We want to change the way you think about investing. Despite the titles printed on their business cards, not all financial advisors are the same. The success of your investment experience is based upon making five critical decisions when selecting an advisor. We want you to make informed decisions, and in doing so, understand what sets Steward Financial Group apart from traditional financial service firms.
Who pays your financial advisor . . .
Most financial advisors are actually salespeople who are paid commissions by their firms or a third party on the investment products and services they sell. This creates a conflict of interest as you cannot be certain if the financial strategy they recommend is to best fit your needs or to offer them a profitable commission from product sales. If your advisor receives income from anyone other than yourself, he does not work for you.
At Steward, we are independent, fee-only advisors. We work for you and are compensated only by you. We do not receive commissions or incentives for the investment advice we provide. Therefore, we are free of conflicts allowing us to recommend the most suitable strategies to preserve and grow your wealth.
Do you have a written financial plan . . .
If you don’t have a written financial plan, you don’t have a plan. Most investors do not have a written strategy to guide their investment choices, thus leading them to make reactive decisions concerning their wealth. The few investors that have written plans have utilized an antiquated method based on a simplistic view of the market. This method assumes the market yields the exact same return year after year. Such an unrealistic assumption does not account for the volatility of the market and can lead to false-positive results.
By contrast, we use a series of tests to determine the potential outcomes of your customized Wealth Management Plan. We simulate thousands of possible lifetime-return scenarios to determine the probability of attaining your financial goals. We include optimistic and pessimistic scenarios to create a “probability of success” which allows you to take comfort that true market scenarios have been used to plan for the future. The result is a written, goal-based plan in which you can have confidence and measure progress.
Do you invest or speculate . . .
Most advisors would have you believe that they have the ability to look into a crystal ball for insights into timing— when to get you in and out of the market—and selection—picking the right stocks and bonds to own. They tell us we can beat the market if we buy the mutual fund or stocks they recommend. Historical results show this simply is not true. By speculating on the future, your long-term returns will not beat the market and you will simply incur more management costs and risks along the way.
At Steward, we use an investment philosophy backed by more than fifty years of academic research and Nobel Prize winning theory. We see markets as an ally, not an adversary. Rather than wasting time trying to discover ways markets are mistaken, we take advantage of the ways markets are right—ways they compensate investors. Our firm designs structured portfolios created around diversified asset classes rather than stock selections. This assures you receive the capital market rate of return while reducing cost and risk.
Is your investment strategy increasing your taxes or decreasing them . . .
Most investors have a separate tax planner, attorney, and financial advisor working independent of each other. This approach often leaves you with conflicting tax, legal, and investment plans that do not act together to help build wealth. In fact, without coordination of these existing plans, you will actually decrease your wealth due to tax inefficiencies.
At Steward, we possess expertise in the areas of tax, legal, and investment management by integrating the services of a CPA, estate planning attorney, and financial advisor under one roof. We will work with your existing professional insuring a unified tax efficient plan. These efficiencies will result in a reduction of taxes and more importantly, an increase in wealth.
Are you part of a relationship or just a number . . .
Most large brokerage firms profit by attracting as many clients as possible to plug into their cookie-cutter system. This model requires them to have hundreds, if not thousands, of clients rendering them incapable of providing personal client service. The lack of a personal relationship results in poor understanding of client goals, thereby reducing the probability a client will successfully achieve their goals.
At Steward, we intentionally limit our number of clients so we are able to provide attentive and proactive service. Frequent client communication allows us to anticipate your changing needs. We continually review your Wealth Management Plan to increase your ability to accomplish your financial goals. We foster lifelong, personal relationships with our clients.