1 – What are the most often-asked questions (from prospects or clients) in your business?
Can I retire? How will I retire? What will happen to my plans if/when the market goes down? How can I pay for college? How much house can I afford? How much do I need to save to achieve my short- and long-term goals? Are my investments appropriate for me? What will happen to my family if something happens to me or my spouse–will they be taken care of? How can I make sure my assets/investments/retirement plan are invested wisely and appropriately for me? All of these can be carefully answered within our comprehensive financial planning process.
2 – What do people need to know in order to make an informed decision about whether to hire you, or buy your product/service?
Kate is a second-generation financial planner with an economics degree/background. She went on to earn her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING™ designation. Bringing these two areas of economics and financial planning together makes her uniquely qualified to assist our clients in the process of planning and the understanding of their investments and the markets that impact them. We focus on educating and empowering our clients to make sound financial decisions. We maintain high standards of education and training for all of our client work. Our process-oriented approach assists our clients in taking the proper steps to build, protect, sustain, and pass-on their income and family wealth. We take pride in making tough topics, including the stock market, easier to navigate and understand.
3 – What is your approach to financial planning?”
We have a uniquely holistic, comprehensive approach to planning. A list of items we normally collect for a comprehensive plan is included under the “Getting Started” link on this website. Included in this list are insurances and protections. Although to some this may seem like an unnecessary step in investment planning, consider that the impact of a deficiency in any one of these protections could lead to the client’s financial downfall. Our job is to help prepare and assist our valued clients with comprehensive protection as well. We often like to say, “Surprises are for birthday parties, not for finances.” We work hard to assist our clients in striking a balance between risk and reward for portfolios best suited for each client. We want our clients to have enough cash available and accessible in their short-term accounts in case of a market correction.
4 – What is the process?
Once we have had our initial complimentary meeting, our advisors will put together an estimate based upon the type and scope of plan discussed. This written estimate, outlining services to be rendered, is sent alongside your ‘Client Engagement Agreement.’ Normally, up to half the fee is charged to the client to get started, with the final fee not payable until the plan has been satisfactorily received by our client. Then if a client wishes Baldwin Financial to offer further advice on specific products to solve needs uncovered in planning, they can choose to send an ‘Action Letter’ to their outside advisor, or if they choose, to us via our outside firm disclosed within our Client Brochure-Advisory Document. Then, our licensed registered representatives can send specific product information to the client. This is separate from Baldwin Financial Advisors, LLC.
Baldwin Financial Advisors will work diligently to cover all areas of finance, including retirement, investments, insurance, estate planning, taxes and budgeting. Our goal will be to guide our clients towards a comprehensive plan that optimizes and synergizes each of these areas to allow them to safely move forward towards their life’s goals.
Baldwin Financial believes that annual reviews are key to remaining on track as lives and finances inevitably change over time. Regular reviews and rebalancing are essential to continued success and to attaining goals. We remind our clients annually but rely on them to set their appointments for review.
5 – Will you be working with me, or will a staff member or partner be working with me?
Lead planner, Kate, will be working with you along with her talented financial advisor, Elizabeth Grady.
6 – Do you offer ongoing advice on my financial plan?
Each plan includes 1 year of reasonable follow-up assistance as needed to accomplish the client’s objectives and implementation with your professionals.
7 – Do you help me implement my plan? How?
Yes. A checklist will be written in the Executive Summary of the plan which provides action steps to point clients in the right direction. More comprehensive plans will also include ‘Action Letters’ which are written to your professionals from you, to request the type of item with specific parameters that you might need.
8 – Is your firm registered?
9 – How do I pay for your services?
Please refer to our Client Brochure for full details on how we work and typical fees that might be assessed. We pride ourselves in offering a complimentary initial appointment for you to meet us and ask any questions you might have, as well as to discuss what level of personalized planning you would like. Then, if you choose to proceed, a detailed estimate is sent to you in writing so that we can proceed with a clear understanding of the work to be done and so that you know the costs associated with these services.
