The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) suggests that these questions be asked of every financial planner you are considering engaging.
1. What education and experience do the principals of the firm have?
All principals have undergraduate degrees and some graduate degrees. In addition, all of the principals have financial planning or investment designations. Financial planners are Certified Financial Planners (CFP) and tax specialists. We have extensive experience in financial planning and investment management. Collectively, St. John principals have over 100 years of fee-only advisory experience. For complete biographies, please click here
.2. What continuing education in financial planning do you pursue?
In order to maintain our CFP® designation, we must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years. As members of NAFPA (The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors), our planning staff must complete 60 hours of continuing education every two years.
3. Do you have any disciplinary citations against you?
4. Will a principal or an associate work on my planning?
A principal will perform all plan development and investment recommendations and implementation. An associate may perform analytical and trading work.
5. What is included in your financial planning services?
We assist in the refinement of your goals and priorities and offer advice in the areas of cash management, debt financing, investment analysis and planning, tax planning, retirement and estate planning. See our Services
page for more details.6. Do you offer continuous ongoing advice regarding my financial affairs, including advice on non-investment financial issues?
Yes, our role is to act as your advisor and we encourage you to call on us at any time. In addition, you will receive quarterly investment update reports and your Personal Financial Plan will be scheduled for review and updating on an agreed upon schedule. Generally we will meet with you at least annually; typically a bit more frequently the first two years of our initial engagement. However, we will meet as often as is required during our long-term relationship at the client’s discretion.
7. Do you have access to my assets?
In our Investment Services model, we use Fidelity Institutional Brokerage and FTJ FundChoice to custody assets for clients. This allows us to implement and monitor your investment plan. We never have access to clients’ assets; rather we act as advisors making trades in the clients’ portfolios as agreed in the Investment Policy each Investment Management client signs and consents to.
8. How is your firm compensated?
We are a fee-only financial planning firm. We are compensated directly by our clients. We have no financial relationships with any other firms nor do we receive compensation of any kind from the sale of financial products.
9. Is your firm registered as an Investment Advisor?
Yes, we are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.