Financial Planning

 

Who is your typical client?

Our clients come from all walks of life and have distinctive backgrounds. All our clients have one thing in common. They are seeking guidance in their financial life that is becoming complicated. Many of them are in some form of transition: business executive starting a new job, a couple expecting their first child, business owner ready to take their business to the next level, or a retiree getting adjusted to a new pace of life. They have different needs and circumstances but they all look to us to provide clarity and a path to reach their financial goals.

 

How do I know I can trust your firm?

Finding the right financial planner is critical and it often starts with trust. We encourage you to talk to us, ask tough questions, talk with our references, and do your due diligence. We know that trust is earned over time and we are committed to building it with you.

 

What is your typical process?

You can find more about our process on our Financial Planning page here. Our process is guided by the CFP® Board’s financial planning practice standards, which can also be found here.

 

What is the cost for me?

Our initial half-hour discovery meeting is complimentary. After that, it will depend on your unique circumstances and needs. Our typical fee ranges from:

Initial planning fee - $250-$15,000

Monthly planning fee - $100-500

We also offer an hourly billing arrangement for some of our clients. 

 

Do I need to utilize all three services (Financial Planning, Investment Management, and Alternative Investments) provided by MFA if I want to be a client?

No, the services are as mutually exclusive as you want them to be, or as intertwined as you prefer. Not everyone is eligible to take advantage of all three services, especially the Alternative Investments service. Even when we recommend the use of more than one MFA service, it is ultimately your choice and you are not obligated to do so. The ability to customize our services is one of the strengths that sets us apart from our peers. 


INVESTMENT Management

 

What investment vehicles do you use?

Our MFA Program invests in equity and fixed-income market both domestically and internationally. We use mainly exchange-traded funds (ETFS) and mutual funds in our portfolios. We also offer alternative investment services for accredited investors, which utilizes other investment vehicles.

 

Are there fees or expenses to buying or selling these?

The vast majority of funds that we use are free to trade at TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab.

When investing via mutual funds, we only use no-load (no commission) mutual funds without transaction fees (the funds will charge a standard redemption fee if you sell the funds within 90 days of the purchasing).

If we ever trade an ETF that is subject to a trading fee, TD charges $9.99/trade and Schwab charges $8.95/trade. We do not have control over this trading fee and can be updated by the custodians anytime. 

 

Do you use actively-managed or passively-managed (index) funds?

The short answer is that we use both.

The long answer is that we use index funds to invest in efficient markets, where the probability of consistent outperformance is close to zero (especially after taxes and fees).  However, we will utilize actively-managed funds in inefficient markets, if we are confident that the manager has the potential to profitably exploit the inefficiencies (again, net of taxes and fees). Consequently, we use index funds to invest in equity  and active funds to invest in bonds (although we will sometimes use passive funds to invest in bonds too, depending on the market environment).

 

What are your fees?

We are a fee based firm which means we charge only a tiered management fee, depending on the amount managed, as shown below:

Assets Under ManagementManagement Fee
$0 - $999,9991.00%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.85%
$2,000,000 - $4,999,9990.80%
$5,000,000 - $9,999,9990.70%
$10,000,000 or more0.60%

For a full description of fees and more information regarding fees, please see Item 5 (Fees and Compensation) of our disclosure brochure

Are there any other fees or expenses?

All ETFS and mutual funds incur expenses which are paid by the fund investors. All else being equal, we strive to minimize fees. The weighted-average expense ratio of the passive funds that we use is 0.1%. Of course, not all is always equal, so the weighted-average expense ratio of the active funds that we use is 0.98%. In a nutshell, we keep expenses competitive and relatively low, but are willing to pay higher expenses if there is a net benefit.

 

How do I pay?

We generally deduct the fees directly from your account on a quarterly basis. We bill in arrears, which means that we only bill you for services at the end of the quarter.

 

Where is my money held?

Client accounts are custodied at Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade. You will have online access and receive monthly statements from your custodian, just like any other financial account.

 

Are you affiliated with TD Ameritrade or Charles Schwab?

No, we are not affiliated with TD Ameritrade or Charles Schwab in any way. We do not receive fees or commissions from them. Each firm does provide research and brokerage services to our firm and our mutual clients, as they do for most firms that they work with.

 

Do I need to go to their branch or website to open an account?

No, we will send you the account opening paperwork via Docusign, a legal and secure electronic signature platform. We will follow up with the custodian as they process your paperwork. Once the accounts are open, we will help you deposit or transfer your assets.

 

Do you call or email me when you trade?

No, we manage all accounts on a discretionary basis, which means that we do not bother you to ask permission for every action that we take. However, we will only act within the investment guidelines we mutually agreed upon when you engaged us as your advisor. We are always available and happy to talk about any changes within your account.

 

What if I need to withdraw money?

We can sell ETFs and mutual funds at anytime and transfer the cash proceeds to your bank account within 1-4 business days.