Navigating the world of financial professionals is scary. We here at The Art of Finance are waging a war against confusing industry jargon, uncomfortable chairs, ugly ties and high pressure environments.
We are truly here for you!
A: No! As crazy as it may sound, anybody can call themselves a financial planner (or financial advisor). Most financial advisors are not CFPs®. Instead they are actually just insurance agents, brokers, or investment advisors. The designation of CFP® is the most difficult and comprehensive certification in the industry, and few financial advisors can claim it, covering over 100 topics including stocks, bonds, taxes, insurance and much more. Then they must pass the CFP® Board Exam, the most challenging certification in the industry. To be a CFP® Recipient is to achieve the highest standard.
A: Unlike many other designations (for example the CIC, ChFC, CFS, CIMA, etc), CFP® is a closely regulated and guarded trademark of the CFP® board. In addition to very strict ethical, experience, and education requirements, the Board requires any use of the logo be accompanied by the appropriate trademark symbol. So sorry, but that’s just the rule!
A: No you don’t. We got tired of the traditional financial advising model. It’s built around the premise that advisors charge based upon investment account size. Well what if you don’t have investments, or even worse, have lots of debt? In the traditional way of doing things it’s “Sorry Charlie”, and you get shown the door.
That’s why we’re so excited about our flat-fee based planning model. It allows people in any stage of life to create a financial plan. They don’t have to wait until they’re debt free or get a huge raise. They can start now. All you really need is an income and a belief that financial planning really can work for you. We’ll help you with all the rest.
A: We view the term ‘creative’ to apply to people in many different careers. Certainly it applies to those with artistic sensibilities or professions; musicians, architects, performers, dancers. But it also applies to dreamers, visionaries, and people with “big ideas”.
The creative is an “outside the box” thinker that likes to challenge accepted norms. They love to express, are in touch with their emotional mind, and deeply value personal connection. Creatives are our type of people here at The Art of Finance.
A: In some financial advising firms, advisors will offer a simple, basic ‘plan’ to their clients in order to get them interested. At the end of the process, it’s often revealed that the advisor believes the client should buy a certain insurance or investment product. If the client buys this, the insurance or Investment Company pays the advisor (usually many thousands of dollars). If they don’t buy it, the rep has no reason to stick around. It’s a pretty bad model (well, maybe not for the advisor, but for you!)
It’s for this reason we are up front and transparent about our fees. You pay a fee and get a plan – not a pre-packaged product.
A: It’s true, technology has made certain types of investments and index funds drop in cost over the past few decades. Prices for index funds (and their cousins) have gotten very affordable.
But what you don’t get from those services is a coach, a guide, or a plan. You won’t get advice on things like debt management, retirement projections, or buying an investment property. Instead you’ll just get an investment product. And that’s not a bad thing.
We at The Art of Finance actually use instruments like index funds and ETFs with some of our clients if it makes sense within their portfolio. Their low cost and efficient nature make them worth considering in many situations.