FAQ'S

Financial Planning

A: Through financial planning and analysis (FP&A), financial analysts and advisors can contribute to the financial health of individuals, families, and organizations through budgeting, planning, forecasting, and analytical activities. A well-designed financial plan can guide individuals in effectively managing their expenses, investments, and income to achieve their life and financial goals.

A: The Certified Financial Planner, or CFP, certification is the gold standard for financial planning certifications. To obtain the certification, candidates must complete coursework, meet ethical standards and professional experience requirements, and pass a rigorous exam. Financial advisors holding a CFP certification are well-equipped to help clients with retirement and estate planning, investment, and income management.

A: Finding a financial planner near your location is easy. Financial planners operate in all major cities at independent wealth management firms, large financial institutions, insurance companies, and brokerage firms. Additionally, several advisors are now providing their services online. When choosing a financial planner to work with, you may wish to consider their professional qualifications, compensation structure, plan customization, and whether they operate on a fiduciary basis.

Financial Advisor

A: A financial advisor provides clients with various types of financial services and products. In fact, according to FINRA, this umbrella term may refer to investment advisers, accountants, financial planners, insurance agents, and brokers. As an example, financial advisors can provide clients with a financial plan, savings and retirement advice, and investment guidance. In the United States, a financial advisor must possess a Series 7 and either a Series 66 or Series 65 qualification.

A: Although financial advisor and financial adviser often seem interchangeable in the financial services industry, they carry a slightly different meaning. The term adviser typically refers to advice regarding legislative acts, while advisor refers to a practitioner. As a result, financial advisor is the preferred spelling in the financial services industry.

A: A financial planner specializes in providing clients with investment, estate, tax, and retirement planning services. Financial planners may be investment brokers, financial advisors, insurance agents, accountants, or possess no financial credentials at all. For this reason, when choosing to work with a financial planner, it is advisable to check their credentials and professional designations.

A: An investment advisor is not the same of a financial advisor. While both phrases designate financial services professionals, financial advisor refers to a registered financial professional. An investment advisor is a registered professional offering customized investment advice and, sometimes, portfolio management and brokerage services. Individuals and firms operating as investment advisors must registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or a state securities regulator.

A: Financial advisors may charge clients fees, commissions, or a combination of both. A fee-only practice may charge clients based on assets under management (AUM) or a flat yearly fee for financial planning services. Although there is no set financial advisor cost, typical financial planning fees range from $1,500 to $3,000 a year. A financial advisors can also charge commissions based on the amount of invested assets or exchanged securities. Although either compensation structure Is acceptable, a fee-only compensation structure may put advisors in a better position to fulfill their fiduciary duty toward their clients.

A: When choosing the financial advisor to work with, you may wish to consider their professional qualifications, communication style, compensation structure, and whether they operate on a fiduciary basis. If you are interested in in-person services, you should also consider the practice’s location.

A financial advisor should possess a Series 7 and either a Series 66 or Series 65 qualification.  You can learn more about an advisor’s background by reviewing their ADV form, which is available on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website. You may also check FINRA’s BrokerCheck tool to review the advisor’s employment history, including any disciplinary action.

Fiduciary Meaning

A: A fiduciary financial advisor operates under a legal and ethical requirement to perform his or her duties in the client’s best interest. This means that a fiduciary advisor may only recommend financial strategies that are beneficial and consistent with their clients’ wishes and situation. Fiduciaries must disclose and avoid any conflict of interest to their clients.

If managing a client’s assets, a fiduciary financial advisor must review all available information about the client’s financial situation before delivering recommendations or financial plans. Furthermore, fiduciaries should not recommend financial products for the purpose of earning commission on them.

Not all financial advisors have a fiduciary duty toward their clients. Fiduciary financial advisors typically work for, or as, registered investment advisors (RIA). They may also operate as certified financial planners (CFPs). On the other hand, financial advisors working for brokerage firms are usually not fiduciary financial advisors.

Yes, Regional Investment Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor and operates under fiduciary duty toward its clients.

Retirement

A: Retirement age depends on the country you are retiring in. The retirement age in US may vary depending on your year of birth and when you choose to retire. 67 is typically considered full retirement age for individuals born after 1960. If you choose to retire before your full retirement age, you will only receive a percentage of your full social security benefits. Generally speaking, the minimum retirement age for social security is 62. This means that this is the earliest you may start receiving social security benefits.

A: A retirement calculator can assist you in determining your earliest and full retirement age. The United States Social Security Administration offers a full retirement age calculator and an explanation of age 62 social security benefits.

A: A professionally designed retirement plan can provide you with a strategy to maximize your 401(k) account, individual retirement account (IRA), and other resources you may have available. Carefully managing these resources during your working years can help you achieve financial security in your retirement age.

A: There are several types of retirement accounts. If you are employed, your employer may open a 401(k) account for you and contribute a portion of your wage to the account. If you earn income and meet eligibility requirements, you can open an individual retirement account (IRA). Based on your provider, you may be able to open the retirement account independently, or you may need to consult your advisor. Depending on your situation, you may wish to consider other types of retirement accounts.

