ANSWERS TO SOME OF YOUR MOST ASKED QUESTIONS.
The financial industry's reputation has, at times, been tarnished by unscrupulous individuals. Walen Financial Group, LLC believes in being transparent in our operations. Below are some frequently asked questions. If you have questions or concerns not listed below, feel free to contact us for some answers.
1 . How are you paid?
At Walen Financial Group, LLC, we do not work on a commission basis. We believe commissions on product sales create a conflict of interest. We charge a fee based on a percentage of assets that decreases with portfolio size. We feel this is in the best interests of our clients.
2 . What services do you provide?
We feel it is essential to educate our clients to help them understand how markets work, what to expect, and help them understand the academic research and science behind successful investing.
Our financial planning is designed to help our clients set goals for wealth accumulation, determine appropriate distribution strategies and how much income to take from their available resources, choose investments through work-related qualified plans, (401(k)s,403(b)s, etc.), decide when to take social security, budgeting, and more.
Our approach to investing utilizes Nobel Prize-winning academic research. We do not sell any investment products. We tailor asset allocation to each client’s specific needs. This involves looking at factors such as risk tolerance, risk capacity, time horizon, tax situation, income needs, and more. No two clients are the same; their unique circumstances determine their unique portfolio mix and asset allocations.
3 . How much is an initial consultation?
We never charge for an initial consultation. We feel it is in the best interest of both the potential clients and our team to meet face-to-face or through a phone/zoom consultation to assess their needs so that an appropriate plan of action can be created.
4 . Why do I need a financial coach ?
We feel it is our job as Financial Coaches to help investors elevate their portfolio performance through education about investing as well as how the human brain works around investing. Information in the investment world is constantly evolving-everything from investment strategy to tax laws. It is difficult for an individual to keep pace with all these changes. Your investment portfolio may be designed using all the latest academic research on investing and holding funds that perform as expected yet still experience negative returns. If you don’t understand how markets work and the logic behind portfolio design, you would likely conclude something is wrong. This might lead you to make changes at the worst time and sabotage the portfolio. A coach can help prevent this chain of events. A financial coach enlightens the client on how emotions can influence a client’s investing behavior, often to their detriment. A financial coach will get to know the client, his/her family, their goals, and dreams and then work alongside him/her to help them stay on track to make those dreams a reality.
5 . Do you coach me to invest on my own?
Although some of our clients have taken what they have learned through the concepts we teach and tried to invest on their own, most prefer to work directly with us in the investing process. Investing is complex. Investing according to Nobel Prize-winning principles, daily rebalancing, and investing with the overall financial picture in mind is difficult for an individual. In addition, investors are their own worst enemies. A financial coach helps them to stay on track and not make mistakes that will cost them in the long run. In addition, investors typically have access to only the retail investments big fund companies offer. An advisor has access to proprietary, lower-cost options along with the ability to apply Nobel Prize-winning research when investing for their clients that is not available to the general public.
6 . How often do I meet with my coach ?
There is no formal calendar date for a meeting with your financial coach. We do not meet to discuss things like the latest political happenings in Washington, the trade war with China, or the latest hot tech stock. Since we don’t time the market, stock pick, or rely on track-record investing, we find these discussions counter-productive.
Once the initial “get to know you” meetings have occurred and your plan is in place, we recommend at least an annual checkup. We will focus on investment coaching and financial planning based on your life circumstances. We will review your portfolio and recommend any modifications based on your evolving financial situations (retirement, change of jobs, moving, death in the family, etc.). You may find that you are meeting with us more frequently as you get closer to retirement.
We make it a practice to reach out to every client quarterly by phone to see if we can address any needs.
7 . Do you have an account minimum?
There are no account minimums. Our objective is to help everyone become educated investors and reach their financial goals regardless of where they start.
8 . Are you a fiduciary?
Yes – in other words, we always strive to put the interests of our clients first. We do not sell products or work for commissions.
9 . Do you do tax planning?
We are not tax planners, but we always take into consideration tax consequences when it comes to investment choices and drawing income from your accounts as you retire.
10 . How do you determine the makeup of a client’s portfolio?
No two clients are the same; therefore, portfolio asset selection and mix are tailored to meet individual needs. We consider each person’s risk capacity, risk tolerance, time horizon, taxes, income needs, and more as we develop each and every portfolio.
11 . Do you use the lowest-cost funds?
Excess fees can eat into the performance and returns of an investment. However, you can’t just focus on fees. Part of the education process we provide our clients is helping them understand what types of fees are included when making investments - what types are necessary and what should be avoided. It is not uncommon to see some firms advertise they have no management fees attached to their investment portfolios. This begs the question - how do they make their money? The benefit of working with a fee-based investment firm is that we do not receive commissions from investment providers. We don’t sell any investment products and we manage portfolios based solely on a percentage of assets under management. Therefore we are free to talk with you about the issue of expenses and how to manage them appropriately.
12 . Who is your custodian?
It is imperative to have a custodian for your investment accounts - a company that is separate from the investing firm. This ensures your money is held by someone other than the person who is investing it for you. It prevents a situation like the infamous Bernie Madoff scandal, where Bernie was both the investment manager and the money holder. His clients made their checks out directly to him, and he absconded with their money. They lost billions. We only use recommended, well-known custodians. At this time, our custodian is Axos Advisor Services.