Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Planning

Fundamentals Of Financial Planning Covered

Why do I need a financial planner?

Financial planning is an important aspect of personal finance that can benefit individuals at all stages of life, from students just starting out to retirees looking to protect their assets.  For employees and business owners, financial planning can help maximize benefits, manage cash flow, and invest for growth.

Government workers often have unique retirement plans and benefits that require expert advice on topics such as pension income, investment allocation, and tax implications. Pre-retirees and retirees need to manage their retirement income, plan for healthcare expenses, and optimize their Social Security benefits.

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Why is personal financial planning important?

Financial planning is crucial for both businesses and individuals, but personal financial planning is especially important in today’s world. Personal financial planning is as unique as a fingerprint, tailored to fit the specific needs and goals of each individual. Just as no two fingerprints are the same, no two financial plans are identical.

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What is a fiduciary financial advisor?

A fiduciary financial advisor is a financial advisor who is obligated to act in the best interests of their clients and must disclose any potential conflicts of interest that may affect their recommendations. The benefit for a fiduciary financial advisor is that they are compensated for their time and expertise in providing financial advice.

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What is a fiduciary and are you one?

A fiduciary is a person or organization that is required to act in the best interests of their clients or beneficiaries. Fee-only financial advisors are often fiduciaries.

This means they must prioritize their clients’ needs and interests above their own, and clearly  disclose any conflicts of interest that may interfere with their ability to do so fiduciaries are commonly found in the financial and legal industries, where they are entrusted with managing other people’s money or assets.

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What is a fee-only financial advisor?

Financial advisors who operate under a fee-only compensation model are paid exclusively by their clients and do not receive any commissions or other incentives from the sale of financial products.

This helps mitigate common conflicts of interest and allows for more unbiased advice. Since fee-only advisors have no financial incentive to recommend one investment over another, they can focus solely on what is best for their clients.

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Are You Ready to Speak with a Financial Advisor?

Use our guide of questions that are essential to ask an advisor before you hire them.

20 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

Don’t make a mistake by working with the wrong financial advisor. Ask the right questions to determine if a financial advisor is right for you.

Fee-only is a type of compensation model used in the financial industry where a financial advisor or planner charges only a fee for their services and does not receive commissions or other forms of compensation from the sale of financial products like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or insurance.

Let’s say you are looking for a financial planner to help you create a retirement plan. You meet with two different financial planners, one who is fee-only and the other who is commission-based.

The fee-only financial planner charges you an hourly rate or a flat fee for their services, and is not compensated by commissions from the sale of financial products. They work with you to create a retirement plan that best fits your needs and goals, and their advice is solely focused on what is in your best interest.

On the other hand, the commission-based financial planner may also charge a fee for their services, but they also earn commissions from the sale of financial products like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or insurance.

This creates a potential conflict of interest, as the financial planner may be incentivized to recommend certain financial products that earn them a commission, even if they are not the best fit for your needs and goals.

A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is a financial firm that is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities regulators.  RIAs are held to a fiduciary standard of care, meaning they are required to act in the best interests of their clients. RIAs often offer fee-only investment management services, and may also provide financial planning services. 

At Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management, we are an SEC-registered RIA, which means that we are held to strict regulatory standards and must always act in our clients’ best interests.  Registration of an Investment Adviser does not imply any level of skill or training.

A NAPFA-registered financial advisor is a financial planner who has been vetted by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the standard bearing professional association for fee-only financial advisors.

They are also required to be true “fee-only” advisors, meaning they do not receive commissions or other incentives for recommending certain products or services. 

Registration with NAPFA requires 60 hours of continuing education every two years, which is twice that of the CFP® Board of Standards. NAPFA members are required to adhere to strict ethical and professional standards, including a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their clients. 

A financial advisor is a broad term that can refer to anyone who provides financial advice, while a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) is a specific type of financial advisor who has completed a rigorous education and certification process.

While not all financial advisors are CFP® professionals, working with a CFP® professional can provide confidence that you are receiving high-quality advice and comprehensive financial planning services. 

CFP®’s are held to a fiduciary standard of care and are required to act in the best interests of their clients and adhere to a strict code of ethics and professional conduct  Learn more about the benefits of working with a  CFP® professional.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional is a financial advisor who has completed a rigorous education and certification process, and has demonstrated competency in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement planning

CFP®s are held to a fiduciary standard of care and are required to act in the best interests of their clients Jon Powell, CFP®  is a financial advisor at Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management who specializes in helping clients with retirement planning, investment management, and tax planning. 

Jon maintains professional memberships with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA). He has over a decade of experience in the financial industry and is committed to providing personalized, objective advice to his clients.

