Questions We Think You Should Be Asking
The following questions are designed to help you see “behind the curtain” of our firm and any firm you might entrust your financial future.
1. Are your recommendations truly in my best interest?
A fiduciary financial advisor is legally required to put your interest first.
As a firm, we take very seriously our Fiduciary duty to always act in the client’s best interest (vs. just trying to sell you a product).
In addition to a legal obligation, our firm has been built on a foundation of placing the client’s interest before any thoughts of our own compensation. We recommend for clients the same investment strategies used in our personal accounts and the accounts of our immediate family members. Our commitment to honest and ethical behavior has allowed us to build a very successful firm.
2. Do you have the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully navigate the complicated financial planning and tax world to achieve my financial goals?
For our clients, we serve as a single point of contact for all their financial needs.
On our team we have CFP® PROFESSIONALS, IRS Enrolled Agents, and Attorneys who will help coordinate every aspect of your financial needs.
We have prepared a financial plan and Financial Action Checklist for each of our clients detailing all the actions needed to achieve their financial goals.
3. How many clients do you serve and how does their situation compare to mine?
We currently serve approximately ~50 families; we have intentionally limited the size of our practice to ensure every client receives the service they require to achieve their financial goals.
Most of our clients are retired, or close to it. Our clients’ investments range from $500,000 to over $5,000,000. We primarily focus on the investment, tax and legal issues related to retirement.
4. How often will I hear from you?
Monthly, or more often if needed. We also hold formal reviews with clients 1-2 times annually.
Client education is a big focus for our firm. We publish regular newsletters explaining what the headlines mean for our clients and break down important retirement topics in plain English.
Each quarter, we send newsletters and value adds pertaining to your financial situation or the financial world in general. In addition, our office doors, phone lines, and emails are always open to clients to reach out with questions or concerns.
5. What will be my total investment expense, how much will you be compensated, and where can I see this in writing?
As detailed in our client agreements, each year we deduct a fee equal to 1.35% (or less) directly from the accounts under our management. This education is detailed in the monthly statement we provide to every client. To put this fee in perspective, most days the stock market moves more than 0.25%.
Most of the investment funds we use have an internal expense of less than 0.10% annually. The combined expense is almost half the industry average.
It only makes sense to hire a financial advisor, or any professional, if the value they provide exceeds the fee being charged. In other words, the time and effort saved, plus the tax savings and potentially increased investment returns need to exceed 1.35% annually (or less). The financial plan we present to you will clearly quantify the benefits you will receive.
6. Where do you keep my money and how can I see it?
For your convenience and safety, Gudorf Financial Group has two options for custodianship of your assets, namely, Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions or Pershing LLC, an affiliate of Bank of New York Mellon. Both are members of FINRA/SIPC and hold your funds and provide reporting to the IRS. Both custodians offer the ability to see your account at any time through a secured website.
7. Will you help me solve any financial problems I may encounter?
Yes. We have assisted clients in solving an assortment of financial issues such as 401(k) plans, IRS audits, family deaths, disability, tax issues, real estate, debt, Social Security, Medicare, health insurance, gifting, and almost any other financial issue imaginable. While we certainly do not have all the answers, through our network of resources, including Gudorf Tax Group and Gudorf Law Group, we will not stop until a solution has been found.