What are our obligations to each other?
In consideration of the trust you place in us, we will commit:
- To act as your fiduciary—treating your money with the same care and prudence that we would treat our own. We will routinely make recommendations that we believe are best for you even if it means less revenue to our firm.
- To have no allegiance to any company, product or service, beyond our belief in its ability to help you reach your goals
- To get to know you, your personal goals, your struggles and challenges around money and to tailor our recommendations so that they help you create an abundant and free financial life
- To treat your financial information in strict confidentiality
- To treat you with respect, professionalism and honesty, and to maintain a nonjudgmental attitude toward the goals and information you present to us
- To be available to you during business hours, by phone, email or in person
- To deliver important advice even if it may create discomfort in the short-term. The people we work with prefer us to be honest whenever we encounter what seem to be unrealistic expectations or a pattern of living beyond one’s means or a disconnect between stated goals and financial or purchase decisions.
Recognizing our fiduciary responsibility to clients and the public, we will uphold the highest standards of care in the industry by espousing and practicing: objectivity, fairness, suitability, full disclosure, confidentiality, integrity, professionalism, competence and regulatory compliance.
What commitments do we expect from you?
If you become a client of ours, we hope and expect you to be honest and forthcoming about your personal and professional goals, and about your current financial situation. The quality of our advice will depend on the quality of information that you provide to us.
Financial planning is personal, so we will ask you to share with us data and issues that you may not share with anyone but your family. The more effectively we are able to communicate with one another, the more personalized your long-term plan will be.
Specifically, we expect you to share your personal financial data and financial history with us, and to bring in relevant documents upon request. Just as you have to disclose a great deal of information to your doctor, your lawyer and your accountant for them to do their job, we will need a great deal of information to make professional recommendations. For example, your medical history may give us insights that we need for projecting mortality, for such areas as retirement or long-term cash flow projections, as well as certain types of risk management.
As time goes on, we expect you to keep us informed, as soon as possible, about important changes that will have a significant effect on your financial and personal life, such as marriage, new baby, any new major financial obligation, change of income, change of health, etc.
We always ask that you carefully review all communications and statements immediately and promptly report any errors to us and/or ask for clarification on anything that you do not understand.
If the partnership between us is to be valuable and beneficial, you must be willing to allow yourself to trust the intentions and experience that we bring to the relationship. You should be comfortable that the advice we give comes from wanting to do only what is right and just for you and your circumstances.
We ask you to follow all of our advice to the best of your ability and to the extent that it is compatible with the goals you have given us, even when that requires personal sacrifice, changing a behavior pattern or overcoming inner resistance.
We ask that if you are reluctant to follow our advice, and/or if you don’t feel a real trust in our motives and advice, that you contact us immediately. In our experience, much great advice is not taken because people lack a real trust in the advice giver. The result is that the advisory relationship becomes worthless.
The most important element of getting the most out of a financial plan is giving it a chance to work. This involves following through on the smallest details. This does not mean that everything must be done exactly as it is initially planned. It means that when an element of the plan needs to change, it is changed through the planning process.
Most financial plans quietly fade away into obscurity because the end result of the initial planning process is really only the first draft of the plan. As elements of the plan fail to work they are dropped, and little by little the plan is abandoned.
The clients who make the most progress do so by making an honest effort to follow the plan. The clients who enjoy exponential progress toward their goals continuously update their plans in annual meetings and fine tune the plans until they have an efficient goal-meeting machine tailored to their personality and individual needs. For these clients, following the plan becomes effortless since it is perfectly designed for them and following it has become a habit.