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Frequently Asked Questions

How are you paid?

I only receive transparent planning fees invoiced directly from you for hourly work, or billed directly from accounts I manage on an ongoing basis for you. No commissions or product sales here.

For ongoing clients, if we ever decide to part ways then we do so as friends and your accounts will not be billed for the quarter in which your accounts leave. Nothing is ever "locked in" and can always move.

What does it look like to work with you?

You can expect to meet with me in the Spring and in the Fall. This allows us to review your tax return in the Spring and strategize for the rest of the year. I prefer being proactive to prevent investment and tax-related mishaps from happening to you. In the fall, we can see where your income is at so far for the year and see what needs done before year's end to not miss any opportunities. 

See the sample Annual 15-Point Client Checklist I go through for every Full Service client each year below for a high-level overview of what we do for you throughout the year. 

What is your Investment Philosophy?

Our investment philosophy is built on four pillars.

1. Safety First - Ensure your immediate financial needs are taken care of and don't take unnecessary risks in the market. If you are living off your investments, maintain at least 5 years of expenses in your "safety bucket" for protection when, not if, markets drop. Reducing the effect of market drops is extremely important to due the power of "reverse" compounding.

For example, a -20% loss actually needs a gain of +25% to break even. However, when we look at bear markets such as 2000-02 or 2007-09, the market can lose -50% or more, which requires a +100% gain to break even! This is why Safety is the first principle of Focal Point Financial Planning's investment philosophy. 

2. Markets Eventually Recover - So buy low, sell high, and master your emotions to take advantage of larger market downturns while maintaining a long-term focus

3. Invest Efficiently - Avoid overlap (i.e. don't own the same companies ten times over), excessive taxes, and unwarranted fees

4. A Strategy For Your Personality - Each investor has different preferences. The strategies consist of:

  • Opportunistic - For those who want to be more aggressive in pursuit of long-term returns in different areas of the market
  • Low Cost - For those who prefer a low-cost investment approach that grows in lockstep alongside the market
  • Defensive - For those who prefer reduced volatility & more downside protection during recessions while still participating in some upside in rising markets

Where will my money be held?

Your accounts will be held at TD Ameritrade. Your funds are never taken custody/ownership of to help reduce any conflicts.

You will have your own login to access the accounts so you can always see what is going on. 

How will we communicate and meet?

Focal Point Financial Planning, LLC is a virtual-only firm. We can communicate however you prefer between Zoom, email, or phone calls.

I do this to ensure we make the most out of your valuable time so you don’t have to sit in traffic getting to an office.

Will you act in my best interest?

Yes; as a Certified Financial Planner I will always act in your best interest when making recommendations for you in your current situation. I will also inform you of any conflicts of interest as they arise so you can make better-informed decisions. 

Do I have to pay for the onboarding meetings?

No. I want to ensure I can provide value for you before charging you a dollar in fees.

If I'm not the best fit for your needs, I will point you in the right direction to help you move forward.

What does your typical ongoing client look like?

I add the most value to those who are selling a business or property (i.e. have a large capital gain) or are preparing to retire. 

You are a professional in what you do, value your time greatly, and are looking for a financial advocate.

You are looking for someone who can help you spot areas of opportunity, or risk, that you may not be aware of or have overlooked.