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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 their financial goals and how to achieve them, especially around investments and retirement planning. We will work best together if you are comfortable using technology and 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 not only committed to putting the client’s interests and needs first, all the time, no matter what, but we have a regulatory obligation to do so. AFP does not receive commissions of any kind. AFP doesn’t have a requirement imposed by an employer to make recommendations for specific services or proprietary products. AFP partners with Buckingham Strategic Partners to provide clients with the vast resources of a large national firm in combination with the highly tailored service of a small advisory firm to offer the best of both worlds to clients. AFP is able to go deeper into tax planning than many financial advisors because of our income tax expertise. AFP takes the time to understand the client’s unique goals, and is a true partner in the client’s journey. AFP genuinely cares about our client’s welfare and well-being, and it shows.

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 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. AFP takes great pride in helping the clients understand their portfolio and how the portfolio’s structure will support the client’s goals.

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 robust financial services in a location-independent manner. AFP conducts the majority of its business using a secure client portal, videoconferencing, phone, and email. Clients find working with AFP much more convenient because travel is not required. But if you are nearby, we’d love to meet in person in the Newburyport, MA office 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.

Does AFP have a required minimum for investable assets?

While we don’t have an explicit minimum for investable assets, AFP’s services are best suited for clients who are thinking about retirement or are in retirement. Therefore, a certain level of assets are required in order for AFP to be able to create a viable retirement plan. The specific amount needed is unique to each client. AFP clients typically have between $1 million and $10 million in investable assets. 

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.

“If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking.”