Working with the firm of Retirement Income and Inheritance Advisors, LLC and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(tm), Larry Moskat, CFP®
To Our Prospective Client:
Choosing a financial advisor can be a confusing process. There are many legitimate styles of structuring a working relationship, and both you and your advisor must be comfortable with the format that works best and feels right to you.
Over the course of nearly 30 years, we have adopted what we feel is a fair, reasonable and graduated approach to structuring a working relationship with most of our clients. A fair structure reduces the risk of an unsatisfactory experience, while at the same time raising the potential of extracting maximum value from our relationship.
For the most part, we endeavor to work with clients, not “customers”. The primary difference lies in the relationship, and our approach to addressing money issues. We look for “clients-for-life,” not simply people interested in purchasing something. Our clients must be confident in our ability and integrity. We must share a positive “chemistry” and a common and realistic vision in order to achieve exceptional results. We must believe our prospective new client is serious about improving their situation.
We typically meet with new prospective clients at no cost to assess the nature of the assistance required, and to evaluate our “chemistry.” If we determine we can help, and all parties are confident of a positive outcome, we will discuss how the process will flow and what fee arrangements might apply. We next utilize a variety of resources (software, research materials, etc.) to present you with an overview of recommended strategies and tactics that are reasonable to consider in light of your stated objectives. Often, but not always, this strategy session occurs in a 2nd meeting and in straightforward cases, may be offered at no cost. This gives you a chance to evaluate our approaches in an atmosphere of mutual goal setting with either a minimal financial commitment on your part or possibly no commitment at all, depending on the circumstances and complexities of your situation. It is our belief that you should feel comfortable and fully understand the basis of our recommendations first, before making any significant financial commitments.
We employ the principles of financial planning as the basis for our recommendations and choose not to approach money management as a means of speculation or gambling. Complex situations and highly detailed planning may involve various fee arrangements, which are detailed in the form of an Investment Advisory Services Agreement. If fees apply, these may be arranged as fixed fees, hourly charges or be based on a percentage of assets under management. Please see our Form ADV-Client Brochure-Part A for complete details.
From that point on, we will then detail the action steps involved in implementing the financial strategies and programs that align with your objectives.
RIIA, LLC is an exclusively fee-based Registered Investment Advisor, and as such, will accept no commissions from investment management or supervision. Larry Moskat, CFP® is licensed to work with insurance and banking products which may generate commission-based compensation. In some cases these funds may be deducted from the investments themselves and in some cases the company sponsors will compensate us directly with no deductions from client’s funds—it is dependent upon on the financial products that are most suitable for you. You will be fully informed on how this works at the time programs are implemented.
We often view our compensation from investment and insurance activities to include periodic reviews, phone calls, performance reporting, coordination with legal and tax advisors, etc. and have generally not assessed fees for these ongoing activities. There are cases that do not fit this mold; in those cases, other arrangements may apply and these will be discussed in advance and executed in writing. There are no surprise bills from our organization—ever!
Below is a short discussion of what we look for in a client-advisor relationship….
How Do We Know if We Are a Good Fit?
The issue of trust and relationship is at the center of this all-important question. While “chemistry” is important, it must be realized that relationship is the soil from which trust grows. Relationship means that you are connected to another person and that person is connected to you. And, the result of that connection is the ability to communicate without fear of criticism, disrespect, or any other feeling that creates a dangerous environment where honest communication cannot take place. Now all this may seem pretty heady and subtle and sometimes it is. But it is critical to successful outcomes in our business.
These are our some of our considerations for a prospective client in a working relationship:
- Decisions of Inner or Emotional Motivation to Change—Are you committed to making beneficial changes to promote you goals? Are you willing to hear about tools and strategies that may, at first, sound strange or even unlikeable? Are you prepared to leave your current advisor if appropriate? Are you willing to rearrange assets if appropriate? Sometimes these changes feel awkward at first. What is your inner motivation to change?
- Decisions of Core Priorities and Concepts of Managing Finances—Which world do you prefer to live in—a predictable world or an unpredictable world? Could you see yourself feeling comfortable with a blend from both worlds?
- Decisions of Monetary Allocations Reflecting Core Priorities—If you could arrange a “perfect financial world” for yourself, what percentage of your funds would live in the predictable world (your safe money) and how much would live in the unpredictable world (your risk money)?
- Decisions of Financial Products Categories—Are you willing to employ product categories such as CD’s, Mutual Funds, Annuities, Insurance, Money Market Accounts, etc. if they are the right fit for your circumstances? Will you commit to a yes-no approach regarding recommendations that come out of the planning process? Will you commit to another meeting in the event you require time to evaluate details and then to a yes-no approach at that time?
- Decisions of Specific Financial Products Selections—Are you comfortable with an independent financial advisor whose allegiance is only to you and does not answer to a “home office,” and whose financial products basket is virtually unlimited or do you prefer the simplicity and sense of comfort working with “a big name” where a single company/products approach is used?
- Decisions of Implementation—Will you clearly communicate when you are comfortable moving forward with a working relationship or alternatively, will you commit to honestly sharing what may be standing in the way?
Lurking beneath the surface of every working relationship is often a tidal wave of initial mistrust and fear. Relationships cannot begin until the fear surfaces and is discussed with an attitude of mutual understanding and respect. We need to talk about these fears, prior bad experiences, and issues of mistrust, double messages, irrationality and any other items that can impede a great relationship.
If what has been said above rings true with you and you are willing to attempt a mutually honest engagement, then I can tell you the groundwork will be suitably laid for a successful outcome and a lifetime of mutual benefit from your work with this financial advisor. Here’s to your success!
Larry Moskat, CFP®
Managing Member-Retirement Income and Inheritance Advisors (RIIA), LLC