Frequently Asked Questions

general questions

Let’s face it, managing your finances takes time, interest, and knowledge. Working with us can give you time to focus on what matters most to you. We also have the benefit of experience planning for people at all stages of life and investing in all types of markets.

This is a question we can help answer when we know a little more about you, so please reach out to schedule some time with us. The amount will depend on what expenses you expect to have, what other sources of income you’ll have in retirement (pensions, social security, rental property income, etc.), and how much risk you are comfortable taking.

Common rules of thumb like a 4% withdrawal rate make many assumptions about expected market returns, future inflation, and the risk allocation of your portfolio. To understand how much income your specific portfolio can provide, we encourage you to schedule some time with us.

Yes, the financial planning and other value-added services we provide are included at no additional cost when we manage your investment portfolio. We practice wealth management holistically because your investment portfolio, your plan for your future, and your daily financial decisions are all interconnected.

Prospective / new clients

Yes, in addition to in-person appointments at our beautiful office in historic Downtown Turlock, we offer phone appointments and virtual meetings via Zoom.

You’ll get to interview us and we’ll get to interview you. We want to learn what’s important to you and find out how we can best help you. And you’re free to ask us whatever’s on your mind so you can feel comfortable working with us. Bringing account statements to the first or second meeting can also be helpful to see your current financial state in greater detail.

Depending on the complexity of your situation, we may meet 2-3 times in the first few weeks to interview each other, propose investments, present a financial plan, and sign paperwork. There may be a couple more check-ins within the first year to address your questions as you adjust to your new setting. After all of our work together to get you in the right position, there’s usually less need for communication of that frequency going forward. We meet yearly to review your portfolio and discuss any big changes in your life.  Your progress or unforeseen events may necessitate some other check-ins along the way.  We also produce newsletters roughly every month to provide insights on topics like money, life, and investing to empower you to make better financial decisions and be confident about your financial future.  We have an open door policy so if you are ever concerned or going through any big changes, you should reach out to us and we’ll get back to you promptly.

Our clients typically have a “super saver” mentality and are interested in building their safety net for future expenses and/or passing their wealth on to family or charity.  Some may be going through big life changes such as a career change, retirement, sale of a business, divorce, or the loss of a loved one.  Others may want to make sure they’re taking advantage of wealth-building strategies to combat high taxes or a rising cost of living.

Yes, we have experience serving many high net worth clients.  We are aware of the tremendous impact taxes can have on your wealth, and we will customize and manage your investment portfolio accordingly to optimize after-tax returns.  We can also work with your estate planning attorney to help mitigate estate taxes and conduct family meetings, if desired.

We do not require any sort of account minimum to work with our firm because we understand that everyone’s financial journey looks different. That being said, our clients typically have a “super saver” mentality and are interested in building their safety net for future expenses and/or passing their wealth on to family or charity. Clients with higher levels of wealth usually have complex financial situations, which makes them well suited for wealth management.

In our investment management agreement, you can select whether we are allowed to buy and sell investments in your account without asking you in advance (“discretion”), or buy and sell investments in your account only after receiving your permission (“non-discretion”). If you select non-discretion, you make the ultimate decision regarding the purchase or sale of investments. Given the speed of information and markets today and the efficiencies sought when managing money for multiple clients, we usually recommend discretionary investment management. You may still place reasonable restrictions on your account (such as holding favorite stocks or avoiding companies you object to), and the operational efficiency gained will benefit both of us.

Our advisors do not sell insurance. We are familiar with various types of insurance products and are able to work with industry partners to provide commission-free insurance products when they are appropriate for clients. Some insurance products might have the ability to invest a cash value. In this case, we would charge an investment management fee like we would for an investment account. Since our fee would be the same whether the account is an investment account or an insurance account, we will simply advise you to the account type that is the best fit for you.  Insurance products tend to have higher fees than investment accounts, but they do provide some risk-pooling and tax benefits for the right client situation.

In addition to holding the required licenses (Series 65, etc.) to be representatives of an investment advisory firm, our principals have earned advanced designations that required years of study and passing a series of exams. Jodi holds a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation which demonstrates expertise in a broad range of topics including financial planning, tax planning, estate planning, investment planning, retirement savings and income planning, and risk management and insurance planning. Mike holds a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation which demonstrates expertise in real-world portfolio management, valuing assets, and wealth planning. You can learn more about the value of a CFA designation in our article.

Compliance-related questions

Yes, as your investment advisory firm, we are a fiduciary that must always act in your best interests and not put our interests ahead of yours.

No, we do not receive payments for the products we recommend. We have no incentive to churn (excessively trade to collect commissions and transaction fees) your account, recommend commission-based insurance products that require many years of commitment to avoid surrender fees, or any other practice that puts our interests ahead of your interests. Our only revenue source is the fees we earn from clients. For investment management clients, this fee is based on the amount of assets we manage so that we are incentivized to continually earn your business and increase your account value. A potential conflict of interest can result from assessing fees in this manner because gathering additional client assets to manage could increase the total fee we earn. To mitigate this conflict, we help you compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of entrusting additional assets to our management to empower you to make an informed decision.

No, our firm and financial professionals do not have any legal or disciplinary history to disclose.

Your money will be held at TD Ameritrade Institutional (soon to be Charles Schwab). Your accounts are titled in your name and your signature is required to authorize withdrawals from your account. You engage us to make trades on your behalf, and you will receive monthly statements from TD Ameritrade showing the transactions and balances.

Most firms have custody of client assets (as defined by the SEC) for the purposes of debiting management fees and moving money between multiple accounts owned by the client. In addition to this, some clients have asked our advisors to serve as their successor trustee. When these clients are no longer able to fulfill their duties, we step in to continue managing the assets for the benefit of the clients or their beneficiaries or to help distribute their assets. We take this responsibility very seriously. To mitigate potential access to client funds, we undergo an annual surprise audit by an independent accountant as required by the SEC. We also tend to work in conjunction with the beneficiaries, their attorneys, and/or trust protectors. We are accustomed to operating in a position of trust and transparency and feel humbled to help clients in this way should they request it.

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