This is the question you should be asking any professional you’re looking to bring on to your team. There are five ways we differ from our competition:
We are diverse. Our team of advisors spans gender and focus areas.
We are all CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals. Almost anyone can call themselves a “financial planner.” To hold the CFP® designation, one must go through rigorous experience and education requirements. A CFP® professional is held to a much higher standard than a financial planner without the CFP® designation.
We have an incredible amount of combined experience. Over 65 years between the financial advisors in our office. Our team approach allows our clients to access the best in each of us.
We are a fee-only firm. Unlike “fee-based” and “commission-based” firms, we do not receive our revenue though the selling of products and generating commissions which can lead to a conflict of interest. Instead, our clients pay us directly either as a percentage of the assets we manage on their behalf through our Retainer Services Model, or an agreed upon project fee through our Project Based Planning Service Model.
We’re local. When you call, you will talk to one of us. You will not be passed to another branch or routed to some other state. This is how we establish a deep level of trust with our client families. We’re here for them. We’d like to be here for you too.
Our typical clients are busy people. They want to simplify their lives and spend their time enjoying family, friends and recreational activities. They want to establish a long term relationship with someone they trust and who respects the time and energy that went into building their nest egg. They want to be briefed in the world of finance and how it relates to them, but they don’t want to feel overwhelmed by the minutiae of every aspect behind the markets and the economy.
We are privileged to serve clients from all backgrounds, but a large portion of them fall into one of the three P’s: physicians, professors and public employees. This means we are uniquely positioned to help advise our clients on the nuances of business and building buyouts, the idiosyncrasies of custodians like TIAA-CREF and VALIC, and the ever-changing world of PERS, OPSRP, and PEBB. In addition, we serve a number of small business and farm owners and quite a few retirees.
We do have asset minimums, and like most things in life – they’re flexible. Our ongoing clients generally come to us with at least $500,000 of investable assets. (There is no asset minimum for project based plans.) More important than the dollar amount is whether or not our service models align with your needs. We will not work with people for whom we cannot add value. One of the reasons we love what we do is that as CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, our advisors are all fiduciaries. Being a fiduciary means that whether we’re sitting down for our first meeting or our fiftieth, we are always putting the interest of you – our client – first.
Our long term retainer clients pay a percentage that is based on the value of the portfolio that we manage for them. That percentage ranges from 0.50 – 1.50%, depending on the total amount under our management.
Our project-based planning clients get a quote specific to their planning needs at their initial meeting. Typically, these plans run between $3,000 – $8,000 depending on their complexity.
For more information about what is involved with each of these service models, see our Services page.
Our first meeting is a no obligation, no charge opportunity to get to know each other. We talk about your goals, review any materials you brought to share and answer questions you have about us. We consider this meeting a dual interview. While we are usually able to find ways to add value to our prospective clients, that may not always be the case and we’re honest about it. We’re not a perfect fit for everyone, nor do we try to be. We want to make sure that the services are prudent, the personalities fit and the timing is right. This initial meeting is a useful way to address all three. We encourage you to meet with a few advisory firms, ask a lot of questions and ultimately, trust your gut.
The short answer? Around 2-4 years of education and experience. Nearly anyone can call themselves a financial planner. To quote the CFP Board website, “CFP® professionals are held to strict ethical standards to ensure financial planning recommendations are in your best interest. What’s more, a CFP® professional must acquire several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients and pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam before they can call themselves a CFP® professional.”
All of the advisors at our firm are CFP® professionals and have therefore gone through this rigorous training. Our values are set high and carrying the CFP® designation is another way that we practice what we preach.