Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

What is financial planning anyway? That's just investments, right?

Financial planning is the most important part of our process. It’s what connects the dots between the numerous considerations involved with your personal finances: cash-flow, employee benefits, estate, investments, risk management, taxes, and more.

If you’re like most of our clients, you want to work with us because you’re facing a critical money moment — a change in your financial situation that’s important and deserving of serious consideration but potentially too complex and too time-consuming to navigate alone. Our clients continue to work with us because these moments occur consistently and frequently enough that a well-defined financial plan and ongoing guidance from your very own personal finance expert becomes indispensable and extremely valuable.

Our financial planning process is organized and thorough. While you’ll still commit time to the process, you’ll face far fewer dead ends in your decision making and have the confidence to move forward with the complex made simple. It’s through the lens of your financial plan that we provide you with actionable recommendations and aid you in implementing them, including the management of your investment accounts and the preparation of your tax return. 

How will my investments be managed?

That depends:

• If we manage your account(s) for you at TD Ameritrade, generally we will follow a process that matches your investment time horizon, tolerance for risk, and need for income or growth with a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs). We’ll create an investment policy statement for you that we’ll offer to review semi-annually, and we’ll strategically rebalance your account on a quarterly basis.

• If you use Betterment, Betterment can tell you all about it. In general, Betterment’s use of low-cost exchange traded-funds (ETFs) with a focus on the things you can control — like the amount of risk you take — aligns with our firm-wide investment philosophy.

What if I already use Betterment; can I still get a discount as your client?

Yes. We have been provided specific instructions from Betterment on what you need to send to them in order to move to Financial Planning Fort Collins. After you sign up with us, we will provide you with the exact information you need to send to Betterment. This process involves no paperwork and doesn’t trigger any account changes. We cannot promise that this will always be the case, but we will update this answer if it changes.

Will I get the same Betterment experience?

Yep. Same 5-star app, same website, same Betterment. When you become our client on the Betterment for Advisors platform, one of the only differences you’ll notice is our name, logo, and contact information. You’ll only need that information if you need help with your financial planning. Otherwise, you’ll work with Betterment in exactly the same way as you would otherwise.

What about my 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan account(s)?

We will work with you to evaluate your available plan options and help you invest your account(s) consistent with your investment policy statement. Because plans vary from employer to employer, we’re generally unable to provide the same level of direct management that we would be able to otherwise. In all cases, we will do what we can to make sure that your investment portfolio is consistent with your needs across all of your accounts.

Will you prepare my taxes?

Yes. Income tax preparation is included for all comprehensive services clients at no additional charge. We consider your current and near-term future tax filing requirements at the beginning of our relationship and structure your services proposal accordingly.

What if I already have a tax preparer?

If you work with another tax professional, we’re happy to collaborate with them. Depending on your situation, this may create more or less complexity but, in either case, we’ll work hard to provide you an exceptional experience.

How do you help me with budgeting?

We will work with you to properly plan your cash flow. We start by adding your information into our Budget Plan Worksheet. Then our team will analyze and develop recommendations for your unique situation to help you meet your financial goals. To help you keep an eye on your budget, we’ll also reimburse your subscription to the popular You Need A Budget (YNAB) app.

How often will you meet with me?

As a comprehensive services client, you will have access to unlimited meeting and consultation time, so the answer to this question can vary. We will proactively invite you to a semi-annual investment portfolio review and an annual financial plan review. We’ll also prompt you for additional opportunities to get together when you need more help and join you at other meetings important to your finances. Scheduling is easy — just find a time that works for you.

Your fee seems high. Why do you charge so much?

For the value we provide, we think our fee is very reasonable. We’ve discovered that it can be difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison between our simple, fair, and transparent flat-dollar fee and the fees charged by the financial advice industry at large. Most costs and compensation for other advisors, brokers, and agents are buried in percentage formulas, commissions, and fine-print. We understand that you may be able to find comparable services for a lower price from other sources, however, there are many cases when our fee can be at or below the total costs you may already pay.

How do you determine what my fee will be, and how often does it change?

We base our pricing on the complexity of your needs and situation. The primary proxy we use for complexity is your investable net worth, which is generally your total net worth, excluding your primary residence. We also consider several other factors in determining the complexity of your situation. You can see examples in our Form ADV Part 2A, Item 5, under the section titled “Complexity.” We review fees together with clients every two years.

