Questions? We have answers.
What makes WealthGuard different from traditional Investment firms?
WealthGuard, LLC is an independent Wealth Management firm locally owned and managed by Rick Bitsky, JD, CFP®, a recognized financial professional with over two decades of successful wealth planning and management experience. As a Certified Financial Planner Practitioner™, Rick is bound by the fiduciary ethics standards set by the CFP Board of Standards. Rick has been affiliated with LPL Financial for over 15 years, the country’s largest independent broker/dealer as reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2017, based on total revenue.
Why Use a Certified Financial Planner Practitioner™?
CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ are certification marks owned in the U.S. by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), which can help you identify financial planners who are committed to competent and ethical behavior when providing financial planning. Individuals certified by CFP Board have taken the extra step to demonstrate their professionalism by voluntarily submitting to the rigorous CFP® certification process that includes demanding education, examination, experience and ethical requirements.
Most people think that all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Anyone can call himself or herself a “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks. When selecting a financial planner, you need to feel confident that the person you choose to help you plan for your future is competent and ethical. The CFP® certification provides that sense of confidence. For more information, www.cfp.net.
How do I know if WealthGuard can help me?
You won’t know until we have the opportunity to have an exploratory “get to know each other” meeting, which we call our introductory WealthScan Review™. All our relationships are based on mutual respect and trust. At the end of our first meeting we both should have a pretty good sense as to whether or not there is a “good fit”.
What should I expect from an initial WealthScan™ consultation?
You can expect our meeting to be informal and focused as much on “getting to know you” as it is on you learning about us. During our meeting, we will seek to understand your unique goals and objectives, strengths, opportunities and challenges. Of course, we will also briefly review details pertaining to your assets (what you own), liabilities (what you owe) and your insurance (what protects you, your family and personal & business assets from Risks). At the conclusion of our meeting, we will:
Review your goals and objectives — We want to be sure we heard you correctly.
Review our process for preparing a financial plan — After all, you should know what you are getting.
Review our costs — We charge a financial planning fee to prepare a custom analysis, follow-up WealthScan Review™ and a written Action Plan for Implementation.
Meeting Review — Following our initial meeting, we draft a summary memo for your file so that we can remember all of the specific facts pertaining to your situation. In addition, we will send you a detailed letter which restates the Challenges to be met, Opportunities to utilize, and your Goals and Objectives we discussed in our meeting, along with any other information we need to gather from you.
How are you compensated?
For financial planning services, WealthGuard is compensated by fee-only under our Financial Planning Agreement. For wealth management services through LPL Financial, compensation is fee-based on the percentage of assets under management and by introductions.
I just want help with my investment portfolio. Will you help me?
Sorry, while others might, we won’t. We simply don’t believe that it is possible to place the interests of our clients first without initially capturing both a snapshot of their financial well-being, as well as a clear understanding of their financial goals and objectives. We believe this approach is shortsighted, and maybe even dangerous. Experience has shown that this limited focus often leads to critical behavioral errors, creating avoidable tax or legal liabilities or lost investment opportunities.
How often will you look at my portfolio?
At least quarterly, your portfolio is reviewed for rebalancing considerations, tax strategies, and continued alignment to your overall investment objective. Throughout the year, your portfolio may experience changes in allocation or holdings as we consider new additions, replacements or removal of investments from client portfolios. Periodically, opportunities arise, special situations or investment or tax opportunities present themselves, obviating additional changes to the portfolio.
Will you provide performance reporting on investments you manage?
Performance of your investment account is maintained from the date the first dollar is deposited into your account. Each calendar quarter you will receive a performance report of your portfolio. We can also produce performance reports to measure your account against several blended benchmarks at any time.
How often do you meet with your clients?
At WealthGuard, the number of meetings/reviews is left to the discretion of our clients. We find that clients prefer to meet 3-4 times during the first year, and then 1-2 times in years that follow. Clients are encouraged to schedule an appointment at least annually so that we can both review your personal financial situation, and also learn about changes that may have occurred in your life.
What can I expect during a client review meeting?
We believe that client review meetings are equally as important as the first meeting we ever held with you. We’ll be asking questions about any events that have changed in your life, any financial issues that have caused you to save, spend, or earn more money. Hopefully we will have up-to-date information on all aspects of your financial life and we can be prepared to offer thoughts and feedback to you.
In addition, we will review the overall asset allocation, risk tolerance, performance, and projections designed to help you achieve your goals. Most clients tell us that each time they visit the office they not only learn something more about their personal financial situation, but they wish they had begun a relationship with us much sooner.
Do you prepare tax returns?
We don’t prepare taxes because we want to be dedicated all year round to your financial planning needs. We are, however, very skilled at reviewing your existing tax return and offering an analysis with recommendations. As changes occur in your financial life, it is important to compare and contrast the impact taxes will have on these decisions.
Do you draft Wills or Trusts?
Rick has not drafted trust and estate documents in 25 years. We do have the expertise to recognize any “red flags” in your estate or gifting plan and are happy to work with your attorney, or philanthropic consultants to put you on the right path.
How can I access my account information and extra funds when I need them?
Clients can access their accounts online 24/7 via AccountView, receive monthly statements as well as quarterly performance reports. Our insured money market account can also be accessed by an LPL checking account, Visa® debit card or via ACH electronic deposit to your local bank each month.
Do you have an account minimum?
Our stated minimum for asset management is $1 million, however exceptions are always considered on a case by case basis if we mutually believe that there’s a good fit. Our integrated, holistic approach is often most appreciated by higher net worth individuals, pre-retirement executives and professionals dealing with complex financial issues, couples planning retirement income needs, financially independent women, and Endowments and Foundations.
We see so many people every day with the means to enjoy life to its fullest, yet they are held back by lack of time or connections. We aim to correct that error for all our clients. For questions that are are more complex, as a resource for clients, we maintain a network of dozens of experts in different specialized areas, both locally and nationally.
Have questions that were not answered here, or would you rather speak to us one on one?