Your financial interests don’t come bundled in tidy little packages; more typically, they’re tightly interconnected.
Your retirement plans interact with your investment portfolio, which influences your estate planning and charitable intent. Your wealth is strengthened by thoughtful insurance applications, while your business interests intertwine with your personal wealth.
And that’s just “the norm.” (If there is such a thing!) If you’re like most families, you probably also face challenges and opportunities that are all your own.
Here at Rockbridge, our entire professional team is here for you, to help you coordinate your entire wealth. Experienced, informed and having already encountered just about every financial facet you might face, we draw on our unified team approach, our range of industry credentials, and our objective outlook to provide best-interest, personalized advice to you and your loved ones.
As you search for the right advisor relationship, you may have heard you should find a fiduciary advisor. What does this mean?
What is fiduciary? A fiduciary advisor must advise you strictly according to what they determine is in YOUR best financial interests – even if that advice may conflict with their own greatest profit potential. Despite all the convoluted info out there, it’s really that simple. The problem is, a lot of financial “advice” does not live up to this standard. And there are a lot of industry players who want to keep it that way.
Why does it matter? If a broker/dealer, insurance agent, or similar intermediary offers secondary advice while helping you with your financial affairs, they cannot legally recommend investments that are inappropriate for you. But they can point you to one product over another, simply because it will more handsomely reward them or their parent company (often by costing you more).
How can you tell? Under current law, those of us who are independent Registered Investment Advisor firms are required to be in a fiduciary relationship with our clients at all times. That’s because our greatest role is to advise you about your wealth rather than transact your trades. In contrast, advice from other providers may be non-fiduciary or sometimes fiduciary. It depends on the “hat” they’re wearing at the time. Another simple way to tell whether someone will be in a 100% fiduciary relationship with you: Ask if they’ll put it in writing. If they cannot or will not, beware.
How financial advisors earn their keep matters. If an advisor is earning commissions or other financial incentives for recommending one provider’s wares over another, this creates a conflict of interest. It may be hard for them to ignore this conflict when making recommendations. As a fee-only advisor, our sole source of compensation comes from the fees our clients pay us clearly and directly. We feel this best aligns our incentives with yours, making it that much easier to offer objective, fiduciary advice that serves your highest interests. You’ll find additional information in the 11 Common Questions below, including how to differentiate fee-only vs. fee-based compensation models.
If there is a trio of qualities to seek in your financial advisor, it is these: fiduciary, fee-only and cost-effective.
That’s not to say the dirt-cheapest wins every time. There’s a cost-benefit balance found in seeking solid advice and sound solutions at a fair price … versus simply spending more money.
Thus our strong focus on adding real value by reducing costs wherever and whenever possible. This includes:
- Helping you embrace evidence-based investing, with its emphasis on reducing unnecessary (and costly) trading
- Selecting fund managers who also focus on solutions for generating efficient returns at lower costs
- Keeping a sharp eye on minimizing the impact of taxes on your net returns
- Helping you organize and protect your total wealth interests, to avoid costly gaps or overlaps, especially when the (sometimes expensive) unexpected occurs
- Advocating for greater pricing transparency across the entire financial industry
11 COMMON QUESTIONS:
Click on each to learn more.
Perhaps our biggest point of distinction is that all of our services, strategies and advice are centered on ensuring that your unique goals, challenges and opportunities are the driving force behind your financial activities. Learn More
As if the financial industry weren’t complicated enough, there are fee-only investment advisors and fee-based advisors — and a Registered Investment Advisor firm can be either. As the wording implies, fee-only investment advisors like Rockbridge receive NO commissions or any other forms of compensation from ANY outside sources. At the other end of the spectrum, commissioned brokers receive most or all of their revenue from the companies whose products they buy and sell. Fee-based advisors fall into a gray area. They receive most of their revenue from client fees, but they also receive portions of their revenue from outside sources. A common example is investment advisors who also are insurance agents, receiving fees from their clients as well as commissions from selling insurance policies. Learn More
The best time to “react” to a bear market is long before it happens. To manage your wealth through good times and bad, we emphasize planning and preparation as the foundation upon which to build. Learn More