Frequently Asked Questions
How to find a financial advisor?
Though one might be referred to a financial advisor in a number of ways— a personal or professional referral, via the internet, for example— the decision to engage a financial advisor is best made by making personal contact, accepting a free consultation, considering the professional qualifications and experiences of the advisor, and then trusting your intuition to choose someone in whom you trust. A good financial advisor will become part of the family, someone who wants to be included in all the important decisions you make in life and the important events that happen along the way.
What is a financial planner?
Simply put, a financial planner creates financial plans for others. Of more interest to you would be the question of how qualified a financial planner is to create your financial plan. For example, do they hold a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation issue by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)? The process to earn a PFS is extremely rigorous, and to maintain it demands annual continuing education. Are they a CPA as well? What is their work and education background? How much experience do they have creating financial plans? Do they manage investments as well? If so, do you share their investment philosophy?
What is Financial Planning?
It can help to think of Financial Planning as “Financial Life Planning”, in that it is the process of planning for the financial aspects of the needs and consequences of the major events in our life— working, saving, buying a home, marriage, having children, paying for you children’s education, saving for retirement, earning an income when retired, and passing one’s wealth on to family upon death. Good planning will also consider unexpected events such as illness, job loss or an untimely death.
Do I Need a Financial Advisor?
The more complex your life becomes the more likely it will be that you’ll benefit from a personal relationship with a financial advisor. Once you’ve begun your profession, start paying taxes, have needs to save and grow assets to provide for retirement, have a home or want to own a home, get married, have children and so on, you’ll enjoy the benefits of having a financial plan created by a qualified financial advisor. Ideally, the financial advisor would also be an experienced investment manager.
What is a fee-only Financial Advisor?
A fee-only (sometimes called “fee-based”) financial advisor receives compensation directly from you verses being paid commissions from products they sell. This means they represent you and your interests when giving advice and are not tempted to make frequent and unnecessary trades and transactions to increase their personal income. This fee may be charged as a percentage of the assets they manage for you, it could be a flat annual fee, or an hourly rate.
How often will you meet with me?
We will meet with you either in person or over the phone whenever you need us to. We meet formally at least once per year when we provide you a comprehensive report that shows your portfolio’s performance and analysis.
How often will I get reports from you?
Your assets’ custodian (the outside firm that independently accounts for your investments) will send reports with transactions and other information on a monthly or quarterly basis. We can provide comprehensive customized reports at anytime subject to your request.
What year-end tax reports are provided?
The asset custodians provide the necessary tax documents to you directly. If you or your tax advisor would like to discuss these documents, we are always available to do so.
Can I meet with you at no obligation?
Yes. We would like to offer you a FREE, one-hour private consultation (in person, if possible) – at absolutely no obligation to you. We’ll begin with a brief phone conversation to understand your current situation and objectives, and share with you our thoughts about the meeting.
What do I bring to the first meeting?
When you come in for your consultation, we’ll ask you to bring your latest financial statements (banking, investments, employer provided retirement plans, etc.) and a current tax return. We’ll review this information and discuss income sources, retirement plan contributions and balances, financial and real estate assets, insurance coverage, mortgages, other debts, and estate planning documents. Prior to our appointment, we will ask that you complete a Financial Planning Information form that provides us with basic information about you, and summarizes your current financial situation.
Do you Specialize in Particular Clientele?
I can work with anyone who is committed to meeting financial goals. I have a particular affinity for executives, doctors, lawyers and other busy professionals. However, anyone who has the desire to reach their financial goals will be a good client. My clients tend to share the following attributes:
THEY ARE FINANCIAL DELEGATORS: Our clients are willing to allow a Trusted Advisor help them make smart decisions about their money so they can do all the things they can’t delegate to someone else: quiet time with family, having fun with friends, exercising, traveling, volunteering…
THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR GOALS: All of our clients are willing to take action about their desire to accomplish their goals. They realize that achieving those goals requires both money and planning.
THEY WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT THEIR MONEY: Our select clientele want the freedom and peace of mind knowing all their financial assets are under the watchful eye of one Trusted Advisor.
THEY VALUE OUR WORK TOGETHER: Our community of clients is comfortable with our fee-based schedule. We charge a percentage of assets under our management.
THEY WANT TO FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT: Our clients value our relationship and are ready to simplify life so they can spend their time and energy on those things in life that are most important to them.
What is a PFS and why is that important?
