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What is financial planning?

Financial planning is a process that helps you figure out where you are financially today and where you want to be in the future, and then helps you determine the best way to get there.

At SagePath, the process involves an initial in-depth review of a client’s current financial situation and then the creation of a blueprint of how to achieve future goals and objectives. Be careful not to confuse financial planning with investing. Though we will be looking closely at your investments, they are just one part of your overall financial picture.

As a member of the Garrett Planning Network, SagePath Financial Planning adheres to the philosophy that the financial-planning process has seven distinct steps. Check out our Financial Planning Process for more information.

How can a financial advisor help me?

Anyone, at any age looking for financial peace of mind can benefit from working with a good financial advisor either periodically or on a regular basis. SagePath Financial Planning serves people at all income levels and at any stage of life – whether the need is one quick question answered or ongoing financial assessment and direction. Because fees are on an hourly basis, SagePath offers an accessible option for beginners, middle-income Americans, and do-it-yourselfers to get quality financial and investment advice.

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 achieving their goals simply may need a new strategy, professional insight, fine-tuning or second opinion of an existing plan. Each client's needs are different, and no financial plan is exactly the same.

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 is an intermediate one, and enjoying a secure financial retirement is a more long-term goal.

Why is being "fee-only" so important - how are you different from other financial advisers?

SagePath offers advisory services on an hourly, fee-only basis. We do not accept sales commissions or any compensation other than directly from clients. This is the best way to ensure that all conflicts of interest regarding compensation are removed. Because we do not sell any investment or insurance products and do not have any third-party relationships, our financial recommendations are truly with the client's best interest in mind. As always, clients pay only for the time spent working on their financial plan.

Don’t I have to have lots of money to need or get a good advisor?

Not at all. SagePath has no income or investment account minimums for hourly engagements. Remember, you don't have to have a fortune to start building one. Furthermore, it is important not to wait until you are facing a money crisis to begin financial planning.

I already have substantial assets and I think am doing quite well financially. Can you help me?

Yes. We offer many services for those people who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice. If you have been handling your own investments and directing your own financial plan, you may benefit from a professional review or a second opinion. We can also help structure your self-directed financial plan by providing a retirement projection or other financial goal projections.

Am I obligated to purchase the products that you recommend in my financial plan?

No. The recommendations in your plan have been developed specifically to meet your needs and objectives, but you are under no obligation to purchase anything. Since SagePath is not compensated by commissions on products, you can be assured that our recommendations are based on what we truly believe is in your best interests. We recognize the importance of shopping around for the best available product or service, and you are free to do so with any of the recommendations in your financial plan.

How do you select investments for a client?

Because each client presents a unique situation, different clients often require different types of investments. We strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet a client’s objectives, while being conscious of total expenses and risk exposure. Many factors are taken into account before recommending any investment. We consider economic conditions, the outlook for a particular asset class or type of security, the tax status of your assets, and how the investment fits within a client’s portfolio given his or her objectives and tolerance for risk.

How much will it cost?

Financial Planning fees are based on the actual time involved in meeting with a client in person or via the phone, researching and analyzing that client’s current situation, and providing specific recommendations and implementation assistance (if appropriate).

Prospective clients are provided with firm quotes of their estimated fees at the end of an initial no-obligation "Get Acquainted" session. After you have received your fee estimate, you will not be billed in any amount over the upper estimated range unless we have discussed the reasons for additional complexity and hence, additional costs.

 What kind of information do I need to provide?

We rely on our clients to provide accurate and current personal financial information to form the basis of their financial plan. Depending on the depth of the services requested, we may request:

  • Bank, Investment, and Retirement statements
  • Social security benefit reports
  • Pension benefit reports
  • Cash flow and budgeting information
  • Insurance coverage information
  • Credit card statements
  • And a list of assets and liabilities.
 Some of this information can be provided by completing the "Confidential Questionnaire" provided prior to the Get Acquainted Meeting. We also request that clients complete a "Risk Tolerance Questionnaire" to provide direction about an appropriate asset allocation for their time horizon and comfort level.
What happens when my financial plan or project is finished?

Once your financial plan or project has been delivered, it’s up to you to contact SagePath as the need arises. As an established client, you can call at a moment’s notice with your questions or to request a review.

We strongly recommend periodic reviews (typically an annual review is best) because financial planning is a process, not an event. We will send you a reminder notice when it has been a year since your last review. Reviews are critical to keeping your financial plan accurate, relevant, and on-track through ever-changing markets.

How do I get started?

If you would like to discuss your financial situation, the next step is to make an appointment for a no-obligation "Get Acquainted" meeting. Contact Us today to get started.