A: Although there are several retirement account types, 401(k) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are some of the most common. A retirement plan 401(k) is an employer-sponsored account that both employer and employee can contribute to. On the other hand, you may spontaneously open an IRA and fund it with investment assets to use once you retire. Other retirement accounts may be available to you based on your circumstances. Working with a financial advisor or financial planner may be best way to learn about retirement account options.

Contributions to a Traditional 401(k) may be tax deductible depending on your income. You will, however, pay income tax on the 401(k) distributions during your retirement. Contributions to a Roth 401(k) are not tax deductible. However, qualified distributions from this type of account are tax-free.

Contributions to a Traditional IRA are tax deductible. You will, however, pay income tax on the IRA distributions during your retirement. Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible. However, qualified distributions from this type of account are tax-free.

Your yearly retirement savings may depend on your age, financial goals, and income. Although experts generally advise to save between 10% and 15% of your gross income each year, a financial advisor or a financial planner can help you design a strategy to effectively save for retirement based on your circumstances.

A Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP) allows employers to contribute assets to a retirement account for themselves and their employees and may be a valid retirement plan for self-employed individuals. However, you may consider working with a financial advisor to identify the retirement account type that best fits your needs.

College Savings & Planning

Starting a college fund with a college savings account, such as a 529 plan, may be an effective and potentially tax-advantaged way to financially plan for college. You may choose to open a college savings account independently or you may work with your financial advisor to design a college savings plan that matches your family’s goals and needs.

How much you need to save for college will depend on several factors. These include, for instance, whether you or your kids wish to attend a public or private college, whether you will need to meet room and board expenses, and how many years you will be able to save for. You may try an online college savings calculator for an estimate of your required savings. However, you may consider working with a financial planner to design a strategy that matches your specific goals and needs.

Investment Strategies

A: An investment strategy consists of a set of guidelines that help investors achieve their financial and investment goals. An effective investment strategy should develop around the individual’s objectives, risk tolerance, and needs. An investment advisor can assist you in creating a customized investment strategy and portfolio that match your unique circumstances.

Index investing is a passive investment strategy that seeks to replicate the same risks and results as the overall market, often considering the S&P 500 as the benchmark for performance. According to its proponents, index investing may be advantageous because, in the long run, the market may outperform any hand-picked stock. Being passively managed, this technique may result in lower management fees.

Alternative investments refer to any asset class aside from cash, stocks, and bonds. For example, these may include art, collectables, commodities, and real estate.

Investment Solutions

A: The ETF meaning is exchange-traded fund. ETFs are SEC-registered investment products. ETFs offer investors the ability to acquire shares of a fund that invests in various assets, such as stocks and bonds, in exchange for dividend payments and other benefits. Investment advisors are typically in charge of actively managing ETFs.

https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/investing-basics/investment-products/mutual-funds-and-exchange-traded-2

A: ETF investing is highly dependent on an investor’s financial situation and investment goals. For this reason, a financial advisor may assist you in finding the best ETF for you.

A: You may consider discussing ETF stock strategies with your financial advisor to identify the investment options that best fit your goals. Several online databases provide lists of existing ETFs. You may search for particular ETFs by including specific details about the ETF that you are looking for. You can search for broad offerings, such as ETF for S&P 500, to review all ETFs that track the S&P 500 index. Alternatively, you may search for industry-specific ETFs, using keywords like “gold”, “AI”, or “oil”. Some providers even offer strategies that are stock specific.

A: A mutual fund is a registered company that pools assets from different investors to purchase stocks, bonds, and other securities. These assets form the mutual fund’s portfolio. Ownership in the fund translates in income for the investors in the form of dividends and interest.

https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/investing-basics/investment-products/mutual-funds-and-exchange-traded-1#:~:text=A%20mutual%20fund%20is%20a,buy%20shares%20in%20mutual%20funds.

A: Mutual fund investment is highly dependent on an investor’s financial situation and investment goals. For this reason, a financial advisor may assist you in finding the best mutual fund for you.

A: Two main differences exist between a mutual fund vs ETF. Unlike a mutual fund, the trading price of an ETF does need to equal its net asset value (i.e. the value of its assets minus its liabilities, divided by the number of outstanding shares). Additionally, differently from mutual funds, only larger broker-dealers are typically able to purchase and sell ETF shares. However, on a basic level, both mutual funds and ETFs allow investors to pool their money to purchase assets in exchange for dividend payments and other benefits.

A: The main difference between mutual fund vs index fund is the securities each fund invests in. An index fund typically invests in a specific stock market index, like the S&P 500. A mutual fund invests in a list of securities that changes according to the strategy of its investment manager. Index funds are typically passively managed, while mutual funds require active management. As a result, investing in index funds may result in lower management fees compared to mutual funds.

Target Audience Specific

A: Investing for beginners (22.2k) Investing for retirement (5.4k)

A: One of the first ways to start is by coming up with an investing definition. Working with a financial professional can be a first step in understanding how you can start your investing journey. Investing requires an investing account. There are many resources including investing calculator, which provide details on investing compound interest.

There are many that focus on area specific investing such as investing in real estate or investing in stocks.