How do you serve clients?
To best meet your financial goals and objectives, we are generally engaged in two phases:
(2) Investment Management
Planning is an important first step because it sets the road map for everything else we will do for you. Once we understand your goals and objectives, we are in a position to help you understand the probability of achieving your desired outcome(s) and what tools and strategies, including Investment Management solutions, should be implemented to assist in that process. Following this order avoids the risk of implementing investment and other strategies while not knowing whether they are actually helping to accomplish your plan.
Tell me about the financial planning process.
We begin by understanding two types of information about you, hard facts and soft facts. The hard facts are things like name, address, birthday, existing accounts, tax returns, etc. To facilitate the gathering of this info, we have a questionnaire for you to complete. We find it is best if you complete this first so that when we meet, we can focus more on the soft facts. Soft facts involve your values, goals, objectives and priorities that require more in-depth discussion to understand.
Once we understand all of this about you, we use financial planning software to model the probability of reaching your goals under various scenarios. This is the fun part of the process – where the data gathering is done and you get the opportunity to be interactive in designing your plan and looking at different scenarios and outcomes.
Sounds like a lot of work!
We’ll give it to you straight – it is. We try to make the process as easy as possible for you, providing direction at each step. The good news is if you put in the up-front effort with us to build your plan, there is much less work going forward to keep it updated AND you can rest well knowing you can reach your stated goals. According to a 2012 survey, people who had a financial plan in place during The Great Recession felt more comfortable about their ability to weather the storm than those who did not.
What kind of clients do you serve?
While we serve a variety of client situations where planning and investment advice is needed, the most common is those who are nearing or are already in retirement or semi-retirement. People usually come to us when key decisions are needed around retirement benefit options, portfolio management, social security benefit options, updated estate planning, and similar concerns. We also serve a growing number of young professionals, such as small business owners or sales professionals, seeking direction in growing and protecting wealth.
How is the plan implemented?
It depends on the scope of your planning, but could include things such as:
- Making company benefit plan elections
- Making Social Security benefit elections
- Setting up accounts to be managed by VWP
- Changing investment options in accounts that are outside of VWP’s control (e.g. 401k)
- Updating estate planning documents with an estate planning attorney
- Updating insurance coverages
- Making sure all of the key elements of your plan are in our planning program and kept updated going forward
Does VWP provide only comprehensive financial planning?
No. Although a comprehensive financial plan can provide the greatest benefits, we can limit our advisory services to your specific needs. Our initial discussions with you will help direct what services are needed.
How much does a financial plan cost?
It depends on the complexity of what you want done. Once we determine the scope of the engagement, we will agree on a flat fee, with half due up front and half due at completion. Our planning engagements generally fall into the $1,500 – $4,000 range. Alternatively, we can work on an hourly basis at $200-$250 per hour.
What is your investment philosophy?
- The risk/return characteristics of a portfolio should match the client’s risk profile. Also, no more risk should be taken than is necessary to achieve the client’s return objectives.
- Broad diversification is a primary key to minimize the chance of making a major mistake.
- It is important to avoid owning overvalued assets.
- Both active and passive investment strategies have roles in effective investment management. Passive strategies make sense where inexpensive access to more efficient financial markets is desired. Active strategies are more important in less efficient market segments. Active management of the overall portfolio is also required to avoid owning overvalued assets.
- Day-to-day investment decisions are best made by investment professionals whose sole responsibility is to oversee investment strategies.
- The above beliefs are instrumental in selecting investment managers.
How do you select investments for clients?
Because we spend our time working with clients, it would be impossible for us to spend sufficient time on day-to-day investment selection alone. Therefore, we use the investment team of Congress Wealth Management (CWM), which is dedicated only to managing investments. This team has been chosen based on its history, process and match with our investment philosophy. Also, the investments are traded in a manner that optimizes the tax efficiency of the selected strategy across multiple client accounts. It is our job to monitor the effectiveness of the CWM portfolios and how to apply them to a specific client situation. For clients needing more basic strategies to suit their situation, we also offer portfolios using Schwab’s Institutional Intelligent Portfolios program. This is a completely digital/on-line platform with less overall expense, but also without the risk management and tax efficiency provided by CWM.
Do you have a minimum investment size?
No. We understand not everyone has enough current assets to work under our normal fee schedule. We can work flexibly in structuring services and fees and would be glad to discuss your specific situation. We have a minimum annual fee of $4,000 ($1,000 quarterly) for new clients.
How much does ongoing investment management cost?
Our ongoing retainer is based on the following tiered fee schedule:
Assets Under Management
Please note the above fee schedule will be assessed to each separately registered client account. Discounts may be applied to multiple accounts to recognize the household/family relationship. There are additional fees for managers, mutual funds and/or exchange traded funds used in our portfolios.
We have a minimum annual fee of $4,000 ($1,000 quarterly) for new clients.
Will you waive the financial planning fee if I have you handle my investments?
No. The initial financial planning work that we do is a valuable service requiring time, training, technology, etc.
Do you work with other professionals such as CPA’s and attorneys?
Yes, we frequently work with the client’s other advisors to coordinate planning and advice. If a referral is needed to one of these advisors, we are happy to provide referrals.
What is it that makes VWP different?
We believe it’s the combination of:
- Personalized planning and services of a small firm.
- The back-office support and investment team of a large firm.
- 25+ years of experience in advising clients on a multitude of planning scenarios.
- Successfully seeing clients through three very difficult market environments since 2000.
- Financial advice that is process, not product, driven.
- Services that are tailored only to individuals and families.
- A low client to advisor ratio.
The first step is an initial inquiry from you
- Email us at email@example.com
- Call us at 804.368.0854
- Sign up for our regular email updates at the bottom of the page
- Schedule a meeting online
We offer an initial no-cost, no-obligation meeting, either by phone or in our office. We would enjoy hearing from you!