WHY DO I NEED BEACON FINANCIAL STRATEGIES?
Beacon professionals are able to help you effectively “connect the pieces” of your financial picture such that everything is working together and focused on a common goal—your financial independence. Our clients have a plan that enables them to approach the future with confidence and certainty.
HOW IS BEACON DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FIRMS?
Beacon is an independent, fee-only financial planning firm that serves our clients in a fiduciary capacity. Our business model is structured in a manner that enables us to provide clients with advice-driven guidance. Unlike the vast majority of financial firms, we do not sell financial products. Instead, we give financial advice and guidance.
WHAT DOES FEE-ONLY MEAN?
When a firm is fee-only, it simply means that the firm does not accept commissions for selling products. We only receive compensation directly from our clients. We believe this is the best way to serve our clients as it puts us on the same side of the table as clients when making recommendations. We work directly for our clients and not an insurance company or brokerage firm.
DO YOU HAVE ACCOUNT MINIMUMS?
No. We do not require a minimum account value to invest. However, there is a minimum financial planning retainer fee.
DO YOU PROVIDE HOURLY ADVICE?
We do not work with clients on an hourly basis.
WILL YOU PREPARE MY TAX RETURN?
Tax preparation is an additional service that Beacon makes available for ongoing clients. There is an additional fee for those clients who want/need tax preparation. We do not offer tax preparation as a standalone service.
WHAT COMMON PROFILE DO MANY OF YOUR BEST CLIENTS EXHIBIT?
Most Beacon clients have the following common attributes:
Financial circumstances that warrant the ongoing need for professional financial guidance.
The willingness to delegate financial matters to a professional advisor.
The ability to recognize the enormous financial impact that can be derived over time by partnering with an advisor who gives advice with an understanding of the “big picture.”
DO YOU WORK WITH CLIENTS WHO LIVE OUTSIDE THE RALEIGH, NC AREA?
Beacon professionals work with clients who live throughout the US.
BEFORE THE FIRST MEETING
CAN I INTERVIEW YOUR FIRM?
Yes, we offer a one-hour, no-obligation meeting to answer any questions you might have about how our services work.
DO I NEED TO BRING ANYTHING TO THE FIRST MEETING?
We do not require that you bring any personal financial documents to the initial interview meeting. However, many prospective clients bring an asset summary, or basic financial information so that we can provide direction as to the service that will best meet their needs. Our Data Gathering Checklist may be a helpful guide.
ONCE I DECIDE I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU, WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
Once you have decided to hire Beacon, we will ask that you gather the documents on the Beacon Data Gathering Checklist. You can either drop them at our office or upload them to our Sharefile portal.
WHY IS FINANCIAL PLANNING AN ONGOING SERVICE?
For most of our clients, there are strategic decisions that have to be made every single year. Planning is not stagnant; it is an ever-changing process. Clients’ circumstances are constantly changing, and we are more proactive in our advice when we are aware of all the issues affecting a client’s financial plan.
DO YOU PROVIDE DEBT OR CREDIT COUNSELING?
If cash flow, budgeting and debt problems are the primary reason you need financial advice, we are not the best resource for you.
DO YOU SELL INSURANCE?
No, we do not sell insurance. However, we “quarterback” the process. We calculate our client’s insurance needs and educate them on the most appropriate coverage levels. We then direct clients to third-party insurance providers who assist in obtaining the most cost-effective insurance solutions.
CAN YOU UPDATE MY ESTATE DOCUMENTS?
No. We are not attorneys, so we cannot update estate documents. However, we have a number of attorneys in our network (who we have properly vetted) that are able to serve our clients. We try to match clients with an attorney who is best suited to meet their specific needs given the complexity of their situation.
WHICH BROKERAGE FIRM DO YOU UTILIZE?
For most clients, we recommend either TD Ameritrade Institutional or Charles Schwab Institutional.
DO YOU PLACE TRADES IN MY ACCOUNTS?
For accounts that we are managing, we will place trades on a discretionary basis. However, prior to placing any trades in a client’s portfolio, we have significant discussions regarding investment objectives and preferences, portfolio constraints, income needs, return requirements and risk tolerance. With consideration of these client-specific investment requirements and preferences, we develop an investment policy statement which will serve as the “blueprint” of how we will manage the portfolio.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU PLACE TRADES IN MY ACCOUNT?
The number of trades placed in an account will depend on client-specific circumstances like withdrawal requirements. However, research studies have shown that placing frequent trades is counterproductive and reduces portfolio returns over time. With that in mind, we attempt to minimize all “frictional” costs like trading costs, tax costs and other internal investment costs for our clients. More information on our investment philosophy can be found here.
WILL YOU MANAGE MY 401(K) PLAN AT WORK?
Yes. For ongoing clients, we suggest an appropriate allocation given the investment options that are available in your 401(k) plan. Over time, we monitor your allocation and help you make changes or adjustments as they become necessary.