Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Please tell me about the financial planning process.
  2. How do you create this blueprint?
  3. Sounds like a lot of work!
  4. Who can benefit from your services?
  5. What is Fee-Only financial planning and why should that be important to me?
  6. I understand the benefits of working with a Fee-Only financial planner, but I might need to obtain financial products. How will I be able to do that?
  7. Does Hartman Financial Planning provide only comprehensive financial planning?
  8. My spouse and I are just beginning to build for our financial future. There is so much to learn! We need help and guidance to get started. Will you accept us a clients?
  9. I have already accumulated substantial assets and think I am doing quite well. But as I progress and build for the future, things seem to be getting more complicated. I want to be sure I am on track, but I don't always have the time or inclination to manage the myriad details by myself. Can you help me?
  10. I'm in charge of the retirement plans and employee benefits at my firm. I would like to increase the number of employees who participate in our benefits programs. How can you help us?
  11. What types of securities do you provide advice for?
  12. If I use Hartman Financial Planning to develop a financial plan, am I obligated to purchase the recommended products?
  13. Tell me about your investment philosophy.
  14. How do you select investments for a clients?
  15. How do you price your financial planning services?
  16. How much will my financial plan cost?
  17. Are your fees tax deductible?
  18. Once my financial plan is completed, will our relationship end?
  19. How can I get started?

1. Please tell me about the financial planning process. Financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important things: (1) An in-depth review of your current financial situation, and (2) a blueprint that shows you how to achieve your goals and objectives for the future. At Hartman Financial Planning, the financial planning process consists of seven distinct steps (see 7 Steps to Success for details on our unique financial planning process). It is important to remember that financial planning is a process . . . not an event.

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2. How do you create this blueprint? First, we focus on your goals, objectives, priorities and values. For instance: funding a quality education for your children and/or grandchildren may be an intermediate goal, and enjoying a secure financial future in your retirement years is likely to be one of your most important long-term goals. Then we do an in-depth review of your current financial situation --you may just be starting out, or you may be nearing your goal. Whatever your unique situation may be, everyone needs a periodic assessment of where they are on the road to meeting their financial goals. Next, you need to know how you can set about achieving (or continue working toward) your financial goals. By focusing on cash flow, investments, taxes, pensions and retirement plans, estate planning, insurance issues, savings opportunities and other general financial matters, we design a customized financial blueprint with your goals. Finally, to achieve the intended results, you must implement and monitor your plan. Whether this is done through our workshop series or one on one in our office, the process to create your blueprint is the same.

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3. Sounds like a lot of work! It may seem like that at first, but the good news is, if you follow your plan and maintain a disciplined approach, you can rest well knowing you can reach your stated goals. At Hartman Financial Planning, we try to make the process as easy as possible for you. We offer our services bundled, in a workshop series or ala carte-you choose the pace you are comfortable with. In addition to receiving professional advice on your most important financial concerns, we can also provide implementation and ongoing progress reviews.

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4. Who can benefit most from our services? Any individual seeking financial peace of mind can benefit from our services. We serve people at all income levels, from all walks of life. Clients have the flexibility to work with us through our workshop series, on a one-time occasion, as-needed periodically or an ongoing basis. We welcome clients who simply need a one-time financial consultation or a second opinion, as well as those who need comprehensive financial planning and monitoring services. In addition, any corporation or organization seeking quality, unbiased financial education for their employees or members can benefit from our financial education and workshop programs

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5. What is ''Fee-Only'' financial planning and why should that be important to me? With Fee-Only financial planning, all conflicts of interest regarding compensation are removed. Truly fee-only financial planners do not accept sales commissions of any kind and work solely for you, the client. Because we do not sell financial products such as investments and insurance, there are no third-party relationships or outside influences to color our thinking and financial recommendations. For more information on Fee-Only financial planning, including our Code of Ethics, Fiduciary Code and member requirements, please visit www.NAPFA.org.

