How We Work
Most financial advisors focus on investment management. While a good investment plan is definitely important, in our view, implementing an investment strategy without regard to a financial plan is a little bit like driving from California to New York without a road map (or your GPS). Maybe you know where you want to go, but do you know how to get there? In order to make good investment decisions, it is important to consider:
- What is the money for?
- When will it be spent?
- How much risk is acceptable?
At HZFA, every client relationship begins with a comprehensive financial plan that answers these questions along with many others, such as:
- How much do you need to save for retirement, education, or other future goals?
- How would you like to plan for your children’s futures?
- Are you spending too much money? Can you safely spend more?
- What happens if you lose your job, or become ill or otherwise incapacitated?
- Can you afford to be more generous with your charitable giving?
A key element of the financial planning process is the investment plan, which deals with protecting and growing the wealth that you’ve already accumulated. Ongoing supervision of investment assets may comprise most of our day to day responsibilities, but it is always done within the context of each of our clients’ overall financial plan. We call this “Wealth Management” because, in our opinion, financial planning and investment management must be coordinated to be effective.
Financial Planning is the process through which we help you identify your short and long-term financial goals, evaluate your current situation, and establish a course of action toward achieving your goals. This process can involve organization of your financial records, consolidation and streamlining of savings and investment accounts, analysis of need for various types and amount of insurance, analysis of the amount of annual savings required to fund retirement, education, or other goals, and discussion of estate planning and tax management concerns.
We begin the process by taking the time to get to know you. Over a series of meetings, we will discuss all aspects of your financial life, review your existing financial documents, and gather other relevant information. From this information, we will build a plan that bridges the gap between where you are today and where you want to be in the future.
In-vest (verb): To put money to use in something that offers a profitable return, in the form of either a stream of income or a growth in the value of the investment itself.
While that may seem straightforward, the truth is that there are thousands of investment options available and almost as many ways to approach the process of how to choose among them. We believe that an investment plan must be designed within the context of a person’s unique financial circumstances. For this reason, all of our clients’ investment portfolios are customized to a certain extent, to reflect differences in risk tolerance, time horizon, tax situation and liquidity needs.
Beyond the levels of customization mentioned above, there are a few core values that we hold that form the foundation of all of our clients’ portfolios. They include the following:
- Investing for the long-term
- Broadly diversifying holdings to reduce risk
- Keeping your costs as low as possible
- Remaining disciplined through all market and economic cycles
We use an “Asset Allocation” approach in our decision-making, with the most important investment decision being the choice among cash, bonds and stocks. We believe that mutual funds provide the best access to very broad diversification across all types of investments, and use them almost exclusively in client portfolios. However, we are very careful to minimize all investment costs; these costs include transaction fees, account fees, mutual fund loads and expense ratios, and taxes.
All investments are analyzed within the context of how they fit into your portfolio and help to meet your financial goals. All investment planning work starts with the development of an Investment Policy Statement that will define the parameters to which we will adhere when making investment decisions.
HZFA charges an annual retainer for financial planning and investment management services. Fees are based upon the assets under management and are charged quarterly in advance according to the following schedule:
- 1.00% per year on the first $1,000,000 of assets under management, plus
- 0.75% per year on the next $2 million, plus
- 0.50% per year on the next $2 million, plus
- 0.35% per year on the next $5 million, plus
- 0.25% on assets in excess of $10 million
The minimum annual retainer is $17,500. HZFA may, at our discretion, agree to work with clients on an hourly or project basis. Project fees are negotiable and based upon an hourly rate of $250.