There are many “10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor” lists out there on the Internet. Although some of these questions may help some people discern which professional to sign up with, we prefer our ten questions as they cut to the heart of the matter. They have an obvious correct answer (“Yes”), an obvious incorrect answer (“No”), and any professional who tries to veil their answer behind marketing nuances without giving a clear yes or no can be counted as incorrect. Our ten questions should not be hard for an advisor to answer.
That being said, I enjoy answering every set of ten questions I find. I recently found a Christian version of 10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor when I was reviewing (and recommending that you avoid) their misleading directory.
Here are their ten questions:
- What are your qualifications and background in financial planning?
- What services do you provide?
- How does your faith affect your investment philosophy/strategy and recommendations for clients?
- How are you paid?
- How much do you typically charge?
- What products do/don’t you put clients into?
- What is your average portfolio size and life stage?
- What resources do you have to address issues outside your area of expertise?
- How do you communicate with clients? How often?
- Will I work with anyone else in your office?
For each question that we have already answered elsewhere, I have included a link to our previously written article. The remaining five questions I am answering in this series.
The next one is:
What is your average portfolio size and life stage?
We truly serve clients of all life stages and portfolio sizes.
We have two service levels at Marotta Wealth Management.
In our “Comprehensive” service level, we strive to do whatever our clients would do if they had our time and expertise. This means providing all of the financial services listed on our Services page as well as researching, analyzing, and answering in a customized manner countless other financial planning questions and decisions the clients may ask or need answered. Our “Comprehensive” service level starts at a minimum annual fee of $10,000, which means it works well for clients who have one million or more in investable assets.
For years we only had this service level and were struggling with how we could help people who could not afford our services. Our comprehensive, integrated, and personal financial planning is unfortunately rare in the financial services industry.
However, comprehensive wealth management like that takes time and money to provide. We have always challenged ourselves to do whatever our clients would do if they had our time and expertise, which is why our list of services is extensive and ever expanding. For example, our customized tax reviews take at least three to eight hours, and those reports are just the start of the service. The tax review often results in new capital gains management plans which involve a year of intentional trading, customized Roth conversions which involve extensive paperwork and accounting, strategies for charitable giving which involve meticulous paperwork and valuations, and even more services too numerous to name.
However in 2018, we lowered our minimums to zero. We added a new service level called “Do-It-Yourself” which provides a set of basic investment management services for a low flat 0.4% cost. There are also optional bonus services for an additional planning fee. Investors are encouraged to do as much as possible themselves and are guided through many aspects of financial planning as part of an exclusive do-it-yourself newsletter.
For this reason, we have a large distribution of clients at all portfolio sizes. Thirty percent (30%) of our clients have less than $250,000 and 35% of our clients have between $1 and $5 million.
As for Life Stage, we pride ourselves with helping clients of all life stages.
We come along side the newly married to help them set their budget and finances up for success. We are also skilled at helping the spouse who never had to worry about the finances get back on his or her feet after a divorce. For parents of young children, we develop college savings plans. For parents of rising adults, we help in the financial education of their children. We navigate all the fund choices and benefits for those who have started a new career. For those who are retiring, we help ensure financial security by determining their safe withdrawal rate. We help those who want to leave a legacy implement their estate plan and assist those who have recently lost a loved one inherit the assets. We do all this and more.
If you look at the age decades from 20s to 90s, a completely representative distribution would have 12.5% in each age group. Surprisingly, we follow a near representative distribution.
|Age Decade||Percent of Clients|
Furthermore, when we accept a client, we see the relationship as a lifetime partnership. With our goal being to help our clients meet theirs, we become invested in what they are invested in and for many clients that is family.
We offer investment advice for the whole family, managing assets for grandparents, children, and grandchildren. As a part of our “Comprehensive” service level, we are happy to provide investment advice for client family members who otherwise may not meet our client minimums.
Our average new “Do-It-Yourself” client is in or approaching their 30s. They have just gotten married and are starting to have children. We provide them with their first asset allocation and often also their first investment lessons. Our exclusive guides walk them through how to fund an investment account, determine which retirement accounts and employer plans they should fund, and develop a strategic savings plan. Many, in addition to their own retirement accounts, open a 529 plan to start saving for the family’s education expenses.
Our average new “Comprehensive” client is 61 and has started to think about retiring. In addition to portfolio management, our first services often include developing a retirement plan, creating a Roth conversion plan from a tax review, optimizing Social Security filing, setting a safe retirement withdrawal rate, and more.
If you are interested in hearing more about our services, there is no reason to hesitate. Our prospective client meetings are free, and we look forward to meeting you!
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash