Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some common questions we are asked as individuals begin their search for a wealth advisory firm. Please feel free to use the phone or email provided below to contact us for more information or to schedule a meeting.

How do you structure your fees?

Our fee structure is simple and transparent. It is calculated as a percentage of the assets we manage for you, starting at 1% annually. This keeps our interests aligned with yours – we both benefit when account values rise. Also, the percentage we charge decreases as account size increases.

Do you handle only investments or all of my financial needs?

We believe that in order to truly provide financial peace of mind, we must do far more than manage investments. As part of our financial planning services, we work with clients in many areas, including:

  • Retirement planning
  • Tax planning
  • Insurance planning / risk management
  • Estate planning
  • Education planning
  • Banking advice

Am I the right client for you?

Traditionally, we have worked with clients who have $500,000 or more of investable assets. There are, however, some added benefits to clients who have $1 million or more of investable assets. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your situation and circumstances in more detail.

What is different about your financial planning process?

The combined service offering of S+HWM and our affiliated accounting firm creates a powerful alliance that is designed to assist you across a broad range of tax and financial topics. We work closely with you to integrate our tax expertise with your financial planning and wealth management. Our financial planning is completely customized to your situation. While the breadth of our work is significant, the depth of our analysis is also substantial.

Can you tell me when I can retire?

Retirement planning is a large part of what we can do for you. We will work with you to assess your situation, discuss your retirement goals and prepare a thorough analysis to determine a realistic and appropriate retirement date.

Do you charge extra for financial planning?

Financial planning services are included in our fees when the client portfolio is $1 million or more. Otherwise, we simply bill for financial planning services on an hourly basis and provide an estimate for those services before beginning the process.

Can I call and ask questions?

Yes. Clients are always welcome to call us; we are committed to being responsive. We also offer regular meetings because we want you to understand and be comfortable with your investments and overall financial plan. We are also happy to meet with you outside of our offices if necessary.

What’s the difference between S+HWM, a Registered Investment Adviser, and a broker firm?

Unlike brokerage firms, we are legally held to a fiduciary standard. In other words, our clients’ interests must always come before our own. We feel that this is the only way a financial advisory relationship should be structured. Brokerage firms must only ensure that their investments are ”suitable,” widely considered a lower standard.  We have virtually eliminated the sale of products so that we remain objective and avoid as many potential conflicts as possible.

Do you talk to me before making investment decisions?

When you engage S+HWM, you grant us the discretion to make investment decisions and trades on your behalf. As part of that process, we will communicate to you in a timely manner the thought process behind the trading decisions we have made.

Where is my money custodied?

Your investment assets are typically held at Charles Schwab, the largest custodian in the country for independent Registered Investment Advisors. Our clients enjoy the peace of mind that comes from Schwab’s cutting-edge account security, technology and administrative services. For example, Schwab’s Security Guarantee means that 100% of any loss in a Schwab account due to unauthorized activity is covered.