There are many firms that charge high fees (or minimums) to work with them, but we are not one of them. Our fees are very competitive across the industry. Furthermore, we don’t require anyone to pay us until after we’ve developed their financial plan. This is part of our Satisfaction Guarantee. We believe in full fee transparency, so feel free to check out our Pricing page to learn more.
We do not sell products or receive any commissions, product fees, referral fees, or kick back fees of any kind. Instead, our fees are based on a percentage of the money that we invest for you and they are solely for the financial planning advice and investment management services we provide. This means that we are a Fiduciary. Our fees come directly out of your investment account and are fully disclosed on your monthly statements. Check out our Pricing page to learn more.
Our firm was founded on the principle that everybody deserves help with financial planning and investment management; even those that don’t have much money or investments. I encourage you to read our blog post titled Do You Have to Be Rich to Have a Financial Advisor to learn more about how financial planning can truly benefit you.
If at any point you ever wish to stop working with us and take over control of your investments, you can simply contact TD Ameritrade at 1-800-431-3500 and have your account(s) moved from TD Ameritrade’s Institutional Side to the Retail Side. Alternatively, if you wish to move to new custodian, then they can guide you on which paperwork you need to fill out to transfer the investments.
This means that we are not affiliated with any bank, insurance company, or investment company. We are essentially, “independent” from them. This allows us to provide you with any investment in the universe of investments. Contrast this against a firm that is affiliated with a bank, insurance company, or investment company. These types of firms are generally required to sell company products in order to meet sales and product quotas. Additionally, the advisors at these types of firms generally do not have to legally do what’s in the best interest of the client; only what’s in the best interest of the company. Our firm is legally required to do what’s in your best interest and we never impose any sales or product quotas. To learn more, see our blog posts in our Fiduciary section.
We do have an in-house accountant whose primary function is to prepare tax returns. This helps with the tax planning and tax minimization strategies that we employ. However, we are not set up to do bookkeeping or other traditional roles that accountants serve. If you need an accountant for those purposes, we would be glad to refer one to you.
Yes, we do prepare tax returns for individuals and families (currently we don’t prepare tax returns for businesses). We offer this service because we’ve known for a long time that taxes and financial planning go hand in hand. By preparing your tax return, it helps us to better understand your tax picture so that we can implement the appropriate tax minimization strategies that you’re eligible for. With that said, if you have an accountant that you work with, then we will be happy to coordinate any tax strategies with them.
We maintain a small physical office presence in an effort to keep costs low and to have a place if clients want to meet in person (or drop something off). The majority of our meetings are done online via Zoom, but you are always welcome to come in to the office if you prefer.
We understand that our services aren’t for everyone. If you have the time, desire, and knowledge to handle your own financial planning and investments, then it’s perfectly reasonable for you to take care of these tasks yourself. But if any one of those components is missing, then perhaps hiring a professional is the right solution. Even if people have a little bit of knowledge, they still “don’t know what they don’t know” and one misstep could end up costing more money in the long run. As a result, just because you save money by avoiding a fee doesn’t mean you end up better off.
Our clients’ investments are held at a 3rd party custodian – TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade participates in the SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) insurance program. Although this insurance does not protect against market losses, it does protect your account(s) against theft or fraud. SIPC coverage provides protection up to $500,000 per account. Additionally, TD Ameritrade has supplemental coverage through London insurers that provides an additional level of protection up to $149,500,000 for each client.
First and foremost, we will NOT turn you away like many other firms do just because you don’t have enough investments. Second, we don’t impose any minimum fees. Third, we are an Independent Firm and a Fiduciary, which means we must act in your best interest. Fourth, we truly do comprehensive financial planning. Many other firms claim to have a financial planning focus, but in reality, they are just investing your money (or selling you a product). Check out our Client Expectations Agreement which will give you a really good overview of who we are.
We pride ourselves on our efficiency. We fill out all paperwork for our clients and have them sign most documents electronically. The whole process takes just a few seconds for clients to sign our docs. Once docs are signed, investments will transfer over to us automatically. When it comes to the financial planning work we do for you, we have a very streamlined process that we take you through so that we can get to know you and your financial situation. While there is some work on your part, we make this as easy as possible for you.
As far as managing the investments within your account, we maintain full responsibility for that. However, you can always view your account(s) through the TD Ameritrade log in that we provide to you. This will allow you to download statements, download tax forms, and review transaction history.
Check out our blog titled What Is Comprehensive Financial Planning to learn how financial planning is different from being sold a product. Check out this Sample Financial Plan to get an idea of the type of work we do. Also it’s important to understand that financial planning is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process. Circumstances in life, the economy, taxes, laws, etc… are bound to change; therefore, it’s important to review your situation at least annually so that changes can be made before it’s too late.
We invest our clients’ money (and our own as well) in a very academic way. This means that our investment strategy is heavily grounded in research and evidence as opposed to predictions. Think of it like “financial science”. This science allows us to target investments with higher expected returns. And although past performance is no guarantee of future success, we believe this approach provides the best opportunity to grow your money.
Still Have Questions?
Nothing is off limits. We believe in being transparent in all we do!