There are a number of ways that you can access our expertise. We offer:
- portfolio management,
- hourly consulting,
- comprehensive financial planning,
- wealth management.
Which one is right for you depends upon your needs. Presently, we offer these services only to people who are clients of the affiliated tax practice.
From the client’s perspective, the best aspect of retaining us for Portfolio Management is that they are free from day-to-day, month-to-month “worry” about their investmentss. Their role becomes more strategic since there is a Plan in place and it is being implemented on their behalf.
Working together, we formulate an understanding of your investment goals, needs, risk-tolerances, and time horizons. We craft an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that captures the pith of each area, and distills appropriate strategies to use for the management of your financial assets. Client and manager assure themselves that they understand this, and both sign off on this essential guidance that is renewed annually.
Clients establish accounts with our institutional custodian (TDAmeritrade Institutional) and grant Lottsa Financial Services, Inc. discretionary authority to execute trades within the account(s) in order to implement the IPS. Client funds are never co-mingled, and clients receive monthly statements from the custodian as an independent "check" on the account activity. Tax-efficiency is a consideration when ordering transactions in taxable accounts.
One advantage of this structure is that implementation actually occurs. Far too often, good advice is sought, offered, paid for, and then filed away with no action taken. The implementation is also undertaken without emotion. We have the IPS to guide our actions as managers, and we proceed to implement it. It’s systematic, and has follow-through.
There are usually other action steps needed. Through periodic meetings these are continuously updated, monitored, and assisted with. These meetings allow us to keep up to date on changes in the client’s situation so that the Plan may be modified as needed.
Often people have a limited-scope concern. Sometimes they are just hesitant to commit to the dollars and/or time needed for comprehensive financial planning, so they choose to address only the issue(s) that are causing the most angst. Occasionally, they just cannot be sure that we are a good fit for their needs and a more limited engagement is a safer way to try us on for size.
Scott enjoys these engagements. They provide an opportunity to meet folks where they are, while addressing their most pressing concerns. If this is valuable for a client, then time permitting we are pleased to assist in this way. Although personally rewarding, it can be professionally frustrating when areas of need are omitted (knowingly or unknowingly) from the scope of services.
We bill for actual time spent on a project at our prevailing hourly rate. Payment is due upon completion of the work.
Comprehensive Financial Planning
This is a very intimate undertaking. Oddly enough, in a time when money is central to our culture it is also something of a taboo subject for honest, candid discussion. You’ll be asked to share things that are very personal, that you may have held privately for a long time. It’s our task to create an environment in which you feel able to share your hopes, fears, and interests.
Couples face an additional challenge. Each partner has to address one’s own “issues” in the financial domain and those of one’s partner, all while striving to find common ground you can build upon.
The first step is for us to mutually define the scope of services that will be provided. You’ll share what you want from the Plan. We’ll share what services we think are needed, how much that will cost you, over what period of time we expect to work, and what our mutual responsibilities are. Assuming that we reach an understanding, a contract is drawn up, signed, and off we go.
Although specific circumstances may cause the cost to vary from the following norms, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $3,000 as a Single person and from $3,000 to $4,500 for a married couple. Add $500 to these ranges if it’s an unmarried couple or for self-employment.
The process proceeds by establishing what it is that you truly value and want to express in your life. We’ll help you to develop goal statements to give the Plan direction. We want your values and goals to drive the financial plan.
We also probe to determine what your fears are. The financial planning process should help you to allay those concerns, or at least come to grips with them. There are also inquiries about your stomach for risk so that we can tailor our recommendations to fit your comfort level. Warning - you may be asked to stretch a bit.
Of course, we will gather specific data about your finances too. Among other things, you will be asked for information about cash flow, assets, debts, insurance, employee benefits, estate plans, health, risk tolerance, and family situation.
Next, we will analyze that data and identify the strengths that can be built upon to achieve your goals. Weaknesses are also identified and we try to determine how they will impact your ability to achieve your goals. Available resources may not be congruent with stated goals in which case this dynamic tension must be resolved by:
- modifying the objectives,
- changing the objective’s priority level, and/or
- revisiting lifestyle choices/attitudes.
Having established an understanding of what the current financial position is and gained knowledge of where you want to go, attention is turned to how you’re going to get there. We will provide specific recommendations and our reasoning behind them. You can and should ask questions and comprehend our rationale – after all this has to be a fit for you if it’s going to work. Out of this give and take, we will further refine our recommendations if necessary and present them to you for action.
Generally, this concludes work under the Comprehensive Planning contract. A new agreement is negotiated for the implementation and monitoring stages of the Plan.
Implementation of the Plan is the next step, and is the one most often failed. Despite the best of intentions, clients are frequently stymied by inertia and/or overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork that’s needed. We strongly recommend that you continue working with us to help you in this stage, either through Portfolio Management or with an Hourly Agreement. The best laid plans are worthless if never put in place.
We exist in a dynamic environment. Life’s circumstances are constantly changing, as is the world around us. The Plan, too, must be dynamic. Once implemented, it needs monitoring to be sure that it continues to “fit” your life. This involves client and planner staying in touch systematically through Portfolio Management or via periodic check-ins that you initiate, billed at our prevailing hourly rate.
For our higher net worth clients with portfolio assets of $500,000 or more under our discretionary authority, we fold the cost of creating a comprehensive financial plan right into the Assets Under Management fee. This allows us to work with you more holistically, earlier in the process.
We are also available to take an active role when implementing any and all aspects of the Plan that you are willing to delegate to us. Whether this is changing benefit selections on the job, researching insurance possibilities, meeting with your estate planning attorney, or a host of other possibilities, we are your ally and want to stand with you.
As issues arise for you, give a call or drop us an e-mail. We strongly prefer to hear from you as an issue is unfolding so that we help you to make good, sound, informed decisions instead of reacting to mistakes or missed opportunities.