In addition, our firm is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA); as such, we must comply with a host of regulations designed to protect the consumer. One important question you should always ask when considering a financial planner’s services: ''May I please have a copy of your ADV Part II?'' This document contains important information about the planner’s qualifications, fiduciary duties, history of any past violations, etc. We would be happy to send you a copy of our ADV Part II. Please contact us to request your copy.

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6. I understand the benefits of working with a Fee-Only financial planner, but I might need to obtain financial products. How will I be able to do that? While we do not sell financial products, we will offer specific recommendations and opinions regarding the purchase of the various financial products that may be appropriate for you. So, if you need to obtain an insurance policy or a new mortgage, invest into a portfolio of mutual funds, or find an estate planning attorney or tax professional, we can direct you to the resources you need and/or help you obtain these products and services. If appropriate, we can also help you implement your plan and set up your accounts. Of course, we are happy to work with any other professionals that you are currently using.

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7. Does Hartman Financial Planning provide only comprehensive financial planning? Clients have the flexibility to work with us through our workshop series, on a one-time occasion, as-needed periodically or an ongoing basis. Although a comprehensive financial plan can provide the greatest benefits, we offer our advisory services to your specific needs, ala carte, such as retirement planning, cash management and budgeting, investment analysis or college education funding.

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8. My spouse and I are just beginning to build for our financial future. There is so much to learn! We need help and guidance to get started. Will you accept us as clients? Certainly! You may meet with us one on one in our office or join us for our workshop series. The workshop series is designed to give a solid financial foundation at rates people starting out can afford. Some firms have income levels and/or net worth minimums but, at Hartman Financial Planning, we realize that everyone has financial needs. We are proud to work with people from all income levels, and all walks of life. Remember, ''You don't have to have a fortune to start building one.'' Call us today and let's get started.

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9. I have already accumulated substantial assets and think I am doing quite well. But as I progress and build for the future, things seem to be getting more complicated. I want to be sure I am on track, but I don’t always have the time or inclination to manage the myriad details by myself. Can you help me? Yes. People who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice will find our services appealing and beneficial. If you have a desire to simplify your financial affairs, our Ongoing Retainer Client Program may be right for you (see 7 Steps to Success.) If you are looking for a professional review or a second opinion to ensure you are on track, we can provide that, too.

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10. I’m in charge of the retirement plans and employee benefits at my firm. I would like to increase the number of employees who participate in our benefit programs. How can you help us? We can provide benefits at two levels. First, corporate education is key in building employee participation. Our financial planning team can custom-build an educational program for your company to help your people understand the benefits of your programs. Secondly, we can review your current plan to see if it is still the most appropriate plan for your current business. We can help you change your current plan or implement the best retirement plan for you company, if needed. Please call to discuss your specific needs.

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11. What types of securities do you provide advice for? We provide advice for all types of securities, including mutual funds, stocks (as they relate to your portfolio holdings), bonds, bank deposits, variable and fixed annuities, and limited partnerships. We also provide advice on mortgages, budgeting and cash flow issues, IRAs, 401(k), 403(b) and other retirement programs, stock options, life and disability insurance, etc. We also work with less common investment instruments such as as self-directed IRAs, and HSAs. If it has to do with money and finances, we can provide counseling, guidance and/or resources for you. Because we want our clients to know that they can call on us with any and all of their financial concerns, we have developed the slogan ''Creative Solutions for Today and Tomorrow.'' Clients are encouraged to call us when they have a major life event, such as a new job, a baby, a marriage or divorce, or if they are planning to buy a new home or start their own business. We also encourage our clients to call us with more common everyday questions, such as: ''How should I invest within my 401(k) or 403(b) plan?'', ''How can I reduce my taxes?'', ''What advice can you offer on refinancing my home?'', or ''How can I maximize my Flex Spending Account, Cafeteria Plan or Section 125 Plan at work?''

