Frequently Asked Questions

What is a fiduciary?

A fiduciary has the highest ethical obligation to put your interests ahead of their compensation and any other considerations. I am a fiduciary – this is a fundamental value of mine and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Believe it or not, there are financial "professionals" out there that are NOT held to this standard. It doesn't mean they aren't good people, it simply means there may be a human-nature conflict that could arise.

Why should I hire you instead of doing this myself?

As humans, we face many psychological biases that prevent us from achieving financial success. According to Putnam, from 2003-2018 an S&P 500 investor that missed the 10 best days in the market acheived a 2.96% return. If the investor stayed fully invested, they would've achieved about a 7.77% return. One of the primary reasons for this deficiency is the emotional aspect of managing your own money. As a fiduciary to you, I will help construct investment strategies that will maximize your returns given your comfort level with investment risk using the most robust technology in the marketplace. But beyond returns, there are many ways I can add value that do not show up on your performance reports. For example, we can look at ways to help you reduce your expenses, reduce the risks you face in your life, and get on the right side of compounding interest. As an independent financial planning practice, LifePoint Planning is set up to avoid conflicts of interest. You should hire me if you want someone to provide peace of mind around your money and reduce the financial stress you feel in your life.

Who is your typical client?

A typical LifePoint Planning client is a smart, savvy, professional or retiree that is focused on being the most efficient with their current financial strategy. Most of our clients have/had a current advisor prior to enagaging with us, but their advisor was more of a "generalist". We focus on specializing in tax-efficient strategies and using your plan as the benchmark to success above all else. Our clients are generally on the cusp of retirement or are early retirees that have accumulated $1,000,000 or more. Our clients understand the differences between cost and value. They know that with something as important as financial planning, investment management, and retirement, that it is best to work with a professional vs. go about it alone.

What is your investment philosophy?

Our investment philosophy focuses on low-cost, high-quality investment management using ETF's. mutual funds, and stock positions. We believe in diversified portfolios holding multiple asset classes to minimize risk. We also focus on behavorial investment counseling so that our clients do not make market timing mistakes that could derail their plans. For a deeper look at our process, click here.

Who is NOT a good fit for LifePoint Planning?

If you believe in timing the market and/or day trading stocks or other securities, we will probably not be a good fit. LifePoint Planning is focused on long-term financial success for all of our clients. Our goal is to work with clients for the long-term, and not operate on a transactional basis. If you think that real financial planning is a one-and-done type of engagement, we will probably not be a good fit.

Do I have to come into your office?

No. In fact, most of our clients prefer conference calls and virtual meetings. We are able to share our computer screens in live-time during client meetings so the clients can see exactly what we see. However, clients are more than welcome to come to our office or we can come to them.

Do I have to pay for the first meeting?

No. We believe that everyone should have access to a qualified independent financial advisor. The first meeting will be free and it will be a working session where we will provide value to you from the start. Please bring your financial questions with you. If we don’t end up working together now, we will be able to follow up when/if it becomes a better fit.

How does being a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ differ from other advisors?

There are more CFP® professionals over the age of 70 than there are under the age of 30. Only about 1-in-4 advisors are CFP® professionals, A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) has, at a minimum: An undergraduate degree Three years of client experience in financial planning, or two years' client experience while working with another CFP®. Completed a financial planning education program including: General Principals of Financial Planning Insurance Planning Investment Planning Income Tax Planning Retirement Planning Estate Planning Interpersonal Communication Professional Conduct and Fiduciary Responsibility Passed a rigorous comprehensive exam (historical pass rate of 55-60%)
Completed a required 30 hours of continuing education hours bi-annually
Committed to adhering to the standards of ethics and practice outlined in the CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct

Not everyone in the financial services industry is held to this standard.

How do you get paid?

I am a fee-only financial planner, which means my only compensation comes from the services I provide to you. I do not get paid any commissions, kick backs, “trails,” or any other fees other than from the fees I charge you. I am held to the fiduciary standard, which means I have to act in your best interest regardless of the compensation I receive. I believe this is the fairest form of compensation and aligns my interests with yours.

I'd like to learn more. What is the next step?

Click here to schedule a meeting.

Do you work with people outside of Michigan?

Yes. We work with clients all across the United States. We use a robust technology suite that makes location a non-issue.

What if I don't fit into one of your service models? Can we customize the way with which we work together?

Yes. We are all about making the level of service customizable to the client. We understand that clients have unique situations and we strive to accomodate them in the best way possible.