What is a Certified Financial Planner?
Anyone can call themselves a Financial Planner, but a Certified Financial Planner is different. A CFP® professional is held to strict ethical and performance standards. As the CFP® board puts it: “CFP®s are trained to help you develop a comprehensive strategy to reach your short- and long-term financial goals … from planning for retirement to saving for college.”
A CFP® must complete a bachelor’s degree, five college-level courses offered by institutions that have been approved by the CFP® Board, and pass a stringent day long exam on the following topics: General principles of financial planning, tax planning, estate planning, risk management, and financial plan development. (Inquiring minds might want to know, the pass rate for the CFP® Board exam is between 55% and 60%.) In addition, a CFP® is required to complete continuing education to make sure they are up-to-date on all topics financial planning.
Why Choose Us?
Our CFP®s are fiduciaries, meaning we are sworn to act in our clients’ best interests. We are trained and experienced in coordinating the entire financial picture, not just recommending financial products. Our experience shows that investor outcomes have more to do with decisions than circumstances. Investing is an emotional roller-coaster; we help you to cope with those emotions when the markets are volatile, avoiding big mistakes. We have developed a range of strategies to make the best use of peoples’ resources. An investment portfolio needs to have a solid foundation and flexible plan to support it, so we always stay focused on your unique plan.
Most importantly, we stay in touch with our clients because regular communication is key!
What is Our Financial Planning Policy?
A wise client once said, “It doesn’t cost anything extra to be positive!” This is the philosophy we maintain at Insight Financial Advisors. When it feels like the world is falling apart, we do not panic, instead we remain realistically optimistic and work your plan.
We believe investing is a multi-year strategy, not a get rich quick scheme, so what the markets do today is not as important as what happens over 10 years, 20 years… 30 years! Our research shows that annual equity markets were positive 32 of the last 42 years. (If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t be doing this.)
The “Man” wants us to tell you that past stock market performance does not guarantee future results… but I bet you already knew that.
How Do We Get Paid?
We are paid in advisory fees – Which means a small percentage is paid to us each quarter directly from your brokerage account. Typically, this is applied when an account requires active management and holds multiple funds. All advisory clients have access to our comprehensive financial planning services such as retirement planning, business planning, college planning, cash flow analysis, life insurance planning, estate plan checkups, tax loss harvesting, as well as enrollment in our Update System.
For smaller accounts which do not require active management, or for clients who do not require in-depth financial planning solutions, we use commissionable accounts – Which means a small commission is charged when a trade is placed. This account type typically holds a few funds that have a long-term investment horizon, so very few trades will be placed in the account.
It is important to us, and a part of the fiduciary standard, that we are paid in the way that is most beneficial to our client. We do not sell product or have quotas, it’s always about what is in the client’s best interest. For more information see the handout “Understanding the Difference Between Commissionable and Advisory Accounts” here.