What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
My pricing system is structured around three different relationship options: As Needed, Project Oriented or Ongoing Advice. Those who have a "Quick Question" they would like a professional to address can sign an hourly engagement contract with me. My hourly rate is $120 per hour and the initial contract will include an estimate of hours required to answer the question. For those who want a more detailed analysis of a situation, with recommendations for actions moving forward, I would encourage them to ask for a Project Oriented contract. These contracts can vary in price from $99 for a single issue like paying off debt or where to save in a retirement plan and can get as intense as a $2,499 plan that includes analysis of cash flow, net worth, risk management, investment analysis, amounts and types of insurance, goal saving, estate planning and meeting with family to provide education about the overall direction of the plan. Every situation is different and it could take a Complimentary Consultation to determine which direction is right for you in your situation.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
After deciding to work together, new clients will go through a "Getting to Know You" process where we will discuss issues in their life that will impact the advice they seek. After these discussions, we will develop recommendations and build a deliverable plan for the client to include a summary of the initial information and support for our recommendations. Along the way, if a client wants to review their plan, future costs would depend on what type of contract we are operating under, whether it's ongoing management, project oriented or hourly.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
My background puts me in a unique position to best serve clients in today's environment. While I have a head for numbers, and become excited at the prospects of putting together the pieces of the financial puzzle for my clients, I also have two B.S. degrees, one in History, with most coursework focused on the perspectives within American History. The second is in Political Science, with an Emphasis on Advocacy, giving me greater insight into the political process and implications on the electorate. The combination of these two degrees gives me a perspective through which to view today's issues and political actions and give client's advice based on what is currently happening.
I have also undergone significant industry education, becoming a Certified Financial Educator® through the Heartland Institute of Financial Education. This program required me to demonstrate financial planning and industry knowledge in addition to experience teaching adult learners.
Recently, because of client issues and a desire to provide the best options for protection and action, I became a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist® through the Institute for Consumer Financial Education. This designation program has helped me create a strategy for clients to implement what the government recommends to protect their identity and financial resources.
If you have other questions regarding my education, training or qualifications, please do not hesitate to ask.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have worked with a very wide array of types of clients. Everything from the person "surprised" by divorce papers and wondering what to do next to the family just starting out and trying to merge their financial lives and philosophies. From the budding entrepreneur building a business trying not to compromise retirement planning to the family held business working through the transition to the next generation. College graduates to mid career professionals working to compare different job offers, benefits packages and relocation issues. My expertise is shaped by those I work with, either bringing in specific experts to best serve the client, or learning as much as necessary about the issues I'm presented with my advice will be in the client's best interest!
Rather than set asset minimums, I prefer to decide who to work with based on their money attitude. If they truly want to learn how to be a better financial steward, I want to make sure they're looking at things through the fiduciary lens!
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I recently had a client debate retirement from his job. He was told by the 401k agent that he did not have enough money to retire, since at 4% annual withdrawals he would not be able to support the income needs he desired. As we worked through his situation, we discovered he may not need quite as much, but still more than the agent said was possible on his asset level. My recommendations included implementing our Get a G.R.I.P. on YOUR Retirement® program, building a personal pension program that would generate enough income for the rest of his AND his wife's lives, without even utilizing every dollar they had saved throughout his career. It was a perfect example of why working with an independent, fiduciary adviser can build a plan to achieve success where a captive agent is too limited for product recommendations. All together, it took about a month from the client's decision to hire me until the recommendations were delivered, showing him when he could step away from the work that was beginning to compromise his health. They ultimately decided to implement the program through me and it took another three months to get things situated in their new investment options, due to some limitations and waiting periods required from some of the current investments the client held.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
My advice is always to work with a fiduciary adviser. Someone obligated to keep the client's best interest as the focal point of the relationship. Not every "Financial Advisor" has the fiduciary obligation and it is important to understand if the relationship is based on transactions, product purchase or actual advice.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
There is a HUGE difference between a financial services professional with a fiduciary obligation to clients and one using a suitability standard! I encourage everyone to ask their financial professional to sign a fiduciary statement to guide the relationship. If the professional can not or will not sign a fiduciary pledge, they may not have the client as the focal point of the relationship.