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The Two Paths of Investment Management, and How Much It Should Cost:

All of our financial planning clients receive the benefit of our recommendations for investments. Many clients come to us for financial planning and then implement these investment recommendations with a discount broker such as Vanguard, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity or Charles Schwab. This two-step approach where we recommend investments and the client opens the account and buys the funds in a guided DIY approach which is best for them. But others want or need more hands-on assistance. Of course, we are honored and humbled by the trust of our clients. We will gladly work with any investor in either a guided DIY approach or as an asset manager.

Is DIY (Do It Yourself) asset management right for you?

  • Generally, if you have less than $250,000 (not including home equity and 401k-type retirement accounts at your current employer), we recommend that you take the guided DIY approach. Our fiduciary duty requires that we point out that the virtue of simplicity and the necessity to reduce cost usually outweighs the benefit of the techniques an asset manager can utilize in smaller portfolios.
  • With this approach you get the benefit of our fund selection advice at our annual or hourly rate. If you have engaged us for a comprehensive plan you already know our recommendations on funds and allocations. If not, we would work with you to plan a portfolio with a handful of low-cost investments, mostly Index Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), matched to your risk tolerance, tax situation, goals, and values. We will then help you to select a discount broker and track your results. This is a good option for anyone and investors at all financial levels have chosen this route.

Does professional asset management makes sense for you?

  • If you fall below the $25 million range you are a good candidate for the type of professional asset management we offer.
  • Next, consider your temperament and experience. If you have had trouble sticking to an investment plan in the past, if fear or greed have been obstacles to making the most of your investment dollars, or if you want the relative simplicity of partnering with a fiduciary advisor whose incentives are aligned with your own, then you should consider hiring us as an asset manager.

How do you determine if our offer is right for you?

Sometimes it's really hard to compare fees.

And in our opinion there's no time when that's OK. Asset managers typically assess fees as a percentage of assets and automatically deduct them from client accounts. This called an AUM fee for Assets Under Management. There is no way to avoid all trading costs when buying and selling most securities so that is common no matter who you work with. No problem so far. However, many advisors are also paid sales commissions (front-end loads), 12b-1 fees, have large "account fees" or custodial fees, receive "bonuses" from their firm when clients go with preferred investments, and collect back-end loads when you sell. This makes it hard to understand what the service is truly costing you and where your advisor's incentives lie, and that’s a huge problem. Many of these people call themselves "fee-based" advisors in an effort to distract from the fact that other people besides you are paying them, and that has to color their recommendations.

Our AUM fees are competative.

(And our AUM fee is our ONLY fee.)

Putting aside the other commissions and charges, what is a reasonable percentage of assets fee?

The average fee paid to asset managers is about 1% on the first $1 Million under management. [Link] This may not sound like a lot, but remember, that's a starting price of $10,000 every year. We think that's a bit too much for work which may or may not be outsourced anyway.

Worse, the same study showed that those with $10 million paid close to 0.7% - an average of $70,000 per year. Is it really 7 times harder to manage $10 million than $1 million? It is certainly harder, but we think that multiple is too high.

The Your Best Path Advantage

Our AUM fee starts lower and gets to our minimum rate faster than you are likely to find elsewhere for professional money management customized to your situation, preferences, and needs. As your fee-only advisor there are no additional fees other than the trading cost for certain unusual investments I rarely recommend. 

Here is our current fee schedule.

What happens when you choose Your Best Path Financial Planning to manage your assets?

  • First, we will determine the right mix of stocks and bonds based on your unique financial situation, goals, risk appetite, and tax situation.
  • We will consider your values and offer the opportunity to make your portfolio reflect those values.
  • We will use our expertise to select a broad range of low-cost investments for you while utilizing the appropriate tax strategies for your situation.
  • We will help you maintain discipline to stay appropriately invested through the inevitable ups and downs.
  • We will respond intelligently to changing economic conditions rather than trying to predict the future.
  • We will monitor your portfolio performance and review the investment plan with you annually, or quarterly if you prefer.
  • We will rebalance your investments as needed to maintain your overall stock/bond ratio.
  • If you are retired, we will devise a strategy of planned periodic transfers to fund your living expenses while keeping in reserve sufficient cushion to protect against having to sell assets in brief times of unusual market volatility such as December 2018.

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