FAQs

What is a fiduciary?

The fiduciary standard requires that an advisor place their clients’ best interest ahead of their own. It means that the advice provided is for the benefit of the client.

What is financial planning?

Financial planning is a way to bring the future into the present so we can take action today. It involves setting goals, defining and quantifying the goals, analyzing your situation within the context of the goals, and outlining actions to give you the best chance to achieve them. Financial planning advice includes, but is not limited to, cash flow planning, retirement projections, investment planning and research, gifting, estate and income tax planning, employee benefits planning, insurance planning, charitable gift planning, and any other matter which affects your personal finances.

What does it mean to be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

CFP® professionals have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. They understand all the complexities of the changing financial climate and will make recommendations in your best interest. A CFP® has completed a two year educational program covering all aspects of personal finance and investments, and passed a rigorous examination, similar in difficulty to the CPA exam. In addition, a CFP® must fulfill 30 hours of continuing education every two years and adhere to a strict code of ethics.

Is Laurel Tree Advisors a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?

Yes. A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or state securities regulator. Laurel Tree is registered with the state regulator, the Ohio Division of Securities. All RIAs have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.

How does Laurel Tree Advisors get paid?

We charge fees in two ways. Most of our clients pay a percentage of assets under management (AUM). The fee depends on the amount of assets managed, and the percentage declines as the portfolio grows. This fee structure is simple, transparent, and easy to understand, and it aligns our interests to grow your assets. We also provide financial planning consulting for an hourly fee and budget planning for a monthly subscription fee.

What is the total cost of financial advice (including expense ratios for the funds)?

For comprehensive wealth management, including AUM and financial planning, Laurel Tree Advisors charges 1% on a portfolio value between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Mutual fund portfolios have an additional expense ratio of about .55% that goes to the mutual fund itself, and is calculated in the daily price of the fund. Portfolios under $500,000 are charged 1.25% and over $1,000,000 is billed at .95%.

What’s the difference between a RIA and a broker?

An RIA acts as a fiduciary, in the best interests of the client. In addition, RIAs charge fees based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM), or a flat or hourly consulting fee. Brokers can also charge fees as a percentage of assets (AUM), and/or they can receive commissions from the brokerage firm where they work as compensation for investing your money in certain investments. Brokers are not fiduciaries – they are held to the suitability standard, which means the investments they invest your money in are suitable for your risk tolerance or asset level. Suitability is a lower standard than fiduciary, and may also be affected by the commission compensation received by the broker.

What services does Laurel Tree Advisors provide?

We categorize our personalized services in two general ways, described below. Most clients will receive services from both categories, and we strive to provide comprehensive advice that ties together all aspects of your financial life.

Investment Advisory services may include: An initial analysis and ongoing advice regarding your investment portfolio and associated wealth management needs; Creation and implementation of a written investment policy statement and/or analysis and updating of an existing policy; Evaluation of your investment portfolio and development of an asset allocation strategy that meets the investment guidelines; and Implementation of the investment policy and asset allocation strategy within the managed portfolio, including the placement of trade instructions with your account custodian.

Financial planning advice includes, but is not limited to: cash flow planning, retirement projections, investment planning and research, gifting, estate and income tax planning, employee benefits planning, insurance planning, charitable gift planning, and any other matter which affects your personal finances

Do I need financial planning advice?

If you have financial goals, and questions about how to manage your personal finances in order to achieve those goals, you could benefit from financial planning advice. If you have made a plan in the past, and wish to obtain an objective review about your progress, you could benefit from financial planning advice. If you are preparing for retirement in the next few years, and wish to determine if you are on track and evaluate any additional steps you could take before then to solidify your financial footing, you could benefit from financial planning advice.

How do I measure my financial results?

You can measure your results in several ways: The most common measurement is investment performance, calculated in percentage terms over defined time periods. Often it is compared to a benchmark, like S&P 500. Another popular measure is progress toward your goals. For example, paying off a loan, building up an emergency savings reserve, or contributing the maximum to your retirement plan. One additional way that retirees can measure results is their peace of mind and satisfaction that they have with their quality of life.