Frequently Asked Questions

Identity

What are your core values?

Increase Flexibility: With online financial planning, clients can meet with their advisor no matter where they live. This is especially beneficial for individuals who live in remote areas or frequently travel. For others this means not having to take off half a day of work or get stuck in traffic on the way to meetings with your advisor.

Heard and Understood: Better understanding leads to better advice. I will take the time to really listen to and understand my clients. My aim is to get to know them, so that their long-term financial plan reflects what is most important to them.

Tilt the Odds: My financial planning process is based on the latest scientific findings from economics and behavioral psychology. It helps my clients achieve their financial and personal goals. No matter what stage of life they are in, I want them to feel confident about their future.

Fiduciary: As a fiduciary advisor, my clients’ needs and goals are my top priority. Without regard to my own financial interests, I suggest products and planning strategies designed to benefit them the most. I do not require clients to purchase products from me. My income and planning fees are disclosed before every planning engagement begins.

How is Plan For Your Goals different?

Many have concerns – even some complaints – about their former or current Financial Advisor and are looking for an Advisor who is different.  

  • Do you ever question the fees you’re paying or some of the advice you’ve received? 
  • Are you getting phone calls and emails returned in a timely manner? 
  • Does your Advisor talk down to you or dodge your questions? 
  • Are you in the dark about how your investments are performing or why your investment strategy is the way it is? 
  • Do you believe your Advisor has taken the time to really listen and understand what’s most important to you?

I strive to be different and alleviate my clients’ concerns.  

A BIG difference with me is my financial planning process. It’s a life-first planning model that places my clients’ personal values, goals, motivations, and priorities at the center of their financial plan. 

Every money decision in life has its ripple effect on the other choices we make. My aim as a Financial Planner is to help my clients navigate this intersection of life and money.  

Are you a fiduciary?

YES – I receive income for my planning services directly from my clients, and I will always act in their best interests. 

What type of clients do you specialize in?

Folks who are newly retired or who are getting close to retiring: younger Boomers and older Gen Xers (that’s me).  

Folks whose financial lives have become more complicated and are seeking someone to help them navigate the complexities and risks making them feel uncertain as they get ready for a long retirement.  

Folks who want the freedom and flexibility to work with their Advisor from anywhere. They may need to meet while on the go, or from the comfort of their own homes but at times that are more convenient for them – including nights and weekends. 

What professional experience do you have? What are your credentials?

My partnership with Buckingham allows my clients to benefit from decades of planning expertise and methods dedicated to consistently delivering a better experience. 

I obtained my first securities license in 2019, and I currently hold these FINRA licenses: Series 6, Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65. 

In 2021 I partnered with Ramsey Solutions and became one of Dave Ramsey’s Smartvestor Pros. I have been a student of Dave Ramsey, following his Baby Steps, since 2005. 

Who is Buckingham?

Buckingham Strategic Partners was born from the BAM ALLIANCE, BAM Advisor Services, and Loring Ward brands. Collectively, they’ve spent over 20 years creating a better wealth experience for financial Advisors and their clients. 

Unlike a typical Turnkey Asset Management Program (TAMP), Buckingham’s comprehensive wealth platform supports a nationwide community of Financial Advisors with the resources they need to deliver holistic wealth management solutions to their clients. 

What is a Smartvestor Pro?

Serving clients in all 50 states for over 20 years. Smartvestor Pros: 

  • Teach – You’ll understand your financial plan. 
  • Communicate – You’ll know you are getting the attention you desire. 
  • Know – You won’t have to explain the Baby Steps. 

With a SmartVestor, you know for sure that you’re getting the same type of advice that Dave Ramsey would give. Dave has a 20-person team that works with every SmartVestor Pro to make sure they meet your standards and give you great advice.  

You can feel comfortable talking with a SmartVestor Pro because each one of them has the heart of a teacher. Like Dave, SmartVestor Pros believe that eliminating debt and investing for the long term is an ideal way to build wealth.  

All SmartVestor pros must agree to the Smarvestor Pro Code of Conduct. 

Philosophy

How will I benefit by working with your firm?

Organization: I will help you get organized and feel in control of your finances. Our goal will be to establish order in your financial life at both the macro level (investments, insurance, taxes, and estate), and the micro level (budgeting and cashflow). 

Accountability: I will help you stay on track while working to fulfill your financial obligations and responsibilities. I will be there to help prioritize your goals, suggest options and courses of action, and to regularly review your ongoing progress. 

Objectivity: I will help you avoid unwise financial decisions, especially during periods of emotional stress, bringing you an outside point of view, as well as the coaching and research needed for you to make smart money decisions. If there ever exists a conflict of interest pertaining to my advice, those will be disclosed and managed at your discretion. 

Proactivity: I will help you to anticipate and prepare for life transitions and provide action plans you can carry out before they occur. Through regular communication and assessments, our aim will be to stay ahead of what might be coming up next for you. 

Education: I will provide you with the knowledge you need given your specific financial situation. Plus, we will continually explore the resources required for you to reach your goals. I will help you make smart money decisions by explaining the fundamentals of your options, as well as the risks associated with each choice. 

