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Frequently Asked Questions

What is financial planning?
What is fee-only financial planning?
What does Fee-Only Financial Planning (FOFP) do?
How is a financial plan created and what does it include?
What are investment advisory services?

What if I have only a couple of particular questions that I would like to have answered?
How do I execute FOFP's recommendations?
Who does FOFP advise?
How much money do I need to start a financial plan?

How much money do I need to retain FOFP as an ongoing investment adviser?
Do you provide tax or legal services?
Do you charge for an initial meeting?
What should I bring to the initial meeting?
How often do we meet?
Once a plan is completed, does the relationship end?
How much do you charge?
Do you take custody of my assets?
What is your investment philosophy?
What kinds of securities do you provide advice for?
What kinds of investments do you recommend to purchase?
Will my personal information be kept confidential?
What does the CFP® and RIA initials mean?

Financial planning is the process of reviewing your financial situation, taking into consideration your specific goals and objectives, and then providing steps to help you achieve those goals and objectives.

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What is fee-only financial planning?
Fee-only financial planning means that advisers are compensated through client fees only. The adviser does not accept commissions or other fees related to the sale of specific financial products. As a result, the adviser has removed the largest source of conflicts of interest and can compellingly offer objective investment advice in the best interests of his clients. For more about fee-only financial planning, please see our Code of Ethics, Fiduciary Oath and member requirements by visiting our member website www.NAPFA.com

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What does FOFP do?
Fee-Only Financial Planning offers two services: financial planning on an as-needed basis and ongoing investment advisory services.

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How is a financial plan created and what does it include?
Financial planners gather relevant data about the client, analyze it, and then provide a number of recommendations for the client to follow in order to help achieve their specific goals and objectives. Complete financial plans take into consideration all of the elements of the client's financial situation. This includes, but is not limited to: cash flow planning, investment analysis and planning, tax planning, retirement and estate planning, risk management (insurance needs), education funding and any other needs specific to you.

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What are investment advisory services?
Investment management services include not only a comprehensive financial review, but also includes the process of providing ongoing oversight, guidance and implemention of investment decisions. Investment management services also include making adjustments when appropriate, evaluating results, providing regular communication and ongoing general financial advice. When you retain FOFP for investment management services, consider us your personal financial confidant: someone who is available to answer your questions about any financial matter at any time.

FOFP does not take custody of client assets. Clients will retain individual ownership of all securities. (See below: 'Do you take custody of assets?')

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What if I have only a couple of particular questions that I would like to have answered?
We encourage clients to call with any questions they might have regarding financial matters, such as: “How should I invest my 401(k) or 403(b)?”, “Should I refinance my mortgage?”, “Can I retire at 60 or can I retire now?”, “Is my portfolio properly diversified?”, “Am I doing the right thing with my money?”. There are no silly or superfluous questions when it comes to your financial health and well being. FOFP places a high priority on educating and helping its clients reach their financial goals.

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How do I implement FOFP's recommendations?
You can execute transations on your own or, if you prefer, FOFP would be happy to implement some or all of the recommendations on your behalf.

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Who does FOFP advise?
Any individual who is seeking help and understanding when making important financial decisions.

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How much money do I need to start a financial plan?
There is no minimum needed in order to begin reviewing your financial situation.

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How much money do I need to retain FOFP as an ongoing investment adviser?
A minimum of $100,000 of investable assets is required to retain FOFP as an ongoing investment adviser.

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Do you provide tax or legal services?
FOFP does not provide legal or tax advice. However, FOFP can help you find someone who can fulfill those specific needs.

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Do you charge for an initial meeting?
FOFP welcomes initial consultations with no obligation. FOFP will provide a 30-minute free consultation to see if we can provide you with the services and guidance that you are looking for.

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What should I bring to the initial meeting?

Please click on the Initial Meeting Documents link and print out the listed worksheets. This will guide you through the documents and data that you should bring to your initial meeting.

