Frequently Asked Questions
Most of the following questions are asked by our clients at one time or another. We've tried to answer them here for you. However, if you have a question that hasn’t been answered, just send us your question in the contact us form and we'll try to clear it up for you.
Who are our clients?
Although almost everyone can benefit from financial planning, our preferred client is serious about financial success, has important financial goals and wants to contribute to the world around them. This provides the best potential for a rewarding client-advisor relationship.
Our clients also have a mature outlook on life – this is an attitude that is young enough to consider our advice and old enough to benefit from it. Typically, this client will be a professional, a retiree, an executive or business owner.
Our ideal client profile:
- A yearly income of $100,000 +
- A net worth of $500,000 +
- Has $25,000 + to invest each year
- Is looking for sound advice not just information
MPFA offers expert financial advice based on years of experience and knowledge. We are looking for clients that have significant financial resources, are open-minded and willing to learn new things. Also very importantly, this client will have something to care for and contribute to: a family, the community, someone or something other than only himself or herself.
What is Financial Planning?
Financial planning is a focused process that is used to define and prioritize financial goals and personal values. A good plan then develops effective and affordable means to pursue those goals. Experts agree that planning is the essential first step toward accomplishing both business and personal goals.
What can financial planning do for me?
You will learn a step by step process that clarifies your goals and gives you methodical ways of addressing them. You will learn of the roadblocks and dangers to be avoided as well as the new options and opportunities that lead in the direction you want to go. A financial plan not only helps you prioritize your financial goals, it uncovers your personal values and then identifies logical and affordable ways to live by them.
The knowledge that is gained through the planning process with a professional consultant is focused on new options and opportunities. This process may be the key to achieving your goals and objectives – AND the more limited your resources are, the more important these elements become.
Will it be worth my time and expense?
That is largely dependent upon the energy and commitment you are willing to bring to the process. As professionals, we will be a powerful resource for you, helping you get clear about what you want, and devise an effective plan that suits your temperament. We then will give you the proper steps to make it happen. While the results may be quantified in dollars, the real test is your level of satisfaction. If you're serious about what you want to achieve, we're with you all the way.
What does a comprehensive financial plan cover?
A Comprehensive financial plan covers the full scope of financial needs, including each of the following areas:
- Personal Financial Goals and Philosophy
- Resources Management
- Debt Management
- Special Needs Planning (for someone incapacitated or disabled)
- Risk Management and Insurance
- Tax Planning
- Retirement Planning
- Education Planning
- Estate and Legacy Planning
- Investment Policy and Strategies
Do I need a comprehensive financial plan?
That is largely dependent upon where you are and in what stage in life. A comprehensive financial plan may not be necessary. You can focus on one part of the planning process at a time and gradually, over time, complete the steps appropriate to your goals, needs and circumstances. Sometimes, jumping in with both feet is the most effective way to see results.
Does the program address sophisticated tax and estate planning needs?
Tax and Estate planning are unfortunately often treated superficially as simply a matter of money. We understand that you have long term values that underlie the discussion of taxes, money and estate. Often, people don’t know how to address these issues. To establish guidelines for the future, we help clients create their own Personal or Family Financial Philosophy and Legacy Plan.
I have some very special needs. Will the plan take these into consideration?
Of course. Our starting place is to find out what concerns you. Once we have done that, we can find the resources and bring to bear the skills which can address your problems and goals in ways which are appropriate and meaningful to you and your family. We take the time to tailor your plan to your needs.
What will I need to do to make it worthwhile?
There are several things you can do to forward your own success. Some of these will include gathering relevant information, committing to, defining and clarifying goals, creating time and energy to move through the planning process in a timely manner, making important decisions based on our recommendations, and very importantly, continuing with us in the monitoring process where we periodically review and track your progress and make any revisions necessary.
Does my spouse need to be involved?
Unless there is a serious reason why he/she cannot participate, we deem it critical to have both parties in the meetings and in the learning and decision-making process. Both spouses should be involved in the program so that both parties are competent should the other no longer be able to be involved.
Will it cause me to do things I don't want to do?
We never take control away from our clients and we never urge our clients to take any action with which they are uncomfortable. To our way of thinking, it isn't “right” until you understand the action, believe it's appropriate and can see how it fulfills a role in your plan.
Are there risks? How do I know the advice I get will be good advice?
People are exposed to risk every day. Our goal and purpose is to reduce your risk significantly while improving your overall financial situation. Obviously, we don't have a monopoly on knowledge and that is why, in many instances, we work with many of our clients’ other advisors to be sure that they get the highest quality service available. Risks do include possible loss of principal, and there is no guarantee against this.
Does the plan recommend specific products and services?
Yes. If it didn't, our clients would find themselves facing conflicting advice, fending for themselves in shark-infested waters. However, our recommendations are initially generic or categorical demonstrating the appropriate type of product or service which responds to the client's need or helps to solve a particular problem. We select specific products or services only after our clients understand the type of instrument it is and how it will facilitate the implementation of the plan.
In the final analysis, the choice of whether to accept or reject any recommendation, or how and with whom to implement it, is yours- and yours alone. The planner's job is to advise you in a competent, professional manner. If you don't understand our recommendations, don't proceed until you do.
Will it be confidential?
Yes. We take appropriate precautions to keep your files completely private. While we may consult with other professionals about particular matters, we observe your anonymity and confidence.
How do I keep my plan up-to-date?
It is just as important that you implement your plan, as it is that you meet with us periodically to review your plan and progress. These quarterly meetings give you the opportunity to ask questions, to address new matters and to contribute new inputs to your situation. They also give us the opportunity to address questions or concerns and to expand your knowledge and financial education. We are here to simplify and enhance understanding.
How will I review my progress?
You will have two permanent policy documents for reference.
- A Personal or Family Financial Philosophy
- An Investment Policy Statement
These, together with your initial financial statement, will be checked periodically to determine your progress and to get perspective on what you have achieved. Over time, it is likely that your goals and values will change and your planning documents will need to be modified and updated to reflect those changes.