Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Financial planning creates a roadmap for your money. It’s a comprehensive process that involves evaluating an individual’s or family’s financial situation, setting long and short-term financial goals, and creating a strategy achieve those goals. This process typically covers areas such as budgeting, saving for retirement, funding education, planning for taxes, getting the right insurance, and sorting out your estate.
A fiduciary is a person or entity with the legal responsibility to act in the best interests of their clients, putting their clients’ needs above their own. Registered Investment Advisors, like Firebrand Wealth, are legally bound to act as fiduciaries, which means they are obligated to provide unbiased advice and recommend investment strategies that are in the best interest of their clients.
At Firebrand Wealth we focus on:
a. Career and retirement planning: Preparing for major career shifts and/or retirement by setting goals, estimating future expenses, and creating a savings and investment plan to reach those goals.
b. Budgeting and savings strategies: Analyzing income and expenses to optimize your savings now and in the future. Savings strategies can include funding major purchases, funding goals such as education or healthcare needs, and simply saving for future retirement.
c. Tax planning: Minimizing tax liabilities through strategic planning and leveraging tax-advantaged investment vehicles.
d. Equity compensation: Optimizing stock option and RSUs for income, funding goals, diversification strategies, tax management, and risk mitigation.
e. Insurance planning: Ensuring appropriate coverage for life, health, disability, and property to protect against unforeseen events.
f. Estate planning: Preserving wealth and ensuring that assets are distributed according to one’s wishes after death and in easiest manner for your loved ones.
As described above, financial planning is an ongoing process that addresses various aspects of an individual’s financial life, including budgeting, retirement planning, tax planning, and more. Investment management, on the other hand, focuses specifically on managing an individual’s investment portfolio: IRAs, brokerage accounts, 401ks, etc. This involves selecting, monitoring, and adjusting investments to meet your financial goals.
At Firebrand Wealth, we offer both financial planning and investment management services. While we do provide general investment guidance and asset allocation recommendations for financial planning clients, please note that is distinctly different from the comprehensive investment management services.
Firebrand Wealth charges a flat fee based on the complexity of your financial life. Fees are typically higher in the first year of work together and then are reduced for ongoing planning work after year one. Please see our Packages for more information. All planning fees are based on an hourly rate of $350/hour.
Please note that we do require clients who are less than five years from retirement, or are already retired, to engage us for investment management services. These services include comprehensive financial planning.
A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is a firm that provides investment advice and financial planning services to clients. RIAs are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities regulators, depending on the amount of assets they manage.
A fiduciary is a person or organization that acts in the best interest of their clients. As a fiduciary, an RIA is legally and ethically bound to put the client’s interests ahead of their own. This ensures that the advice you receive is objective and tailored to your specific financial goals and needs. Firebrand Wealth is legally bound to this fiduciary standard.
Clients’ assets are protected through a combination of measures as described below, including:
- The RIA’s fiduciary duty, which ensures that the firm acts in the best interest of its clients
- Custodial services, which hold clients’ assets separately from the RIA’s assets and other clients’ assets
- Third-party custodians, which provide an additional layer of protection and transparency
- SIPC insurance, which offers limited protection in the event of a custodian’s failure
These safeguards help ensure that clients can trust that their investments are being managed responsibly and securely. At Firebrand Wealth, we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and transparency to protect our clients’ assets and achieve their financial goals.
RIAs with assets under management (AUM) of $110 million or more must register with the SEC. Those with AUM between $25 million and $110 million typically register with state securities regulators. Registration involves submitting a detailed application (Form ADV) that discloses the firm’s business practices, investment strategies, and potential conflicts of interest. RIAs must also periodically update this information to maintain their registration.
Firebrand Wealth is registered with Washington, California, and Virginia, although we can and do work with clients in many other states across the country. If we have more than five clients in a given state, then we are required to register with that state.
As an RIA, Firebrand Wealth does not take custody of your assets. Instead, we partner with a third-party custodian, such as TD Ameritrade or Altruist. Third-party custodians are independent financial institutions that hold and safeguard clients’ assets on behalf of an RIA. They provide an additional layer of protection, ensuring that clients’ assets are kept separate from the RIA’s business operations, which is critical for protecting investors. Custodians provide essential services, including settling trades, collecting dividends, and providing account statements.
Custodians play a vital role in safeguarding clients’ assets and providing transparency. By holding the assets separately, custodians protect clients from potential fraud or misuse of funds by the RIA. Furthermore, custodians offer independent account statements, which enable clients to verify their holdings and monitor the performance of their investments.
Many RIAs, including Firebrand Wealth, work with well-established third-party custodians to ensure the highest level of security and transparency for their clients.
Only authorized individuals, such as the client and the RIA’s designated representatives, have access to a client’s accounts. Custodians do not grant the RIA full control over the assets, preventing unauthorized transactions or withdrawals. Clients can also monitor their accounts directly through the custodian, ensuring transparency and oversight.
Firebrand Wealth’s custodians are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which provides limited protection to clients in the event the custodian fails. SIPC coverage can protect up to $500,000 in securities, with a maximum of $250,000 in cash. It’s important to note that SIPC does not protect against market losses or poor investment performance.
Firebrand Wealth charges a quarterly fee based on a percentage of assets being managed by us. Please see our Packages for the detailed fee schedule. This fee includes all investment management services and comprehensive financial planning.
Please note that we do require clients who are less than five years from retirement, or are already retired, to engage us for investment management services.
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