How do you get paid?

I charge a flat fee for budget coaching as well as financial planning and investment advice.  You can pay for my services monthly, just like any other bill.

In contrast, most financial planners today are paid on commission or charge a percentage fee based on the value of your investment assets.  I believe this results in biased advice.  A planner who’s paid on commission has an incentive to sell you products that will earn him the highest commission.  A planner who takes a percentage of your investment assets can be very costly.  Learn how flat fees save you money at the bottom of my financial planning services page.

I offer unbiased advice, not sales.  While I may recommend certain financial products such as mutual funds or life insurance, I don’t personally sell them and am not paid on commission.

What is a fiduciary?

A fiduciary is someone in a position of trust who acts in your best interest instead of his or her own. Watch this short video to learn more. 

If you’re looking for financial advice, ask any advisor you’re considering if she’s a fiduciary. Most advisors don’t follow a fiduciary standard- they adhere to lower standard called “suitability”.  What does that mean?  Here’s a quick example:

Imagine you want to invest in a mutual fund. There are two different funds that are suitable for your needs, but one of them will cost you more and will result in higher commission for the advisor. An advisor who is NOT a fiduciary can legally sell you shares of the fund that costs you more so he can get a higher commission. On the other hand, the fiduciary will advise you to buy shares of the other fund that costs you less.

If you want to be able to trust that your financial planner is acting in YOUR best interest at all times, don’t settle for anything less than a fiduciary.

Do I have to pay for the first meeting?

No, our first 30 minute meeting is free.  During the meeting we’ll get to know each other and decide if we’re a good fit.  You’ll share personal financial information with your financial planner, so be sure to choose someone you trust who makes you feel comfortable and has your best interests at heart.

What are your thoughts on investing?

I don’t believe in predicting the future- there is no magic crystal ball for investing. I advocate passive investing, which involves using diversified investments such as index funds. Index funds track a market index such as the S&P 500. Passive management is different from active management, in which asset managers try to beat the returns of the overall market.

Research has shown that very few active managers are able to beat overall market returns over the long term, and it’s costly to try to do so. Actively managed investments frequently come with higher expenses, which reduce your overall return.  If the annual return is 6% and you pay 1% in expenses, your real return is 5%.  Expenses have a substantial impact on the total value of your portfolio over time.

What is your account minimum?

There is no account minimum. Many financial planners won’t work with a client who’s not already very wealthy, but it’s difficult to achieve financial independence if you don’t have access to the guidance and resources that will help you get there. Everyone deserves quality, unbiased financial advice, regardless of the size of their investment portfolio.

Who’s not a good fit?

If you’re not comfortable using technology or love piles of paper, it may be challenging for us to work together. If you’re looking for someone to predict the future of the markets, we’re not for you.

Additionally, if you’re not ready to put some effort into building your financial future, this won’t work. Financial planning is a process that involves regular communication and partnership to keep you on the path to success.

I don’t live in San Diego. Can we still work together?

Absolutely! I make it easy for us to meet and securely share information.  Most meetings are via videoconference to make the most efficient use of your time. There’s no need for you to sit in traffic or hire a babysitter so that we can work together. If you have a computer and an Internet connection, you’re all set!