1. What’s involved?
Financial planning should be the driver of all your investment decisions. This is a multi-step process. It guides your investment strategy and provides you with two important things. First, it gives you an in-depth review of your current financial situation. Second, it offers a blueprint that shows you how to achieve your goals and objectives for the future.
It’s important to remember that financial planning is a process — it’s not a one time event.
2. How does it work?
First, we focus on your goals, objectives, priorities, and values. For instance: the reduction of taxes may be an immediate goal, funding education for children or grandchildren may be an intermediate goal, and enjoying a secure financial future in your retirement could be a long-term goal. Whatever your situation, everyone needs an idea of where they are on the road to meeting their financial goals.
An in-depth analysis of your current situation gives us the picture we need to plot the path forward.
Next, you need to know how you can set about achieving your financial goals. We focus on your time horizon and goals, investments, cash flow, taxes, pensions and retirement plans, estate planning, insurance issues, savings opportunities and other general financial matters. Then, we design a customized financial plan for you.
3. What do I have to do?
The hardest part will be gathering your documents and looking at your spending. Here’s the good news: If you put some effort into the process of creating a financial plan, and then if you maintain a disciplined approach, you can rest easy knowing you can reach your goals. It’s our job to make the process as easy as possible for you.
4. What is “fee-only” and why is that important?
Because we are fiduciary and fee-only, we minimize conflicts of interest. We don’t accept sales commissions; we work solely for our clients. Because we don’t sell products for commissions, there are no third-party relationships to color our recommendations.
In addition, our firm is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and as such, we comply with a host of regulations designed to protect the consumer. The regulatory form known as the “ADV Part II” contains information about our qualifications, fiduciary duties, pricing and more.
Our ADV Part II is here on our website under the Forms tab.
5. Does Blue Spark provide separate financial planning?
Not usually. For most of our clients, we manage their assets and provide holistic financial planning. We believe a comprehensive plan provides the greatest benefits; for many of our clients’ specific needs, we offer specific advisory services such as college education funding, investment portfolio review, plans for separating assets in a divorce, and more.
6. How do you price your services?
Our clients pay a fee based on a percentage of the assets we manage; the percentage may be adjusted based on complexity as well as the amount of assets. This is 0.95% on more than a $1 million, 0.75% for more than $5 million, and down to 0.50% for $10 million plus.
7. Are your fees tax-deductible?
Yes. Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code permits itemized deductions for investment advice in the miscellaneous section of Schedule A. It is subject to a 2% floor of the adjusted gross income on a personal tax return.
8. Who benefits most from your services?
Any person seeking financial peace of mind and a steady hand on their investments can benefit from our services. We welcome clients who understand the value that solid financial planning adds to their investment management and strategy.
9. If I hire you to manage my money, how will you monitor my progress?
Depending on your wishes, we meet with you in person or on the phone as much as you need to review your financial plan and investment strategy. We analyze your portfolio several times a month, re-balance regularly as needed or when your goals or situation changes, and provide updates. Some clients prefer meeting four times a year, others like monthly phone calls, and some want an annual in-depth meeting dedicated to them.
10. How do I get started?
The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Contact us.
We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Discovery Meeting to see if we are a good fit for you and vice versa. For these meetings, we ask you to first fill out our Confidential Client Questionnaire. That helps to make the most of our time and gives us an initial understanding of your situation. We look forward to helping you build a bright financial future.