Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing the right financial planner is one of the most important decisions you will make in your financial life. That being said, we believe there are a few simple rules you can follow in your selection process to help you filter out unqualified sales representatives and put you in touch with competent, ethical, professionals who are willing to put your interests first.
First, start by finding a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, a CFP®. Certified professionals have to meet rigorous testing and work experience requirements, as well as ongoing continuing educational and ethics requirements. This will give you confidence that when you are working with a CFP® certificant, you are working with an experienced, ethical professional.
Second, no matter what type of financial planner you choose to work with, it is important to understand exactly how they are compensated. We believe that the best approach is to work with “Fee-Only” financial advisors. A Fee-Only advisor, in all circumstances, is compensated solely by the client, and does not receive referral fees or commissions for selling a financial product. This approach helps maintain an advisor’s objectivity when it comes to analyzing and recommending solutions for their clients.
Third, find an advisor with whom you can communicate easily and one you feel you can trust. Most financial planners offer a complimentary initial meeting. Use this meeting to discuss what you are looking for, to understand the advisor’s services and approach to planning, and finally to evaluate how well you believe you will be able to communicate with that advisor.
Fourth, make sure the advisor you meet in the initial meeting is the advisor that you will be working with.
Hopefully, by utilizing this simple 4 step filtering process, you can find a qualified financial advisor, who is willing to put your best interests first, is someone with good communication skills, and is someone you can trust.
A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional is someone who has demonstrated the commitment and obtained the experience to use the CFP® mark. A CFP® certificant has had to demonstrate academic coverage of more than 100 integrated financial planning topics, passed rigorous examination requirements, satisfied work experience requirements, and agreed to the CFP Board of Standard’s Code of Ethics. In addition, a CFP® certificant is required to obtain a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years.
Fee-only planning means the fees we receive for financial planning come directly from our clients. We do not sell any insurance or investment products and do not receive any commissions or accept any referral fees. With respect to you the client, the Fee-Only financial advisor wears a single hat, that of the trusted advisor without the motivation or incentive of selling any other products. A Fee-Based advisor may receive fees from clients for financial planning or investment management as well as commissions from the sale of insurance or investment products.
• Develop an understanding your current financial situation and providing a framework for making financial decisions.
• Assistance in making adjustments to income and expenses necessary to meet your personal objectives.
• Develop an understanding of what size of nest egg is required to meet your retirement objectives.
• Review of your investment portfolio and recommended adjustments.
• Determine how to plan for major expenses like college funding.
• Review of potential risk exposures and insurance coverage needs.
• Recommendations as to the need for new or revised estate documents and strategies for improving distribution of an estate.
There is no minimum or maximum level at which financial planning would not provide benefits; however, this service is most beneficial if you have $1,000,000 or more in manageable assets.
Yes, trueNorth Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor. We supervise and manage client portfolios consisting of mutual funds, stocks, bonds, cash, and other financial products. We work with each client to develop an investment strategy that gives him or her the best chance to achieve their specific goals.
• Professional asset management
• Risk assessment and investment time horizon analysis
• Objective investment selection without sales commission bias
• Ongoing investment supervision
• Annual rebalancing of managed assets
• Annual performance reporting
• Distribution planning
• Active tax planning
• Capital gains and loss reports provided to accountants
Asset allocation is key to successful portfolio construction—even more important than fund selection. By constructing a diversified portfolio, one in which not all the assets rise and fall simultaneously, we can reduce the roller coaster effect that has become so commonplace with many portfolios. Our approach to investing is simple: we construct asset allocation targets that are specific to our clients risk tolerances and investment time horizons; we utilize no-load mutual funds with reasonable expense ratios, stocks, bonds, REITs, and other investment vehicles as appropriate; and we invest for the long-term.
See the Section titled Our Fee Structure on this website.
An investment advisor is a fiduciary that puts the client’s interest first and deals fairly and honestly with them. A Registered Investment Advisor is a financial planning firm that has registered with either the state or the SEC. Firms who do not manage or have discretionary authority over client’s funds in excess of $100,000,000 are not subject to SEC registration but are required to register with the appropriate agency responsible in the individual states in which they do business. Washington State law (RCW 21.20.040) requires any person engaged in the business of Financial Planning to register as an Investment Advisor.
Fiduciaries are required to put their client’s best interests ahead of their own. As NAPFA-registered advisors, we are proud to follow the NAPFA Fiduciary Oath which means we shall:
* Always act in good faith and with candor.
* Be proactive in disclosing any conflicts of interest that may impact a client.
* Not accept any referral fees or compensation contingent upon the purchase or sale of a financial product.