Frequently Asked Questions
A fiduciary is a professional who is required to put your best interests above all else. From the Latin word fiducia, meaning “trust,” a fiduciary is entrusted with managing the financial affairs of others with whom they have a fiduciary relationship. This obligation is referred to in the financial services profession as the fiduciary standard. If the financial planning professional you would like to work with is a Registered Investment Advisor, then she or he is governed by the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and has a fiduciary responsibility to you. When considering whom to trust for financial guidance, you should ask prospective advisors if they are a registered investment advisor. Furthermore, all members of NAPFA are fiduciaries and adhere to a fiduciary standard when managing assets. If you want to ensure that your best interests are being served, then insist that your financial advisor uphold the fiduciary standard!
LWPM provides financial planning and investment management to people (or clients) with different needs; however, we provide the most value to clients who need to generate income from their portfolio. Typically this means retirees and widows. As the principals are both women, we are sensitive to the challenges and needs that come from serving widowed clients, and a significant percentage of LWPM’s clients are widows.
Lifetime Wealth Planning and Management, LLC (LWPM) is a fee-only financial planning and registered investment advisory firm. “Fee-only” means that we do not accept any remuneration other than the fees we charge to our clients for the services we provide. We do not sell financial products, nor do we receive any commissions or referral fees. At LWPM, our focus is on our clients.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is a nationally recognized organization of fee-only financial planning professionals. As a NAPFA-registered advisory firm, Lifetime Wealth adheres to NAPFA’s strict requirements for certification, which includes adhering to a fiduciary oath, maintaining 60 hours of continuing education, and submitting a peer-reviewed financial plan. As a NAPFA firm, the financial advisors of Lifetime Wealth have a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interest of our clients.
LWPM is strictly fee-only: the only compensation that we receive is from our clients. We charge asset-based management fees rather than retainer or net worth charges, although our services are comprehensive and include financial advice and planning as well as investment management. As LWPM provides comprehensive financial planning services for our clients as well as asset management services, we charge a minimum fee of $5,000 annually. This is equivalent to managing a $500,000 portfolio of assets. Our fee schedule is structured in a tiered manner: the first $1 million has a fee of 1% annually, with additional assets subject to a declining fee schedule.
Lifetime Wealth uses strategic asset allocation to develop a portfolio of very low-cost, institutional asset class mutual funds that is reviewed and rebalanced on a quarterly basis. We primarily use passively managed asset class, index and exchange-traded funds for our clients. When appropriate for the client, we will consider individual municipal and corporate bonds, Certificates of Deposit, and other fixed-income products, which we consider to be generally lower risk as compared to equities. Portfolios are globally diversified to include international developed and developing markets to reduce the correlation between portfolio asset classes.
LWPM believes that successful investing means not only capturing risks that generate expected return but reducing risks that do not. Avoidable risks include holding too few securities, betting on countries or industries, following market predictions, and relying on information from rating services to make investment decisions. LWPM avoids the risks previously described through our strict adherence to a very well diversified, global portfolio. LWPM also believes in reducing risk through inclusion of high quality, short-duration fixed income that is designed to reduce portfolio volatility: a specific measure of risk.
The investment strategy for a specific client is based on the objectives, income needs, and tax situation stated by the client during consultations. The client may change these objectives at any time. The client’s goals and objectives are recorded during meetings and via correspondence with the client. Each client portfolio is constructed solely for that client. Although we use model portfolios, each client portfolio will be constructed in a way that is unique for each client. We do utilize hypothetical portfolios for the purpose of illustrating risk in a particular portfolio. All hypothetical portfolios are fully described in the client’s Investment Policy Statement including the methods used in calculating hypothetical performance net of fees.
Lifetime Wealth advisors believe that it is crucial for us to get to know our clients as individuals with unique circumstances, value sets, and goals. We begin this process with a complimentary meeting to make sure we are a good fit and to learn your needs and objectives as well as your expectations of a financial planner. When both you and the advisor are comfortable with the chemistry and services to be provided, we move forward. After the initial discovery process has been completed, we create your Investment Policy Statement (IPS). The IPS identifies your specific goals and objectives and the assets that you will use to achieve those goals. Your IPS outlines, in writing, how your investment portfolio will be managed to maximize the probability of achieving your goals. To schedule a meeting, please contact LWPM’s Director of Client Services, Liz Gillette, at 301.567.0706 or Liz@LTWealth.com.