How We Work
New Client Criteria
We regret that we cannot accept everyone as clients. But when we do take you on, rest assured that it is because we firmly believe that we can help you. We are convinced that with the right professional guidance, you can build a plan to achieve a comfortable retirement. We accept new clients who:
- Understand and agree with our investment philosophies. You can find out our approach to investing from the live workshops, this website, Ernest’s book, or by coming in for a no-obligation introductory meeting.
- Have a minimum $50,000 of investable assets including 401k, retirement accounts, etc.,
- Are committed to following the financial roadmap that leads to your target retirement, as agreed upon between you and us,
- Accept our holistic approach that combines all financial facets of your life into your financial plan. It is very difficult for us to fully help customers who just want us to manage a portion of their assets,
- Are willing to listen to our advice in all financial areas of their lives.
How We Get Paid
Financial advisors are usually paid by commission,fees, or a combination of each,depending on how they are licensed. Most firms are set up in one of the following three ways (we are the last way on the list):
Commission-based – an upfront payment to the rep each time the rep does a transaction for you. This is the traditional way that life insurance salespeople and stock brokers have been paid in the past. Requires securities license, series 6 or series 7.
Fee-Only – an hourly or annual fee charged to the client, payable either by check or as a percent of the client’s money under management. Products and strategies that usually only are accessible through commissions are not available (non-traded REITs, bank CDs, private offerings, etc.) Requires securities license series 65.
Advisory-Based – (that’s what we are) will go either way, commissions or fees, depending on what is in the best interests or preference of the client. Requires all the licenses listed above.
Since we are advisory-based, you can choose which way you want to go, and we are confident we can find you the most reasonable way to help you accomplish your objectives.
First Meeting – Your initial meeting(s) are at no charge or obligation, since both sides are still figuring out if we are a good fit for each other. We will discuss fees and charges before you become a client.
Retirement Planning – Our normal charge for a complete retirement plan is $2500. We also offer less complex modules depending on your situation, such as a retirement projection, a Social Security timing analysis, and a time-segmented allocation breakdown (“NextPhase”). Fees are often reduced for managed money clients or potential clients.
Management fee – A percent of the amount of your fee-based accounts – often around 1.25% – that comes off the top of your investments annually. This fee is based on a sliding scale, depending on balances, number of accounts, and complexity.
Commissions – We try to avoid commissions where possible, because we think they are not always in clients’ best interests. Exceptions include your preference, or products that are not available any other way.
Additional costs – FSI has a “no surprises” policy. We disclose all costs that you will be expected to pay before they are charged. Any extra fees are disclosed, billed, and payable in advance.