complicated. I want to be sure I am on track, but I don’t always have the time or inclination to manage the myriad details by myself. Can you help me?

 People who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice will find our services appealing and beneficial. If you have a desire to simplify your financial affairs, our Ongoing Wealth Management Service may be right for you, we will discuss these options at your complimentary initial “discovery” meeting. If you are looking for a professional review or a second opinion to ensure you are on track, we can provide that too.