Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why are you a planner (or why do you do what you do)?
I enjoy working with numbers, teaching and solving each client’s unique planning puzzle, which is why I enjoy the day-to-day work.  My true passion, however, results from my belief that planning does not need to be complex nor expensive.  So, my goal is to help each client achieve their goals through a simple yet holistic plan and at the same time help them avoid the traps and expensive sales pitches inherent in the financial industry.
What does a typical holistic plan include?
A typical holistic planning engagement involves goal setting, cash flow analysis and projections, investment and portfolio analysis, asset allocation, tax planning and minimization, estate document review, risk management or insurance coverage recommendations, employee benefits review and debt management.   Certain engagements may also include portfolio Monte Carlo analysis, Social Security maximization, and portfolio withdrawal strategies.
What is your investment philosophy?
I am not a stock or mutual fund picker, and I do not time the market. I believe in and advocate a buy and hold passive strategy that involves investing in a diversified, low-cost, tax-efficient portfolio of index funds.  Research done by organizations like Morningstar and S&P consistently demonstrates that over the long term passive investing beats active investing over 80% of the time.
How do you get paid?
I am a fee-only, hourly investment advisor, which is fairly unique in the market.  I do not sell any products, earn any commissions or charge you a fee each year for holding your assets.  Instead, I get paid on an hourly rate, based upon the amount of work I do for my clients.  Charging by the hour, I believe is the fairest pricing model for my clients and more importantly, it helps me avoid any potential conflicts of interest.     My hourly rate is $225 hour, and I will not start an engagement with a client until we reach an agreement on the total cost before any work begins.
What do you do for your clients (or why should you work with an advisor)?
  • Educate and coach you on all matters financial
  • Act as an accountability coach or pest to encourage you to execute your plan
  • Answer your questions and provide analysis
  • Identify the levers you have to achieve your goals and work with you to create a strategy or plan with specific action steps to achieve
  • Seek to help you minimize your costs and prevent costly financial mistakes
  • Help you identify and manage the risks in your life, financial plan, and portfolio
Are you a fiduciary?
Yes, everything I do and all the advice I give is in the best interest of my clients.
What is your background?
I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and finance and have spent over 25 years working in the banking industry.   I first got involved in financial planning about 20 years ago when I started planning for my family and my parents.  Since then I have completed by Certified Financial Planner (R) designation, become involved in various industry associations including the Financial Planning Association (FPA), The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the Garrett Planning Network and founded my firm.   I have been doing planning full time since 2011.
What is the cost of a typical plan?
I offer a variety of planning packages from a coaching engagement that involves 2 -4 hours of planning work and starts at approximately $699 all the way to a customized, holistic plan that involves 15 – 25 hours of planning work over 12 months and costs from  $3,000 – $6,000.   I encourage you to visit my website, www.AskRFA.com, or give me a call learn more and to determine the best planning engagement for your needs.
Do you provide ongoing services?
Yes, after an initial planning engagement, you are encouraged to contract for updates every few years or enter into an ongoing advisory relationship where I am available to help at any time.
What is your ideal client?
I  specialize in working with individuals, families and small business owners who are active in their retirement planning and who are seeking a partner to help them understand their alternatives, maximize their resources and create a path to their success.  There are no asset minimums or other requirements.
What do you expect from your clients?
Planning takes time and effort, by both my clients and me.   And, it makes no sense to enter into an engagement together unless you, the client, is committed to the process and the result.  So, I  ask all my clients to a) provide all required data, b) be engaged in the process, and c) implement the recommendations upon completion of the plan
What is your business philosophy?
  • I always act with honesty and integrity.
  • My client’s interests always come first.
  • I pursue long-term relationships based on trust.
  • Client education and involvement are critical to our joint success.
  • I never stop learning.
  • While I am in business to make a living to support my family, I am committed to providing affordable and accessible advice.
  • Often, the simplest advice is the best.
  • Lastly, I have been fortunate in life so I will give back to my community.

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Do You Have Retirement Insurance?

We all pay thousands and thousands of dollars every year for insurance.  We buy insurance to protect our health, to protect our car and to protect our house.  But what about our financial wellbeing?   In particular, our retirement wellbeing.

Think about it. Retirement, based upon average longevity, can last 20+ years and for those lucky to live beyond the average age, 30+ years.  So, why not buy some protection.  Protection in the form of a holistic financial retirement plan prepared by an hourly, fee-only, fiduciary financial planner, a planner that will work with your best interest in mind.

A thorough financial plan should evaluate your resources, identify the potential financial risks and help you understand the tools available to maximize the potential for success.   The plan should incorporate investment management, cash flow budgeting, tax minimization, social security maximization and estate planning.

A good plan, by an hourly planner, may cost up to $3,000 -$4,000 but that is modest in compared to other insurance and over 20 years is only $150 per year, a bargain.   In the end, it should provide you with some peace of mind and protection against the unknown.

How I drive my wife nuts so we can spend more.

Retirement is all about resting, relaxing and enjoying, which is why you should care about your core expenses.  Core costs are those mandatory month-in and month-out expense that you must pay to live, e.g. property tax, food, utilities, insurance, healthcare, etc.  Discretionary expenses, on the other hand, are costs you can manage and reduce, either over the short or long term if necessary.   Typical discretionary expenses in include recreational costs (golfing), eating out, travel, charity, and personal care.

Core expenses in retirement (according to recent research) will continue to grow with inflation as it is what you need to live, while discretionary expenses (the “fun” expenses) tend to increase at first, peak and then decline in retirement as you age.

So, to maximize your fun in retirement and reduce your exposure to inflation, and at the same time help your retirement nest egg last longer, you should seek to reduce your core expense as you head into retirement.  And by doing so, as a bonus, you may be able to increase your discretionary (“fun”) expenditures. read more…