Ultimately, you must determine if the advisor-client relationship is the right for you. Here is a list of suggested basic questions:
How much do you charge?
There are many different ways that a advisor/planner makes money. We are a fee-only investment advisory practice, our annual advisory fees are calculated simply as a percentage of assets under management (AUM) or an hourly planning fee. Most importantly, our advisory fee is negotiable, depending on individual client circumstances. The cost range is between 0.25% to 1.85% on AUM and a $300 hourly fee for financial planning services based on your personalized plan.
For business and retirement plan services, our advisory fees for these customized services will be negotiated with the plan sponsor or namedfiduciary on a case-by-case basis. The cost range is between 0.20% to 0.75% on plan size.
If the explanation doesn't quite make sense, have the advisor/planner explain it to you and put it on paper so that it's crystal clear.
How many clients do you serve?
We have established a limit of 75 client relationships per financial advisor. This is to help ensure our clients are uniformly well served.
What do you drive?
This is a great question to ask for many reasons, as it provides an insight into a person's values.
Kirk - "I drive a 2017 Subaru Forester for my daily commutes in Portland and hauls over to Bend & Table Rock. Also, I drive a 2011 Dodge pickup, the diesel truck variety, with over 50,000 miles on it. I purchased the vehicle for its reliability and for hauling around loads on my family farm in Southern Oregon.
J.T. - "I drive a 2016 Jeep SUV for daily commutes and Pacific Northwest Adventures. I need a car that gets adequate MPG and gets me to the top of Mount Hood for ski season."
Kim - "I drive a 2015 Ford SUV to help my daily commutes to school with my daughter, Hailey. Plus, the other 2 kids, a dog, and endless trips to my oldest daughter at the University of Oregon."
How often do you meet with clients?
In the initial few months, we interact with each other a lot to get clear goals and objectives set. Then we meet as needed unless there’s a significant life transition or major topic in the markets. We do offer as much email support as needed and we encourage our clients to reach out as their situations change. Typically, we have year-end check-ins and touch base around tax time, so clients hear from us throughout the year.
Are we the right fit for everyone?
There have been situations where things do not work out. This is why communication styles need to be in sync with one another and style do vary greatly. For example, a client was insistent that they invest in a way that we believed was not in their best interests. They may have decided to "fire" us after we suggested they would have to go somewhere else to pursue this intended course of action. We would be happy to discuss such circumstances more fully and feel very comfortable in the outcomes.
What will I find about your financial background?
Most regulators such as FINRA and SEC have websites that show a "report card" of your financial advisor/planner's background. If a complaint has been filed against them, it will be shown there. You can log on to both https://brokercheck.finra.org/ and https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/default.aspx to investigate on your own.
At our firm, we have no registered complaints to date.