Frequently Asked Questions
Done right, financial planning is a process that helps you figure out where you are financially today, where you want to be in the future, and then helps you determine the best way to get there. With the Fellows Financial Group advisors, the process involves an initial in-depth review of a client’s current financial situation and then the creation of a blueprint on how to achieve future goals and objectives.
A financial planner is someone who uses the financial planning process to help you determine how to pursue your life goals. The key function of a financial planner is to help people identify their financial planning needs, their present priorities and the products that are most suitable to address their needs. He or she normally possesses detailed knowledge of a wide range of financial planning tools and products, but his major role is to help clients choose the appropriate products for each need. The planner can take a ‘big picture’ view of your financial situation and make financial planning recommendations that are right for you. Fellows Financial Group advisors offer a no-obligation “Get Acquainted” meeting via phone or in person.
We have all the knowledge and resources of the top firms in the country, but with the warm family feel of the local Mom & Pop shops. As independent advisors, we are not confined in the reach of our abilities and are able to explore any and all options to make sure our clients get the best treatment available. We are advocates for our clients, their families, and their businesses. Rather than the “set it and forget it” approach to financial planning, we proactively help our clients pursue their goals.
No. Fellows Financial Group advisors have no income or investment account minimums. We value all of our clients and love to help anyone who is looking to start their path toward financial independence. No matter what you have now, it is always a good time to start planning for your future.
Anyone, any age looking for financial independance can benefit from working with a good financial advisor either periodically or on a regular basis. Fellows Financial Group serves people at all income levels and from all walks of life—whether the need is one quick question or ongoing financial assessment, management, and direction.
Fellows Financial Group also provides corporations and organizations financial education programs for employees or members.
Each individual’s situation is unique. Someone just starting out may need a detailed, long-term plan of action while someone else already on the road to pursueing their goals simply may need a new strategy, professional insight, fine-tuning or second opinion of an existing plan. That’s why Fellows Financial Group advisors work to custom tailor their services to meet each individual’s needs.
Goals can be short, intermediate, or long-term. Reducing current income tax liabilities, for example, is a short-term goal, while funding a child’s education an intermediate one, and enjoying a secure financial retirement a more long-term goal.
By focusing on cash flow, investments, taxes, pensions and retirement plans, estate planning, insurance issues, savings opportunities, and other general financial matters, Fellows Financial Group advisors can design a customized financial plan for you.
Fellows Financial Group advisors can help you there also. We believe in looking at a complete plan and often times that involves insurance. We look at the full picture and help decide the appropriate course of action for your financial needs.
Yes. Although a comprehensive financial plan yields the greatest benefits, Fellows Financial Group also can limit their services to individual, specific needs like cash management and budgeting, investment analysis, or college education funding—whatever is critical to you right now.
Absolutely. Any of our advisors will be happy to visit with you about your situation. Fellows Financial Group advisors have no minimum income levels or net worth requirements. We realize that everyone has financial questions. We are proud to work with people from all income levels and all walks of life.
Yes. Fellows Financial Group advisors offer many services for those people who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice. If you’re interested in a professional review or a second opinion, we can provide that too.
Education is key in increasing employee participation and appreciation. Fellows Financial Group advisors can tailor a program for a company’s employees to help them understand the benefits of various programs.
Evaluating your insurance needs is part of personal financial planning. Insurance takes care of the what ifs that happen at any time. Insurance is extremely important. Investments take care of your predictable needs and ideally should follow after your unpredictable needs are first addressed.
It is important that financial plans are tax efficient. The financial plan should help you in minimizing your tax liability and also maximizing your after-tax returns from your investments.
Absolutely not! We offer recommendations to address your needs and objectives, but you are under no obligation to purchase anything.
As financial advisors and investment consultants, we believe in the following fundamental principles when it comes 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 a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, combined with long-term buy-and-hold strategies, affordability, and patience, increases the likelihood that one will achieve his or her long-term financial objectives.
Before recommending any investment, a Fellows Financial Group advisor considers current economic conditions, the outlook for a particular asset class or type of security, and how the investment fits within a client’s portfolio given his or her goals and objectives and tolerance for risk.
As fiduciaries for our clients, we strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet a client’s objectives, while being very conscious of total expenses and risk exposure.
If you are simply in the market for a specific financial product, we will gladly help educate you on the right fit for your needs, and facilitate the purchase for you. In these cases, we do not charge a fee, and receive a commission from the company the product is from.
If you are looking for an all encompassing financial plan, we will do an initial discovery meeting, then come back to you with a proposal. Depending on the effort required, we will quote you a fee for our services.
No, when we say family, we mean family. We will keep you updated on your financial plan as much or as little as you like. Each person is unique and we respect that. We also offer technology which will allow you to check up on your own portfolio. Just as someone thinks of an eye doctor as an ongoing provider and has regular checkups to maintain good vision, good fiscal health requires periodic reviews of your personal finances by a qualified financial advisor.
Because financial planning is a process, not an event, Fellows Financial Group advisors offer ongoing services, periodic reviews, and day-to-day consultation as requested and/or needed if you so desire.
Financial planning provides direction and meaning to your financial decisions. It allows you to understand how each financial decision you make affects other areas of your finances. For example, buying a particular investment product might help you save adequately to finance your child’s higher education or it may provide enough for a comfortable retirement. You can also adapt more easily to life changes and feel more secure that your goals are on track and within the comfort zone.
A financial planner works for you. His or her loyalty should be to the client, not the product(s) he or she is trying to sell. We feel that being truly independent is the best way to give clients objective advice. As independent advisors we do not have limitations or requirements to use any specific investment product or solution; this allows us to create customized financial plans designed to provide income and growth for our clients.
Create a budget. Determine what you actually spend each month and where you spend it. There are fixed expenses like rent, loan repayments, etc. every month. The variable items such as food, clothing and entertainment are often what get away from us. Use your discretion to contain these variable expenses to start saving.
It is hard to apply a rule of thumb toward savings, because it varies with age and income level. Ten percent is a good start. If you find that is too high for you, don’t let that deter you. You can start by putting a little aside each month and then slowly increase it.
Financial planning is a common sense approach to managing your finances to reach your life goals. It cannot change your situation overnight; it is a lifelong process. Remember that events beyond your control such as inflation or changes in the stock market or interest rates will affect your financial planning results.
It is good to review the plan at least annually if not more often when there is a lifestyle change such as marriage, birth, death or divorce. Any change in financial position should be evaluated as well. Most people have an annual update that reviews how the plan is being implemented. The review also considers changing goals and circumstances.
A: Time horizon refers to the amount of time a person has to save for a particular event. For example, the time horizon for a college savings account might be 10 years for the parents of an eight-year old child, but 15 years for the parents of a three-year old. Likewise, the time horizon for a 30-year old saving for retirement might be 35 years, whereas it might be 15 years for a 60-year old who started saving late in life.
A fiduciary means to hold a confidence or trust. A financial services industry professional who has a fiduciary responsibility to his or her clients must put a client’s needs and interests ahead of his or her own. Certified Financial Planners have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. While stockbrokers and insurance agents are regulated and licensed, they do not have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. The recommendations they make must only meet the “suitability standard.” In other words, the risk level of the product must be suitable for the client based on income, assets, risk tolerance or another standard that is specified in the prospectus.