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Your Financial Planning

Is best accomplished using YOUR Goals & Dreams combined with YOUR resources .... with advice from an experienced knowledgeable Financial Advisor. 


Help you make progress toward your ability to retire (or stay retired) at the financial level you seek - while following the Fiduciary Standard ("Only in the clients' best interest.")

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My experience and views on financial advice

1. Yale - B.S. - "Liberal Arts"
The essence of good financial advice is understanding clients' values & goals and how they might work IRL. In Real Life. "What Time It Is." Not "how the watch works." I personally know excellent financial advisors with various backgrounds, including accounting and engineering, for example. But I professionally lean toward liberal arts as the most useful

2. US Army Quartermaster Officer - 2-1/2 years - Southeast Asia and Washington, DC
See "Mission" above.  The Mission is easy to say - one sentence above - but complex to achieve. Even though my military experience is not recent, the principles I learned still resonate.

3. Stanford - MBA - Finance
The closest I ever came to a trade school. In my second year one course was entirely about doing what a modern-day (stock) analyst still does. Analyst being the typical entry-level job on the way to becoming a Money Manager. I am not a functioning full-time Money Manager. But on occasion, where Fiduciary Standard dictates, some of what I do might appear to be first-cousin-ish to that work.

4. Fiduciary Standard + My Retail Experience - We accepted customer returns without argument
You can Google and get a very large number of hits about Fiduciary Standard. I learned it the old-fashioned way. What would I do for myself, or for my - Parent - Child - Sibling - etc. if I were in identical circumstances. When I operated the family retail business and when I worked at Target - quite a while ago, admittedly - anything the customer bought could be returned. I find it interesting that some businesses still operate that way. 

5. Trial Size - Avoid Being "Locked-In" - Complete Information 
Because financial services is different than retail, I analyzed the choices available in a complex regulatory environment

A. "Trial" Size: I don't impose my own minimums
The structures / "platforms" available to me more often than not have dollar minimums that I have to live with. As do clients. But I don't impose my own in addition. I'm not one of the "Financial Folks" that only accepts million-dollar clients!

B. Avoid being "Locked In."
Less and less true today, but when I started there were many choices where the client(s) would face an additional fee / penalty if they wanted to withdraw some or all of their money before a specified date. When such a product or service would only be available under this kind of condition, I would go into additional time and detail, both verbally and in writing, to be sure the client(s) understood the potential situation and why I still considered the choice in their Fiduciary best interest.

C. Complete information and documents FIRST
Even if everything you end up doing is completely liquid without penalty from Day One, In My Professional Opinion the only Fiduciary way to accept a client is to understand their goals, values and confidential financial facts and documents. Absent all 3 of these, it is simply not a Fiduciary process. So I do that before making any additions or changes to clients' financial situation and before they sign any documents or pay anything..

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I am not a "Fee-Only" Advisor - Here's why:

It is an oversimplification and a distortion to feel that "Fee-Only" is required to be Fiduciary.  It is not. Also, certain kinds of "legacy" products and services can only be acquired either as actual commission or as fee-based. CFG - Cetera Financial Group - enables me to offer a very wide range of products & services. My view of Fiduciary Standard is simple as stated above - only in clients' best interest. Sometimes, that means commission for fee-based, as opposed to fee-only.

Additional compensation may apply in the form of commissions for purchase of individual stocks, bonds and through service fees (12b-1) for mutual fund transactions. Fees, charges and expenses are detailed in the Cetera Advisors LLC's ADV Part 2A.

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Money is more complicated than we might wish

Certain common English words and / or phrases might have very specific meanings when discussing money, finances and especially people (aka "advisors") as well as firms who operate wholly or partially in the Financial Services industry

1. Fee-Only
You the client(s) pay the adviser directly AND neither the adviser nor the adviser's firm receive any other revenue as a result of any action you take.  Said differently, neither the advisor nor the advisor's firm receive any "sales-related" compensation.
Fee-Only might be an hourly rate, a flat fee agreed upon in advance, a monthly flat fee like a "subscription," and perhaps some other format.

2. Fee-Based
You the client might pay the advisor directly or, maybe more typically, you the client might pay the advisor's firm, which then turns around and pays your advisor part but possibly not 100% of what you the client(s) paid the firm.
AUM - "Assets Under Management" - might mean that you the client pay a percentage of the investments being managed by the advisor and firm. This arrangement some consider a form of sales-based payment because if you put more assets to be managed with the advisor / firm, you pay more. Hence, sales- related payment.

3. Commission
Some investment products might be purchased by paying a commission. Then you might see the commission amount deducted from your balance.
Insurance and / or mixed products with an insurance element might have a "built-in" commission paid by the sponsor to the firm / advisor. You might or might not see your balance change due to that commission being paid.  

Additional compensation may apply in the form of commissions for purchase of individual stocks, bonds and through service fees (12b-1) for mutual fund transactions. Fees, charges and expenses are detailed in the Cetera Advisors LLC's ADV Part 2A.

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How We Work under the Fiduciary Standard

We happily accept clients after determining that we can help them make progress toward at least one of their financial goals. Financial Planning is a collaborative process. So making that determination means:

1) One or more communications with the potential client(s) about their goals and values.

2) We confidentially review all relevant financial documents.

3) We then have at least a 2nd communication (and typically more than that) with the potential clients about
  A) Our professional determination of your current situation.
  B) The (at least) one or more ways we can help you progress.
  C) Verbal explanation of fees, expenses, costs and compensation. 

4) The above process of determination, by its nature, is verbal. At the conclusion of the above steps, documents relevant to the specifics of our proposed working relationship, including fees, expenses costs and compensation, will be generated for the potential client(s) to review and sign.

5) The above steps by their nature are at zero cost and zero obligation.

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 Thursday, February 4, 2021

While offering but not requiring implementation of advice, products and / or services through us. 

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| Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A "Second Set of Eyes" might be akin to a Second Opinion in medicine. Even if facts are identical, once we add in goals and values, it becomes normal and predictable that Financial Folks might differ on their recommendations.

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