Whether you’re ready to get started or have an additional question we can answer, please give us a call and let’s start the conversation.
- What is a fiduciary? Why does it matter to me that you function as fiduciaries?
Most people who call themselves ‘advisors’ are really sales agents who work in the best interests of their brokerage firm or insurance company. They won’t tell you this, but they’re held to a much lower standard of care than fiduciaries. They can legally recommend investments that pay them and their company high commissions, and make it seem like they’re offering advice in your best interests.
As fiduciaries under the law, we are required to always put your best interests first. The advice we give doesn’t ever get tainted by any outside compensation—no commissions, sales prizes, trailing compensation or revenue sharing.
This is our choice, and we wouldn’t want to work in any other way with the people we serve. We believe it provides important protections for your financial well-being.
- How are you compensated?
Our clients pay us a single fee for comprehensive, customized advice. Our ongoing financial planning and investment management services are charged as a percentage of the total assets we manage for you. Under our typical fee arrangement, the first $1 million in assets is billed at a 1% annual rate, and amounts above $1 million are billed on a declining rate schedule. The fee to create an initial financial plan will be based on complexity. (Our engagement letter including a detailed fee schedule is available upon request.)
- Once we start working together, who will I be working with?
Shine takes a team approach to serving you. That means that you will be working with different members of our staff depending on the issues that arise and who is best suited to provide answers and service. You will work with a primary advisor as well as a backup advisor who also is intimately familiar with your personal situation.
- What if I have questions between formal meetings?
We do not charge separately for calls updating your situation or asking questions. We want to encourage, rather than discourage communication with the people we serve.
- Can you work with my CPA and attorney to coordinate estate and tax planning issues?
Absolutely. We do this for most of our clients, which ensures that all parts of your overall plan are working together.
- How do you manage my investments?
We start by working with you to determine your comfort zone in the ups and downs of today’s investment markets. Only then can we appropriately recommend a mix of investments that will work together—making your money work for you.
We select the individual investments from “institutional” mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investments which, in many cases, are not available to the general public, and which often charge lower operating expense ratios. The savings are passed on to you.
- Will you help me understand my investments?
Yes. As you ask questions during our meetings, we’ll share our professional knowledge about everything from the particular investments we recommend to broader savings and financial issues—in plain English, rather than industry jargon.
- How do you avoid the behavioral pitfalls?
Over the past 30 years, we’ve seen a lot of market turbulence, and learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work in investing. We know the different asset classes and have stayed abreast of academic research into what kinds of portfolios deliver the highest returns per unit of risk.
And we have the advantage of looking at your investments objectively.
The index funds don’t provide you with financial advice, or information about how to proceed when the investment ride gets bumpy.
- Is there any reason why I couldn’t use index funds and manage my own investment portfolio?
You could manage your own nest egg, and many people do—with mixed results.
Using index funds is a great strategy for minimizing the drag of yearly portfolio costs, and we do it ourselves where appropriate.
The first challenge of investment management is hard wired into our brains. Some of the most costly mistakes people make, in our experience, have to do with normal human behavior. When markets go down, sometimes dramatically, there is a natural impulse to sell. This behavior locks in losses, and few people know when to get back into the market to catch the next upturn.
When the markets are roaring ahead, there is a natural tendency to want to double down and pour more money into the hot investment (like a mutual fund) or class of investments (like U.S. or foreign stocks). Often these periods of high returns are followed by inevitable declines.
All of us are subject to these natural human tendencies. All of these natural human tendencies can lead to costly investment mistakes.
A second challenge of investment management is constructing an appropriate mix of different assets. Many people unknowingly create portfolios that are concentrated in one or two asset types, industry sectors or even individual company stocks. They experience much more portfolio risk than necessary.
- Can I view my accounts online?
Yes! We primarily use Charles Schwab & Co. as the custodian for our clients’ accounts. You can view your account information and activity at www.schwaballiance.com.
You will also be given access to a secure portal on our website, so you can view your quarterly portfolio statements if you elect this delivery method.
- What steps should I take to get started?
Please give us a call at 303-740-8600 and let's start the conversation.