What is Financial Planning?

Financial planning is the process of assessing your current financial situation and setting goals for yourself (and your family) to achieve. Comprehensive or also called “in-depth” financial planning should include:

  • Retirement planning
  • Investment management
  • Income & cash flow management
  • Tax planning & strategies
  • Estate & legacy planning
  • Risk management (insurance)
  • Educational planning and savings (if needed)

Why do I need financial planning?

Financial planning is important for many reasons. This process assesses your overall financial health and maps out the path to reach your financial goals. Your goals are unique but we typically see clients wanting to achieve retirement, becoming debt-free, starting a business, buying a second home, saving for college, etc. The best way to achieve any goal is to have a plan. This plan can change over time but ultimately, financial planning gives you the direction to go in and the steps to take to get there.

How much does financial planning cost?

Financial planning costs vary widely depending on the firm and complexity of the plan. At Wiser Wealth Management, we manage investment accounts for you (which includes ongoing financial planning) or we also offer financial planning by the hour for a flat-fee. The average cost of our hourly financial plans range from $3,500 – $5,000. Our management fees ranges from 1.5% – 0.50% per year based on the amount of assets in your portfolio. But quite honestly, the cost of having a financial plan (or financial planner) far out weighs the cost of not having a financial plan, when your finances aren’t working toward your goals in the best way.

Do you earn a commission on investments you recommend?

No, we never work off of commissions. We are a fee-only firm, which means we have simple and transparent fees for ours services. Our fees will be outlined in the client agreement you sign. As a fee-only firm, we don’t have any hidden fees. Alternatively, fee-based firms have management fees plus receive commission-based fees on financial products they recommend to your (like annuities, whole-life insurance, etc.).

How do you charge your fees?

If we are managing investment accounts for a client, then we charge an investment management fee on a quarterly basis. We directly debit your managed accounts each quarter, based on the fee schedule in your agreement. Our annual fees range from 1.5% to 0.5% based on the amount of assets we manage for you. So if your annually fee is 1.0%, then your quarterly fee would be 0.25%. You will receive a billing statement each quarter with your breakdown in fees.

If you are working with us on an hourly basis for financial planning, then we would total up the hours of planning we would need and charge you a flat fee of that total. Half of the fee is due upfront to start planning and the remainder is due at plan delivery.

What does it mean to be a fiduciary advisor?

Being a fiduciary means that we are legally responsible to act in the client’s best interest at all times. This includes the investments we recommend and the advice we provide. Being a fiduciary financial advisor is important, so that you know that the advice you are receiving is in your best interest. Not all financial advisors are fiduciaries, especially ones at the big firms. This is an important question to always ask when you are looking for a financial advisor.

Does your firm have an account size minimum?

No, we do not have a minimum amount that we manage, although we have different services available depending on your financial situation. But to be totally transparent, we have found that our assets under management services (including ongoing financial planning) are most valuable for families who have more than $1 million in assets. This is one reason why we offer an hourly rate for financial planning. We also offer a investment platform through Betterment for accounts under $250,000 that has a reduced annual fee of 0.5%. Regardless of what your financial situation is, we’re happy to chat and see if we can help.

Do I need to live in the Atlanta area to work with you?

Definitely not! We work people from all over the country, thanks to technology. It solely depends on how comfortable you are with the way we work together. We can meet virtually, over the phone, in our office or in some cases, at another location of your choosing. But honestly, a lot of our clients are local to the area and enjoy coming to our office near the historic Marietta square. But we are happy to meet you wherever you are!

How can you help me with tax planning?

We are not CPAs or an accounting firm. We are familiar with common tax laws related to financial planning, but when it comes to in-depth tax planning strategies and tax preparation, we will refer you to a CPA firm within our trusted network of professionals. If you already have a tax professional, then we can work alongside them to help you take advantage of tax savings and advanced tax planning strategies.

How can you help me with estate planning?

We are not attorneys. For any legal matters, we can refer you to a law firm within our trusted network that can help with your estate planning needs. Having a cohesive relationship with local firms, we can help facilitate the estate planning process for our clients.

Who will I be working with at your firm?

We utilize a team approach here at Wiser Wealth Management. Our financial planning teams consist of a Senior Financial Advisor and a Financial Planning Associate to deliver financial plans to new clients of the firm. Our firm also has an Investment Manager to assist our advisors in constructing client portfolios. We also have two committees made up of all advisory professionals at the firm. The Investment Committee and Financial Planning Committee meet on a regular basis to collaborate on client portfolios and financial plans.