Why work together?
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You have many choices when it comes to choosing a financial advisor. Many of us appear to offer the same services. In the interest of not repeating the typical table stakes of objectivity, credibility, services, and technology, which are already found on this site, here are some differentiators that might help you in deciding to call me.
Family CFO. "Family CFO" is a term-of-art. I know I didn't invent this title, but a long-time client of mine and I came up with the Family CFO concept over a decade ago. Even though it's become a more common concept in my industry, I have been incorporating this idea deliberately for well over a decade.
The Family CFO implies that I am an advocate and that I walk with you during financial planning decision-making. I separate myself from all other ties and simply serve you. I can also manage and advise on assets without mandating that the assets be held under one roof. I can help you hire subject-matter experts as needed rather than keeping it in house and charging you for it.
Access. You will get to work directly with me. You are not handed off to a service team after we meet. I work solely for you and directly with you and my other clients. I do not work for anyone else.
Time Saved. Your time is likely valuable. You are involved in the process, you make the decisions, but I offer to serve you as a sounding board, coordinate other advisors, as-needed analysis and cut through the noise.
Limited. I limit the number of clients. I feel the level of service that is appropriate to the clients who hire me necessitate client limits. This also allows me to be more available to clients, to live a more holistic life myself and to practice what I preach. Financial planning done right requires an ongoing commitment and lots of time.
Dedicated time to "just think". I deliberately create space in my life to "just think:" to think about process, to think about new research, and most importantly think about you. I spend time considering the blend of art and science to your unique purpose and constraints. Clients should find comfort in the idea that I avoid getting over-extended.
Intellectual honesty. I seek out intellectual honesty and adjust when necessary. There is also no room for dogma in financial planning. I’m very focused on setting expectations and I’m very comfortable telling you “I don’t know.” I don’t promise anything that can’t be promised because in life nothing can be certain. There is simply no “best” way to do things and no "guarantees," rather, there are sensible ways to do things. In a social science like financial planning, you absolutely must be flexible to adapt to build a sensible plan because there no perfect plans.
Focused. I know who my clients are. I’m very focused on the clients I can serve best (as opposed to serving anyone). I don't take on clients who unnecessarily distract me from serving ideal clients. If you're an ideal client, you should hopefully find some comfort in that.
Respect. I treat you like responsible financial adults and assume that you will take responsibility for your life. Further, existing clients do not pay me to babysit, nag, or chase irresponsible people around. I engage you, offer to educate you, I advise, but I also expect you to participate and take responsibility for your decisions.
Extra education. I am committed to continuous education as set by the CFP (r) Board of Standards and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). As a NAPFA Registered Advisor, I am required to have double the Continuing Education Requirements that the CFP Board requires. I also teach other advisors when invited. I have presented to NAPFA, FPA, local study groups, and the Madison Estate Planning Council.
Evidence based investing. There is no "best" investment philosophy; rather there are many sensible ones. The key is building something that is both sensible AND makes sense to you, so that you will stick to it. My investment philosophy is founded on an academic platform, offering broad asset class exposure. We focus on global diversification emphasizing low costs, considering taxes and your specific circumstances. I am also approved to work with Dimensional Funds . We also work with firms like Vanguard, among others, for client portfolios. I also have access to other managers and resources that are not always available to retail investors or often lower costs.
Passion. Passion from the owner's perspective is often table stakes, but I'm going to mention it anyway. I read the Harold Evensky quote referenced on the Us page when I was 20 years old and I was hooked. Back then, few even heard of "fee-only financial planning"; it was relatively brand new with very few options for new advisors to find their way into the business. It was a heck of journey to get here! I took a lot of arrows, but I didn't give up. It all simply started with the fact I like serving people and wanted to be rid of any conflicts of interest in doing so.
That feels like a long time ago. Today, I reflect on this journey and feel grateful to be here; grateful for all my nice, deliberate clients and proud to be part of why "fee only"and "fiduciary" are now becoming standards of care.
I like being part of helping families connect their values to their goals and then helping them achieve those goals. I find great joy in this craft, profession and all the people I've met and/or served along the way. I simply love what I do. I can't imagine doing anything else.
Human. Finally, I am a human being, not a robot, not a corporation, and not a "team." I am "part of a team" that includes you at the top of the team. I will walk with you to manage and build "a team," but it won't all be here in this firm since I don't believe that's best for clients who hire me.
If we work together, you are, in fact, hiring a unique person. You are hiring me, my personality, my talents, and my quirks. As a person, I seek to be helpful, not to judge, but rather have “joyful” relationships because life is short and you should seek joy in your relationships as well. For my part, I strive to be open and authentic so you know up front who “the person” is that you are hiring.
Given the pace of technology and evolution of the financial planning industry over years, it is so very fortunate that I can celebrate these ideas with you.
I've been doing this a long time. Table stakes are a given. I love what I do and I take the idea of serving you as a Family CFO seriously.