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12. If I use Hartman Financial Planning to develop a financial plan, am I obligated to purchase the recommended products? Absolutely not. We will offer recommendations which in our professional opinion will meet your needs and objectives, but you are under no obligation to purchase them. In today’s competitive market, it makes sense to shop around for the best available product or service. For instance, if you need to obtain a life insurance or disability policy, we will suggest the kind of policy, which riders and what amounts may be best for you. We will then direct you to a choice of companies that can provide a quality product at competitive prices for you. If you wish, we can help you purchase investments and/or set up your accounts with a third-party custodian such as a discount broker. Of course, we can work with your existing financial providers.

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13. Tell me about your investment philosophy. As financial planners and investment consultants, we believe in the following fundamental principals with regard to designing an investment portfolio and making specific recommendations: The purpose of a client’s investment portfolio is to fund current and/or future financial objectives. The design of the portfolio must take into account the client’s financial objectives, tolerance for risk, needs for current income or liquidity, and special considerations such as income and estate taxes. The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future. It is difference of opinion that makes a market. Investment and economic ''experts'' provided with the same information often come to different conclusions. We do not suggest that we can, or that any of the money or mutual fund managers that we recommend, will make the correct decision every time. We do believe, however, that studying the historic trends and relationships of investment classes and the philosophies and approaches of successful investment managers can provide valuable insight. The appropriate allocation of investment assets for your goals and risk tolerance is the most important component in developing an investment portfolio. We believe that having a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, following long-term buy-and-hold strategies, and having patience, will increase the likelihood that one will achieve their long-term financial objectives.

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14. How do you select investments for a client? Before we recommend any investment, we consider the current economic conditions, the outlook for that asset class or type of security and how this investment fits within your portfolio given your objectives and tolerance for risk. For equity investments, we focus primarily on the philosophies, experience and track record of the management team. With fixed income investments, we look for the best yield available for a given quality of security. As fiduciaries for our clients, we strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet your objectives, while being very conscious of total expenses and risk exposure.

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15. How do you price your financial planning services? The fees are based on the actual time involved in meeting with you in person or over the phone, researching and analyzing your current situation, and providing specific recommendations and implementation assistance (if appropriate). Hourly rates are $150-200 per hour for services rendered by a Registered Investment Advisor. Ongoing retainer clients pay a flat fee depending on the complexity of their situation and our estimate of the time required to properly meet retainer client needs.

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16. How much will my financial plan cost? Financial planning fees are determined on a project basis; the total fee for a financial plan will vary from client to client based on the specific needs and complexity of your situation (please see our diagram 7 Steps to Success to learn about our financial planning sequence and the client service options available). An estimate is provided after the Get Acquainted Meeting, when your personal needs are fully identified. Once your financial plan is complete, there are three basic levels of client/advisor relationships (for more information, see 7 Steps to Success diagram).

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17. Are your fees tax deductible? Yes. Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code permits an itemized deduction for tax and/or investment advice in the miscellaneous section of Schedule A. It is subject to a 2% floor of the adjusted gross income on a personal tax return.

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18. Once my financial plan is completed, will our relationship end? Depending on your client track, the actual engagement of services may end (please refer to 7 Steps to Success ), but the majority of our clients choose one of our two Continuing Client Programs. Because financial planning is a process, not an event, we offer ongoing services, periodic reviews and day-to-day consultation as requested and/or needed.

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19. How can I get started? The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Call us at 1(888) 367-8466 or email us at brad@Hartmanfinancialplanning.com. We offer an initial no-cost, no-obligation Get Acquainted Meeting, either on the phone or in our offices. For Get Acquainted Meetings, appointments are scheduled based on availability during regular business hours of 9-5, Monday through Friday. Expanded office hours are available to accommodate special needs or emergency situations. Should you decide to engage our services, we can discuss which of our services and client tracks is appropriate for you. Most clients find the financial planning process to be stimulating and enlightening. The end result, of course, is greater peace of mind. We look forward to helping YOU build a brighter financial future!

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