What do I do?
As an independent financial consultant, I provide clients with guidance, services and products to help them build, preserve and distribute their wealth. I take as much time as is necessary to carefully explain the costs and benefits of each decision. My specific services can range from a one-time analysis of a portfolio, up through actively managing essentially all of a client's assets.
How do I work with clients who are in other states?
Most communications with clients are by phone, e-mail, and snail mail. This applies to clients who are five miles away or a thousand miles away; those whom I have met personally, and those whom I have not met. The amount of contact I have with any client is a function of their need and desire -- not their distance from me.
What is the first step toward seeing how I can help you?
Initial consultations, which can be done in person or by phone, are free of charge. They typically last up from one to two hours, during which time we review the relevant areas of financial planning, the client's goals, and any assets and steps being taken toward achieving those goals. At the end of the meeting, we will decide (1) if we want to work together, and (2) the best way to proceed.
Is it possible to become a client without doing a financial plan?
Yes. For example, a client might have investments at a mutual fund company, and simply want to designate me as their "advisor of record" so that I may provide insights into their options. In this case, they are paying no more than they were, but benefiting from my guidance.
What products do I use?
I have access to a panoply of products, including insurance (life, long-term care and disability) and annuities, stocks, bonds and mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, managed portfolios, certificates of deposit, and more. Products are simply tools, but it is important to use the right ones and the best ones, particularly in conjunction with planning software (for example, to develop a Retirement Income Strategy).
What is my investment process?
The first step is to analyze current holdings to identify which investments should be kept and which should be replaced. Do they have best-in-class investments? Then I examine the balance of a portfolio. Is the client in the right position for their age, asset base, risk tolerance, need for income, desire to leave a legacy, etc? If I feel that improvements can be made in a portfolio, I detail the costs and benefits of the various courses of action that a client can take.
I have no set portfolios that I recommend to all. I explain my decision-making process, and back it up with documentation. If I can work within current holdings to avoid incurring commissions or fees, I will do so. The best way, and the only way, to be in business is to put the client's interests first. In that way, I am able to establish long-term relationships with clients, based on mutual trust and respect.
What are my clients like?
My clients are intelligent, interesting people, ranging from their thirties to their seventies. Many of them are retired. They are receptive to advice, recognizing the value of hiring a professional like myself.
Technology allows me to maintain close contact with clients in any state, and even overseas (as long as they maintain an address in the United States, and I am registered in their state). Becoming registered in a state is a simple process that only takes a few days. For the complete, up-to-date list of the states in which I am registered, please look at the bottom of this web page.
How do I get compensated?
As an independent financial consultant, I am able to work with clients in a variety of ways: through periodic meetings in which I provide guidance on a range of topics; through fee-based advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network; on a commission basis; and through a fee-only arrangement. This is in keeping with my open-architecture philosophy, and I provide clients with the guidance they need to decide which route might be best for their circumstances. In some cases, it may be best to utilize a variety of approaches for a single client.