PFS – The PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) credential, a designation held by less than 4,000 CPA’s nationwide, recognizes CPAs with extensive professional experience in financial planning, including over 1,000 hours of business experience and over 75 hours of life long learning activities. To meet the requirements, a CPA must pass a comprehensive technical exam covering the personal financial planning process, retirement planning, estate planning, investment planning, income tax planning and insurance planning.
A PFS is held to strict ethics and compliance in the areas of uncompromising objectivity, competence, and integrity as stated in the State Board of Accountancy rules and regulations, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Code of Professional Conduct.
Do you work with our accountant/attorney?
With a client’s permission, we will always work with their other advisors. In fact, we strongly advise we work as a team on their behalf. Allowing us to speak with them and provide or receive information directly assists us in connecting all our clients’ financial professionals efficiently.
I see you are a CPA. Do you give tax advise?
While I keep my CPA license active, I do not give tax advice. I will work closely with your current tax advisor in implementing your financial plans. If you do not have a valued tax advisor, I would be happy to make a recommendation based on your personal situation.
How do you protect my privacy?
Frank Financial Services does not custody your assets. Instead, they are “held” at independent 3rd party custodians who report to you on your assets and activity.
Special secure computer links connect Frank Financial Services to your custodians and Frank Financial Services. This provides secure, immediate access to your investments. This enables us to electronically submit your trades and monitor all activity within your account.
Your custodians may also belong to groups to protect your assets such as the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) which provides up to $500,000 to protect your securities held at your custodian ($100,000 for claims of cash balances). To supplement the SIPC coverage, some custodians provide additional insurance protection for total net equity (cash and securities) in excess of the $500,000/ $100,000 coverage provided by SIPC. Note that neither SIPC nor excess coverage protects against a decline in the market value of securities.
What is your fee structure?
How are you compensated?
We charge a percentage for the assets under our management according to a schedule outlined in our Investment Advisory Agreement. We are not compensated through commissions nor are we reimbursed from the implementation of any of our recommendations. We build a lifetime comprehensive plan from your goals, not with a particular investment model or product.
Do you have a portfolio minimum?
Our minimum investment management portfolio value is $250,000*. This amount includes assets held in taxable accounts, as well as assets in tax-deferred accounts, such as IRAs and company retirement plans. Our fees range from 1.0% to 2.0% annually, depending upon the size of the portfolio. Fees are based on the value in the account on the last day of each quarter and are billed in advance. Unless other arrangements are made, fees are deducted from client accounts.
*The minimum portfolio requirement applies to total aggregate value and not the per account value. The minimum can be waived for portfolios slightly below the minimum, for special circumstances such as pre-existing relationship, if the portfolio is expected to reach the minimum size within 12 months, or at our discretion.
Are your fees tax deductible?
We do not give tax advice and personal situations differ. However, Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code permits an itemized deduction for tax and/or investment advice in the miscellaneous section of Schedule A. Please note that it is subject to a 2% floor of the adjusted gross income on a personal tax return. Please consult your tax advisor on your personal situation.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is the process of preparing for the transfer of one’s wealth to family, friends, charities, etc. upon one’s passing. The most important reason to set up an estate is to minimize the taxes paid on the transfer of assets upon death.
Estates are also set up to provide specific instructions on how one’s wealth is used to care for that person into old age when they might lose the ability to care for themselves. It is an excellent idea to begin estate planning early.
What is Wealth Management?
Wealth Management is very similar to “investment management”, or “asset management”, and generally encompasses a broader range, including investments in real estate, an art collection, and other contributors to personal wealth that aren’t usually considered an investment or asset in the sense of equity and debt instruments.
What is Retirement Planning?
Retirement planning begins at any age and consists of two primary components, 1) setting money aside on a regular basis in a tax-advantageous way, and 2) making intelligent investment decisions to grow this money so as to provide oneself a stream of income later in life upon retirement.
Retirement planning is best done with the aid of a financial advisor with an understanding in tax law, long-term investment strategies, annuity products, and more.
How often are my investments changed?
Generally, we do not trade frequently in our client accounts. We do have a carefully constructed rebalance procedure, and will rebalance our clients’ accounts accordingly. We may change the portfolios because of market circumstances, a change in your personal circumstances, or due to market changes.
Will you consult me when making trades?
Not generally. Occasionally, it will be necessary to react quickly to management changes or other situations we may encounter. Of course, we will discuss any changes as soon as possible. The asset custodians immediately provide trade confirmations and the trades will be reflected on the next periodic report from the custodian.