Frequently Asked Questions
Who is AFP’s typical client?
While every client is unique, there are clients who benefit the most from AFP’s services. AFP’s clients usually need clarity around how to plan for their own retirement and at the same time make sure their special needs loved one has a rewarding and full life. We will work best together if you have an interest in working collaboratively with your financial advisor so we can create and implement a comprehensive financial plan together.
What is AFP's philosophy? What does "fiduciary" mean?
AFP is proud to have taken a fiduciary oath, which requires AFP to always act in their client’s best interest. Strict care is taken to ensure conflict of interests do not occur. Fiduciary standards are stricter standards than the suitability standards which are more common for the majority of financial advisors. Under the suitability standard an advisor may recommend a product which pays a higher commission or is required to be sold by their employer, even if there is a similar product in the marketplace which would be more beneficial for the client. AFP is obligated to recommend only the products which are most beneficial to our clients, every single time.
What does “fee-only” and “fee-based” mean?
Fee-only means the advisor gets paid only by the client and not by anyone else. Fee-only is often confused with fee-based. Fee-based advisors earn their fees through a combination of client fees and commissions, and therefore may have a financial incentive to recommend a particular product to a client. Most advisors earn a significant portion of their compensation through commissions, and in addition they may be required to sell their company’s proprietary products even if there is a more beneficial product available to the client in the marketplace. AFP is committed to recommending only the products which are most beneficial to our clients, every single time.
What makes AFP different from most financial advisors?
There are several important distinctions between AFP and the typical advisor. One difference is AFP is a fee-only, fiduciary advisor, meaning we are committed to putting the client’s interests and needs first, all the time, no matter what. Additionally, AFP has both the expertise and the commitment to develop and implement robust, customized financial plans for families who have a special needs loved one to consider when developing their retirement plans. AFP understands their client’s unique and complex needs, and is a true partner in their journey.
What is AFP’s investment philosophy?
AFP uses a client-focused, researched backed approach to investment management, which is fundamentally different than that pursued by most individual investors. It is not based on last quarter or last year’s performance, and it is not based on what is expected to happen next quarter or next year. Instead it is based on Nobel-prize winning research and discipline rather than luck, market timing, or stock-picking. We favor low cost products such as index funds from Vanguard and asset class funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), which are diversified and low-cost portfolios tilted toward sources of higher expected return. AFP manages legacy investments, socially conscientious investments, and other client portfolio preferences as long as they are in line with AFP’s overall investment philosophy of low cost, sound investment products which align with the client’s customized Investment Policy Statement.
Do I need to live in the Boston area to hire AFP?
Not at all! AFP uses industry leading technology which enables AFP to provide premier financial services in a location-independent manner. AFP conducts the majority of its business using a secure client portal on AFP’s website, videoconferencing, phone, and email. Clients find working with AFP much more convenient because travel is not required. But if you are in the Boston area we’d love to meet in person if you prefer.
Is it difficult to conduct business virtually?
Just the opposite! Clients find it much more convenient to work virtually with AFP. AFP uses secure, industry-leading technology to make the financial planning process as painless as possible, from online data gathering, a secure online vault where we can safely and securely share important documents, screen sharing abilities with clients, and convenient online scheduling. AFP’s technology platform allows clients to easily access their accounts at any time and has robust features such as analytic tools which allows AFP to run dynamic financial models virtually with the client, all without the need to be in the same location.
My finances are an embarassment. Will AFP judge me?
AFP is a judgement-free advocate for you in your financial journey. If you had all the necessary time, financial resources and knowledge already, then AFP wouldn’t be able to provide much value to you as a client. AFP loves helping clients turn around their financial situations as much as we love providing needed services and support to those who are further along in achieving their financial goals.
I have a question about AFP’s services which is not frequently asked.
We’d love to hear your question. You can either schedule a no-obligation introductory call here or send us an e-mail. We look forward to helping you.
I want to learn more about my finances.
Empowering clients to be confident participants in their financial decisions through knowledge and access to technology is AFP’s goal. The AFP Blog page is devoted to providing relevant and timely information to clients in order to provide them with the best chance for financial success, all in a format which strives to be free from technical jargon and bias. If there is a topic you are especially interested in, let us know and if it’s relevant to our clients then AFP will be happy to add it to the AFP Blog.