Partnership: My aim will be for you to achieve all your financial goals, and I will work alongside you, taking the time to clearly understand the uniqueness of you and your financial situation. Your philosophy, background, needs, dreams and objectives will guide our collaboration, and to that end, I will strive for complete transparency in my financial advice. You will always know what costs you will be responsible for, as well as how I am being paid. 

How will our relationship work? How do we work together?

My comprehensive advisory process is designed to uncover what is most important to you, personally and financially, so we can put together the best possible long-term plan. 

We’ll do this through a thoughtful and collaborative three-step approach: 

  1. Design A Plan To Meet Your Life Goals

One of the most important components of any successful advisory relationship is getting to know you deeply. Your life and goals are unique, so your plan should be too. Our collaborative approach centers on your future and is intended to help you gain greater clarity on your life goals and challenges. 

To do this, we will focus together on several important areas: 

  • Today: What are your top priorities and goals? 
  • Future: What plans have you made for the future? What values impact your views about the future? 
  • Concerns: What kinds of financial issues keep you up at night? What are the biggest financial mistakes you’ve made or avoided? 
  1. Build Your Plan Using Scientific and Academic Research

Using the key findings identified by academic science, we look at what can potentially help you outperform the market over the long-term. Past performance is certainly no guarantee of future results, so what we’ll be looking at is a strategy attempting to tilt the odds in your favor with an evidence-based approach to building an investment portfolio. (See question “What is your investment approach?” below for more information) 

  1. Protect Your Plan by Working Together

Keeping your plan on track may be the most challenging — and the most important — part of being a long-term investor. There are several ways we work together to help you achieve your goals: 

  • Rebalancing your portfolio to keep it in line with your comfort level with market volatility. 
  • Providing you with ongoing education and guidance to help you keep the emotions in check. 
  • Keeping pace with any changes in your life or goals through an ongoing discovery process. 
  • Continuously assessing your progress toward meeting your goals. 

    How will you address the risks that threaten my retirement?

    We will regularly review your funding ratios in the key areas of risk facing current and future retirees. Broadly defined, funding ratios give us context regarding the progress you are making towards a financial (retirement) goal. The current amount saved (invested) is presented as a percentage of the total savings necessary to achieve the goal, or to be on track to attain the goal within a certain period of time given an assumed growth rate. A funding ratio of 100% represents a financial goal which has been accomplished. 

    The 7 key areas of risk we’ll consider are: 

    1. Longevity – if live longer than expected will you run out of money? 
    2. Loss of life – how would this affect the ones who depend on you the most? 
    3. Loss of income – how will your lifestyle and savings be affected? 
    4. Long-term care – do you want to age in place? What if you must go into a facility?  
    5. Liability – will your assets be subject to litigation if you’re involved in an accident? 
    6. Liquidity – can you handle spending shocks? What will you do if you need a lot of cash quickly?  
    7. Stress tests – what happens if the market drops before or during retirement? What if you experience flat market returns for the next 10 years? What if inflation is higher than anticipated? 

    What is your investment approach?

    Using the key findings identified by academic science, we look at what can potentially help you outperform the market over the long-term. Past performance is certainly no guarantee of future results, so what we’ll be looking at is a strategy attempting to tilt the odds in your favor with an evidence-based approach to building an investment portfolio. 

    Diversify Globally 

    While it may seem that the US market is outperforming many of the countries comprising the international “developed” and “emerging” markets, the long-term picture still points to a need for global diversification. Nobody knows what the future will bring. But if you own a diverse mix of companies from around the world, you can worry less when any one company or country experiences losses, and you won’t have to fret about picking those countries who are likely to outperform in the future. 

    Factors 

    An evidence-based investment strategy also involves tilting to the factors that help drive returns. Very simply, factors are sources of expected returns that have been identified in the capital markets and which are both available – you can invest in them – and attainable – their ownership cost does not negate their value. So, it follows that if factors are significant drivers of asset class returns, you should target the return opportunities of multiple factors by broadly diversifying across multiple asset classes. 

    These factors include: 

    • Stocks tend to outperform bonds 
    • Small company stocks tend to outperform stocks of larger companies 
    • Cheap stocks tend to outperform expensive stocks 
    • Stocks which tend to out-perform in the near-term tend to continue doing so 
    • Minimum volatility stocks tend to outperform high volatility stocks while offering better risk-adjusted returns 
    • Stocks of high-quality companies tend to outperform those of lower-quality companies 
    • Bonds with lower credit quality tend to outperform bonds with higher credit quality 
    • Bonds with longer durations or maturities tend to outperform shorter term bonds

    Long-Term Approach (Stay The Course) 

    Diversification and a factor-based strategy will require patience and discipline. Over time, markets have historically rewarded patient and disciplined investors. As an example, the chances of losing money in the S&P 500 is a bit above 50% on any single day – basically a coin toss. Over any 5-year period your chances of losing money slim down significantly, and we’ve never seen a negative 20-year period. 

