Can you answer my financial planning questions? Am I the sort of client you can help? What are the benefits of hiring you to be my investment manager? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.
I have questions about financial planning. Can you help me?
Yes. In fact, Matt and Katerina are Certified Financial Planner™ professionals. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and CFP® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Our clients ask us about a lot of subjects. Can I rollover my 401k to an IRA and have you manage it? Will I have enough assets to retire? Can you manage investments for my spouse or children? What should I do with an investment I inherited? Can you provide my tax preparer with the investment information he or she needs? Can you recommend an attorney for estate planning?
How do you differ from brokers, financial planners and other advisors?
It can be very confusing to understand the competing claims of those who offer investment advice. They may have similar or identical job titles and may describe what they do in much the same way. Are brokers, financial planners and investment advisors the same thing?
Two things to know about advisors are how they are regulated and how they are paid. America First Investment Advisors LLC is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a registered investment advisor. We are required to act as a fiduciary for our clients, which means we must place the best interests of our client above our own. Our compensation comes solely from our management fee.
Brokers and many financial planners are regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a self-regulatory body. Other planners may be employed by insurance companies that are regulated by state insurance authorities. Brokers and planners are commonly not held to the same fiduciary standards as investment advisors. Most are paid commissions and other fees from the sale of mutual funds, variable annuities and other products – even though they may advertise themselves as “fee-only.”
We know several brokers and planners who are good, honest advisors who act in the best interest of their clients. We also know many who define success by the commissions they generate for themselves rather than the wealth they help their clients build.
What is Your Investment Philosophy?
Today’s “modern” advisor assumes that the prices of investments are always fair, and that it’s fruitless to try to judge whether a security is expensive or cheap. They recommend that investors ignore current prices and simply diversify across several kinds of assets. Because prices are assumed to be fair, it doesn’t matter that investors understand what they own.
We think this advice is wrong and very risky.
Prices can stray far from fair value when the market becomes very optimistic or pessimistic. Our strategy is to take advantage of such episodes to buy or sell selected securities at attractive prices.
Stocks are ownership interests in real businesses. We appraise them accordingly. When researching a business, we ask three main questions: Is this a good, understandable business? Is management rational and trustworthy? And is the market price of the stock attractive?
When investing in bonds, we want to make sure that our clients are being paid fairly for the risks they are taking.
Our research is independent, detailed and rational. We like to hold investments for a long time. Keeping turnover low reduces taxes and trading costs for our clients.
Why might I want to hire you as an investment manager?
Our clients are looking for someone they can trust to act in their best interest. We build long-term relationships by understanding their goals, answering their questions, and using a caring, commonsense approach to investing your assets. If that sounds appealing, give us a call.
What kinds of clients do you serve? What’s your minimum account size?
Our focus is managing investments for individuals and families with at least $300,000 available for long-term investment. Setting a minimum account size enables us to provide a high quality of service to our clients.
What does it cost to have you manage my investments?
We are paid a quarterly management fee that is based on the schedule shown below. As an example, a client with assets of $1 million will typically pay an annual rate of 1.25% on the first $500,000 and 1% on the next $500,000, for an average of 1.125% on the total.
Clients also pay trading, custody and other transaction costs. If we buy exchange-traded funds or mutual funds for clients, these will have operating expenses associated with them. Note that America First Investment Advisors does not receive any income from these other costs.
For more information about expenses, see the “Fees & Compensation” section of our Investment Brochure.
Why might the benefits of having you as an investment manager be important to me?
You can free up time for other things you enjoy doing, knowing that you can trust us to act in your best interest.
I‘d like to learn more about your services. How can I do that?
Eric Ball would be pleased to speak with you. His direct number is 402-991-0994.