A financial review doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. With the Portfolio 2nd Opinion, it’s not.
What Does A Financial Review Cost?
For a one-time financial review, you pay a one-time fee: $1,725. Additional in-depth work (many clients don’t need this) and returning clients are billed at $350 an hour. That’s it.
There are no ongoing fees. No monthly or annual subscription commitments. No assets under management (AUM) billing. No commissions. Just a single, transparent fee for easy-to-understand advice.
What Do I Get for My Money?
The Portfolio 2nd Opinion shows you – in plain English – what you can do to meet your financial goals.
In addition to providing you with a model of a simple, low-cost three- or four-fund index fund portfolio that you can implement yourself, we look at other important areas of your financial life too.
This not only helps us create a well-informed investment plan for you, but also sheds light on some financial planning blind spots you might have missed.
How Does this Process Work?
The Portfolio 2nd Opinion consists of three simple steps.
Step 1. Complimentary Introductory Call – 15 minutes
During this short call, I’ll review the three-step process for the Portfolio 2nd Opinion and answer any questions you may have. If we decide we should work together, you schedule step 2, the phone consultation.
Step 2. Phone Consultation – Up to Two Hours
During our call, we will discuss where you are today, and where you want to be. We’ll review the areas of retirement saving, tax planning, asset location, tax-efficient fund placement, investments, retirement distributions, estate planning, insurance, and more.
Step 3. Portfolio 2nd Opinion Write-Up Delivery – Three-Day Turn-Around
Within three days of our call, you will receive the Portfolio 2nd Opinion write-up. This document outlines what you can do to improve your finances.
Is the Portfolio 2nd Opinion Right for Me?
The Portfolio 2nd Opinion works best for self-motivated people who want to manage their own investments. By not hiring a financial advisor to check each box of their financial to-do list, people can save money with this easy and quick financial review.
This service works best for those investors who understand (or are interested in learning) the tried-and-true keys to successful investing:
- keeping costs low,
- diversification, and
- sticking with your investments – no matter what the market does.
Can I See a Sample Financial Review?
You can download sample financial reviews for do-it-yourself (DIY) investors below.
How Do I Get Started?
Schedule a 15-minute complimentary introductory call.
More Frequently Asked Questions
What if I have follow-up questions? When do I pay $350/hour?
The $350/hour rate applies to future engagements, or complex client-specific calculations, such as:
- tax-efficient fund placement,
- security-by-security instructions on selling investments from a taxable account to minimize taxes, risk, and fund fees, or
- tax-efficient account distributions.
Otherwise, I provide general guidance, strategies, and resources on making those calculations yourself.
Said another way: if I can answer your questions during our call, there is no additional charge. If you want me to go through a spreadsheet exercise or dig into tax planning software following our call, the additional charge of $350/hour applies.
There’s no deadline to choose this additional service. Most clients are satisfied with the general guidance I can offer during the initial engagement, and therefore are only charged the $1,725. If you later decide you want additional help, you can pay for that service then.
Is the Portfolio 2nd Opinion a comprehensive financial plan or a portfolio analysis?
The Portfolio 2nd Opinion is not a comprehensive financial plan. However, to design the right stock/bond mix for you, we will look at many pieces of your financial life, including:
- tracking spending and your rainy day (emergency) fund;
- life, disability and umbrella insurance (with additional property & casualty insurance advice included in the write-up);
- tax-saving opportunities, including maximizing contributions to tax-advantaged accounts and tax-efficient distribution strategies in retirement;
- Social Security retirement benefit claiming strategies;
- living off your portfolio in retirement (i.e., sustainable distribution rates); and
- ensuring you have completed your estate planning.
Looking at your financial life broadly not only gives us the critical information for putting together an investment plan for you, but also helps us find your financial planning blind spots.
Do you provide investment advice for someone like myself?
In the write-up, most clients receive a simple three- or four-fund portfolio recommendation. The write-up details precisely which mutual funds (or ETFs) to pick, and what amount (%). A single fund (such as a target-date fund or balanced fund) could also be appropriate for some clients.
To be clear, I will not be managing your investments or investing money on your behalf. However, if you’re not comfortable managing your investments yourself, we can discuss how to outsource investment to a low-cost professional.