In general, we base our fee on the work hours required to complete each plan. This will be based upon the client’s number and complexity of holdings in addition to what we discuss and define as the scope of the financial planning project during our initial complementary informational meeting. We can normally estimate this fee for you at the first meeting, or shortly thereafter. In general, a financial planner might charge 1% of assets. You will find our fees refreshingly lower than this national average.
10 – What do you typically charge?
This is personalized to the scope and complexity of the work agreed upon.
11 – How long have you been in business?
Although owner, Kate Leipprandt has been an officer of the company and planning for over 20 years, she just bought the firm from her father in 2014, becoming Managing Director. Many clients of Baldwin Financial Advisors have been with the practice for two (father) or even three (grandfather) generations. We are now working to hire and train a team of younger professionals to assist us in the succession of this highly respected and reputable firm. We look forward to introducing you to our growing team.
12 – Do you provide a written analysis of my financial situation and your recommended plan?
Each plan includes a written or digital summary of your current finances in addition to recommendations for change. This will allow you to review your plan with family or professionals you choose. Once your plan is complete, we will also be happy to send you your personal link to your plan so that you can review your plan or try out new assumptions such as your age of retirement, spending, and how much to save, all within the planning software’s interactive features. This is done via a unique and secure client portal.
13 – Have you ever been publicly disciplined for unlawful or unethical practices in your profession?
No, ethics and rule-following remain our highest priority. Our clients’ trust is invaluable. We will continue to place this at the forefront of our financial planning practice.
OTHER QUESTIONS OUR CLIENTS ASK
14 – How can I pay for college for my children?
There are several programs available to families wishing to set aside funds methodically for college. The program appropriate for you will be determined by several factors including the age of your children, assets currently held and goals for college for your children. There are also some unique investment vehicles available to families that can ‘multi-task’ your goal of funding college with other goals, including retirement savings and protection that many clients are not aware of until we talk. Select Contact Us and we’d be happy to outline your family’s personalized options.
15 – How much do I need to save to be able to retire ‘on-time’?
The answer to this question will be based upon what you have saved for retirement, your current age, income goal & current income. We enjoy assisting our clients in putting together personalized saving & investment plans that will optimize the accumulation of retirement capital. We can define the recommended savings level to give you the best potential to reach your retirement goal.
16 – How do I set up my 401k or company retirement plan contributions and investments? Should I use a ROTH 401k or a Traditional 401k?
We are happy to go over this with you. There is a calculator available under “Calculators” section on this website for you to try. We also have a separate, more nominal fee for restricting the planning to just this area. The investment allocation analysis for a single 401k can be as low as $250 for a single client.
As for whether you should use a ROTH or Traditional 401k plan at work, or how much to each, the calculator is just a starting point. Your personalized answer will be based upon your own income and needs. An informed decision here will help you to optimize what you can put away towards your retirement.
17 – What will happen to my family if I die? If my spouse dies?
These are important questions that can easily be addressed, prepared for, and protected against. Solutions that match your needs and circumstances will be carefully researched and analyzed as part of our financial planning, or more specialized insurance planning process.
18 – Are my investments appropriate for me?
Many don’t realize how important and significant this question is. Statistically, an improper investment balance can predict probability of success, or failure to meet your goals over time. We will work together to assess your risk tolerances & goals, matching these to your current holdings & future savings and investment plans. Correcting an imbalance on your investments can improve your probability of success in reaching your goals by about 91%. We can share these Ibbotson studies and how we assist our clients in applying the results to each portfolio and strategy used going forward.
19 – Do you have a minimum fee?
There is no minimum fee. Some of our younger clients may come to the office to simply have their 401k funds studied and allocations optimized. This fee can be under $250 for the full service and meeting.
Do you receive referral fees from attorneys, accountants, or insurance agents you might refer me to?”] No, as a Registered Investment Advisory firm, this is frowned upon ethically, as it creates a conflict of interest to us as advisors.