What is your experience in financial planning?
I have been in the Financial Services Industry for over 25 years, and unlike many other individuals, this is what I studied in college and is the only career I have had. One of the things that I feel that has helped me better as a planner is that I spent 10 years as a manager and trained over 50 individuals. As they say, if you want to learn how to do something, teach others how to do it.
What differentiates you from the other advisers/companies out there?
As an Independent Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), your interests come first. If you were to read the account agreement from most brokerage firms, there is likely a statement saying that their interests may conflict with yours. As an RIA, I have a fiduciary and legal responsibility to put your interests first.
How do you get paid for your various services?
I am paid directly by you, not some investment house, so there is no conflict of interest. For those needing asset management services, I am paid a percentage of the assets that are managed. For those using financial planning and other services, I charge flat rates fees that are listed throughout this website.
Do you offer a free initial consultation?
Yes. I understand that ultimately this industry is a business of trust and that I have to earn your trust before I earn your business. You might even say that the initial meeting is my job interview with you. You don't pay someone until after you've decided you want to hire them.
I've dabbled in the stock and bond markets a few times. Is it really necessary to get a professional's help?
Yes. I have read studies by Berkley and Stanford that studied the returns for those who invested on their own and compared them to those who used the services of a professional. The differences in returns amazed even me. Perhaps to further emphasize the need to get professional help, I quote Abraham Lincoln-"The lawyer who hires himself has a fool for a client." Also, the IRS is constantly issuing updates and clarifications. Most likely your biggest asset will be your retirement account-these have very complex rules on how & what is taxed-a mistake with this can cost yourself and your heirs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and perhaps even millions.
What precautions do I need to take in today's uncertain economy?
It's important to do several things. On the investment side of things, have your portfolio structured to maximize upside opportunities and minimize risk. As far as insurance is concerned, get your insurance today. So many people rely solely on the benefits they get through work. Life time jobs are no longer certain, so if you lose (or are lucky to find a better) job, you lose those benefits from the old job & the new one may not have equal benefits (or perhaps none at all). The cost of insurance is based on 2 things-your health and your age. Get it now while you still have the health to qualify and the age before it becomes too expensive.
When is the right time for me to start planning for retirement?
TODAY!!! For every 5 years you wait to start saving, you will have to save twice as much as the person that started 5 years before you. Warren Buffet has said that compound tax-deferred growth is the 8th wonder of the world. If you wait too long, time will work against you, not for you.
How much do I need to save for retirement?
This will vary depending on when you want to retire, where you want to retire, how much golf you want to play when you retire and how much you have saved already. To give you a ball-park estimate and factoring in some inflation (and the uncertainty of Social Security), it could easily take $2 million or more to have a reasonable retirement.
My inheritance planning consists of a will to my children. Is that sufficient?
The fact that you have a will puts you way ahead of most people. Depending on your situation, a will may be sufficient. However, if you have a blended family, have children or grandchildren that can't make a good financial decision of it hit them in the head, own part or all of a company, have been lucky to accumulate a fair amount of assets, you may need to take a few more steps to not only pass on as much of your hard earned money as possible, but also to make sure it goes where you intended for it to go. If you don't plan properly, Uncle Sam is happy to waste away your money in bureaucracy and give the reminder to nameless, faceless strangers throughout the world.
I am the majority owner of my corporation and need to plan for my retirement one day. What can you offer?
First I would say you need to plan for your retirement TODAY, not one day. The answer to this question could be volumes in length, so I'll just hit what I think are some of the most important points. I'll work with you, your accountant, and attorney to determine what your company is worth today and what it may be worth when your ready to retire. I'll help you find a suitable purchaser (ie-the minority owner(s), one or more of your children, a valuable employee, perhaps a competitor) and design some sort of contract and "golden handcuffs" to lock in your future plans. If there are children that will not purchase into the company and it's important for you, we'll design plans to make sure that non-owner children receive a fair share of assets. As I said, the answer to this could go on and on. We can talk more about things that should be done and could be done in person.
What services to you provide to a company vs. an individual?
I would say that at a high level, the services are the same. We all want to have a good retirement, and after our time on the earth is over, have our assets pass on to those persons or organizations we feel deserve to receive a gift from you. We also want to make sure that before and after our passing, that we don't overpay Uncle Sam with unnecessary taxes. The difference between the individual and the company is the means used to achieve these goals.
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