Frequently Asked Questions
Founded in 1985, we are a Fee-Only wealth management firm with expertise in financial planning, investment management, tax preparation, trust services, and family office support. Financial planning and investment management are the cornerstones of our business. We assist individuals, couples, families, pension and profit sharing plans, trusts, estates, and charitable organizations in identifying their needs, desires, and goals. Using a team approach we have developed over more than 30 years, we have helped hundreds of clients build secure financial futures.
Our financial plans offer recommendations and alternatives for consideration. Our investment management service includes construction of an overall asset allocation to meet your unique goals, and selecting assets using investments from our recommended list, which we review and update periodically. After we invest a client's funds, we review the account on an ongoing basis and make adjustments as necessary.
Being a Fee-Only firm means that our clients pay for our services, according to an agreed-upon fee. We serve only our clients. We do not sell products or receive commissions or other compensation from third parties, which could bias our recommendations. We neither pay for nor accept referral fees. All professionals are required to put your interests first at all times and sign a Fiduciary Oath annually. Our clients trust that our advice will be objective and in their best interests, which is essential for their peace of mind.
CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. The Certified Public Accountant designation is a national professional certification but practitioners must be licensed in any state in which they work. The State Boards of Accountancy determines the laws and rules for each state. Educational requirements vary by state. Candidates must pass the Uniform CPA examination and ethics exam. Most states also require a minimum of one year of experience in public accounting or its equivalent.
In order to maintain a CPA license, states generally require the completion of continuing professional education hours every three years. Additionally, all AICPA members are required to follow a rigorous Code of Professional Conduct. The vast majority of state boards of accountancy have adopted the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct within their state accountancy laws or have created their own.
CFP® stands for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, which is a certification awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Those with the CFP® designation have passed a comprehensive examination that includes case studies and client scenarios designed to test the ability to correctly diagnose financial planning issues and apply knowledge of financial planning to real world circumstances (prior to 1991, six individual subject examinations were administered). In addition to passing the exam, designees must also complete qualifying work experience and agree to adhere to the CFP® Board's Standards of Professional Conduct which require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of care. This means they must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients. Those with the designation must also satisfy continuing education requirements every two years.
To start, we can examine your financial situation, including analyzing your assets, liabilities, will, insurance, tax returns, employee benefits, spending patterns, and any other relevant information. Based on your needs and goals, we will define issues, offer recommendations, and inform you about your unique opportunities. We assess your risk profile and construct an overall asset allocation to meet your unique goals. We take over the job of handling investment transactions for you, placing trades and rebalancing your portfolio. We periodically monitor investment performance and research new investment opportunities. If your financial status changes, we can work with you to adjust where appropriate. Throughout the year, we stay in touch by phone, correspondence or meetings, and provide you with quarterly investment reports plus other ongoing financial services should you need them.
Yes. We prepare tax returns generally only for clients who have an investment management relationship with us. We prepare tax returns for individuals, businesses, estates and trusts. Our investment management clients who also use our tax services find that bringing all of their information "under one roof" is a bonus.
Family office services are utilized by families who have complicated, multi-generational issues that need extra levels of attention. The following are some of the other areas in which we work with our clients.
- Oversight of elderly parents for out-of-state children, including working with healthcare providers
- Paying bills, financial controls and reporting
- Personal asset tracking and monitoring
- Coordination of home maintenance
- Estate administration
We offer a free Initial Consultation. During the Initial Consultation we spend time getting to know one another and discuss your current situation and your goals and objectives. We will explain what a plan is, how it is prepared, what it costs, and the services available. Before you leave, if one hasn't been provided to you ahead of time, you will receive a Questionnaire and Data Form to complete at home and return to us.
The Initial Consultation is a no-charge introductory meeting. It is not a problem-solving session. If we can answer your questions during the Initial Consultation, we will give you the option of paying an hourly rate for the meeting.
You provide the requested data and information. Prior to engaging us, based on a review of this data and information gathered in the Initial Consultation, we will send you a proposal outlining the issues and items to be covered and the cost. You will also receive a contractual memorandum of engagement that puts this information in writing. There is no charge up to this point. It is important for you to review the proposal and contractual memorandum of engagement carefully, and call us with any questions. The return of the signed memorandum confirming the terms and conditions of the engagement and receipt of the deposit (if applicable) begin the relationship.
Financial planning service includes the preparation of an initial plan and depending on the program and your objectives may, but is not required to, include advice in the following areas: cash flow, retirement/financial independence, education, investments, executive compensation, tax planning, risk management, estate planning, and business issues.
Every plan is different, just as each client is unique. During your Initial Consultation, you can discuss fees based on your current situation and goals and objectives.
On average, the preparation of a plan covering the full complement of areas takes 12 to 16 weeks. However, because clients typically have needs with different levels of priority and therefore different time frames, plans are prepared over a period of time rather than all at once. You may receive different parts at different times. The time required to prepare these plans depends on the complexity of your circumstances and the number of areas in the plan to be addressed at the time.
Every plan is customized to meet your needs and requirements. We will carefully examine the background materials you provide. Alternative scenarios may be analyzed, and various recommendations may be considered, with numerous levels of review.
We will provide a written analysis of your financial situation and the areas covered by the plan. We will meet with you to review the major conclusions and recommendations. You will take the plan home for review before scheduling a follow-up meeting to discuss the plan's implications. Together, you and your planner will decide which steps to take next. Ultimately, it's your decision.
We will give you a list of recommendations. You have ultimate responsibility for implementing your plan, with the exception of investment management service. You are free to accept or reject any recommendation from us. If you request assistance in implementing any recommendation, we are available for advice and counsel with different fee arrangements. At your request, we will recommend the services of other professionals as needed.
Generally, we can set up an Initial Consultation within a couple of weeks.
We give you the “Peace of Mind” that comes from knowing that you have laid the groundwork for a more secure financial future.