Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of issues can TrustWell help with?
TrustWell’s advisors are trained and experienced in most any financial issue that an individual or family can face.  From preparing for a baby on the way, to making profitable investments, to planning for income in retirement, to caring for aging parents, and lots of things in between.  If it’s money related, we can help.  See “How We Can Help” at the top of this page for more information.

What does “fee-only” mean?
Great question.  And it’s different from “fee-based“, although many people think they are the same.  Fee-only advisors do not sell financial products or anything else that pays a commission.  Ever.  Instead, they are paid directly by their clients.  We think fee-only is best, because it reduces conflicts of interest.  TrustWell’s clients never have to worry about who their advisor is really working for.  It’s the kind of advisor we would want for ourselves, so it’s the kind of advisors we are.

NAPFA (the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) is the best known assocation of fee-only advisors.  NAPFA has extremely high standards for education, credentialing, and fee-only business practices.  Fee-based advisors (those who charge fees and sell products that pay them a commission) aren’t allowed to be part of NAPFA.

Do you have a minimum size account for ongoing investment management?
Yes.  We generally require at least $100k for ongoing investment management services.

Will I have a dedicated advisor?
Yes.  TrustWell has four advisors, and each one generally has his own clients.  Sometimes our advisors work together with the same clients but you will not be handed off to another advisor unless you ask.  Our success is built on a limited number of long-term relationships, not on volume.

How much does this cost?
Great question.  See “About Our Fees” at the top of this page for an extended answer.

Do you use a third-party custodian?
Yes.  Your invested money and the assets chosen for your account will be held (custodied) at Charles Schwab Institutional and not in a TrustWell account.  The account there is yours, not ours.  You have full control over the money and receive account statements directly from Schwab.  You simply give us permission to view your account and make trades on your behalf.

I’m not a religious person, will I fit in as a TrustWell client?
Our advisors and staff are all Christians, but many of our clients are not.  Much of the practical advice we give is supported by the Bible, but we don’t force our religious beliefs on our clients.

Are there long-term contracts involved?
No long-term contracts; you can fire us at any time.  We do require clients to sign a financial planning agreement or an investment management agreement that covers what each party is agreeing to and what they can expect from each other.

What if I am unsatisfied?
Just let us know.  You can end your relationship with us at any time.  If you are a financial planning client, we simply don’t charge for any work not meeting your expectations.  If you are an investment management client, our fee is pro-rated to the day that your tell us to stop managing your account.

What qualifications do the advisors have?  All of our advisors have passed the CFP board exam.  Some of them have advanced degrees, and some have additional professional designations.  All of them have been business owners and investors and they all have experience helping people set financial goals and make meaningful progress.

What happens when a financial plan or financial analysis is completed?
The real work begins — your making choices and implementing your plan.  What good is a plan if there is no action?  Most of our planning engagements include a list of suggested action steps for you to follow.  They also include up to a year of ongoing support for you (at no additional fee) as you follow those suggested steps.

What does an investment management portfolio look like?
Each individual client portfolio is built to fit the client’s goals, financial situation, risk / loss tolerance and life stage.  Nearly all of our portfolios are diversified across multiple asset classes and then further diversified within each of those asset classes.

What does a financial advisor do?
A financial advisor is a trained specialist who helps clients make good financial decisions.  These decisions often include, but are not limited to, choosing good investments.  From retirement planning to insurance coverage advice to tax planning to reducing debt and stress, financial advisors can help clients in every phase of their financial lives.

Who sets the goals in a financial advising engagement?
The client, of course.  We’ll help you think about your options, but we won’t tell you what your goals should be.

Will you include consideration for Social Security benefits and my company pension in a plan for retirement income?
Yes, but we will document them on separate lines.  Given the state of the Social Security trust fund, we understand that SSI benefits are not a sure thing.  Some pension plans are under similar pressures.  We think it’s wise to be cautious, and wise to save additional amounts for yourself beyond these benefit programs.

How will my current life be affected by a financial plan?
One of the principal duties of a financial advisor is to sit down with clients and work through their current finances to help them develop a short-term and a long-term financial plan.  The things we suggest you do may not be easy.  In those cases, we’ll explain the short-term pain and the long-term gain.

Do you sell annuities?  How about life insurance?
No.  We are fee-only advisors.  We can give unbiased advice on those kinds of financial products, but we don’t sell them.

Will a financial advisor help me with my will and estate?
Yes.  Estate planning is a component of personal finance.  We’re not attorneys, and we don’t give specific legal advice or draft legal documents.  We do, however, help clients identify major issues, think about their options, and find qualified legal help for putting their wishes in place.

How much time can I expect to spend with a financial advisor?
That depends on the scope of the work that you want done.  Most clients who engage us for financial planning come in to our office a couple of times and may spend a couple of hours each time.  Some of the info we need from clients involves homework on their part.  We do not use “fill in the blank” financial plans.  Most of the value you receive from TrustWell’s advisors will come during face-to-face conversations.

How much will the financial advisor explain about my investments?
As much as you wantNo more and no less.

What information do I need for the free initial consultation?
Not as much as you might think.  A simple summary of your income and expenses and of your assets and liabilities would be helpful.  For the first meeting, spend some time thinking about your financial goals, the issues you need help with, and the questions you’d like to ask about TrustWell and its advisors.

What if I have a question that’s not in this list?
Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer it.

TrustWell Financial Advisors