Frequently Asked Questions

Financial planning is our core service, because that’s how we help you put a plan in place to achieve your goals.  Many financial advisors don’t move the needle for you because they are only trying to help you make more money on investments.  That’s part of building wealth, of course, but has little relation to you actually creating the life you want.

It’s only after proper financial planning that you can determine the right investment strategy, for example.  Or determine how much insurance you need, or how to structure your estate plan to leave behind a legacy for your heirs.

Our financial planning is comprehensive and covers cash management, debt planning, investment management, education expense funding, insurance and employee benefit reviews, income tax planning, retirement or longevity planning, and estate planning.

What sets us apart?

  • the depth of our planning reviews
  • the extent of the issues we uncover
  • our often creative solutions we develop to address your challenges
  • all aspects of our service get the benefit of tax planning, too

At Clariti, we believe our process improves the odds of you achieving your goals.  Our experience lends credibility to that belief. New clients are often unaware of many of the issues that we raise during the planning process and are grateful for the solutions and the thoroughness of our implementation assistance.

Owning stocks and bonds, either individually or through funds or ETFs, is not enough in today’s complex environment. We believe that an adequately diversified portfolio consists of stocks, bonds and alternative investments.

Alternative investments can include private real estate, private equity, precious metals, and other non-conventional investments.  Some of these alternative investments, such as private real estate, can be a prudent way to provide you with a return stream that does not directly depend on the level or direction of interest rates.

In today’s low-interest environment, that can make a critical difference in your ability to generate yield without excessive risk.

These alternative investments can also help act as a portfolio stabilizer and reduce volatility.  This is important since rising rates can act as a headwind to traditional asset classes.

One important goal that many of our clients share is for their investments to generate a sustainable cash flow stream in retirement. This is more challenging today, since getting better returns in a low-interest environment often requires taking more risk.

At Clariti, we take a balanced approach in today’s environment that considers your return, risk, and cash flow needs. A portfolio withdrawal rate (cash needed / investment balance) that is too high can short-circuit any investment plan. We measure cash needs before designing portfolios. Although this sounds like an obvious step, it is not done by the vast majority of investment advisors.

Then, we may look to alternative investments to help generate income that is not correlated with stocks and bonds.  Along with helping you generate income, these investments tend to not move in tandem with stocks and bonds and can help lower the volatility you experience.

We provide financial planning-driven wealth management. That means that it is your plan that drives everything we do.  So we measure your progress against your goals, not an arbitrary number.

Many other firms provide investment management only, or offer only ancillary financial planning.  Others pitch products, not solutions.

We follow an extensive process that includes collecting and analyzing all of your financial documents at the onset of the relationship. We then proceed to review every area that impacts your personal finances, whether that be income and estate tax planning, debt management, insurance, retirement planning, or employee benefits. Our goal is to leave no stone unturned.

Once we go through our extensive planning checklist and provide a comprehensive list of recommendations, we design a diversified investment plan and document guidelines in an Investment Policy Statement (IPS). The benefit of an IPS is to have a written understanding of investment guidelines, created in a rational setting, which will enhance consistent, disciplined, and prudent investment management.

Having clearly established guidelines helps reduce the probability of emotionally-driven last-minute portfolio changes that can hinder the achievement of your goals. Also, recommended investments are assigned to taxable, tax-deferred or tax- free accounts with the goal of maximizing your tax savings. After the portfolio is implemented, we then monitor, rebalance and reallocate your portfolio based on changing economic environment and adherence to the agreed-to IPS.

Finally, we periodically review planning sections to uncover new planning opportunities as your financial circumstances change.  We’re always looking for ways to help you save taxes or improve your financial situation.

At Clariti, we simply cover more ground than most and have developed a service model that enables clients to feel confident that all areas of their financial life have been addressed. Life is full of surprises, but our work helps you minimize those blind spots that can knock you off course when you least expect it.

Our client-to-advisor ratio of less than 40:1 allows us to provide a high level of attention to you.  It doesn’t matter how good an advisor is if he or she does not have the time to engage in your planning.

Instead of having to track us down when you need something, you’ll find us proactively reaching out to you frequently to make sure you are on track with your financial plan.  These are the actions that can help you achieve your goals faster.

There are many different definitions of the term fiduciary—but an easy way to think of it is that a fiduciary needs to put your interests before their own at all times.  For example, as a parent, you have a fiduciary duty to your child.  A lawyer has a fiduciary duty to their client.

But in financial services, not everyone who calls themselves a “financial advisor” actually is held to that standard.  So your advisor might be giving you good advice, or he or she might be recommending a product because it pays them a higher commission.

Wall Street has adjusted and now there are some financial advisors who act as your fiduciary most of the time, but not all of the time.  Then you need to determine when you’re getting true advice or when you’re getting a product pitch.

At Clariti, we believe that not only should potential conflicts of interest be documented, but they should also be minimized or eliminated whenever possible. Every potential conflict of interest is a potential barrier preventing complete trust that an advisor’s recommendations are putting your interests first.

How can you be sure who you’re hiring?  Ask if they will provide you with documentation that they will act as your fiduciary at all times.  At Clariti, we do, and you shouldn’t accept anything less.

Yes, there are important differences. In short, advisors who are compensated on a “Fee-Only” basis are paid solely by their client and not by third parties from the sale of investment or insurance products. “Fee-Based” refers to a compensation system in which an advisor may be paid by either fees or commissions from the sale of investment or insurance products. Fee-Based advisors generally are not fiduciaries for their clients—because there can be a strong financial incentive to recommend products that will enhance compensation to the advisor.

As fee-only financial advisors, we are compensated only through fees, similar to how you pay your accountant or attorney.  That means our loyalty is only to you, the client.

This has been the case since the company was founded in 1983. We believe that this method of compensation represents the cleanest, most transparent, and conflict-free way of doing business.

The fees we charge for coordinated financial planning and investment advisory services are often less than other advisors charge for investment management alone.

We generally impose a minimum $1,000,000 in financial assets. This excludes business interests, real estate and personal property. However, we make exceptions on a case by case basis.

Investment management is as much art as science. No two advisors will take the same approach to selecting investments for any one client. Spreading investments among more than one advisor decreases the chances that the overall portfolio will be managed in the most efficient and effective manner. Even if on an individual level each advisor were to develop a perfectly reasonable allocation, the fact that more than one approach is being taken increases the odds that sum of the parts will not work as expected.

Also, many brokers or other advisors develop an investment plan that is completely unrelated to the planning process, which makes it difficult to coordinate with them. Finally, it is often economically inefficient to have more than one firm allocating investments from both a fee and taxation perspective. We believe that having a portfolio managed by a firm involved in the financial planning process increases the likelihood that you will achieve your financial goals.

There are a host of behavioral biases that we all have that can get in the way. The following short videos from Franklin Templeton are both educational and a fun way to learn how these biases influence our behavior:

Typically, we would talk via phone to ensure our services match your needs. If we seem like a mutual fit, we invite you in for a complimentary consultation to gain a thorough understanding of your concerns and to explain our services in greater detail. If you are married or have a life partner, we prefer to meet with both of you to ensure accurate communication and understanding of all concerns and objectives.

Let’s Start a Conversation

One important goal that many of our clients share is for their investments to generate a sustainable cash flow stream in retirement.  We’re here to assist you.




Contact Us