What about a fee for investment management? You charge more for that, right?

No. We do not charge an additional fee for investment management for comprehensive services clients. We manage clients’ investment accounts at TD Ameritrade for no additional charge. Optionally, clients can use Betterment, and Betterment will charge an annual fee of 0.15% of the amount you have invested with them (by the way, that’s a 40% discount off of their already low annual fee of 0.25%).

Can you bill my fees to my investment accounts?

Yes. We are able to accept check, credit card, or electronic funds transfer for the payment of fees we bill to you. This includes the debiting of accounts at TD Ameritrade or Betterment.

How often do I pay?

Monthly or quarterly. Generally, clients paying from their cash flow will pay monthly while clients paying from their investment account(s) will pay quarterly.

How long am I locked into a contract? What happens if I cancel?

Our client agreements require no term commitment, and you can cancel at any time without a penalty.

• If you cancel in the middle of a billing period and you paid your fee in advance, you will receive a refund based on the number of days remaining in the billing period. If you pay your fee in arrears, you will have a balance due.

• If you cancel, your investment accounts with Betterment and/or TD Ameritrade will be seamlessly migrated to the Betterment and/or TD Ameritrade retail platforms, respectively (at then-current retail pricing).

• If you cancel, you will no longer be eligible to have your tax return prepared by Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC, for no additional charge.

• If you cancel, you will lose access to our personal finance learning modules, our client dashboard, and our financial planning app.

• If you cancel, you will no longer receive reimbursement for subscriptions to YNAB and/or Everplans.

Why do you need non-public, sensitive information from me when I sign up as a client?

We need your information because we’re required by our regulators to know who you are and we need to have at least a general idea about your finances as a starting point. Of course, we will let you know what’s new with us and send you our latest blog articles, but we will never sell your data to a third party or use it in any way that’s inconsistent with our privacy policy. Betterment and TD Ameritrade maintain a separate privacy policy, and you will need to agree to it if you invest with either.

How do you protect my information?

We maintain a data security program and policy that we’re very serious about. We always use encrypted means to transmit and store your data. In addition to vetting our vendors for adherence to industry-leading data security practices, we also carefully implement our user access, including procedures for employee and contractor background checks, the use of multi-factor authentication, and need to know standards for data access.

How do I sign up?

General

I don’t live near Fort Collins. Can I work with you?

Yes! We are able to work with clients in states where we are registered or exempt from registration. We are currently registered in the states of Colorado and California, conditionally registered in the state of Texas, and exempt from registration in all other states, except for Louisiana. Working with Financial Planning Fort Collins, your search doesn’t need to be limited to the “best financial planner near me.”

Are you a fiduciary?

Yes! In fact, we are so passionate about our unwavering fiduciary duty to our clients that we have trademarked the term “Your Full-Time Fiduciary™.” Some financial professionals act as fiduciaries when giving advice about certain accounts or products and not others. To prevent confusion for our clients, we never “switch hats” in this or any way.

How do you get paid?

As a fee-only firm, we are paid by our clients and only by our clients. We do not accept commissions from any other companies for any financial product sales or for anything else, so you can be confident that you’re receiving advice that fits and can improve your life — not our bottom line.

What kind of people do you serve?

Our Certified Financial Planner professionals have experience working with clients of all ages and backgrounds. We especially enjoy working with employees of tax-exempt and public service organizations, as well as relocators and career-changers. In addition, we have unique experience serving members of Generations X and Y.

What makes Financial Planning Fort Collins different?

We have a well-rounded team of financial planners, each bringing certain skills and expertise to enhance our client experience. We are passionate about modern financial planning and focus on the planning process itself, tax preparation, behavioral finance, client engagement, investment management, budgeting, and technology.

Will I work with one person or a team?

You will have a dedicated Certified Financial Planner professional maintaining your client relationship and meeting with you. We use a collaborative approach to address our clients’ needs, so you may hear from other members of our team while we work together, but you will always have your dedicated CFP® pro involved.

Who is Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC? Why do I see that name sometimes?

Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC, is our legal-entity name. 

What’s with your logo?

In Fort Collins, a sight we see when looking toward the foothills is Horsetooth Rock. So the logo isn’t a blue umbrella but actually a silhouette of the rock formation that reminds us to go have fun outdoors.

Have a question we didn’t include on this list? Try the chat feature at the lower-left corner, schedule a free intro call, or reach out via our Contact page.