COMMON QUESTIONS & THEIR ANSWERS
A) Financial Planning
Why should I hire a financial planner?
A fee-only financial planner is a consultant who can help you develop a strategy for reaching your personal financial dreams. A planner can offer unbiased advice or even just a second opinion on a decision that you’re considering. In short, like CPAs and attorneys, financial planners have valuable tools, knowledge and experience at their disposal. Hiring a planner can help with any number of issues on which you may not have the time or inclination to work yourself.
Why the emphasis on fee-only?
We think it matters how clients of any professional pay for services. We emphasize that we are a fee-only firm because we prefer to be up-front with clients about how we’re paid for the services we provide, and to be open and transparent about any potential conflicts of interest in our relationships. It’s a better way to do business.
B) Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)
Do you have a minimum account size?
We do not. We work with people of all means and do not require that clients have a minimum account size if using our investment management services.
Don’t SRI investments underperform their conventional counterparts?
In a word: sometimes. But then don’t conventional investments underperform when compared to their socially responsible counterparts? Sometimes. One truth is that SRI investments can be weak for a time, but so can conventional ones. Another truth is that a wide variety of academic studies have shown that incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors–on the whole–doesn’t hurt performance over time. And it can even help sometimes.
Why don’t I invest in whatever makes the most money, then donate some to charity
Socially responsible investing is akin to harm reduction. That is, you meet the world where it’s at, while simultaneously pushing it in the direction of sustainability and social justice. We believe it is short-sighted not to care about where you invest, but then give money to efforts that try to ameliorate the harmful effects of those sames companies you invested in.
What social screens can be applied to my investment accounts?
All kinds. If we have no specific guidance from clients, the portfolios we recommend have a thorough and flexible SRI screens. Some screens are to avoid certain issues, other screens look to include companies that seek positive change. Community investing and shareholder advocacy are also a critical part of any socially responsible investor’s strategy.
C) Retirement Plans
What type of retirement plan is right for my business or non-profit?
It depends on your needs and interests. More than one type could work, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. We can work with you to sort through the alphabet soup of plans (401k, 403b, 457, SEP, SIMPLE) to find the one that is most appropriate for your organization’s needs. And we’ll help you design, maintain and manage it.