Retainer services are an ongoing partnership to meet your financial goals. The process starts with creating an in-depth financial plan. We’ll have two meetings after you’ve returned your materials to us. In the working session, we’ll have reviewed your situation and have preliminary reports to share with you along with questions to confirm data points and fine tune priorities. In the recommendations meeting, we have your financial plan ready for you with all the supporting reports, the written action list showing what we need to do and what you need to do, and investment paperwork ready for your signature.
Following the recommendations meeting, we start managing your investments including implementing the initial asset allocation, reviewing them at least once a quarter for any changes needed, and optimizing asset location for tax efficiency. In addition, we’re following up to help you complete insurance, estate planning, cash flow, and other tasks important to your financial plan. We also provide analytical support as you make financial decisions – such as a new job, moving, doing a remodel, exercising stock options, executive compensation choices, college costs, etc. Following the initial planning process, we have two planned meetings per year to review progress toward your financial goals, discuss your investments, and update the plan. Additional meetings can be scheduled if the need arises, and phone calls and emails are welcome.
Retainer fees are set based on what we expect to do for you over the course of the year. The annual fee is based on the services to be provided, the number of investment accounts, complexity of your situation, and amount of total household investment assets. Situations change over time, so we periodically review the fee and make adjustments to keep it fair for both of us. You’ll be notified of any changes in writing at least 30 days in advance.
Payment is accepted by check, credit card, or deduction from investment accounts.
Following are some sample retainer client fees. They are not real clients for confidentiality reasons. They are examples designed to give you a sense of the typical services we provide and the fees for those services.
The fees shown represent the ongoing quarterly fee after preparation of the initial financial plan. The initial financial plan is an additional cost, and clients signing up for retainer services pay a higher first-year fee to cover the cost of the financial plan. You can view typical costs for preparation of the initial financial plan on the Project page.
Single retiree living on a pension, social security, and $350,000 investment assets. We manage her monthly distributions, keep her portfolio in balance, discuss any concerns that arise, and help her monitor the sustainability of her spending level based on changes in her situation and the investment markets. Quarterly fee: $600
Couple in their 30s with 2 children. $475,000 investment assets in Roth IRAs, 401ks, 529 plans, and a rollover IRA. We help them stay on track with saving for college and retirement. In addition to managing their monthly investment contributions and keeping their 401k in balance with their other investments, we help them with decisions that come up throughout the year like how much to spend on a new vehicle and whether to add more life insurance when the opportunity becomes available through work. Quarterly fee: $900
Couple in their 40s with a son, $250K income, $450,000 investment assets. They own a successful small business, but find it challenging to manage their spending so they can save enough to meet their long-term goals. We meet with them every 3 months to review spending, plus check in with them in between meetings to help stay on track. We also help them save on taxes with a small business retirement plan and manage their investments including a 529 plan for their son. Quarterly fee: $1,200
Couple in their 50s, $1.5 million investment assets, plan to retire in 7-8 years. We help them track their status toward retirement goals and make periodic adjustments. We also manage their investment assets tax-efficiently, including giving direction on how to allocate their company 401ks. In addition, we coordinate with an insurance broker to help them get some lower cost term life insurance to replace policies getting increasingly expensive through work. Quarterly fee: $1,500
Couple in their 60s, getting ready to retire this year with $3.5 million investment assets. We are advising on pension and social security decisions, along with positioning their investment assets for distributions. We are also helping them take advantage of a lower tax bracket in the early years of retirement to reduce their taxes later after they start required minimum distributions from their IRAs. Quarterly fee: $2,500
Retiree in his 70s, $6 million in investment assets in both taxable and retirement accounts. We manage retirement distributions while keeping the portfolio in balance. In addition, we coordinate with his CPA and use tax-aware investment management to keep the Medicare premium surcharge as low as possible. We are also helping him implement the estate plan created with his attorney. Quarterly fee: $3,750
What would we like you to notice about these examples?
- We work with a broad range of clients on a retainer basis – some with fewer investment assets than shown in these examples and some with more. We take accessibility seriously and work to tailor our services to meet client needs cost-effectively for you and profitably for us. If you think we might be a good fit to work together ongoing, we’d enjoy exploring options in the initial consultation.
- Our fees aren’t based on just a percentage of assets! We don’t think that’s the fairest way to charge, and it creates a built-in conflict of interest when advising on mortgage pay-off decisions, 401k rollovers, and more. Our model helps maximize our objectivity and allows us to set a fee that’s fair to both of us based on the services to be provided.