Here are a list of questions that you should ask a potential financial planner. These questions come from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and you can learn more at their website www.letsmakeaplan.org:
Please click the questions below to discover the answers.
What experience do you have?
Brandon, the principal of Ridgeview Financial Planning, has over ten years of experience working with clients within the brokerage industry. He has managed investment portfolios and constructed financial plans for clients. Financial planning and investment management are Brandon's passions and he specializes in bringing this expertise and passion to clients. As part of his CFP® credential, Brandon participates in mandatory continuing education to stay current.
What financial planning services do you offer?
Financial planning is a critical component to Ridgeview Financial Planning's service offering. And I mean real financial planning, not just a sales pitch to sell you a product. I follow the CFP Board's financial planning process and am licensed to talk about all aspects of your financial plan, including life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. My primary goal with financial planning is to organize your financial goals and to help get you where you want to go, wether that's a sustainable retirement, debt-free by "X" age, get the kids through college, whatever you need.
What is your approach to financial planning?
Financial planning should produce a plan that is clear, understandable, and actionable. I believe in partnering with clients to help them achieve their goals. A financial plan that a client doesn't understand or cannot implement is useless. I accomplish this through collaboration with clients (and their tax advisor, estate attorney, etc) and through open communication.
What types of clients do you typically work with?
Typical clients are saving for their future, nearing retirement, or are actively living in retirement. They want an ongoing relationship with a financial planner and typically prefer this person or firm to handle planning and investment management. These clients pay an ongoing management fee because their service needs are ongoing.
Some clients want to manage their own investments but leverage my guidance on a regular basis. These clients pay an hourly fee and receive advice and recommendations on financial planning and investment management topics (social security benefit analysis and portfolio rebalancing, for example).
Ridgeview Financial Planning does not have a minimum asset level for new clients. A typical client has approximately $1mil in investible assets but I work with "smaller" clients all the time. One of my goals is to remain flexible and help as many people as possible. We can talk more about this and I can give you a recommendation during our Get Acquainted meeting.
How will I pay for your financial planning services?
Ridgeview Financial Planning is a fee-only planning and investment management firm. As such, I don't receive compensation from anyone other than clients. No commissions or product kick-backs. I want to remain flexible in who I work with as well as the fee structure. I receive compensation from clients in one of two ways: ongoing percentage-based fees or hourly fees.
How much do you typically charge?
For clients who need ongoing planning and portfolio management support, the fee structure works as follows:
1% per year on assets up to $1mil and .5% per year on assets above $1mil, billed quarterly in arrears, based on the assets under management at the end of each quarter. These fees will be deducted from client accounts by TD Ameritrade (the custodian). If the accounts are held at another brokerage firm, the clients will be billed direct.
For clients who want to manage their own portfolio and who prefer an hourly fee arrangement, the fee structure works as follows:
$150 per hour, billed in 30 minute increments, quoted in advance.
*** Clients have the option to pay all hourly or direct fees via credit card or check, just no cash
Do others stand to gain from the financial advice you give me?
The short answer to this question is no, nobody stands to gain from the advice I provide, except for you, the client, and Ridgeview Financial Planning. You receive the advice, recommendations, ongoing portfolio management support, and the firm receives the fees you pay. There are no other sources of revenue for the firm. My loyalty is undivided. I work for you only.
Registered Investment Advisors are held to the highest legal standard, the "fiduciary" standard, requiring me to act in your best interests and disclose any conflicts of interest. Additionally, CFP® professionals agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct and have an ethical obligation to put your needs above their own.
Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your career?
No. The CFP Board, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and state insurance and securities departments each keep records on the disciplinary history of financial planners and advisors. Ridgeview Financial Planning is also regulated by the State of California. Additional information could be found within our regulatory disclosure documents available on this website or via email, just ask.