What is financial planning?
Done right, financial planning is a process that helps you answer the following questions:
- Where you are financially today? We review your current financial situation.
- Where you want to go? We find out what you want – your objectives and goals for the future and the values that drive them.
- How are we going to get there? We create the map – an detailed plan of action.
Your Best Path Financial Planning follows 7 steps for financial success. Learn more about our process.
Everyone needs financial advice from time to time. Whatever areas need attention, we are here to help, from discrete questions to comprehensive planning of complex situations.
How do you select investments for a client?
Before recommending any investment, we consider the current economic conditions, the outlook for a particular asset class or type of security, and how the investment fits within a client’s portfolio given his or her objectives and tolerance for risk.
As fiduciaries for our clients, we strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet a client’s objectives, while being very conscious of total expenses and risk exposure.
What is a financial planner or advisor?
Anyone can say that he or she is a financial advisor. Find out what the qualifications, credentials, and life experiences of your “planner” or “advisor” has before you pay them anything or entrust them with your finances. And use FINRA's Broker Check (link to the right) service. Any advisor should offer a no obligation get acquainted meeting.
Your Best Path Financial Planning belongs to the Garrett Planning Network. Garrett Advisors are well-qualified to help you with your financial advisory needs. Each is required to be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional—or be in the process of earning the designation. This means that the advisor has taken extensive training, adheres to a rigorous code of ethics, and is registered with a state or the Securities Exchange Commission. We adhere to the CFP® Board Code of Ethics and Practice Standards and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Fiduciary Oath.
What is a Fiduciary?
Someone who puts the client’s interests first. Acts with prudence, skill, care, diligence, and good judgement of a professional. Someone who will not mislead clients and provides full and fair disclosure of all important facts. This standard incorporates several elements that are missing from the standard applied to broker-dealers and their representatives, most notably the duty to disclose all conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest.
What is fee-only financial planning?
It means we do not accept any of the following compensation methods:
- 3rd party compensation
- 12-1b fees
- Shareholder service fees
- Fee-based (combination of fee and any above 1-4)
I believe that this is the fairest form of compensation.
Note that Fee-based compensation is NOT Fee-only. We work for clients where compensation is time based by project, scope, and complexity. On the other hand, fee-based is, in our opinion, the worst of both worlds -- you get charged for the advisor’s time and pay commissions and/or the other items listed above.
What if I need to obtain insurance or other financial products?
We do not sell insurance products. We do offer specific recommendations and opinions on various products and services that may be appropriate for a client’s situation. We then can advise a client where to obtain the product or service. So, if you need to obtain an insurance policy, invest in a portfolio of mutual funds or find an estate planning attorney or tax professional, we can direct you to the resources you need or help you obtain what you need.
My spouse and I are just getting started in building for our future. We need help and guidance. Will you accept us as clients?
Absolutely yes. We have no minimum income levels or net worth requirements. We are proud to work with men, women, and families from all walks of life and backgrounds, all races, religions, and orientations.
Who benefits from your service?
Any individual or family seeking financial peace of mind can benefit from our services. We serve people from all walks of life. Clients have the flexibility to work with us on a one-time, as-needed, or ongoing basis. We welcome clients who simply need a one-time financial consultation or second opinion, as well as those who need full financial planning or ongoing services. In addition, any business or organization seeking quality unbiased financial education for their employees or members can benefit from financial education programs that are currently in development.
I have already accumulated assets and I think I am doing well – but things are getting more complicated. I want to be sure I’m on the right track. Can you help me?
Yes. People who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice will find our services appealing and beneficial. We can provide a professional review or second opinion.
What type of securities do you provide advice for?
We provide advice for all types of securities, such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), mutual funds, stocks (as they relate to your portfolio holdings), bonds, bank deposits, annuities and more. We also provide advice on 401(k) and 403(b) and other retirement programs.
If I use Your Best Path Financial Planning for investment advice, am I obligated to use the recommended products?
Absolutely not. We offer recommendations in our professional opinion that will meet your needs and objectives. It makes sense to shop around for the best product or service. For example, if you need a life insurance policy or disability policy, we will suggest the kind of policy, which riders and amounts may be best for you. We will direct you to a choice of companies that provide a quality product, competitive price for you. If you desire, we can help you purchase investments and or establish your account with a third-party custodian.
What is your investment philosophy?
At Your Best Path we believe in the following fundamental principles when it comes to designing an investment portfolio and making specific recommendations:
- The purpose of a client’s investment portfolio is to fund current and/or future financial objectives. Some investors have additional values such as a desire to screen out certain types of investments or invest for social impact. We can build portfolios that support you in the way you prefer.
- The design of the portfolio must take into account the client’s financial objectives, tolerance for risk, needs for current income or liquidity, and special considerations such as income and estate taxes.
- The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future. Difference of opinion makes a market. Investment and economic “experts” provided with the same information often come to different conclusions. We do not suggest that we, or that any of the money or mutual fund managers that we may recommend, will make the correct decision every time. We do believe, however, that studying the historic trends and relationships of investment classes and the philosophies and approaches of successful investment managers can provide valuable insight.
- The appropriate allocation of investment assets for your goals and risk tolerance is the most important component in developing an investment portfolio.
- We believe that avoidance of what I call behavioral mistakes is the biggest component of investor success for a given savings rate. These include investor greed (taking on too much risk, chasing last year’s winners), investor fear (panic selling, staying out of the equity markets), and other emotional or short-term thinking errors.
- We believe that minimizing investor costs is the next biggest component of investor success. The layers of potential fees are numerous. Avoid as many as possible by investing in Index Funds or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) as directly as can be managed whenever they fit into your strategy. Remember, managed investment vehicles have to beat an index in order to match its performance net of fees. This is very hard to do in the long run and almost always involves more risk.
- In summary, we believe that a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, combined with long-term strategies, affordability, and patience, increases the likelihood that one will achieve his or her long-term financial objectives. We don’t believe you can "beat the market" over the long term, but we do think that you are entitled to get market rates of return. We believe in keeping your investment fees as low as possible, harvesting losses when applicable, and rebalancing when appropriate. We believe you should focus on the things you can control, like how much risk you are comfortable with, using compounding growth to its full potential, and minimizing your taxes.
How do you price your services?
Our fees are based on the actual time meeting with a client or via the phone, researching and analyzing that client’s current situation, and providing specific recommendations and implementation assistance if needed. Please see our Services section for more information.
Do I have to come to your office?
Not if you don't want to. If you are local I can come to you. We can also meet virtually over any number of platforms, I currently use Zoom the most, telephone, or whichever method of communication is convenient for you. I am set up this way so I can meet with you wherever you are, regardless if you live locally or across the country.
Do you work with people outside of Northern Virginia?
Yes. I work with clients who live across the country, anywhere in America.
How can I get started?