Q&A: What Financial Planning Services Do You Offer?

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In the CFP Board’s “Ten Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor ” they suggest, “Before establishing a relationship with a financial planner you will want to interview several people to make sure they’re the right match for you and exhibit key traits of a good advisor. Here are 10 important questions to ask before selecting a financial planner.”

In this series we are both providing an answer for Marotta Wealth Management as well as giving a longer analysis about the question, why the CFP Board may have included it, and how other organizations might answer if they were being truthful.

The third question is about what services are offered. The CFP Board likely includes this question because although the CFP designation is one of financial planning, many registered investment firms do not offer financial planning. Many firms only offer investment advice.

Some are brokerage salesmen who are responsible for marketing a specific list of funds. Some are commission-based so-called advisors who may offer some minor portfolio design based on risk tolerance. Some are fee-only investment managers who offer only portfolio design. Some are financial planners, who offer everything from retirement planning to college planning but may not offer investment management.

Then, there are comprehensive wealth managers who offer all of the above — investment management, portfolio design, and A-to-Z financial planning. This is the CFP Board ideal.

3. What financial planning services do you offer?

Credentials, licenses and areas of expertise are all factors that determine the services a financial planner can offer. Generally, financial planners cannot sell insurance or securities products, such as mutual funds or stocks, without proper licenses. And they cannot give investment advice unless registered with state or federal regulatory bodies.

We offer comprehensive wealth management services. Here is Our Services list:

For many of those working in financial services the primary service they offer is investment management. They may answer other financial questions, but their advice is anecdotal and not a systematic service offering. At best, they may have a retirement calculator that estimates if you have enough money. They cannot provide the comprehensive wealth management you deserve.

And although you deserve comprehensive wealth management, many people seeking a financial advisor don’t know what services they need.

Comprehensive wealth management is a nearly infinite service. It ranges from something as important as calculating a safe withdrawal rate for retirement or designing a customized Roth conversion plan to something as small as computing the taxable interest paid by mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and money market funds which hold U.S. debt obligations for deduction on the state income tax return.

For most of these services, a commission-based advisor has no incentive to offer quality service as there is no product paying a commission. However, for a fee-only comprehensive wealth manager, the primary offer is comprehensive wealth management itself making there a lot of incentive to offer quality analysis.

While the computation of taxable income from U.S. debt obligations might be only a small value, some tax planning or estate planning services might be worth millions of dollars to a client. And potential clients often don’t know and therefore don’t prioritize these services as being even more important than investment management. Only a comprehensive wealth management team can give you the opportunity to experience this level of service.

Consumers often presume that an advisor associated with a large commission-based brokerage firm will provide them with access to specialists. But the incentive to provide those services are not usually built into a commission-based organization. Clients of such organizations are grouped in a silo approach where each advisor gains his or her revenue from the commissions that he or she generates in a “you eat what you kill” mentality. If they have other advisors with specialized knowledge, they may have no incentive to help.

At Marotta Wealth Management, we take an an ensemble approach where each specialist serves all of our clients in that specialty. This allows our staff to become experts in what they do. As we suggest on our services page, “Our goal is to help our clients meet theirs.”

Give us a call and get started today. You deserve comprehensive wealth management.

Photo by Shoot N’ Design on Unsplash

Follow David John Marotta:

President, CFP®, AIF®, AAMS®

David John Marotta is the Founder and President of Marotta Wealth Management. He played for the State Department chess team at age 11, graduated from Stanford, taught Computer and Information Science, and still loves math and strategy games. In addition to his financial writing, David is a co-author of The Haunting of Bob Cratchit.

Follow Megan Russell:

Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.