FAQs

Q?I have a great advisor already!
A.

Yes and this is why we have an advisor side to this website. Not everyone is as fortunate as you in having a clear and trusting relationship with a financial advisor. I can’t help everyone because I don’t have enough arms, legs and hours. But I can help in sharing this website so advisors and their clients can access the insights I’ve gained in my own experience. Your advisor may ask you to use this site, and then develop the conversation with her/him as your planning continues. So I invite you to use this site in the way that works best for you. And with this too, please honour the copyright by having others visit and use this site directly. Thank you for sharing this resource with others as I’ve shared it with you.

Q?Wills, Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Corporate holdings?
A.

Here’s a basket of questions that arise repeatedly. Yet laws and practices differ everywhere. Advantages of Trust- or Corporate-ownership of assets will differ depending on where you reside. My answer is to use professional advisors who practice in your state or province and are experienced providing the care your circumstances require.

Q?What about funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds?
A.

These can arise in implementing your financial plan. Fact is, there are different models and each approach can show advantages over the others. Each also has drawbacks. This website mentions investment “themes” for income, inflation-protection, etc but how you implement specific products is a discussion with your chosen advisor.

Q?How do life & health insurance fit my plan?
A.

This question is best answered in context of your individual plan. Some basic comments may dispel myths or preconceptions. Life insurance comes as “term”, “universal life”, and “whole life”: each is uniquely valuable when properly aligned with your needs and circumstances. Health insurances mainly include benefits for critical illness, disability, health/dental/travel, and long-term care. Some risks are unknown in advance, such as the risk of illness or death in the next few years. Some risks are more obvious such as decreasing capacity in later years, eventual death, and likelihood of severe taxes. Properly insuring these risks can bring enormous comfort, income while living, support for survivors, and significant tax relief.

Q?Guaranteeing income for life?
A.

Here’s what we can guarantee – and clarify further for your own needs. Assembling your financial plan we can guarantee you have resources which can serve the purposes you specify for your life-income …and your estate. It requires working together and considering the products that clearly “guarantee” income, together with those that assure flexibility and rising purchasing-power. We’ll include all assets and cash-flows in a certified financial plan that shows your ongoing wealth and security. “Litmus test” is where you’ve perhaps expected 5% earnings for life to 85 – so we test this at 4%, 6%, 8% and make it last until 95 or 105. With regular reviews we measure progress and support your ongoing income.

Q?Is a “local” or “distant” advisor preferred?
A.

You may prefer local or distant advisor depending on your own needs and comfort. I was referred to work with someone in a mid-sized town who at first said, “why wouldn’t I use an advisor in my own town?” yet he became a devoted client and has introduced others to me as well. While his first assumption was to stay local, others may feel they can guard and enjoy more privacy with an advisor who isn’t in town. And to note, I support other advisory team members regardless of their location.

Q?Can I include family in my planning process?
A.

Your choice! Some will bring a trusted family member into the planning process. Definitely include your spouse, and if there’s an adult child, sibling or friend who is privy and party to your personal planning and needs. I mention this further when we discuss the Stewardship Team.

Q?What if something happens to my advisor (or firm)?
A.

This is a valuable question because illness, death, or retirement can be a factor for any advisor. I have a longer summary of such risks and how we’ve addressed them in our firm. Briefly, my death, illness or disability would trigger funding to protect my clients’ planning at our firm. I could also retire but I’m passionate in serving my own clients, and in supporting how other advisors serve theirs! My goal is retiring 3days/week, 3weeks/quarter until age 80 and continue learning, growing, sharing and advising professionally at least until then.

Q?How often will we meet?
A.

As planning must support this major part of your wealth, we’ll get together regularly and also speak between meetings that may occur anywhere from monthly to half-yearly. Many clients agree to formal meetings 3 to 4 times per year. If distance is a factor we’ll meet by phone or over the web, combined with other meetings in person.

Q?Is there more to the process than just investing?
A.

By asking the question, you know the answer must be “yes”. If someone just took orders to invest for you, everyone would miss the vital relationship that aligns your wealth with the life you want. Elsewhere you can find people to just place trades or buy insurance. This website supports an advisory relationship to align financial decisions with your personal goals & dreams, and final estate wishes.

