Financial planning is a process that helps you articulate your financial goals and provides a road map for meeting those goals. It can be comprehensive, where all elements of your financial affairs (like retirement planning, investments, insurance, and college funding) are brought together into an integrated, cohesive plan. Or, it can be very specific, focusing on just a single issue of importance or concern to you. In either case, financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important deliverables. First, an in-depth review of your current situation (either comprehensive or specific, depending on your planning objective) and secondly, a road map that provides clear direction on how to achieve your planning goal(s). It is important to remember that financial planning is a dynamic process, not a single, one-time event. The economy, your planning objectives, and income can all change, which may necessitate a revisit of the road map.
No! Any individual, couple, or family seeking financial advice can benefit from our services. At Argonaut Financial, we have taken a pledge to offer our services to all persons, regardless of their income or assets. We welcome clients who simply want a one-time financial review or are interested in a second opinion before making a major financial decision. Equally welcome are those persons who are seeking ongoing financial coaching and plan monitoring over a longer period of time.
Yes. Any organization (profit or non-profit) wanting to provide unbiased advice and financial education to their employees can benefit from our services. We can also provide financial advice and coaching to rank and file employees and/or senior executives on a retainer basis. Your employees will appreciate the fact that you have engaged an independent, fee-only firm, thus eliminating the possibility of sales pressure related to products or bundled services.
Fee-only financial planners are paid only by their clients. They never receive any commissions, sales incentives, bonuses, or special perks paid by mutual fund companies, insurance companies, or other financial service entities for selling their products. At Argonaut Financial, fee-only financial planning is all we do. Knowing this, you can approach us with the full knowledge that we will be bringing recommendations that are in your best interest and yours only. You do not have to worry that we will need to sell you something in order to be paid for providing you advice. We feel this is the most objective way to provide financial advice.
We will advise you on financial products such as investments and insurance, but we do not sell them or receive any benefit from their sale. We can recommend ethical and competent insurance agents to assist you in addressing an insurance need, or we can help you to secure coverage through the services of a no- or low-load internet-based insurance company. We can also assist you in establishing a brokerage account at a discount broker, and can provide support in helping you manage your account.
Our fees are based on the time we spend meeting with you (whether in person, over the phone, or via web conference), researching and analyzing your situation, and formulating recommendations that are specific to your situation. Before you hire us, we will always provide you with a written quote of the full cost of the engagement. We fully disclose all of our fees. We offer prospective clients a complementary, initial “get acquainted” consultation, up to one hour. Following the delivery of our financial plan, if you have questions or need clarification on anything we recommend, please feel free to give us a call. We will not bill for modest amounts of additional time spent during the 30-day period after we present our recommendations to you. We realize that our plan must be understood by you to secure the necessary emotional ownership required for full implementation. For a complete description of our fees, click on services/fees.
For a complete description of the different planning services we offer at Argonaut Financial, click on services/fees.
The asset allocation decision is probably the most significant factor in determining your long-term investment performance. Asset allocation refers to the way you divide your investments between stocks, bonds, cash, and other investment vehicles.
We believe that there is a direct correlation between risk and return. Over time one can typically enjoy greater returns on investments that carry greater risk. But the promise of higher returns has to be balanced against one’s tolerance for risk. Not everyone has the stomach for the volatility of the stock market. And for people with short horizons (i.e. those who will need access to their money in the near future), risk should be minimized. We believe that investing in stocks requires a time horizon of at least five years or longer.
We do not believe in market timing, which is a strategy that seeks to move in and out of the market (bond or stock) in anticipation of either upward or downward market movements. Few (if any) investment professionals have, over a long period of time, demonstrated their ability to time the market successfully. We favor a prudent “buy and hold” strategy, and believe in controlling risk through a smart asset allocation strategy.
We believe that there is a role for both active and passive investing strategies. Active management is an investment approach where fund managers choose securities based on research, judgment and financial analysis. Passive management, on the other hand, is a buy-and-hold strategy that seeks to provide broad market exposure and typically tries to replicate the returns of a designated index (like the S&P 500); passive investors make no attempt to exclude or include a stock in their portfolio based on criteria used by active managers.
We believe that fees and expenses have a very negative impact on our client's wealth over the long term. For example, if two investors with $100,000 are able to earn an average of 9% per year over a 20-year time period, but one investor chooses higher cost investments that assess an extra 1% per year in fees, the investor with the higher costs will have $94,345 less at the end of the 20-year period. Expenses and fees must be carefully managed.
We strive to keep overhead costs as low as possible. If we had to pay rent and expenses on an office, those costs would be reflected in our fees. We do not feel this adds value to the client. What we believe really does provide added value is our willingness to make house calls and offer evening and weekend hours and our ability to connect with clients remotely.