A fiduciary has the highest ethical obligation to put your interests ahead of their compensation and any other considerations. We are fiduciaries – this is a fundamental value of ours and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
As humans, we face many behavioral biases that prevent us from achieving financial success. According to Dalbar, from 1999-2018 the average investor returned a measly 3.88% while the S&P 500 averaged 8.18%. One of the primary reasons for this difference is the emotional aspect of managing your own money. As a fiduciary to you, we will help construct investment strategies that will maximize your returns within your comfort level of investment risk.
Beyond building investment portfolios that are designed to help deal with behavioral biases, there is so much more that we help our clients with including (but not limited to) helping our clients budget to save for the future, pay off their debt faster, or even determine the most appropriate means to buy a house or start a business. As financial planners, Concordia can be the primary source to make sure all of your financial decisions are well-informed before they are made.
You are right…there are some extremely good app-based online investment management companies out there, such as Wealthfront or Betterment. There are also large firms such as Charles Schwab and Vanguard that are now providing services with financial planning and a planner you can access through the internet or by phone. However, all of these services are not designed equally. Many of them are venture capital backed, meaning private investors are expecting venture capital-like growth from these technology companies, ultimately forcing them to do things differently to make more money than they already were (check out this interesting 2018 article from Wired Magazine here). This translates into potentially higher fees than what you initially thought. Concordia is a private, employee owned firm. There are no outside forces influencing our services, processes, offerings or philosophy.
Another downside is the lack of a personal relationship. Although many tout either the ability to contact a financial planning team or even dedicated planner (many times for an additional fee), there is something quite different about having someone literally invested in helping a client on a very customized and personal basis. Concordia looks to limit the amount of client relationships the planners work with in order to focus heavily on the meaningful purpose behind money decisions. This can’t be done effectively unless we spend good quality time with our clients.
Our typical client is a young professional, business owner or family, who is smart, driven, and enjoys living life. They appreciate the assistance of professionals and value advice from personal sources instead of purely from a web search. They prefer to spend their time working with financial experts rather than becoming the expert, however they are curious and enjoy being well-informed on ways to develop harmony between money and purpose…and Concordia loves educating those that love being well-informed.
Yes. Concordia maintains all of your personal information in cloud-based systems with military grade 256-bit encryption. This keeps our team from having to keep personal information on our physical computers and servers for maximum protection.
The technical answer is that it depends, however, we built Concordia to provide comprehensive financial services and support to almost any client at any stage of life in any set of life circumstances. There are plenty of people deserving of financial planning and comprehensive service regardless of whether they have millions saved or nothing saved. The problem for most financial planning firms is that they haven’t figured out a way to provide service to anyone and everyone and still be profitable while doing so. That’s where Concordia’s pricing model comes in.
Concordia’s pricing uses a combination of metrics including net worth, behavioral profiling and projected use of time. This establishes a level of “complexity” regarding the client’s planning needs. Based on that complexity, Concordia then offers it’s comprehensive service program for a flat, fixed, contractual fee. At the end of the first year, metrics are re-examined and the pricing is either tweaked up, down or kept the same (we like the third option because it means we got it right from the beginning, but we are human and can get it wrong once in a while). Once the new fee is agreed upon, the contract is renewed on a three-year basis, at the end of which we review metrics all over again…and on and on we go.
We do use traditional pricing for some services on a stand-alone basis, but prefer the flat-fee model which we think provides clients a more accurate fee for the services they need and doesn’t penalize them because they have too little (or in some cases too much) money. In essence, we think the flat-fee based on complexity provides the most bang for our clients’ buck.
You can, however it’s not recommended. Concordia’s fee structure for the Comprehensive Wealth Planning Program is NOT based on how much of your investments we manage for you. So technically, we don’t have to manage any of your investments to implement our program. However, there are many factors that either improve or reduce probabilities of success for a financial plan. Making sure investment strategy is designed to fit ideally with a client’s needs, implementing the strategy, monitoring the strategy to make sure it continues to be the appropriate and making necessary changes if it isn’t…these all take time, energy and experience. In summary, it’s a full-time job.
For our flagship Comprehensive Wealth Planning Program, contracts are made initially on a one-year basis. At the end of the first year, we mutually review the metrics that go into your complexity score and determine if we need to increase, decrease or keep the fee the same. Once the new pricing is agreed upon, a new three-year renewing contract is put in place with a review of the metrics every three years moving forward.
