Please click the questions below to discover the answers.

What is financial planning?

Financial Planning can be integrated and comprehensive, where all elements of your financial affairs (like retirement planning, investments, insurance and college funding) are brought together into a coordinated, cohesive plan. Or, it can be very specific, focusing just on a single issue of importance or concern to you. In either case, financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important deliverables. First, an in-depth review of your current situation (either comprehensive or specific, depending on your planning objective) and secondly, a road map that provides clear direction on how to achieve your planning goal(s). It is important to remember that financial planning is a dynamic process, not a single, one-time event or product. The economy, your planning objectives and earned income can all change, necessitating a revisit of the road map.

What is a financial planner or advisor?

Anyone can say that he or she is a financial planner or advisor. That’s why it’s essential to be sure of the qualifications and credentials of any “planner” or “advisor” before you pay anything or entrust them with your financial present or future. Garrett advisors offer a no-obligation Get Acquainted meeting via phone or in person.

Garrett advisors are well-qualified to help you with your financial advisory needs. Each is at minimum a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional — or in the process of earning that designation — and an independently registered investment advisor. That means that he or she has taken extensive training, adheres to a rigorous code of ethics, and is independently registered as an investment advisor with either the state or the federal government. All Garrett advisors adhere to the CFP Board Code of Ethics and Practice Standards and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors Fiduciary Oath.

What’s so different about Garrett advisors?

Members of the Garrett Planning Network provide their advisory services on an hourly, fee-only basis. Members do not accept sales commissions or any compensation other than directly from their clients. Clients pay only for the time an advisor works with or for them. Some Garrett advisors, like Direction Financial Management, also may offer their services on a retainer basis.

Isn’t financial planning just for people who have significant wealth?

Any individual, couple or family seeking financial advice can benefit from our services. As a member of the Garrett Planning Network, we have taken a pledge to offer our services to all persons, regardless of their income or assets. We welcome clients who simply want a one-time financial review or are interested in a second opinion before making a major financial decision. Equally welcome are those persons who are seeking ongoing financial coaching and plan monitoring over a longer period of time.

I already have substantial assets and am doing quite well financially – I think. Can you help me?

Yes. Direction Financial Management offers many services for those who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice. If a goal is to simplify your financial affairs, one of our Ongoing Client Programs may be right for you. Or, if you’re interested in a professional review or a second opinion, we can provide that, too.

What is “Fee-Only” financial planning and why should it be important to me?

Fee-Only financial planners are paid only by their clients. They never receive any commissions, sales incentives, bonuses or special perks paid by insurance companies or other financial service entities for selling their products. Direction Financial Management is a true Fee-Only financial planning firm. Knowing this, you can approach us with the full knowledge that we will be bringing recommendations that are in your best interest only. You do not have to worry that we will need to “sell you something” in order to be paid for providing you advice.

How do I implement the recommendations you make for insurance or investments?

We will advise you on financial products such as investments and insurance, but we do not sell them or receive any benefit from their sale. We can recommend ethical and competent insurance agents to assist you in addressing an insurance need, or we can help you to secure coverage through the services of a no or low-load Internet-based insurance company. We can also assist you in establishing a brokerage account at a discount broker (Vanguard, Schwab, etc.). We can provide minimal or full support in helping you create an online brokerage account. For more information on this service, call 414.333.3396.

How do you price your financial planning services?

Our fees are based on the time we spend meeting with you, either in-person or over the phone, researching and analyzing your situation, and formulating our recommendations that are specific to your situation. Before you hire us, we will always provide you with a written quote of the full cost of the engagement. We fully disclose all of our fees. We offer an initial consultation, up to one hour, that is complimentary to prospective clients. Following the delivery of our financial plan, if you have questions or need clarification on anything we recommend, please feel free to give us a call. We will not bill for modest amounts of additional time spent during the 30-day period after we present our recommendations to you. We realize that our plan must be understood by you to secure the necessary emotional ownership required for full implementation.

What types of planning services do you offer?

For a complete description of the financial planning services offered by Direction Financial Management, review our services under What We Do For You.

