Choosing a financial advisor is a big deal, and we want you to be 100% comfortable with the process. Being a fiduciary means looking out for a client's best interests. And for us that means that we're on your side, even before you sign up with us. There's never any sales pressure from us, and if we're not the right fit, we'll refer you to someone else who is.
Do I need a financial advisor?
We work with people who want an ongoing relationship with a financial planner. If you like to DIY, then we're probably not the best fit. If you want a partner to help you through all of your financial decisions, that's where we come in.
For young professionals, we have a track that's geared towards the early part of wealth accumulation. For pre-retirees and retirees, we have a specialized retirement track that focuses on tax planning for the "bridge years" of retirement, Medicare, Social Security, and investment withdrawal strategies to minimize risk.
How do I choose a financial advisor?
First, make a short list of possible advisors near you. We recommend interviewing 3 or so different advisors to see which one fits you best. Some important things to consider when making your list:
- Credentials. Anyone can call themselves a "financial advisor", but the most important credential is the CFP® mark. This credential means that the advisor has completed a full financial planning course of study at an approved college or university. They must pass the incredibly difficult CFP® Certification Exam. They must have a minimum of three years' experience in financial planning. And they are held to the highest ethical standard in the business: they are legally required to put their clients' best interest above their own.
- Services. Some planners only focus on investment management, but we think that's a relatively minor part of the financial planning process. Depending on what you need, you should ask if the advisor also provides tax planning and preparation services, insurance or Medicare reviews, Social Security analysis, home purchase or retirement readiness reviews, and college planning services.
- Fiduciary duty and fee-only status (as opposed to "commission-based" or "fee-based"). Only a fiduciary advisor is required to act in your best interest at all times. And fee-only advisors can only accept payment from you, the client. They don't get paid with commssions for selling products, and they can't accept any kickbacks or gifts for referrals.
Where can I search for a Certified Financial Planner?
The CFP® website has a search tool to find a certified financial planner near you. You could also use the NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) Find an Advisor site that searches for fee-only advisors.
What should I look for in a financial advisor when I interview them?
We like the CFP®'s Ten Key Questions to Ask When Choosing an Advisor. NAPFA also has their own guide to choosing a financial planner as well as a super-comprehensive checklist with a ton of questions to ask (and an answer key in case you don't know what you should be looking for). Feel free to print out any questions and bring them along to the interview.
How do I schedule an interview?
Give us a call at 831-421-0700 right now if you have some time to chat. If you want to talk later, schedule a time with us so we can make sure we're free. Or just leave your information below and we'll get back to you within a day or two: