Upperline Featured in the Wall St. Journal!

Another exciting day in the news for Upperline Financial Planning!  We were proud to be featured in a story that ran yesterday on the topic of How to Pay Your Financial Adviser.  It’s nice to be recognized for going about business in a new way and making it work.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that we’re a little bit different in the financial world.  We don’t charge clients using traditional methods of a set percentage of assets we manage, and we don’t earn any commissions, ever.  I’ve always felt that the traditional process of charging based on the assets we manage as advisors creates a conflict of interest that gets in the way of our client relationships.  When we charge solely based on the assets we manage, it can affect the way both client and advisor make decisions as well as color some of our conversations about your money.  These relationships work best when we have as few barriers as possible, and that’s what I was seeking when I started Upperline.

So how do we get paid?  Here are the details.

The full package – the Capstone program.

As we become more successful in our financial lives, things don’t get simpler, they get more complicated.  It can be difficult to keep track of all of the different moving parts and even harder to make them work well together.  In the Capstone program, we work with clients to have a full overview of their financial lives.  We have conversations about your vision for your life and goals for the future, and then look at each of the different pieces of your financial life to make sure they’re all working for you, towards your goals.  We work with you to craft a financial plan, covering all of the goals we discussed during the Vision process, review your insurance policies, investments, tax strategies, and estate planning documents.  We work seamlessly with your other advisors (or help you find them if you need recommendations) so you can focus on living your life while the details of your financial situation are being handled.  We help you simplify your life and make sure you’re as organized as possible with your financial paperwork.

That sounds like a lot, and it is.  It’s not a one-time event, it’s an ongoing conversation and relationship.  For that, we charge an annual retainer that is based on your income, net worth, and the complexity of your financial situation.  That amount covers our entire relationship.  If we help you with asset management or insurance, there may be additional fees associated with them, but we don’t get paid a single cent more, and you will always know every penny that you’re paying and exactly what it is for.

Our fee is not an insignificant amount of money.  We realize that.  We also think it makes professional advice accessible to more clients than a traditional asset management arrangement with high minimum investments, and without the massive conflicts of interest that come from commissions on products.

We only get paid by our clients.  Our only financial interest is serving yours.

Just need the basics?  Our Cornerstone program is for you.

Not every person I meet with needs a large, comprehensive financial plan.  Many people could really just use some help with the basics of understanding their spending, making sure they’ve got a good cash cushion, managing their debt, and understanding their net worth and how the financial decisions they’re making now will affect it over time.  For those clients, the Cornerstone program costs $1,000 per year (or $100 per month if paid monthly) and includes all of our meetings, phone calls, emails, etc.  This is a great way to get started with a professional advisor.

Not sure one of the above is right for you?  We offer Hourly or Project-Fee arrangements.  

When the circumstances are right, we do work with clients on an hourly or project-fee basis.  We’re not a big fan of hourly fee arrangements because they can lead to clients being reluctant to pick up the phone because they don’t want to get a bill in the mail next month for the time.  There are circumstances where it can make sense and we’re open to that.  Our hourly rate for Financial Planner time is $200 per hour, and for administrative time it is $75 per hour.

Have Questions?  Let’s talk.

We don’t believe in the high-pressure sales tactics that some associate with our industry.  Our initial meeting is always free so we can get to know you and you can get to know us.  You won’t be asked to make any decisions or sign anything at this meeting.  You should have the chance to talk about things and sleep on it, and we will take that time as well to reflect on if we think we can help you meet your goals.  We will follow-up with you in 48 hours and if we both agree that there’s a fit, then we can take care of the paperwork.  Contact us and let’s have a conversation.