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How often do we meet?
Financial planning services are initiated by you on an as-needed basis and charged for as they are incurred. We recommend that you review your goals with us annually.

Investment management services are ongoing and you may call on us at anytime so that we may help you with your financial needs. Continuous communication helps to keep your financial plan on track. At a minimum we provide you with investment updates quarterly. Annual meetings are recommended. We are available at all times for any special needs or situations.

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Once a plan is completed, does the relationship end?
Not necessarily. Financial planning is an ongoing process and as your needs change, so should your financial plan. Annual reviews are recommended.

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How much do you charge?
Financial planning fees are calculated based upon a charge of $100 per hour.

FOFP offers comprehensive investment advisory services for an annual fee charged as a percentage of assets under management. Both equity and fixed income portfolios will be charged 60 basis points or 0.60% of assets under management, subject to a minimum fee of $1,000. For example, if assets under management equal $1,000,000, the annual fee for ongoing investment advice is $6,000. A minimum of $100,000 of investment assets is required.

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Do you take custody of my assets?
Fee-Only Financial Planning will not have custody of any assets. Clients will retain individual ownership of all securities. Your assets will be held and protected by independent custodians.

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What is your investment philosophy?
Broad Diversification - FOFP believes that the single most important determiner of investment success is not individual security selection nor market timing but in the intelligent allocation of a broad universe of assets within a portfolio.

Closely tied to the success of a broadly diversified portfolio is the fact that the underlying assets, when wisely chosen, often do not react to market or internal forces in the same manner at the same time. This lack of correlation in performance is the key to diversification. A truly diversified portfolio will be able to ride out the negative returns of one asset class because other asset classes are not behaving in a similar manner.

Fully Invested When Appropriate - We believe that stocks will continue to outperform bonds on a long-term basis. On average this has been true for the past 70 years. This is not to say that bonds cannot outperform stocks over certain periods of time. However, we believe that participation in the equity markets at some level is essential to investment success. One cannot predict the movement of the market with 100% accuracy. The market is emotional, irrational, and a great psychological arena worthy of respect and caution. Though there may be value in reallocating investments within a portfolio to take advantage of the equity market's strength or weakness, we believe that one cannot successfully time entrance and exit points as an investment strategy. However, participation in the market, to an extent deemed reasonable for the specific client, based upon her goals and objectives and risk tolerance, is considered essential to investment success.

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What kinds of securities do you provide advice for?
We provide advice on a wide range of securities, including mutual funds, equities, bonds, annuities, insurance and certificates of deposit. We also provide advice for financial vehicles such as retirement plans and education savings plans (Section 529 Plans).

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What kinds of investments do you recommend to purchase?
Fee-Only Financial Planning invests client assets in a combination of passively and actively managed mutual funds.

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Will my personal information be kept confidential?
The relationship between Fee-Only Financial Planning and our clients is our most important asset. We strive to maintain your trust and confidence in our firm, an essential aspect of which is our commitment to protect the confidentiality, integrity and security of your personal information. As we believe that all of our clients value their privacy, we do not disclose your personal information to anyone unless it is required by law, or at your direction. We do not sell your personal information to anyone.

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What does the CFP® and RIA initials mean?
An adviser who has been awarded the CFP™ certification is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. A person designated with the CFP™ certification completed a requisite series of courses offered by the College for Financial Planning and successfully passed written examinations in taxation, retirement planning, insurance, estate planning, and investments administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Furthermore, an adviser designated as a CFP™ professional must fulfill certain continuing education requirements throughout his or her career.

A RIA is a Registered Investment Adviser. This is any person who, for compensation, advises others about securities or provides financial planning services that includes investment advice. This person must register with the appropriate state or federal regulatory divisions. FOFP is a Registered Investment Adviser, registered with the Massachusetts Securities Division.

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HOW TO CHOOSE A FINANCIAL PLANNER
Help from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

INITIAL MEETING DOCUMENTS
Everything you need for your first step.

LEGAL & COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

INDUSTRY RESOURCES