How do you analyze a client’s plan in two hours? Do you do an analysis before the call?
I review client uploads before each call. Depending upon the volume of the uploads, I can spend up to two hours on pre-call prep. Including a pre-call review, the call, and the write-up afterward, I spend an average of six to eight hours on a client engagement.
I document takeaways in the write-up (following the call) that clients can read at their leisure.
Do you look at a client’s insurance coverages for gaps?
On the call, we look at life, disability, and umbrella insurance gaps, and – if appropriate – long-term care insurance. In the write-up, I also cover auto and homeowner’s insurance.
Do you look at tax-savings strategies?
We can discuss tax-loss harvesting, tax-advantaged investments accounts (401(k), HSA, IRA, and 529), and asset location. If appropriate, we cover early-retirement strategies, investment liquidations, tax-efficient giving, tax-efficient distributions, and Roth conversions.
We’ll focus primarily on federal taxes, and not state or local taxes.
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, I have a broad array of subject matter expertise, although investment management is my specialty. As I’m not a tax professional, I recommend you have any tax strategies approved by a tax expert before implementing that advice yourself.
Can you advise us about Roth conversions and sequencing distributions from the various types of accounts?
We cover strategies for tax-efficient distributions, including partial Roth conversions and tax-gain harvesting – all while keeping the tax brackets and IRMAA issues in mind.
If you have unrealized gains in a taxable account, and you want specific advice on precisely which positions to sell and which tax year to sell them (as opposed to a general strategy for managing that process yourself), I can provide that service at the rate of $350/hour. Otherwise, everything is included in the one-time fee of $1,725.
The same applies to tax-efficient distributions. A general strategy is provided (convert/distribute up to the top of the tax bracket). If you want me to calculate the precise amount to convert each year, I can do so at the hourly rate of $350/hour.
Do you do a Monte Carlo analysis?
There are issues with a Monte Carlo analysis, including problematic correlations between asset classes, no consideration for mean reversion in markets, and arguably overly optimistic assumptions about future returns.
We focus on distribution rates when determining a retirement plan’s viability – relying on the research (linked in the write-up) that suggests what is sustainable.
If you need a Monte Carlo analysis, I’m not the right financial planner for you.
Will you tell me which trust (ILIT, SLAT, or CRAT) is right for me?
You will want to work with an estate attorney to help you decide which trust is right for you.
During our call, I’ll ask whether you’ve created – or recently reviewed – your estate planning documents and beneficiary designations. We’ll also discuss other estate planning best practices, such as creating and sharing an emergency letter.
I have a question about where long-term care insurance comes into the picture. Can you tell me which long-term care insurance policy to buy?
During our call, we will determine your need for long-term care insurance. We will answer the question, “Does it makes sense to self-fund?” When it comes to selecting a long-term care insurance policy, I can provide some general guidance, such as:
- the value of an inflation provision,
- using a larger deductible to decrease the cost of coverage,
- insurance company credit rating,
- purchasing only a worthwhile amount of coverage, and
- the value of traditional insurance over a hybrid policy.
I can also provide some options for shopping for long-term care insurance. However, I am not an expert on long-term care.
I am sitting on cash because I don’t know how, or am too scared, to invest in the market. Can you help me?
During our call, we can determine the most appropriate investment strategy. We can consider not only dollar-cost averaging, but also creating a stock/bond mix that best manages the risk to your retirement plan. That can include discussing if outsourcing management of your investments to a low-cost manager is best for you.
Are the investment managers you suggest vetted?
For those investors looking for investment management, we suggest a gentleman who was Rick Ferri’s lead portfolio manager for over ten years while Rick owned an investment company. If you decide outsourcing your investment management is the right move, this manager then implements the investment plan we provide in the write-up, conferring with us as needed.
Why do you charge $350/hour for custom strategies, such as tax-efficient fund placement?
To be fair to everyone.
Starting with one flat fee means more people can access advice at a lower cost. This is better than charging a higher price to everyone, charging for advice that some don’t want or need.
Not all clients need those additional services. Consider someone who has all their money in a tax-deferred account, for example.
Also, some clients truly enjoy doing those spreadsheet exercises themselves, or would rather save the money. Those clients only need general guidance on doing those calculations themselves, which is included in the flat fee of $1,725.