What is your investment philosophy?

Each client’s life goals, financial objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon are strongly considered when selecting a client’s portfolio. The following principles will inform the investment recommendations that we present to our clients:

  • The asset allocation decision will be the most significant factor in determining your long-term investment performance. Asset allocation refers to the way you divide your investments between stocks, bonds and cash. We believe that there is a direct correlation between risk and return- i.e. investors receive a “risk premium” in the form of higher returns for choosing investments that carry greater risk. The two most important factors in designing asset allocation are risk tolerance and time horizon.
  • We believe that diversification matters. We choose a mix of securities – mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), fixed income (bonds), cash or cash equivalents and real, tangible assets if appropriate to ensure diversification.
  • We do not believe in market timing, which is a strategy that seeks to move in and out of the market (bond or stock) in anticipation of either upward or downward market movements. Few (if any) investment professionals have, over a long period of time, demonstrated their ability to consistently add value beyond a “buy and hold” strategy. We believe in controlling risk through a prudent asset allocation strategy, not by attempting to “time the market”. We believe that a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, combined with long-term buy-and-hold strategies, affordability and patience, increases the likelihood that one will achieve his or her long-term financial objectives.
  • We believe that fees and expenses have a very negative impact on our client’s wealth over a long period of time. For example, if two investors with $100,000 are able to earn an average of 9% per year over a 20-year time period, but one investor chooses higher cost investments that assess an extra 1% per year in fees, the investor with the higher costs will have $94,345 LESS at the end of the 20-year period. Expenses and fees must be carefully managed.

In summary, we believe that a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, combined with long-term buy-and-hold strategies, affordability and patience, increases the likelihood that one will achieve his or her long-term financial objectives.

Do you provide investment advice without investment management?

Yes, we do. We are happy to provide investment advice and education if you have questions about your investments, but would like to continue to self-manage your portfolio. Part of the comprehensive financial planning process involves evaluation of risk tolerance, determining financial goals, and making investment recommendations.

Direction Financial Management does not offer asset management, but can refer you to a low cost, no load custodian such as Vanguard if you would like to self-manage your portfolio. Alternatively, we can recommend low cost investment managers who will provide ongoing investment management and portfolio re-balancing. These managers will work closely with us, utilizing a team approach in an ongoing fashion, to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your holistic plan.

Once my financial plan or project is finished, will our relationship end?

Because financial planning is a process, not an event, Direction Financial Management offers ongoing services, periodic reviews, and day-to-day consultation as requested and/or needed if you so desire. Contact us when you have a change that impacts your goals, and contact us annually for a checkup to keep your plan on track.

Are fees paid to your firm tax deductible?

Yes, with certain limitations. Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code permits an itemized deduction for tax and/or investment advice in the miscellaneous section of Schedule A on your Federal Income tax return. It is currently subject to a 2 percent floor of adjusted gross income.

Is Direction Financial Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor?

Yes, Direction Financial Management, LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Wisconsin. We must comply with a host of government regulations designed for your protection. When considering using a financial planner’s services, it is important to ask for and review a copy of the Firm’s brochure, Form ADV Part II. Our form ADV Part II is available by clicking Firm Brochure ADV Part II under the Client Forms tab. This form contains information relating to the planner’s qualifications, fiduciary duties and history of any past violations.

How can I get started?

The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Call us at 414.333.3396 or email us at info@directionforyou.com. We offer a complimentary Get Acquainted meeting either in our office or over the phone. Alternatively, you can start the process by downloading and filling out our Client Questionnaire and contact us. Our first complimentary Get Acquainted meeting is generally 45 minutes to an hour long and allows us to discuss your goals and objectives. It enables us to better gauge the scope of your particular project. If you decide to engage with us, a client agreement form is signed with an initial deposit.

Our fees are determined based on the complexity and scope of your current financial status. During our first meeting a fee range will be quoted based on an estimate of the time it takes to explore the areas of your financial life where you need assistance.

Do you want to know more? Please fill out the Client Questionnaire or Contact Us to schedule your complimentary Get Acquainted meeting.