Although we strive to make sure clients find our services invaluable, we ultimately understand that we cannot be the best fit for everyone. So yes…a client may terminate Concordia’s services whenever they want, but we only ask three things from these clients. First, provide us notification in writing for our records. Second, accept a phone call from our team to find out what we could have done to increase satisfaction. Third, pay only for services that have already been delivered. For instance, financial planning is a time intense process where many hours go into the development of comprehensive strategy. Should a client terminate service before receiving the valuable planning, we would only charge up to the point of termination, but should the client receive their planning and recommendations and then terminate service, we would reserve the right to invoice the client for the cost of the planning (which is approximately the first year annual contract cost).
Zero…Nada…Nothing…A Big, Fat Goose Egg. Because Concordia charges flat, fixed contractual fees for our Comprehensive Wealth Planning Program, we do not charge based on investment assets. Our fee is purely based on the client’s complexity and therefore it doesn’t matter if you have no investments or money saved. The only thing that matters is that you find value in having someone to help you find the harmony of money and purpose. As a caveat, anyone who wants Concordia to purely help with investment management would not need to have an account minimum value, but they would be charged a percentage annually based on the value of their Concordia managed accounts.
Yes. Concordia has worked hard to integrate many different pieces of technology to ensure you can see all of your planning and investment information in one place. This includes a live version of your financial plan, balance sheet and net worth statement which are updated daily, investment performance for accounts both supervised and not supervised by Concordia, and any documentation that has been uploaded into your own private “safety deposit box” which we refer to as your vault. All of this at your fingertips whenever you want and wherever you are.
No. Most of our clients hire us because they want someone to talk to prior to making changes to make sure they understand the pros and cons of their choices. They also prefer we make any necessary changes to investments or planning. However, there are tools through the Concordia Client Portal that give clients the ability to see how changes to their planning might affect their results…all without affecting the actual planning in place. And, should a client want the ability to make trades, we would assist them with opening up a self-directed account which would pull into their portal as well.
We put distance between our firm and a client’s money. What do we mean by “distance?” For one, Concordia does not take custody of client assets. We use third-party Custodians and Trust Companies to hold client accounts, and although we can initiate transfers, buys and sells on behalf of clients, most activities require client signatures to move money in and out of their accounts…distance! We also use third-party performance reporting systems that independently calculate client returns. By doing this, we also have no way of manipulating values or investment returns…distance! There are many other “firewalls” we put in place, but at the end of the day, we would hope our integrity as professionals and our feverish desire to help clients find harmony between their money and purpose would be enough to instill trust that something that horrible would ever happen.
All three. Concordia was set up to work with clients the way clients wanted to be worked with. This doesn’t only apply to the choice of our turnkey program or using ad hoc stand-alone services. It applies to the methods of conducting our meetings as well. Concordia can meet you for our formal meetings face-to-face at your home or our office…we can set up everything over the phone or virtually by using a computer, tablet or smartphone. The only thing we can’t do is meet regularly outside of Central Ohio, although we would hope to have an actual face-to-face with every one of our clients at some point in our relationship. I mean, we like to travel and visit fun, new places!! Just not so much that our kids don’t recognize us anymore!!
On an informal basis, you can always call in, schedule an ad-hoc meeting through our website, or even try us on a chat through your Concordia Client Portal. Our schedule is on-line, always up-to-date, and we try to make ourselves available outside of business hours including weekends, especially for our busy families and young professional clients.
Every client will have anywhere between one to four formal meetings per year depending on the complexity of their circumstances, however clients are never limited to talking to their lead planner during these meetings. It is also usual for us to reach out to you proactively, especially when it comes to development and implementation of the financial plan.
You can contact us as many times as you want for informal meetings by phone, through our website or by chat as well. It is important to note that we do take time into consideration when reviewing a client’s complexity at contract renewal time, however it is only one metric in the calculation. Ultimately, the most important thing we can do is take whatever time our clients need in order to feel at ease.
Yes. Although certain areas of financial planning are necessary to cover regardless of a desire to cover a specific planning topic (such as collection of personal information, developing a balance sheet and net worth statement, and review of investments), most topics or “modules” can be purchased as a stand-alone service from Concordia.
Stop letting it eat at you. Please contact us immediately by phone, chat or schedule a short appointment with us so we can answer your question. Who knows…we might even add your question to this page with the assumption it becomes a frequently asked question! Thanks in advance for your contribution!