Q?What do advisors’ credentials mean to me?
A.

There are many kinds of “letters”, credentials, designations around the world. Some mainly apply in-house at a bank or other organization. Some are specific to one country or region. Some are recognized internationally. I have a list with dozens of such designations so if you cannot find it on google you can contact me for further information. The essence is to know that an advisor’s designations fit the work you want them to do, and they demonstrate the advisor’s prolonged in-depth study and recognized practice to serve you with professional care.

Q?Do we sell products without the planning?
A.

If you’re asking me this question the answer is “no”. To justify anything we do for someone’s investments or insurances, we detail how the financial product fits into your needs and objectives. Elsewhere are people who will sell financial products without due diligence on the need they fill or the risk they may avoid.

Q?What will it cost me to meet with you?
A.

This depends on the advisor you reach. In my own perspective I believe everything starts with getting acquainted – I don’t bill for that. We’ll need to know what questions and needs you have. Then we can discuss the way forward, and the level of support, the fit between your needs and our services, so any costs will align fairly with the solutions we design and choose together.

Q?How much time does it take?
A.

Opening a relationship and pursuing successful goals with a financial advisor will need a few meetings up front to establish what needs to happen to move you from “gap, pain, or fear” toward the “success” you seek. You and the advisor want to commit this time because without it the process suffers. Even with long-distance clients I find a combination of tele-conference and in-person meetings will establish the communication, trust, and planning processes to assure clients’ success.

Q?Can we do fee-only planning without products?
A.

Yes fee-only planning is an option. Or if we implement the plan, we absorb the time ourselves without billing. If you’re asking this question because you have financial matters in place, we can focus on the comprehensive planning to guide or confirm your decisions, illustrate your safety ahead, the gaps or issues you want to resolve, the targets you want to reach, and relevant insights for family, business, and future estate, along with how your current team fits with your life-, wealth-, and estate-planning.

Q?What services do you offer?
A.

Comprehensive financial planning, and implementing your insurance and investment planning to support your Life-Income and your ultimate Estate. Regular review and update of our progress. Collaboration with other advisors on your team.

Q?Can I learn how other people trust you?
A.

Google is a big doorway these days, offering many ways to check any advisor and their reputation, and any professional penalties if levied against them. Also if you speak with an existing client, their opinion is valuable to you. On the web you should be able to find if an advisor has a reliable process to fit your needs, while a friend or existing client confirms how trust has grown over time. Don’t go solely on word-of-mouth from a friend: fraud in the billions has occurred on that basis. So you can learn a lot from an internet search via Google, also Linkedin etc, combined with personal affirmation of someone already with that advisor.

Q?What results do others get with your service?
A.

Personal clarity about where you’re at today, the issues or decisions you most want to address, and the process to move forward successfully in your life. Do you have a pension decision? Are you looking to sell a business? In these and other respects we’ll help you integrate the value of your legal, accounting, and other advisors. Here I speak of the “stewardship team” creating comprehensive results to secure your income and desired lifestyle, and ultimate estate.

Q?What should I really know about risk?
A.

A year’s study could address this. Think then of where you are now… What about your assets, debts, taxes, lifetime expectations, family relationships and future needs? What is your possible risk of running out of money by age 90 or 105? Could something jeopardize your financial freedom when you can no longer restore it? What risks (or missed opportunities)could hit your estate after you’re gone? Could unknown risks in your business, pension plan, or other parts of life need discovery? Risks include the thief we call inflation, paying too much tax, high fees, too much volatility in investments, and cost of future illness or incapacities… Risk includes failure to align your financial assets and decisions with the comfort and security you want for life.

Q?How do we decide it’s time to change a portfolio?
A.

Given the “millennial speed” of information and change in the world today, our plans anticipate the pace of change while securing long term perspective and results. Ongoing reviews – say quarterly – may planning remains up-to-date and little or nothing needs to be altered on a quarterly basis. Yet in longer periods your own needs and circumstances can change; interest and inflation rates change, as do tax schedules, and so on. We want to continually fit your portfolio and assets with your personal goals for income, estate, etc. Perhaps in the course of 12, 18, or 24 months there will be some amendment to the investments you hold, or to re-balance them according to your plan. Such adjustment may cost nothing and the change is extremely efficient.