Frequently Asked Questions
Our clients are typically facing big life transitions with big financial ramifications.
For example, they’re nearing retirement or they received an inheritance, and they could use some wise counsel. Because our team has years of experience walking with people through big transitions, we excel in helping people who aren’t sure about what to do next.
Our goal is to help overwhelmed people find clarity and peace in this part of their lives.
If you’ve ever walked through a dark room, you know how easy it is to stub your toe, whack your shin, or trip over something.
When people are stuck, and can’t see what to do next, we come along and strike a match in that dark room. And that little bit of light often makes all the difference.
We’re here to help them make wise decisions, because our mission is to see everyone finish well.
We have a process that we go through with all our clients. Though it is somewhat standardized, we adapt it to fit the needs of each individual, couple, or family. It mostly involves us asking you a lot of questions and listening carefully.
We want to hear about your goals for retirement. (If you don’t yet have any, we want to help you create some!)
We talk about big issues like what makes for a meaningful life in retirement, and how much money is enough. We’ve found that wrestling with these questions before retirement gives our clients much more joy in retirement.
We discuss what–if anything–you’d like to leave to your heirs and how that will play out.
We talk about concerns like long-term care and aging parents.
Our initial meetings are mostly aimed at understanding your life situation and getting a clear sense of your financial values and goals. Only then do we start talking about specific financial plans and strategies.
We’ll get to know you well so we can serve you well.
In some ways, it’s a vetting process. You are checking us out to see if we’re a good fit, and vice versa. We’ve developed a four-item checklist for determining if we’re the best advisors for you:
- The value –added test: We ask, “Can we add value to your life or not?” If you simply need a little tweak, like moving your money to a different fund, we’ll just encourage you to go do that. There’s no reason to pay our fees if you’re doing just fine on your own.
- Investment minimums: In some cases, depending on the planner, company, or fund-minimum, requirements must be met in order to begin an advisor-advisee relationship.
- Likeability: So, we try to make sure we have good chemistry with our clients. When there’s not that connection, things can quickly get uncomfortable while we talk in detail about your money and your values.
- Success: If, as we walk through the discovery process, we realize we can’t help you reach your goals, we’ll encourage you to seek another advisor who can. We want you to be successful. We will only take on clients if we believe we can help them find success.
If we mutually decide to work together, we will deliver the appropriate documentation to you.
- We’ll initiate the application process with the custodian.
- We’ll help you set up an account and transfer money into that account.
- Then we’ll begin managing the account and providing all the services that we deliver to our Christy Capital clients.
Think of insurance agents who represent specific insurance companies. It’s in their best interest to sell their clients insurance products offered by the company, because that’s where they make their money. To some, this seems like a “conflict of interest.”
Fiduciaries are different. They always and only act according to their clients’ best interests. It doesn’t matter if a fiduciary could make more money selling the client a different product. He or she is sworn to do whatever is best for the client.
As a fiduciary, this is our pledge at Christy Capital; we will always, always, put your interests first.
It’s because of smooth-talking con men and their infamous pyramid schemes, that many investors rightly fear being swindled. People like Bernie Madoff have made us all skeptical.
At Christy Capital, clients never give their money directly to us.
We actually establish an account for you at a custodian financial institution. There, your money is safe and secure. It is your account, not some kind of group account established with funds from other Christy Capital clients.
When we set up an account for you, you give us two privileges. The first allows us to make trades on your account on your behalf.
The second is to collect the agreed-upon asset management fee from the account. (See question #4 above.) That’s it.
Because it’s your account, not ours.
When you need money from the account or decide you want to move it, we can’t act without your authorization. Why? Because it’s your account, not ours!
To avoid even the appearance of impropriety, we’ve been doing business this way since long before Bernie Madoff was making the news.
With the unique plans and parameters we’ve established for you, third-party money managers invest your assets. All such trading is done in conjunction with the risk levels and investment strategies that you and your Christy Capital advisor have agreed upon as the best way to reach your financial goals.
As these money managers monitor the markets and execute trades on your behalf, we oversee the whole process.
So, yes. We watch your money, and we keep you informed.
- Typically, custodian institutions send out statements monthly.
- We also send our own statements quarterly.
With those regular reports, you can review your asset values, returns, fees, etc.
Depending on your situation, we will meet at regular intervals, usually every six, nine, or twelve months. But, if something changes and you need to meet before our next regularly scheduled meeting, you can always schedule an appointment.
When we meet, we’ll review how you’re progressing toward your goals, and discuss adjustments we need to make.
We get paid a couple of ways.
Commissions. If you choose to purchase insurance or an annuity product through us, the company we place the business with will compensate us directly for that. You do not write a check to us.
Fees. We charge a fee for the assets that we manage. This fee amounts to a small percentage of the assets that we are managing for you. That fee comes directly out of the account. Again, you don’t ever have to write us a check for asset management.
There are no other extra charges. Whether it’s helping you create a financial plan, managing your investments, assisting with tax or retirement planning, or facilitating a Roth conversion, you can rest assured that whatever services we provide are covered by those commissions and fees.
We’re not like some professionals in other industries who bill their clients by the hour. When you need to call us with questions, you can breathe easy and give us a call. We’re always here and ready to help.
if you need money from your account, or need to change an address or a beneficiary on a policy, simply call or email us. (NOTE: It’s better to call us than the custodian.)
We’ll make sure all of that gets done correctly–and with a personal touch.
Are you very “hands-on” when it comes to investing, and do you plan to do a lot of buying and selling on a weekly or monthly basis? If so, then you’re better off doing that on your own. That’s not a model we follow at Christy Capital, and you’ll be much happier with a different advisory firm.