Frequently Asked Questions
About the financial planning process:
Financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important things: (1) An in-depth review of your current financial situation, and (2) a blueprint that shows you how to achieve your goals and objectives for the future. At Growing Fortunes Financial Partners LLC, the financial planning process consists of seven distinct steps (see Seven Steps for Financial Success for details on our unique financial planning process). It is important to remember that financial planning is a process . . . not an event.
How do you create this blueprint?
First we focus on your goals, objectives, priorities and values. For instance: the reduction of current and future income taxes may be an immediate goal, funding a quality education for your children and/or grandchildren may be an intermediate goal, and enjoying a secure financial future in your retirement years is likely to be one of your most important long-term goals. Another goal in life for some people is creating wealth and/or leaving a legacy for chosen beneficiaries or charities. You may already be on the road to meeting these objectives and simply need a new strategy, professional insight, or fine-tuning of your plan. You may just be starting out, or you may be somewhere in between. Whatever your unique situation may be, everyone needs a periodic assessment of where they are on the road to meeting their financial goals. That’s why we do an in-depth review of your current financial situation. Next, you need to know how you can set about achieving (or continue working toward) your financial goals. By focusing on cash flow, investments, taxes, pensions and retirement plans, estate planning, insurance issues, savings opportunities and other general financial matters, we design a customized financial plan for you. Finally, to achieve the intended results, you must implement and monitor your plan.
Sounds like a lot of work!
It may seem like that at first, but the good news is, if you follow your plan and maintain a disciplined approach, you can rest well knowing you can reach your stated goals. At Growing Fortunes Financial Partners, LLC, we try to make the process as easy and uncomplicated as possible for you. In addition to receiving professional advice on your most important financial concerns, we can also provide implementation services if appropriate for your needs.
Who can benefit most from your services?
Any individual seeking financial peace of mind can benefit from our services. We serve people at all income levels, from all walks of life. Clients have the flexibility to work with us on either a one-time, as-needed basis or an ongoing basis. We welcome clients who simply need a one-time financial consultation or second opinion, as well as those who need financial planning and possible ongoing monitoring. In addition, any corporation or organization seeking quality, unbiased financial education for their employees or members can benefit from our financial education programs.
What is ”Fee-Only” financial planning and why should that be important to me?
Because we are Fee-Only financial planners, all conflicts of interest regarding compensation are removed. We do not accept sales commissions; we work solely for our clients. We do not sell financial products such as investments and insurance, so there are no third-party relationships or outside influences to color our thinking and financial recommendations.
In addition, our firm is an Illinois Registered Investment Advisor (RIA); as such, we must comply with a host of regulations designed to protect the consumer. One important question you should always ask when considering a financial planner’s services: ”May I please have a copy of your ADV Part 2?” This document contains important information about the planner’s qualifications, fiduciary duties, history of any past violations, etc. We would be happy to send you a copy of our ADV Part 2. Please contact us to request your copy.
I understand the benefits of working with a Fee-Only financial planner, but I might need to obtain financial products. How will I be able to do that?
While we do not sell financial products, we will offer specific recommendations and opinions regarding the purchase of the various financial products that may be appropriate for you. So, if you need to obtain an insurance policy or a new mortgage, invest into a portfolio of mutual funds, or find an estate planning attorney or tax professional, we can direct you to the resources you need and/or help you obtain these products and services. If appropriate, we can also help you implement your plan and set up your accounts.
How do I decide which services I need?
We tailor our advisory services to your specific needs, such as cash management and budgeting, investment analysis, college education funding, retirement planning, or all of these, depending on what you need now. You can always come back and add something later. Change is always with us, which is why financial planning is a process, not an event.
My spouse and I are just beginning to build for our financial future. There is so much to learn! We need help and guidance to get started. Will you accept us as clients?
Yes. Some firms have income levels and/or net worth minimums but, at Growing Fortunes Financial Partners, LLC, we realize that everyone has financial needs. We are proud to work with people from all income levels, and all walks of life. Remember, ”You don’t have to have a fortune to start building one.” Call (847.230.9636), schedule a call, or email us today and let’s get started.
I have already accumulated substantial assets and think I am doing quite well. But as I progress and build for the future, things seem to be getting more complicated. I want to be sure I am on track, but I don’t always have the time or inclination to manage the myriad details by myself. Can you help me?
Yes. People who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice will find our services appealing and beneficial. In particular, if you’ve “always done your own planning”, we can provide a second opinion that helps you make the right choices efficiently.
I’m in charge of retirement plans and employee benefits at my firm. I would like to increase the number of employees who participate in our benefit programs. How can you help us?
