Transparency- How Are We Paid?
We want to make sure that our fee structure is easy to understand.
Not all firms charge for advice in the same way. In our initial meeting, one item on the agenda is discussing the types of clients we choose to work with and how we are compensated. If for some reason these items are not discussed (usually due to lack of time) we want to make every effort to discuss these as soon as possible thereafter. We encourage everyone to ask these questions.
We do not charge any fees until we have agreed upon how we are paid via a signed copy of the engagement letter we issue before providing any advisory services.
Our clients typically compensate us on a fee basis that is determined beforehand. We do not bill for any time that we spend with clients unless a fee arrangement is agreed upon and signed in advance. These fees are initially for financial planning. We prefer to work with our long term clients on a fee basis rather than being paid a commission. We have found over time that working on a fee basis greatly reduces any conflicts of interest that may arise over time. As fee based advisors, our success is predicated upon our client’s success. We charge asset management fees on a scale that is based upon assets managed and occasionally net worth. If clients have a preference for certain types of investments and wish to work with us on a commission basis, we can accommodate these requests. However, we feel that our interests and the interests of our clients are better aligned when working as fee based practitioners.
More than Just Investment Returns
Being successful financially and achieving our goals involves more than just beating a benchmark or avoiding a downturn. Tax planning, estate planning, distribution planning, social security planning, saving, budgeting, withdrawal structure, succession planning, and a confluence of many other little things all work together to allow us to be successful financially. Those who only consider investment returns restrict themselves to a flat black and white experience when a vibrant colorful three dimensional experience is available.
The initial meeting is regarded as a “Discovery Meeting” and is provided at our expense, in our offices. An estimate for our fees will be stated in a future meeting where we go over a rough draft of what your wealth plan will encompass.
In many circumstances we will produce an overview of our recommended strategy to meet your agreed financial objectives. This fee is agreed in advance and is subject to the complexity and number of financial planning areas we are to consider. We typically accept partial payment for the work to be done beforehand and invoice our clients upon the satisfactory completion of the strategy recommendations described in your engagement letter.
When a planning client becomes a qualified investment management client within six months of the initial unveiling of the wealth plan, we typically rebate most or all of the planning fees. Investment management clients are not typically subject to planning fees. In instances when ongoing planning is more complex or time consuming, this may require an estimate for the work to be done. However, most plan reviews are easily done because our Wealth Management System updates as your situation changes.
Please feel free to check out our life in a box video for more on the Wealth Management System.
For more information on the fees we charge and services we provide please refer to our Form ADV.
We also encourage you to read the following pieces that we have written on conflicts of interest in the brokerage and financial planning community.