See our frequently-asked questions and answers below. We want you to understand how Personal Financial Planning, LLC is different from many other financial advisors… and that our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification legally requires us to work ethically in your best interest. We are not salespeople working on commission. We are fully-trained CFP® professionals and our shared interest in growing your wealth is a huge advantage to you when choosing a financial advisor. We want you to live your best life now with a well-planned strategy to maximize your future.
How does a fee-only planner differ from any other financial planner?
Instead of selling you securities and charging you commissions on the front or back end of each sale, we charge no sales-related compensation at all. That means we’re not compromised with requirements to sell certain securities or to meet certain sales quotas in those securities. Our fees are based on a percentage of your assets’ value. We are always working in your best interest. When your portfolio does well, we do well.
What is a fiduciary relationship?
All financial advisors are supposed to guide their clients to suitable investments. But a fiduciary is held to a higher standard. They must work in the best interest of their client at all times. As CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, we are required by law to engage in a fiduciary relationship with every client. That’s why we encourage you to look for the CFP® certification when choosing a financial advisor. See the reputation and qualifications of any CFP® practitioner at FINRA’s Brokercheck website or at the SEC website.
What kind of education does a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional have?
Every CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional is required to complete specific coursework through a CFP® certification program and to have a higher education degree from an accredited university. The CFP® certification program emphasizes knowledge we use in every client contact- tax planning, investment, retirement, and estate planning. Moreover, it emphasizes the ethics of financial planning for clients and especially how to create a comprehensive and custom financial plan. There is a CFP® exam that every practitioner must pass before certification.
How do I know I have enough of a nest egg for retirement?
With life expectancies in the US approaching 80 years, retirement planning has become vitally important for individuals and couples. To ensure enough of a nest egg to be able to retire, savings must start earlier than in former years. Our retirement calculator can help you determine how much money you need to retire, how much you need to put away each year to meet your goal and when you need to start. The sooner you begin saving for retirement, the longer your money has time to grow. This does not need to be a guessing game. We can help.
What is the best way to choose a financial advisor?
The best way to choose a financial advisor is to set up an interview and ask some important questions. First, ask yourself what kind of help you are looking for. Find out if the advisor is a fiduciary, and ask about their fee structure and any hidden costs. Ask about qualifications and experience. Find out if they have any particular investment strategies they prefer and how they measure success. See the complete list of questions we recommend you ask any potential long term financial advisor.
What is your financial planning process for helping me grow and manage my nest egg?
We first ask questions and listen. We delight in getting to know you , your family, your hopes and dreams for your future, your specific goals, current situation, risk tolerance, and many other things. By the time we complete our intake and analysis process, we hope you’ll see us as trustworthy advisors, creating a custom roadmap for your future that meets all your financial needs. See the outline of our entire process here.
What is legacy planning?
Legacy planning is related to estate planning which is designed to set up the distribution of your personal and monetary assets to your heirs. Legacy planning takes estate planning a step or two further and can include the passing on of your values, contributions to charities, establishment of a private foundation, roles and responsibilities in your business, end of life issues, and can even include the ways you want to be remembered long after you’re gone. Legacy planning does not require a huge estate. It is a plan for how you wish to have your important affairs and your memory handled after your death.
Do you have a minimum portfolio size to accept new clients?
We do not have a strict minimum. We’re problem-solvers and we enjoy helping people meet their goals. Even if we can’t help you, we would love to meet you and guide you toward someone who can. Don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a complimentary consultation.
Do you specialize in any type of client or investment strategies?
We enjoy working with all kinds of sincere investors. For example, it’s a joy to work with a young couple starting out with high expenses raising their children but who knows the value of starting to save early for their education and their own retirement. We also like to guide the HENRY’s- High Earners Not Yet Rich. These investors are often in need of strategies for managing high education debt while starting their new careers and still saving for the future. We often see women who have experienced a sudden loss from death or divorce and need help sorting out and assuring their financial future. We help several small businesses who need guidance in financial areas. Give us a call and let’s see if we can help you.
How do you measure financial success?
Success is measured by how well we meet your individual goals. Are you looking to minimize taxes? Maximize your retirement nest egg? Save for your children’s education? Manage your current retirement income and expenses? Determine the best time to buy or sell an expensive asset? Set up a profit-sharing program with your employees? Invest a windfall from an inheritance or the sale of your business? Success is something we strive for every day in many ways for each of our clients.
Are there any financial services you do not provide?
Great question! We do not sell any products, including annuities or other insurance policies. Although we may advise you on insurance needs or other financial products we have no incentive to steer you in any specific direction.
How do you help small businesses?
We find that small businesses have their own sets of financial issues. We can help with retirement plans, profit-sharing plans, business structuring for taxes, the effect of government regulations, financial projections, cost structure and many other issues. We also help small business owners and employees with their personal retirement funding plans.
I’m already retired. Can you help me maintain cash flow for a lifetime?
Depending on how much of a nest egg you’ve managed to save, and how well you plan to stick to a budget, we can help you match your resources to your lifestyle for the long run. We’ll take into account your spending needs, risk tolerance and of course your hopes and dreams and develop a investment plan uniquely for you.
Who is the photographer for your website?
Many of the images on our website were provided by Chris Riley of Head Over Wheels photography. He is a popular paraplegic in his 40s living on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. He and his service dog, Tonya, are usually at the Fairhope Pier each evening at sunset. As he says, “I am an amateur, enthusiastic photographer who has been behind a lens since childhood.” Chris encourages everyone to share his beautiful local shots. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. See more of his work on his Facebook page.