Questions? We’ve got the answers.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT OUR PRICING
A: We’re so glad you asked! In an industry saturated with unnecessary expenses and hidden gotchas, out of sight is not always out of mind – it’s just needlessly expensive. We are proud of our fair, fully disclosed pricing.
Total Investment Assets Annual Price $1 to $1,000,000 1.20% $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 0.70% $3,000,001 and above 0.35%
A: In addition to our simple pricing schedule above, you will also incur modest, clearly reported trading fees (usually $9.99 per trade) paid to your independent account custodian whenever you or we trade in your account. (Fortunately, our evidence-based investment strategy minimizes unnecessary trades and their associated costs.)
A: We invoice quarterly and send you a simplified invoice (like this sample) that is paid from your investment accounts. The transaction is reported to you by your independent custodian, so you can verify the amount. Between our quarterly invoice and your independent account statements, you’ll be able to determine exactly how much you are spending on your financial activities, and whether you are receiving good value in return.
A: Should you ever feel the relationship is not all that you expected, you can disengage from us promptly, with no termination fees or other invisible strings attached.
A: Yes, our prices are reduced to 0.70% for amounts between $1 million and $3 million. For any amount above $3 million, our price is only 0.35%.
A: Our minimum price is $1,250/quarter. This minimum price is not in addition to our standard pricing (1.2% or lower). In other words, clients are either billed $1,250/quarter or they pay our standard pricing (1.2% or lower). Although we don’t have a minimum account size, our services are most appropriate for clients who keep at least $300,000 under management.
A: Fee-only means that the only compensation we receive is from our clients, as described clearly above. In contrast to brokers and traditional commission-based advisors who claim to offer something for nothing (“free advice”), we accept no (zero, zip, nada) hidden commissions or similar incentives from other influencers who may distract us from serving our clients’ best interests – and only their best interests – with dedicated, fiduciary levels of care.
POINTS OF DISTINCTION
A: In what we feel is a “best of both worlds,” founder and principal Greg Brown, CFP® built Pathway to offer highly personalized levels of financial care, strengthened by the efficiencies available through leading-edge technology. We are a good fit for those who are excited about taking advantage of efficient solutions for simplifying their financial lives, but still want the critical value that only a real-life advisor can offer.
A: Yes, Greg Brown is a full CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®). What does “CFP” mean and why does it matter? Well, anyone can call themselves a “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks, which represent a high level of competency, ethics and professionalism. For example, CFP® professionals must pass a comprehensive, 7-hour Board exam, with an average pass rate of only 56%, and maintain 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years. Additionally, CFP® professionals must have a minimum of 3 years of experience (we currently have 7 years of experience serving clients at Pathway) and are required by strict ethical standards to put your interests in front of our own.
A: At the heart of our approach is a commitment to heeding the evidence on how to build wealth in ever-volatile markets. Insights from decades of hard-working scholars and practitioners alike shape our simple, evidence-based investment strategy.What have we learned so far? Instead of trying to manage the entire market – seeking to control random global events, forecast future market movements or pick particular stocks – investors are best served by managing the factors that are within their control:• We can help you consider – or reconsider – how much market risk to build into your investments in pursuit of your desired goals.
• We can employ sensible, evidence-based strategies such as asset allocation and global diversification to help manage the market risks that you do take on.
• We can help you minimize return-dragging costs and mistakes.
A: First off, yes, we are a fiduciary to our clients – proudly, absolutely and in writing. Why does this matter? As your fiduciary advisor, we have a clearly defined legal obligation to always and exclusively act in your highest interests, even ahead of our own. We are a Registered Investment Advisor firm, which, as the name implies, establishes objective investment advice as our reason for being. This is in stark contrast to the traditional and, alas, most familiar model of commission-based brokers, bankers or agents. These individuals may “advise” you to trade in suitable products that they have for sale, but their business priorities, loyalties and sources of compensation often lie elsewhere. Bottom-line, if you are not working with a fiduciary advisor, your highest interests can legally take a back seat to unknown sales quotas and conflicting incentives. That’s why that little legal term matters so much.
NUTS AND BOLTS
A: Planning, expertise, education, and personalized care. Before we advise you or manage your money, we take the time to get to know you well … both of you, if you are a couple. Next, we work with you to create your detailed financial plan and custom investment portfolio, all while educating you along the way. (Expect 6–8 weeks as a typical timeframe for your initial plan.) Then we swing into action to implement your plan, manage your investment portfolio, and make sure they maintain relevance as we meet with you over time. Throughout, expect us to reach out to you routinely, as well as at key milestones, plus we remain available to respond to your ongoing questions or ideas.
A: We typically meet at least annually with our clients – more frequently if your circumstances warrant. We also are happy to get together with you on an as-needed basis to go over troublesome challenges, exciting opportunities or any other significant life-changing events.
A: We are particularly enthusiastic about harnessing the many powerful ways we can remain in touch with one another these days. Expect regular educational outreach from us via email, e-newsletters, blog posts and social media. We also schedule personal conversations as needed using phone, video conferencing (such as Skype or Google Hangouts) or in-person, according to your convenience. As technology continues to offer meaningful new ways for us to effectively engage with you, you can expect us to embrace these as well.
A: Your accounts are held in your name, at an independent custodian who reports any transactions that occur directly to you. As long as you are a Pathway client, we maintain limited trading authority in your accounts, so we can implement, rebalance and oversee your customized investment portfolio designed to achieve your personal life goals.
A: Should you decide not to work with us anymore, we simply disconnect our trading authority. Your money remains in your name at the same custodian until you decide what, if any, changes you would like to make. YOU always remain in the driver’s seat with your money.