The team at Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management includes experienced professionals who are committed to providing exceptional service to their clients.

Investment management refers to the professional management of investment assets, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, with the goal of achieving a specific investment objective for the benefit of the investor.

It involves the selection, monitoring, and evaluation of investments in order to optimize returns while managing risks.

Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management takes a disciplined and comprehensive approach to  investment management. We use a variety of investment vehicles including mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to create a custom investment portfolio for each client based on their needs and financial circumstances.

At Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management we believe in a long-term investment approach that is tailored to their clients’ goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Our investment philosophy is grounded in academic research and focuses on minimizing costs, tax efficiency, and maintaining a well-diversified portfolio.

Wealth management refers to the comprehensive management of an individual’s financial assets and investments, with the goal of achieving long-term financial security and wealth accumulation.

Wealth management services may include investment management, financial planning, tax planning, estate planning, and retirement planning. Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary advisory firm that offers comprehensive wealth management services to help clients achieve their financial goals.

We believe in providing objective and personalized advice to our clients and are committed to acting in their clients’ best interests.

When it comes to managing investments, our firm takes a hands-on, team-based approach. Our team is led by Derek and Jon, who have years of experience and expertise in the industry.

Rather than outsourcing the management of investments to third-party firms, we prefer to take a more personalized approach applying our investment strategies first-hand.

We use a variety of investment vehicles to build portfolios for our clients. These selections are made internally by our team, based on extensive academic research, economic data, and other relevant factors.

While other advisors act as liaisons between clients and their investment team, they do not personally manage their investments. But, with Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management, Jon or Derek personally oversee and control each client’s portfolio, making decisions based on their unique financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance.

Our investment process is thorough and well-researched, and we take great care to ensure that each investment decision is carefully considered and backed by sound analysis.

By keeping the management of investments in-house and under the direct control of our experienced team, we are able to provide a high level of service and accountability to our clients.

After creating a comprehensive financial plan for a client, Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management will work with the client to develop an implementation strategy that aligns with their goals and objectives. This may involve:

  • Identifying investment opportunities: We will work with the client to identify suitable investment opportunities that align with their goals and risk tolerance. They will also help the client understand the potential risks and benefits of each investment opportunity.
  • Establishing an investment portfolio: Once the investment opportunities have been identified, we will work with the client to establish an investment portfolio that aligns with their financial plan. This may involve selecting a mix of investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  • Reviewing and adjusting the portfolio: We will regularly review the client’s investment portfolio to ensure it is performing as expected and to make any necessary adjustments based on changes in the market or the client’s financial situation.
  • Implementing tax planning strategies: We may also help the client implement tax planning strategies to minimize the impact of taxes on their investments and overall financial plan.
  • Coordinating with other professionals: We may work with other professionals, such as attorneys or accountants, to ensure that the client’s financial plan is fully implemented and aligned with their overall estate and tax planning needs.

Overall, we can provide ongoing guidance and support to help clients implement and adjust their financial plans over time. The specific approach and services provided may vary depending on the client’s unique financial situation and goals.

Read more about our financial planning process.

Tax planning is an important part of a comprehensive financial plan, some tax planning services that we offer include:

  • Tax-efficient investing strategies: We help the client select investments that are tax-efficient and minimize the impact of taxes on their overall investment returns.
  • Retirement account planning: We help the client optimize their contributions to retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s or IRAs, to maximize tax benefits and minimize taxes in retirement. When it comes time to distribute from retirement accounts, we help determine which accounts to draw from at which times aiming to minimize lifetime tax burden.
  • Estate planning: We work with the client to develop an estate plan that minimizes the impact of taxes on their estate and provides for their heirs in a tax-efficient manner.
  • Charitable giving strategies: We help the client develop charitable giving strategies that maximize tax benefits and support causes that align with their values.
  •  Tax-loss harvesting: We use tax-loss harvesting strategies to offset gains in the client’s portfolio and minimize the impact of taxes on their overall investment returns.

Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management offers two pricing services: bundled investment advisory services and limited engagement financial planning services.

Bundled investment advisory services include portfolio management, financial planning, behavioral counseling, and an advisor, all under one fee based on the assets under management. We charge a percentage of assets under management (AUM) at a rate between 1% to 0.60% per year, depending on portfolio size, with a minimum asset requirement of $250,000 to be managed by Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management to begin a relationship for this bundled investment advisory service.                         

Assets Under Management Annual Fee
First $1,000,000      1.00%
$1,000,000 – $3,000,000 0.75%
$3,000,000 + 0.60%

For example, if a client has $500,000 in assets being managed by Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management, and the fee is 1%, the annual fee charged by the firm would be $5,000. If the client’s assets increase to $2,500,000, and the fee is 0.75%, the annual fee charged would be $18,750.