Corporate education is key in building employee participation. We can help your employees understand the benefits of your programs. Please call to discuss your specific needs. We can custom-build an educational program for your company.
What types of securities do you provide advice for?
We provide advice for most types of securities, including mutual funds, bank deposits, and variable and fixed annuities. We also provide advice on mortgages, budgeting and cash flow issues, 401(k), 403(b) and other retirement programs, stock options, life and disability insurance, etc. If it has to do with money and finances, we can provide counseling, guidance and/or resources for you. Clients are encouraged to call us when they have a major life event, such as a new job, a baby, a marriage or divorce, or if they are planning to buy a new home or start their own business. We also encourage our clients to call us with more common everyday questions, such as: ”How should I invest within my 401(k) or 403(b) plan?”, ”How can I reduce my taxes?”, ”What advice can you offer on refinancing my home?”, or ”How can I maximize my Flex Spending Account, Cafeteria Plan or Section 125 Plan at work?”
If Growing Fortunes Financial Partners, LLC develops my financial plan, am I obligated to purchase the recommended products?
Absolutely not. We will offer recommendations which in our professional opinion will meet your needs and objectives, but you are under no obligation to purchase them. In today’s competitive market, it makes sense to shop around for the best available product or service. For instance, if you need to obtain a life insurance or disability policy, we will suggest the kind of policy, which riders and what amounts may be best for you. We will then direct you to a choice of companies that can provide a quality product at competitive prices for you. If you wish, we can help you purchase investments and/or set up your accounts with a third-party custodian such as a discount broker.
Tell me about your investment philosophy.
As financial planners and investment consultants, we believe in the following fundamental principals with regard to designing an investment portfolio and making specific recommendations:
- The purpose of a client’s investment portfolio is to fund current and/or future financial objectives.
- The design of the portfolio must take into account the client’s financial objectives, tolerance for risk, needs for current income or liquidity, and special considerations such as income and estate taxes.
- The appropriate allocation of investment assets for your goals and risk tolerance is the most important component in developing an investment portfolio. We believe that having a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, following long-term buy-and-hold strategies, and having patience will increase the likelihood that you will achieve your long-term financial objectives.
- Wherever possible, we consider the tax impact of your investments and determine where specific types of assets (i.e., stocks vs. bonds) should be held within your overall portfolio
In investment terms, this results in a portfolio primarily consisting of low-cost index mutual funds or exchange traded funds.
The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future. It is difference of opinion that makes a market. Investment and economic ”experts” provided with the same information often come to different conclusions. We do not suggest that we can, or that any of the money or mutual fund managers that we recommend will, make the correct decision every time. We do believe, however, that studying the historic trends and relationships of investment classes and the philosophies and approaches of successful investment managers can provide valuable insight.
How do you select investments for a client?
First, we review your goals, tolerance for risk, and time horizon. We determine an overall asset allocation. As fiduciaries for our clients, we strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet your objectives, while being very conscious of total expenses and risk exposure. An allocation of no-load mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) meets the needs of most of our clients. If some of your investments have restricted investment choices, such as in an employer plan, we help you select investments within those plans.
How do you price your financial planning services?
Fees are based on the actual time involved in meeting with you in person or over the phone, researching and analyzing your current situation, and providing specific recommendations and implementation assistance (if appropriate). Hourly rates are $240 per hour. When we meet with you, we will give you a range of fees to expect for the services you want and need right now.
How much will my financial plan cost?
Financial planning fees are determined on a project basis; the total fee for a financial plan will vary from client to client based on the specific needs and complexity of your situation. An estimate is provided after the Get Acquainted Meeting, when your current personal needs are fully identified. Most of our plans range from $1,800 to $2,800; smaller projects may be lower cost and more complex planning may be above this range.
Do I have to come to your office?
We can have sessions in person or remotely. We hold remote sessions over the phone. We are registered in Illinois and Arizona; please inquire when you call or email if you live outside of these states.
Once my financial plan is completed, will our relationship end?
Because financial planning is a process, not an event, we offer ongoing services, periodic reviews and day-to-day consultation as requested and/or needed. Contact us when you have a change that impacts your goals, and contact us annually for a checkup to keep your plan on track.
How can I get started?
The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Call us at (847) 230-9636, schedule a “no phone tag” call on our website, or email us. We offer an initial no-cost, no-obligation Get Acquainted Meeting, either on the phone or in our offices. For Get Acquainted Meetings, appointments are scheduled based on availability during regular business hours of 9-5, Monday through Friday. Should you decide to engage our services, we can discuss which of our services is appropriate for you. Most clients find the financial planning process to be stimulating and enlightening. The end result, of course, is greater peace of mind. We look forward to helping YOU build a brighter financial future!