    Further considerations: 

    • Low-cost ETFs and index funds – favoring a passive management approach for your long-term investments to help reduce investment costs.  
    • Proper location for your assets, whether in taxable or tax-advantaged accounts – aiming to maximize after-tax returns now and into the future.  
    • Regular rebalancing of your portfolio back to its target allocation – with the goal of maintaining diversification, as well as enforcing discipline to “sell high and buy low.” Your time horizon and market conditions will affect the rebalancing frequency. If I am managing your investments this will occur quarterly except for certain circumstances. If you are managing your own investments, you should plan for a minimum of one rebalancing per year. 

    What is your retirement income philosophy?

    The 4-Bucket Income Plan. 

    This plan employs a time-segmentation strategy to safely supply the retirement income checks you’ll need to supplement your fixed income sources (Social Security, pension, or annuity).  

    Our goal will be to mitigate the negative effects of untimely withdrawals from your portfolio during down-market periods, also known as the “sequence of returns risk.” We will use targeted allocations for portions of your portfolio to help boost your confidence and provide income while allowing other portions of your portfolio to continue growing over time.  

    Click here to read more about the 4-Bucket Income Plan.

    Furthermore, we’ll generate the retirement income you’ll need through the sale of shares (a total return approach), rather than utilizing dividends or bond interest. This will favor the lower capital gains tax over a dividend tax (at your marginal tax rate). This practice can potentially lower your total tax liability over time. 

    Practice

    What services do you provide?

    Broadly described, my services include: 

    • Retirement strategies 
    • Trust and estate consideration 
    • Tax mitigation opportunities 
    • Personal or business goal planning  
    • Low-cost, tax efficient investing and saving 
    • Risk management and insurance protection 
    • Cash flow strategies 
    • Debt elimination strategies (including student loans repayment options and refinancing) 
    • Charitable giving

    Broadly described, my planning goals for all my clients are: 

    • Make smart money decisions 
    • Reduce taxes over time 
    • Take care of the next generation 
    • Protect assets from risks 
    • Maximize the impact of giving 

      How are you paid? What are my all-in costs?

      My clients pay me directly by bank draft, debit card, or deducted from investment accounts I manage for them. The amount paid depends upon the financial planning service that best suits their needs. See the “Services” page for more information.

      See the Firm’s ADV Part2A for more information about investment management fees and the hourly rate (where applicable). You will find this information starting on page 4 in the “Item 5: Fees and Compensation” section.

      NOTE: My clients are never required to transfer their accounts to me. Investment management is an optional service which I feel brings value to our planning relationship, but there could many reasons why this would not be preferable.

      How, and how often, do you typically interact with clients?

      My clients meet face-to-face with me on a video call, typically through the Microsoft Teams app. The frequency of those meetings depends upon the financial planning service that best suits their needs. See the Financial Services Process page for more information.

      Throughout the duration of each planning service, I will communicate with clients via phone, text, and email as needed.

      For my “Premium Planning” clients, I offer unlimited phone, text, and email communications throughout the year.

      Regardless of their financial planning service, I encourage my clients to reach out whenever their situations change. When life happens, let’s talk about it.

      Will I have to transfer all my investment accounts to you? How will you take into account my assets you aren't directly managing?

      You will not be required to move any assets if you prefer to manage your own accounts. I will help you design your portfolio and maintain your invested assets and savings wherever your accounts are located. This includes your 401(k) or other employer sponsored plans and is included as part of your ongoing financial planning service. 

      All financial accounts – bank, investment, retirement plan, insurance, real estate, etc. – will be linked together in your RightCapital client portal, so you can maintain a holistic view of all financial assets in one place. 

      How many clients do you serve?

      I am currently serving about 30 households with comprehensive financial planning services. 

      Will you work with CPAs, Attorneys, other Financial Professionals?

      With your permission, I will communicate and coordinate with any professional(s) you are currently working with. 

      Will I face a big tax bill if I transfer my accounts to you?

      Existing IRA accounts can transfer without any tax ramifications provided they transfer trustee-to-trustee or as a direct rollover completed within 60 days.   

      After-tax investment accounts typically transfer in-kind, meaning they will transfer as-is without triggering a taxable event. Certain illiquid or proprietary investments may not transfer in-kind and need to be maintained in their current location or liquidated (potentially for a capital gain/loss).  I will help you to understand the tax posture of your existing accounts and address your preferences or concerns before we begin the transfer process. 

      Will I be working with one person or a team?

      You will be working directly with me. 

      How will you and I track my investment performance?

      The RightCapital mobile and desktop app allows you to track and monitor your investment account values and financial goals, as well manage your budget, access bank-level encrypted cloud storage, and seamlessly communicate with me on tasks and implementation steps. (see also:What resources will I have when working with you?” question above) 

      How do you invest your own money?

      I invest my personal and retirement dollars in the same evidence-based portfolios I recommend to my clients.  When markets experience success, I enjoy the ride right alongside my clients.  And when markets go through one of their inevitable setbacks, I feel the pain, too.  

      Do you use an independent, third-party custodian to hold my investments?

      Yes. Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services (IWS) is my preferred custodian.  In addition to holding your cash and investments, they execute the trades we place for your account, send you a monthly statement, and provide 24/7 online access to your accounts. 

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