In addition to our “Comprehensive” and “Collaborative” service levels, we also offer some of our services in a “Do-It-Yourself” service level that has a lower annual fee and no minimum. Basic services include asset allocation design and portfolio management. Some additional services are available for an additional charge.
Not everyone who wants or would benefit from our services can meet our “Comprehensive” or “Collaborative” service levels’ minimum fees. Those fees are there to cover the cost of the bespoke financial planning services and comprehensive wealth management that we offer.
At our DIY service level, we are able to provide exclusively the investment management services, and thus offer lower costs to those clients. With this lower fee, more people can benefit from our services.
There are two options for DIY investment service:
In our hand-traded DIY service, you open accounts at Charles Schwab which our team of human traders will trade in by hand.
The primary advantages of hand-traded accounts over the IIP are:
- You can gain access to our full buy list including all the Freedom Investing countries, Biotechnology, and our preferred, cheaper funds.
- The IIP requires 4% to be invested in cash, but we have no minimum cash requirements. With a hand-traded account, you can be fully invested. If the market appreciated 7%, the extra investment would earn you 0.28% more.
- The IIP requires $5,000 per account before the algorithm begins investing and rebalancing, but our hand-traded accounts have no account minimums. We will invest and rebalance accounts of any size.
- We are able to set an asset allocation for your portfolio as a whole rather than each account individually. We are also able to set customized asset allocation targets rather than only selecting one of our twelve IIP allocations.
- You gain access to asset location, a tax savings strategy implemented by our traders but not the algorithm. This is advantageous for those with more than one account type. For example, those who have both a Roth IRA and a taxable account under our management.
- Although capital gains management is not an included service of the DIY service level, our traders’ portfolio management strategies normally manage capital gains more efficiently by default than Schwab’s trading algorithm which blindly harvests capital gains.
To get started with a hand-traded account, you can simply open an account at Charles Schwab. You can use our mostly prefilled account applications and their guides to facilitate the account open and then securely send us a copy of those completed forms through our client portal.
In our algorithm-traded DIY service, you open accounts through Schwab’s Institutional Intelligent Program (IIP) which is traded by Charles Schwab’s algorithm according to our asset allocation targets and investment strategy.
The primary advantages of the IIP over our hand-traded accounts are:
- Both the dynamic tilt and tax-loss harvesting happen faster with the algorithm as it notices out of balance accounts and large capital losses automatically.
- If you initiate a withdrawal the algorithm will automatically generate the necessary sells whereas with a hand-traded account you would need to notify us of your intentions so we can generate the cash.
Historically, the main advantage of the IIP program was the fact that it had no transaction fee for all ETFs. Fortunately, now all Schwab accounts have no transaction fee for all ETFs. This means that both our IIP and hand-traded accounts benefit from no transaction fee.
To get started with an algorithm-traded account, you can simply open a Schwab IIP account by following our simple guide here.
If you’d like to talk with us about your specific situation before getting started, feel free to send us an email using our Contact Us form.
After you’ve finished your enrollment, we will reach out to you to collaborate on designing your first asset allocation. We will ask you about your financial goals and average withdrawal needs. Once that information is gathered, we will craft an asset allocation to help you meet those goals and needs.
Portfolio construction begins with the most basic allocation between investments that offer a greater chance of appreciation (stocks) and those that provide portfolio stability (bonds). We will send this top level asset allocation for you to approve. Upon your approval, we will implement your asset allocation, and your intelligent portfolio will begin investing.
Underneath your top level asset allocation, we will be dynamically managing a sector allocation of low-cost funds. We will be adjusting the sector allocation monthly based on forward P/E ratios. We will also be regularly curating the list of low-cost funds in a quest for even better options and adjusting our sector allocation targets in response to new information.
We will also enroll you in an exclusive newsletter for the Do-It-Yourself service which will remind you of important financial planning decisions and step you through how to make them for your family.
After you have been enrolled in the program for at least three months, you may shop and select from applicable Bonus Services for an additional planning fee. We will gather the necessary information and deliver any relevant reports to you via our secure client portal.