Frequently asked questions
What services do you provide?
- I provide three main services:
- Financial planning
- Investment management
- Insurance solutions
- The financial planning will cost a fee (prices are toward end).
- The investment management will cost a fee.
- Purchasing insurance with me doesn’t cost you additional over the cost to buy the policy. I am paid commissions from the insurance companies on those types of products.
- You can do all three services or just one or two.
Is North Star privately held or publicly traded?
We are the largest privately-held financial services firm in the country* with roots tracing back to 1908. We have no shareholders.
*Finseca (formerly GAMA International) ranking, 2017
Are you a fiduciary?
When a client enters into a financial planning agreement with me or if I’m managing their investment account for a fee, we enter into a Fiduciary agreement. Which means, by law, I am required to put your interests first.
What is the difference between a fiduciary and a non-fiduciary advisor?
When working as a fiduciary, you must put the client’s interest first.
A non-fiduciary advisor often works off strictly commission from the sale of products. Their recommendations must meet a suitability standard.
For example, let’s say there are two identical products from a benefits standpoint, but one of them will cost you 2x more than the other. The non-fiduciary advisor could sell you the product that costs 2x more, and it could still be considered suitable. A fiduciary advisor would have to consider whether the product that costs 2x more would benefit you in some way not offered by the cheaper product. If it doesn’t, we cannot make that recommendation.
Because we are a full-service firm and provide multiple different services, there is a difference in the services from a fiduciary standpoint. For example, for financial planning and managing investments for a fee, we are a fiduciary.
When we help with insurance/brokerage services, currently those products and services are held to the suitability standard.
Do I have to have money to invest to work with you?
You do not. I believe most of my value comes from giving you the right advice at the right time on your overall financial picture. Sometimes I work with clients on just getting their finances in order and starting a budget.
I use the analogy of hiring a personal trainer. You don’t go to the gym on your own to get in shape and then hire a trainer, you go to a trainer who will get you in much faster shape than if you were to do it on your own.
Same thing with finances, you don’t try to get to a perfect financial place before hiring a financial planner. They will help you get things in order so that you can start building wealth sooner than if you were to try on your own. On several occasions, my advice has nothing to do with investing. You may need help with a budget, figuring your student loans out, how much to spend on a house, how to best structure your mortgage, advice on a car buying, changing professions or starting a new business, starting a family, which college savings accounts to use, are you saving enough for retirement, are you investing in the 401k and does the asset allocation fit your risk tolerance, how much cash should you have, where should you keep your cash, when can you go part-time or fully retire, the list goes on and on. Anything and everything is on the table when we work together.
Does North Star sell its own insurance or investment products?
We do not. We do not have any North Star products. When someone comes to us whether it’s for investing or insurance, they will never be sold a North Star product
We shop out the marketplace to find you appropriate vehicles
The insurance vehicles we can offer are:
- Long term care
We work with a firm who also offers the following:
- Any other property and casualty coverage such as watercrafts, four-wheelers, etc.
- Medicare supplement
Why should I work with you?
- To reduce complexity. The internet has given people access to information like never before. How does the non-expert decipher what is appropriate advice for their personal situation? Google any financial topic and you will find 1 person boldly proclaiming, “Why everyone should have X product” and you’ll find another person saying, “Never buy X product”. People who provide advice on the internet are trying to attract the masses. They cannot provide a personal financial plan that is perfect for you. It is called personal finance for a reason.
- To take action. The good news is that the secret to success is not that complicated. The bad news is it’s harder to take action. Eat better and workout more. Save more and spend less. Read more books and you’ll be smarter. These are things that we all know we NEED to do but it’s a heck of a lot easier to eat fast food, one-click spend on Amazon, and watch Netflix instead of reading a book. My clients choose to act. Sometimes I must gently remind them, but nonetheless, they act. Like any professional athlete, they need a coach/trainer to get to the next level. I will help you get to the next level, so you can enjoy your finances vs. stress about them.
- To save time. You could easily look up and research the things that I know. Let’s assume that you are getting your information from reputable sources on the internet. My clients work with me because they don’t have the time to do the research. Just me alone, spent 4 years studying finance in college. I spent 6 months studying for my licenses and registrations necessary to do this job. I spent the first 4 years of my career studying under a Senior Partner and yet I still don’t consider myself an expert in every single aspect of financial planning. We have a team of six Investment Specialists who had to pass three exams that have a fail rate of around 50%. Behind the scenes, we have Chartered Financial Analysts (experts in investing), Lawyers, CPAs, Certified Financial Planners, insurance experts, etc. If you’d like to spend your time trying to become more knowledgeable than a firm that has roots going back to the early 1900s you are welcome to do so. I believe you’d rather spend that time either on sharpening your expertise in your profession where you can make a lot more or spending more time with your family.
- To offload unpleasantries. Some of you would rather watch paint dry than deal with your finances. No problem! That’s why people work with me is to offload what I find fascinating and they find repulsive.
- To increase confidence. My clients want to make sure they haven’t overlooked any important considerations that could end up disadvantaging them. We create a strategy that will make sure they should never run out of money even if they live well into their hundreds. The confidence and sense of security this brings is invaluable. When they know they are saving enough to be on track for their future, it gives them a sense of guilt-free pleasure to spend whatever remains in the current moment.
- To help answer life’s big questions. What savings account should I start for my kid? How much house can we afford, how could different types of mortgages affect my financial picture, how much can we afford to put down? Am I saving enough for retirement and will I be able to keep my same level of lifestyle in retirement? What insurances should I have or not have? These are questions that can be answered by analyzing the numbers but that only gets you so far. What really improves the quality of decision making is personalized advice from someone who knows your family history, your lifestyle preferences and your values.
- To receive encouragement. Encouragement is vital to clients who are trying to change longstanding habits. The societal pressures people face on a regular basis makes behavior change more difficult. Having someone there to keep you on the right path can go a long way to helping people persist.
Tanner, wow, you seem like an awesome guy who is super smart, I’d like to work with you but how much is this going to cost me?
(sorry for the bad joke)
For financial planning relationships, my clients agree to work with me for 12 months and can decide whether they want to continue beyond that at the end of the agreement.
- For financial planning:
- For first time clients, the fee ranges from $2,300-$4,000 per year depending on single, married, kids, retiree, etc.
- The fee is payable either monthly, quarterly or annually.
- Regardless of how you pay, it is a fixed cost for 12 months.
- I don’t put a limit on how many meetings you get per year, but I’d say on average it’s quarterly.
- In year two and beyond, if you choose to renew your plan it is typically $500-$1,000 less than year one.
- On a case-by-case basis, a specialized financial plan is available if you are not looking for a comprehensive financial plan.
- For example, you just want a student loan analysis, a look at your retirement funds, etc.
- The minimum for these services is $500.00.
- We typically meet just once or twice.
- Investment Management
- If you want us to manage your investments, which are not held in your 401k/403b, we typically charge 1% of the value that we are managing per year.
How do I sign up?!
Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get started!
Financial Advisors do not provide specific tax/legal advice and this information should not be considered as such. You should always consult your tax/legal advisor regarding your own specific tax/legal situation.