Financial Planning, Asset Allocation, and Money Management—they are all over-used marketing phrases, but they describe necessary processes that are available in today’s complex financial world. These processes assist you in achieving your goals, and in producing desired investment results.
Beyond being a fee-only firm, how do we distinguish our services from services offered by other firms?
Financial and Retirement Planning
We get to know you, your family situation (immediate and extended), your children’s situation and any special needs. We try to understand your background, your current status, and openly discuss the changes ahead. In our first two meetings, we discuss your issues and whether we provide appropriate services. Our backgrounds are in the areas of asset and tax management, estate planning, and wealth transition. We approach the relationship from our experience as problem solvers, counselors, and advisors.
Investment and Wealth Management
We also work with you to develop investment strategies. Our investment process focuses on your unique situation and goals, given the size of your assets available for management. We develop management strategies for your cash, bonds, stocks, and real estate, and make alternative investment suggestions.
As custodian of your funds, we use our institutional relationship with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. as the preferred broker/custodian. We selected Schwab due to low fees, access to branches around the country, and secure daily viewing of accounts by our clients. We have the ability to make transactions with other firms, but prefer to retain eventual custody at one firm. Each client maintains a direct relationship, and we serve only as the advisor, with authority only to make trades with discretion.
In the area of tax management, we examine your current year income projections in light of the increased income from interest and from dividends. We analyze the capital gains to be recognized, and determine if the alternative minimum tax is applicable.
From an administrative standpoint, we can assist you in developing a secure system to view your various account balances held at Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. and can provide you a wide variety of reports for any and all Schwab accounts. We can also provide a tracking system for your income, portfolio performance, and taxable gains and losses for the Schwab accounts.
If you choose to maintain custody with your current broker, we can direct trades to his or her firm, and negotiate institutional rates. We assist you in establishing custodian relationships and accounts with low fees, easy access, and safety. In addition, and with the client's authorization, we use an aggregation service to pull into our reporting system daily balances and prices for accounts held outside of Schwab. This makes for easier tracking and performance reporting.
Estate Planning and Gift Tax Analysis
From a gift and estate tax planning standpoint, we often assist in motivating the senior generation to make gifts, implement various planning strategies, and improve the dialog for preserving the assets for the benefit and support of future generations. These strategies include an examination of family limited partnerships, gifts, trusts, self-canceling installment notes, refinancing alternatives, and other complex planning strategies.
In the risk management area, we review your insurance coverage. With the sale of a business, a retirement, or an estate, numerous changes occur. We are often asked to examine long-term care coverage (for clients and their parents), health insurance coverage, asset protection ideas, family partnerships, charitable remainder trusts, and pension assets in order to secure the assets from claims of creditors.
Money Management fees are usually debited from the client's Schwab accounts. Fees are calculated as a percentage of assets under management (AUM), payable quarterly in advance, and begin at 1%. The percentage can be adjusted downward as we receive more assets under management.
Financial Planning fees vary with complexity of the case. We typically charge $2,500 - $5,000 for the first year of planning, payable in advance in quarterly installments. After the first year, financial planning usually becomes less intensive. At that point, if a plan is in place, we concentrate on money management services, which includes financial plan monitoring at no separate cost.