If you’re looking for a financial advisor, you might be asking yourself:
- What is a comprehensive financial plan exactly, and why might I need one now?
A personal, comprehensive financial plan is a road map for clients to follow to achieve their financial goals. It is the result of a holistic planning process in which financial advisor and client work together to develop comprehensive strategies and action plans for every aspect of a client’s financial life including:
– Cash flow management
– Investment (including retirement plan assets)
– Retirement planning
– Tax and Tax planning
– Risk management (need for specific insurance)
– Education planning and funding
– Estate planning
– Other needs specific to you
No matter what life stage you are in or whether your net worth is thousands or millions of dollars right now the planning process of developing your comprehensive financial plan can reveal existing or potential financial problems that may impede you from achieving your goals and objectives. In addition to the plan serving as a road map to your goals, the advisor also helps you stay on the track to achieve your goals, not derailed and making costly mistakes.
- What can you do for me that I can’t do for myself?
You may think that I work hard, I live well and within my means, I use personal finance website/tool/app and have a brokerage account, why don’t I just buy funds through there? Why should I take time to confer with you now?
One of the many benefits you get from working with us is that as trained professionals we can point you to the right solution, product, and service provider at a fraction of time and energy you spend looking for them, saving you time and money.
We can identify areas where you overlooked that could undo all of your efforts.
We have resources and tools that you may not know or be able to access to improve your personal finance and achieve your financial goals.
- What is a fee-only financial advisor? What is the difference between fee-based and fee-only advisors?
A fee-only advisor does not accept commissions or compensation from other sources and is compensated solely from fees paid by their clients in the form of fixed, flat, hourly, percentage of assets under management, or a project fee. Generally speaking, the greater the advisor dependent on commission income, the greater the conflict is. A fee-based financial advisor can receive fees paid by you, and also commissions paid to them by a brokerage firm, mutual fund company, or insurance company. The advisor should disclose these fees to you. Therefore, when you look for a financial advisor, it is important to ask how the advisor gets compensated.
Our advisor is fee-only advisor.
- Why do I purchase insurance through you?
I am trained extensively and have deep knowledge in the field of risk management and latest insurance products to help my clients with their insurance needs.
As our client, before you buy, we will get to know your personal and financial situations well, guide you to navigate through the complex terms and jargon of insurance products, work with you to design suitable coverage for your needs and circumstances, get coverage quotes from selected reputable providers, and then help you evaluate and purchase the best product for your money and needs.
After your purchase, we will evaluate your insurance needs periodically, recommend updates to reflect your changing circumstances if needed.
As a fee-only advisor, I do not accept commissions from any insurance product I recommend. I do not gain from whatever insurance product you choose to purchase, either.
- Are you affiliated with any national, brand name financial companies? If not, will I miss out if I go with you instead of those big, name brand companies?
It is our intention to not be part of or affiliated with any national and chain financial services companies. This independence gives us not only even broader access to thousands of no-load and low-load products as well as many discounted services to fully meet our clients’ needs but also enabling us to follow our own financial planning and investment philosophy and client-centered culture.
We are not limited to company-sponsored offerings and sales-driven quotas.
- What do you do differently from what a CPA does? Or an estate law lawyer?
Like Certified Public Accountants (CPA) we advise clients on tax issues, and sometimes work with client’s CPA or tax law lawyer on very complicated tax issues. But, tax is only one part of the areas which we focus on and specialize in.
We also make estate planning as easy as possible for our clients, saving them time and money. We have an estate planning list that we go through with clients before we involve an attorney. We prepare the documents and with client’s permission send the documents to attorney to type up legal documents. We then assist the client with reviewing attorney’s drafts and schedule the document-signing meeting that we can participate together with the client. After the signing we will continue to support the client with the execution of their estate plans.
- How specifically does the whole process work?
The following is a brief description of the firm’s general financial planning processes:
Initial Meeting: Before starting financial planning services we will set up in-person meeting or virtual meeting to get to know you and for you to know us. During the meeting we will answer your questions, identify the services that will be provided and specific responsibilities of both the advisor and the client. We will explain the planning process, and mutually define the term, scope and time frame of the engagement.
Data Gathering: The first step toward crafting a plan or solution for client is to gather necessary. During this process the advisor may schedule data gathering meeting or send out questionnaires for client to fill out. Together, client and the advisor will define client’s goals and needs, pinpoint client’s concerns if any.
Data analysis: After data-collecting, the advisor analyzes client’s financial position and current course of actions. If current course of actions do not meet client’s goals, this is where the advisor works her figuratively speaking “magic”, alternative strategies/solutions will be considered. During this process, the adviser may need more client data or even amend parts of the project with the client’s consent. If needed, an investment portfolio will be formulated. If necessary the advisor may work with other professionals on client’s project or the firm will refer client to those professionals with client’s permission.
Presenting the plan/solution(s): The advisor and client meet and the advisor presents the financial plan or solutions to the client. If needed the advisor will revise and/or update the plan after the presentation.
Implementation and monitoring: Client can choose to implement the plan by him/herself, or per client’s request, the advisor can aid client in selecting products and services for implementation, and monitor client’s progress toward his/her goals on an ongoing basis.
- My employer provides a 401(K) advisor. What can you do that she can’t?
Retirement plan like your 401(k) is just one piece of your financial planning “puzzle.” Not only do we advise you on your 401(k), we tie it up with other parts of your financial planning, i.e. your non-retirement investments, cash flow management, college planning, etc, which your 401(k) advisor may not provide.
Instead of being randomly assigned an advisor who may only be giving you advice over phone and email, you will know us before we even start working with you, and you will have a dedicated advisor whom you can meet face-to-face or via phone and email, however you choose.
And in terms of product and service selections we are not limited to only company-specific choices.
- Are my information safe with you?
We understand the importance of the privacy and security of your personal, nonpublic information. We are committed to safeguarding the personal information that you entrusted with us.
We maintain a secure office and computer environment to ensure that your information is not placed at unreasonable risk.
All information about you and your family will be kept in strict confidence. Access to your information is strictly limited to firm personnel who need the information to provide you services.
All our third party technology providers implement strict safety protocols and have in place secure servers to keep all your personal information as secure as possible.
We do not provide your personal information to mailing list vendors or solicitors for any purpose.
For more information on this topic please click here.
- How much will this cost me?
The cost depends on the time and complexity of the services you want to engage us. We will give you a fee quote in your free, initial meeting with us.
- What makes you worth your fees?
As a parent with two teenage kids, I understand the needs, dreams as well as worries and concerns of college bound families.
We help busy professional couples and small business owners potentially save at least $10,000 on college cost, free them up to 50% of the time spent on application, significantly minimize application mistakes and regrets, improve the chances of getting scholarships and graduate with no or minimal debt without sacrificing parents’ financial goals or lifestyle (by simplifying the complex college application process for them, guiding them through the process every step of the way, and crafting a 4-year college funding plan down to the penny.)
Our advisor has been trained in the College Pre-Approval™ process, a proprietary methodology developed by Capstone College Partners, LTD for financial services professionals like us who wish to deliver unmatched guidance to families regarding college planning.
When looking for a financial advisor, just ask, “Are you a member of NAPFA?” If the answer is yes, you know you have found a highly trained, and holistic financial advisor. Our advisor is a member of NAPFA and uphold the NAPFA fiduciary oath to always “act in good faith and with candor; be proactive in disclosing any conflicts of interest that may impact a client; not accept any referral fees or compensation contingent upon the purchase or sale of a financial product.”