The advantage of this fee structure is that it aligns the interests of the financial advisor or wealth management firm with those of the client.

As the value of the client’s assets increases, so does the advisor’s compensation. This structure also incentivizes the advisor to manage the assets effectively and seek out opportunities for growth and diversification, as they benefit from the increased value of the assets.

Limited engagement financial planning services are available at an hourly rate of $300 for clients with specific needs or who don’t meet the asset requirement. A comprehensive financial plan typically costs between $3,000 to $7,000. We can negotiate fees based on individual situations. 

At Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management, we understand that every client’s financial situation is unique. That’s why we offer personalized pricing services to help our clients achieve their financial goals. Let us help you tailor a plan that fits your financial goals.

To learn more about our fee structure click here.

At Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management, our team has the qualifications and expertise to provide comprehensive financial advice and investment management services.

Our Principal and Director, Derek Johnson, holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designation, indicating his specialized knowledge in retirement planning. 

Our financial planner and portfolio manager, Jon Powell, is a Certified Financial Planner™  (CFP®), which demonstrates his expertise in various areas of financial planning.

Importantly, Stacie Ricketts, our financial operations manager, ensures that our daily operations run smoothly, from processing forms and account openings to managing transfers and disbursements.

With our team’s combined experience and qualifications, we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve their financial goals and objectives. Whether you need assistance with retirement planning, investment management, or other financial planning needs, we are here to help. 

Read more about our team.

Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management can potentially benefit individuals who:

  • Want a customized financial plan tailored to their unique needs and goals.
  • Want ongoing guidance and support to manage their finances, investments, and taxes.
  • Want to optimize their investment portfolio for long-term growth and tax efficiency.
  • Want to plan for retirement, education, or other major life events.
  • Want to minimize the impact of taxes on their investments and overall financial plan.
  • Retirees, Pre retirees and Government workers.

Our on-going wealth management and financial planning services require a minimum of $250,000 to be placed under the advisement of Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management to begin an initial relationship.

However, we do not restrict the services we offer based on account size. All of our clients are provided full access to our team and our services as on-going clients of Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management.

While Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management can potentially benefit many individuals, there may be some who are not a good fit for their services. Here are a few examples:

  • Those who are not comfortable delegating financial decisions and prefer to manage their own finances.
  • Those who have a short-term investment horizon and are not interested in a long-term investment strategy.
  • Those who are looking for a stock-picker or expecting to avoid losses by timing the market.

It’s important to note that these examples may not apply to everyone and that each individual’s financial situation is unique. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate your own financial needs, goals, and preferences when deciding whether Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management is a good fit for you.

We want you to have peace of mind in knowing that your money stays with established institutions that you can trust. Ferguson-Johnson does not hold our clients’ money or have direct access to their accounts.

Instead, clients typically open accounts with qualified custodial firms, such as Fidelity, and then grant us “discretionary authority” to manage the accounts on their behalf. This means that we can buy and sell securities within the account, but do not have the ability to withdraw funds or transfer money out of the account.

Clients retain full ownership and control of their accounts at all times, and can revoke the advisor’s discretionary authority at any time if they are not satisfied with the management of their assets.

We appreciate the opportunity to interact with our clients in person, as we believe that it enables us to better understand their unique needs and provide tailored solutions.

However, we understand that our clients’ time is valuable, and they may find it challenging to visit our offices for meetings. In such cases, we are pleased to offer the option of video conference or phone meetings.

Take a look at our online calendar to find a consultation time that fits in your schedule.

We have found that during the initial year of engagement, it is beneficial to meet in-person as much as possible to establish a strong foundation for our partnership. 

Ferguson-Johnson Wealth Management, typically meet with their clients regularly to review their investment portfolios, discuss changes in their financial situations, and assess whether their investment strategies are still aligned with their goals and risk tolerance.

The frequency of these meetings can vary depending on the client’s needs and preferences. For clients who are just starting out or have more complex financial situations, more frequent meetings may be necessary to establish a solid foundation and ensure that their investment strategies and financial plan are well-suited to their needs. 

As clients become more familiar with their advisors and investment strategies, and as their financial situations become more stable, the frequency of meetings may be reduced to once or twice a year.

Ultimately, the goal is to strike a balance between regular communication and providing clients with the time and space they need to focus on their personal and professional lives.

By maintaining open lines of communication and regular check-ins, we help clients stay on track towards their financial goals and ensure that their investment portfolios are working effectively for them.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.

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