We are Fee-Only advisors. We do not receive commissions from any of the services we provide our clients. The only compensation we receive comes directly from the client.
OUR FIDUCIARY OATH
All of our advisors shall: Always act in good faith and with candor, be proactive in disclosing any conflicts of interest that may impact a client, and not accept any referral fees or compensation that is contingent upon the purchase or sale of a financial or insurance product.
FLAT FEE FINANCIAL PLANNING AND INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES
The vast majority of financial advisors charge asset-based fees, typically 1.5% to 2.0% per year; with a sliding scale used for assets in excess of $1 million. Asset-based fees contain a built-in escalator clause which grows the compensation of the advisor as assets are added to your portfolios and as markets rise. Multiple conflicts of interests exist with this type of relationship. We recommend avoiding this type of financial planning penalization. We do not charge asset-based fees, our firm charges flat annual advisory fees. This eliminates multiple conflicts of interest in the financial planning and investment management process and is totally transparent to the client.
We are one of the few advisory firms in the nation currently implementing a flat advisory fee structure. We believe a flat fee is the fairest pricing standard. It eliminates conflicts of interest, including the incentive to recommend financial products based on compensation rather than based on meeting our clients’ goals and objectives.
CONSIDERATION OF TAXES
Most financial advisors are not qualified to provide tax advice. Yet, taxes are the single biggest expense most people have, and these taxes have a dramatic effect on investment portfolios, and long-term projections. Failing to plan for taxes in the context of retirement and investment planning does not give clients an adequate picture of their current and future financial situations.
YOUR PERSONAL DASHBOARD
Our services include a very sophisticated web-based personal financial dashboard. This system provides us a platform for securely sharing data (The Vault), and provides you a single place to go where you can see your whole financial picture. It supports “live” links to your bank accounts, credit union accounts, credit cards, mortgage, investment and retirement accounts, insurance etc. – all aggregated securely in one place. There are cash-flow and budgeting tools and the ability to have alerts set to remind you when various events take place.
DIMENSIONAL FUND ADVISORS (DFA)
We are a select group of investment advisors approved to offer DFA Funds to individual investors. Our clients benefit from access to low-cost, institutional class mutual funds offered by Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA). These funds are based upon extensive research into what drives market returns over time, particularly the work of Eugene Fama, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics. DFA does not advertise and limits access to its funds to institutional investors and a select group of fee-only financial advisory firms who understand the benefits of their structured approach to investing. AL Hewitt Inc. is one of those approved firms.
We find that DFA Funds often provide the best vehicle for building globally diversified, low-cost portfolios which maximize risk-adjusted returns.