I’m a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a NAPFA-Registered Investment Advisor. These are the two credentials in the industry with the highest ethical and educational standards.
How are you compensated?
I am compensated by retainer/project fees, assets under management, and occasional insurance sales.
Will I always work with you, or will I be working with a junior staff person?
You will always work with me and, sometimes, a member of my team. We feel, when appropriate, a team approach can be as, if not more, effective in serving your personal needs.
Do you work with people outside of the Colorado area?
Of course. The miracle of technology removes the limitations of location. We can work on your goals from anywhere at any time.
Your advice covers a lot of financial ground. How can one person know it all?
While I work for myself, I have a team of resources. From the very beginning I have made time to foster my network of accountants, attorneys, mortgage brokers, insurance agents and other financial advisors. Whenever I need to tap into someone’s expertise or experience, I know whom to call. This is in addition to what I do to keep on top of it all: reading a lot, subscribing to several industry newsletters that bring my attention to cutting-edge thinking, attending 1-2 professional conferences each year, and average about 20-30 hours of continuing education a year.
What about other professionals -- such as accountants, attorneys, mortgage brokers, or even a therapist skilled in money issues? Will you give recommendations for them?
Absolutely. I consider it an important part of my job to know which professionals will best meet your needs and when to make an appropriate referral. I regularly take time to meet with accountants, attorneys, mortgage brokers, and therapists so that I may recommend someone trustworthy and competent.
I already have an investment advisor, but he is only concerned about my investments. Does it make sense to work with you and still work with him?
It depends. If your investment manager is choosing individual stocks and bonds for their fee, I equate it to the mutual fund managers I may choose for my clients. You’re paying a fee for investment management with either strategy. An investment manager isn’t looking at the whole picture though, and that’s where I come in, so it can be a good match. As a fee-only planner, I can provide the financial planning advice you need by the hour or on-going retainer, but you won’t be paying for another layer of investment management fees.
Do you take control of my assets or have access to them in any way?
Should you choose to have us manage your assets outside of the financial planning engagement, your assets will be held at third-party custodians. You grant me discretionary authority to place trades in your investment accounts on your behalf, based on the decisions we’ve made.
What’s your account minimum?
I do not have investment account minimums. However, I do have a minimum retainer fee. of $250/month. See my fee schedule here.
Will you give me specific advice on what stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to purchase or sell?
I provide specific advice on how to properly design a diversified portfolio which would include mutual funds. If you have other types of mutual funds or individual securities and want to sell them, I will design a prudent sell strategy. I also provide specific advice on the mutual funds in your 401k or 403b plan through work.
How does your financial planning look different from the 62 page report my neighbor got?
It’s very different. For one, my financial planning process is very discussion-centric and is absolutely tailored to what I’ve heard from you. Once we begin working together, I go through each and every document you provide me, and sketch out the agendas for several meetings. My starting point as I prepare the agenda for each of our meetings is to ask myself: what is most important to discuss at this point, and what do they need to see to be able to make an informed decision. For projections of your long term goals, we use interactive financial planning software to do “live planning” together in our meetings. We’ll finish each meeting by itemizing our respective next steps. We meet as often as we need to meet, to discuss what is most pressing on your mind at that point in time (or to discuss what I strongly feel needs to be discussed immediately), and keep moving forward.
I haven’t heard from my current advisor for a while now, will that be my experience with you?
No. I designed my firm to be a boutique planning firm with a select number of clients, allowing me to be very involved in the lives of my clients.
What should I bring to the complimentary first meeting?
Once we schedule our meeting, I’ll ask that you complete a questionnaire and return that to me at least one week prior to our meeting. I’ll also email you several regulatory documents for you to read in advance of our meeting.
I don’t have a lot of money, so why do I need a financial plan?
It’s unfortunate that financial advisors have traditionally required their clients to have a high net worth. In my experience, it’s the folks who don’t have a lot of money who can benefit from careful planning toward achieving goals and protecting against catastrophe. This is why I don’t require a minimum net worth or level of investment assets for the clients with whom I work. I believe that everyone should have access to the sound financial advice of a financial planner.
Can I cancel?
Absolutely. You’ll see the greatest results after working together for at least 6-12 months, but you there is never any obligation to continue working with me. Depending on the service, a notice is required to cancel, and your final month’s fee will be prorated so that you only pay for the service you have access to.
Can’t I just do this myself?
If you can confidently decide on the right approach to paying off debt, choosing retirement accounts, maximizing your employee benefits, saving for your kids to go to college, and all the other decisions that play a part of your financial plan, then yes you certainly can. However, a professional brings years of experience and a big-picture approach to those choices. There’s a certain peace of mind that comes with having a wing man when you are building your wealth.