Frequently Asked Questions
There are four key components to look at. Consider the planner’s pay structure. A retirement planner who earns money based on commission rather than a flat, hourly rate could have an incentive to steer you in a particular direction. Read the code of ethics that your financial planner adheres to. Look for the word “fee-only fiduciary” and language that requires planners to look after your best interests. You don’t want to confuse planners with stockbrokers who are not part of Registered Investment Advisory firms. RIAs are advocates for your personal planning and investments and do not sell financial products like a broker. Look for a financial adviser who has a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation. They’re licensed and regulated, plus take mandatory classes on different aspects of the financial planning process.
In short, this means the money managers have pledged to act in a client’s best interests at all times. Financial planner services and Investment professionals who aren’t fiduciaries are often held to a lesser standard, the so-called “suitability standard.” That means that anything they sell you merely has to be suitable for you, not necessarily ideal or in your best interest. This point is critical and should be a deal breaker if a prospective financial management planner is not a fee-only fiduciary, part of a Registered Investment Advisory firm (RIA), and does not have a CFP designation. As fee-only fiduciaries, that have CFP designations and a Registered Advisory Firm, we at Wealth Analytics have the legal as well as ethical responsibility to follow prudent investor practices as well as serve the client’s best interest.
Since every situation is unique, there is no such thing as a typical client. However, many of our clients want to know if they are in a position to retire safely. They have created a successful business or career and they want to know if retirement is a realistic option. Typically, they would like both investment planning and financial planning services help.
At Wealth Analytics, our fee-only fiduciaries with CFP designations, working under our Registered Investment Advisory firm, build globally diversified portfolios of stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate. We focus on broad diversification and competitive fees and use both passive and active investment vehicles.
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors that our fee-only fiduciaries, with CFP designations working for out Registered Investment Advisory firm identify during the course of our retirement planning sessions. We’ll help you get to a position where you can enjoy sustainable success in retirement and live comfortably according to the plan you have in place.
This is a great question. Running out of money is the number one fear for retirees. To address this, our fee-only fiduciaries with a CFP designation, working for our Registered Investment Advisory firm do a detailed study of a client’s financial resources including retirement income, assets, pensions, Social Security and possible inheritances. We then do the same study of all of your expenses. From here, we can create a financial model that tests the probability of success in retirement. Ultimately, we can determine the rate of return required on all assets for a client to live happily ever after. We then track investment performance (some other assumptions as well, including taxes, spending, etc.) to determine if a client is on track. Using this methodology with regular reviews allows us to help clients make adjustments throughout their life to protect against running out of money. If you are a business owner, we help with business succession planning to maintain income and minimize liabilities from the business after you retire.
Bear markets are part of investing in the stock market. This is a fact you must know to be ready for the worst. It helps you prepare mentally. These events should not be a surprise, they should be expected. They are a normal part of investing. If so, you must have a strategy to deal with bear markets by talking to a fee only fiduciary, with a CFP designation working under a Registered Investment Advisory firm to guide you in your personal financial plan.
Start by understanding the facts. Read our article entitled “Practical Thoughts on Bear Markets and Corrections” here.
Unfortunately, finding a good financial mentor can be challenging. Wall Street institutions spend millions of dollars to convince you that their brokers can help you navigate retirement successfully. We strongly suggest that you work with a fee-only fiduciary, Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), and Certified Financial Planner (CFP), as we are. We believe it is important to understand the difference between these four qualifications of a fiduciary adviser and a stockbroker financial planner, cloaked, sales agent who provides advice in hopes of selling you variable annuities, high-cost investment management or other expensive diversions from your pocket to their bonus pools. Many traditional banks and brokerage firms may meet one of the requirements, or even two, however your advisers should meet all four.
Finding a mentor who can provide retirement planning services tailored to your needs and priorities may be the most important financial decision you will ever make. If you are retired or nearing retirement, let me personally invite you to contact Wealth Analytics for a free retirement readiness consultation to discuss your options.
Yes, Wealth Analytics is an independent fee-only fiduciary, Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), and Certified Financial Planning (CFP) firm, who does not sell products or collect commissions. Unlike stock brokers and insurance agents, we act as fiduciaries on behalf of our clients.
Yes, we are happy to work with your professional advisors. If you need to find a professional advisor or attorney, we are happy to refer you to one.
Yes, we can include your legacy investments into our investment plan. We can also incorporate your investment ideas going forward.
What if I only want help with a particular question, such as what is the best way to allocate my 401k management plan or the best approach to taking Social Security benefits?
Wealth Analytics offers advice on an hourly basis with a minimum fee of $250, with a two-hour minimum.
It seems the markets are rigged against small investors. Interest rates are changing and the economic environment is sketchy. How can we get a real return on assets so we can retire?
We do believe it is possible to get real return to allow our clients to retire. However, there are many landmines to avoid. Wall Street, many asset management companies, and large banks do not operate with their client’s best interest in mind. Rather, they operate under a lower standard of suitability. These firms are hugely profit-oriented and sometimes pay obscene compensation to their employees. This can come at the expense of their clients. Wealth Analytics operates under a fee-only fiduciary, Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), and Certified Financial Planning (CFP) standard. Our sole purpose is to help our clients navigate the transition to financial independence and keep them there. We view ourselves as partners with our clients to protect them from the minefields. Finally, our investment process is not wholly reliant on macro-economic issues for success. We have systems in place that are designed to help our clients in both good markets and bad. As an asset management firm, we can’t insulate clients against huge market events like The Great Recession of 2007, but we can try to create cash flow management portfolios that will ride through those storms.
We have questions about Social Security and have heard there are ways to maximize these benefits. Can you help with these issues? How about Medicare vs. HMO and supplemental plans?
Yes, we can provide answers to virtually all Social Security questions. Health care choices are critical questions to answer, and we can educate you about your options. We do not sell insurance but we do have a network of people we can refer to for placement of the proper plan for your situation. You should also know that as fee-only fiduciary, Registered Investment Advisers (RIA), and Certified Financial Planners (CFP) we cannot compliantly receive any compensation from the referral source. We merely vet the providers to find people who can help our clients most effectively.
We have to make choices about employer pension plan options. These seem very complicated. Should we cash out our plan or take monthly income for life and is a joint payout the right option?
These are all excellent questions, and each situation must be analyzed separately. Generally, we like the idea of an income from a pension that you cannot outlive. This would be particularly true if the pension offers a Cost of Living Adjustment. Joint payouts are actually required in California unless a spouse waives that right through a notarized authorization. Surprisingly, this is not always the best choice, but we can help you determine if it is right for you as fee-only fiduciary, Registered Investment Advisers (RIA), and Certified Financial Planners (CFP).
How To Begin?
We specialize in helping people who have worked hard all their lives transition to retirement.