Where do you work?
We work with clients all over the United States and meet with them using a variety of channels (i.e. in-person, email, phone and video conferencing). Our offices are located just outside of Washington, DC in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and Blacksburg, Virginia.
Who are your clients?
The traditional boundaries of financial planning were intended for everyone. Since our fees aren’t based on how much money you have, we don’t have to discriminate or work only with the wealthy. We work with a wide range of clients from recent college graduates to retirees. Their professions are all over the map too – educators, small business owners, Fortune 500 executives, photographers, government contractors, and news anchors to name a few. We intentionally work in a team environment so you’re matched with a group of people that specialize in your unique personal situation.
Who would I work with?
We work in a team environment. We believe you are best served when multiple heads are put together. If you call or email, your question will be answered regardless of whether someone is out sick, watching their kid’s soccer match, or on vacation.
We wouldn’t want to meet with one person only to be passed off to another – and we don’t feel you should either. We match clients to a team of people who specialize in their unique personal situation.
Who are your competitors?
We don’t have any direct competitors that match us capability for capability. But we suppose you could combine the services offered by investment advisory, wealth management and real estate consulting firms. While we aren’t attorneys, don’t file tax returns or directly sell insurance products, it would take some combination of the services provided by estate attorneys, insurance agencies and accounting firms to replicate most of our services.
If you need help knowing how much to spend on a new mattress, deciding whether to buy or lease a vehicle, or wondering if you “have enough” – we can help there too! At the end of the day, we strive to offer a one-stop shop for all things related to your money.
When and how do I pay you?
Our first two meetings with you are free. We value our relationships with our clients and we want to make sure we get to know one another and are a good fit. Should you decide to move forward after your two complementary meetings, we charge you quarterly for our services. You can pay electronically, by check, or directly from an investment account we manage.
How do you charge for your services?
We don’t make commissions or win trips to the Caribbean for the advice we provide. Charging a percentage (i.e. 1%) of your investment account(s) is not something we do either. Thanks to technology, the time involved to manage $50,000 is comparable to managing $1,000,000. As your investments grow, you shouldn’t pay more since the time involved is nearly the same.
As a fee-only financial planning firm, we want our clients to know exactly what they pay. We charge flat fees based on the services we’re providing. Let's say you want to plan for retirement, fund your child’s education, and save money in taxes. Your fee would look something like this:
Retirement Planning + Education Funding + Tax Planning = Your Fee
Now – let’s say your child has graduated and education funding services are no longer needed. All things equal, your fee would be reduced and look something like this:
Retirement Planning + Tax Planning = Your New Fee
If we’re in a situation where we believe you need insurance (or any other product), we’ll advise you on what to purchase and where you can buy it. We don’t sell insurance policies or investment products, nor do we receive commissions or kick-backs from our recommendations.
Our fee is simple – it’s what you pay us.
How do you know if a client is a great fit?
We don’t. We always start with one or two introductory meetings at no cost to you. Depending on your needs, we may start with a small project or jump right in. Sometimes a light commitment allows us to see how the work might take shape.
Our goal is to help you in ways that provide value both today and in the future. We care about the work we do and the goals you achieve. It’s not just a career for us. When our clients succeed, so do we. We hope that will be the case with you.
Do I need to bring anything to our first meeting?
No, our first meeting together is all about getting to know you and what you’re hoping to accomplish in your life. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have for us. If you’re curious about our process, visit our How it Works page.
Are you a fiduciary? Will you do what’s in my best interest?
While this isn’t legally the case for many financial advisors, wealth managers, wealth advisors (you pick the name!), we follow a fiduciary standard as we feel it is paramount to our client relationships. This means we do what is in YOUR best interest, not our own.
You would never go to a doctor that didn’t put your best interest first and we believe the same standard should apply to giving financial planning advice. Also, as CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, we are held to a fiduciary standard as part of our professional code of conduct.
Are you an investment management or wealth advisory firm?
No, we’re not. From an outsider’s perspective, it makes sense to compare us to these types of businesses. The reality is our messaging is the same. We all suggest we’re different. Repeatedly you’ve probably seen some iteration of “our approach is to determine your goals and develop financial strategies tailored to your needs.”
Unfortunately, the financial services industry doesn’t do well telling the truth. Especially since many are incentivized by the products they recommend. That also includes the services they’re providing – suggesting they provide financial planning services. In reality, it’s more of a marketing tool. Clients that choose these types of firms often find out all they're receiving is investment advice.
Our job is to reveal the truth by delivering unfiltered and complete information. To gain an understanding of why you do what you do and provide a deliberate plan of action using a full roster of services designed to integrate your entire financial life. We’re a real financial planning firm and helpful to you in generating the strategies and direction traditional investment advisory or wealth management firms suggested they were providing all along.
We passionately believe if you have a great product or service, you don’t need to “sell.”