You pay a flat rate of $100 per hour and nothing more. We chose to become a fee-only, hourly firm because we believe it’s best for our clients and it’s the most ethical method of charging for financial advice.
Many financial planning and investment advisory firms charge a recurring annual rate based on a percentage of your assets. A problem with charging a recurring percentage is that it can significantly decrease investment gains over time. Like interest, percentage-based fees compound over time. Since most clients wish to build wealth efficiently, a flat, hourly rate is the best option.
In addition to reducing your investment returns, firms that charge a percentage on assets tend to focus mainly on clients who are “high net worth individuals” and “very high net worth individuals” (yes, those are the real terms used in the financial industry) at the expense of those with more modest wealth, or those who are just starting to build wealth. We strongly believe that almost everyone can benefit from working with a financial planner, and we’ve chosen a pricing method that we believe makes obtaining advice reasonable for those of all backgrounds and circumstances.
When do you start charging your hourly rate?
After we have our initial, free, no-obligation conversation and you agree to proceed, the hourly rate will be charged for time spent actively working on your specific financial plan or concern and for time spent presenting and discussing the plan. If you would like help implementing aspects of your plan, we charge our hourly rate while actively working for or with you.
Example 1: Karen inherits some money from a relative and contacts us for advice about her options. After our initial, free, no-obligation meeting, Karen indicates that she’d like to proceed and engage our Specific Financial Planning services. We then gather necessary information from her and work on a specific set of recommendations -- let’s assume it takes four hours of work to draft the recommendations. Karen decides to meet with us at a local restaurant to review the recommendations and discuss any questions or concerns she might have. We spend two hours together at the restaurant, but only about an hour of that time was spent actively discussing Karen’s situation. Karen’s bill will be for five hours of work; four for creating the recommendations plus one for discussing the recommendations, for a total of $500.
Example 2: Dustin recently took a new job and wants help rolling over his retirement accounts from his former employer. Dustin wants a bit of advice about what to do with his money, but mostly he’d like to hire someone to help him make the phone calls, complete the paperwork, and execute the rollover. After our initial, free, no-obligation conversation, Dustin decides that our “As-needed” Work Session service is appropriate, and that we’ll meet in his home to do the work. The work involves lots of phone calls and paperwork, and some time is lost to being placed on hold. When the work is done, four hours have passed, but only about two of those hours were spent actively working on Dustin’s concern – the other two were lost to being on hold, computer problems, and socializing. Dustin’s bill will be for two hours of work, or $200.
When will I know exactly how much I owe?
After our initial discussion, and after you decide to proceed with our services, we will provide you with an estimate of your bill. The final amount will be determined at the conclusion of our business together. We try very hard to give estimates that are very near the final amount, but if we’re a little unsure what the final amount will be, we’ll try to give you an estimate that’s a bit high. Put another way, the estimate will almost always be higher than the final bill.
Are your rates negotiable?
Yes, at our discretion.
Do you require a deposit?
Typically not, but on very large jobs we may require a deposit of up to half of the expected final amount.
What methods of payment do you accept?
You may pay with cash, check, or debit/credit card through our invoicing service.
If my bill is large can I pay in installments over time?
Yes, usually. Special payment arrangements can be made at our discretion, and as allowed by law.
What if the job we’ve agreed on takes longer because of unexpected complications?
This happens frequently, especially when doing “as-needed” work. Some complications are predicable, and we will have planned for that in our estimate. Unusual complications may require a revision of the estimate, but you can be sure that we’ll discuss it with you and only charge when we’re actively working for or with you.