FAQ

What is financial planning?
Financial planning can be broad based and integrated, where all elements of your financial affairs (like retirement planning, investments, insurance and college funding) are brought together into a coordinated, cohesive plan. Or it can be very specific, focusing just on a single issue of importance or concern to you. In either case, financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important deliverables. First, an in-depth review of your current situation (either comprehensive or specific, depending on your planning objective) and secondly, a roadmap that provides clear direction on how to achieve your planning goal(s). It is important to remember that financial planning is a dynamic process, not a single, one-time event. The economy, your planning objectives, and earned income can all change, necessitating a revisit of the roadmap.
Any organization (profit or nonprofit) wanting to provide unbiased conflict-free advice and financial education to their employees can benefit from our services. We can also provide financial advice and coaching to rank and file employees and/or senior executives on a retainer basis. Your employees will appreciate the fact that you have engaged an independent, fee-only firm, thus eliminating the possibility of sales pressure related to product sales or bundled services. Call us for details at (413) 565-2839.
Fee-only financial planners are paid only by their clients. They never receive any commissions, sales incentives, bonuses or special perks paid by insurance companies or other financial service entities for selling their products. Kulig Financial Advisors is a true fee-only financial advisory firm. Knowing this, you can approach us with the full knowledge that we will only make recommendations that are in your best interest. You do not have to worry that we will need to "sell you something" in order to be paid for providing you advice.
Thanks to modern technology, it is generally not essential to have in-person meetings. Frequently, work may be accomplished for distance assignments through the use of video conferences, online data collection and other tools. The choice of a distance assignment is really determined by a client's comfort level with working with someone who is not in the immediate area. Even for those who live and/or work in western Massachusetts or other nearby areas, it has been a major convenience to use these tools due to busy work/family schedules, commuting demands, etc.
We can help directly with implementation in the areas of retirement planning and investments. For areas with a specialized focus, such as insurance, tax preparation or estate planning we pinpoint issues but recommend professionals in those areas. We are also happy to partner with someone you may already be working with to accomplish planning goals. Please see FAQ How Do You Price Financial Planning and Investment Services for the different ways in which we can help you take steps to achieve your financial goals.

Ongoing Services

We believe that clients benefit most from a long term relationship with an advisor over time, so we offer both financial planning and investment advice on an ongoing basis.

Financial Planning Subscription Service

Our financial planning subscription service helps clients with ongoing planning needs and keeps their plans current. You benefit from any new approaches that we find to addressing planning issues. There are additional benefits to our subscription service, which are:

  • We assist in implementation of your plan at no additional fee
  • You receive a higher priority of service
  • We are available when questions arise at no additional fee
  • Services that would normally be an additional charge will be included in your fee. Examples include a financial organizer, withdrawal planning as you approach retirement, and other services we may provide in the future.
  • Ongoing access (where available) to planning tools, such as our interactive retirement planning software.
  • Updates to your original plan are at no additional cost to you.

Costs for our financial planning subscription service are an upfront fee of $1,400 to $2,200 plus a monthly subscription of $125 to $190, with the exact fee based on the level of complexity of your planning needs. The subscription service is renewable annually.

Investments

Kulig Financial Advisors offers ongoing investment services on both full service assets under management basis (we take care of everything for you) and retainer (advice only, which you implement)

Asset Management

Full service asset management clients have all the same benefits as ongoing financial planning clients in terms of service level, access to tools, etc. In addition, we take care of investment management issues, including asset allocation, investment selection, and managing the tax impact of investments. We consolidate accounts as much as possible and make the different types of accounts you own work together as an entire portfolio designed to meet your objectives. We report to you periodically on how your portfolio is doing, and stay abreast of your planning needs.

Account Size Annualized Asset Based Fee
$0 - $500,000 1.00%
$500,001 - $1,000,000 0.75%
$1,000,001 - $2,000,000 0.50%
$2,000,001 and above Negotiable

We do not have an account minimum, but as a practical matter, for smaller accounts, an investment plan may be sufficient and be the most economical for you.

Investment-Only Retainers

You can hire us as a consultant for investment work, where we review your portfolio on an ongoing basis and recommend transactions which you implement. This service is best for accounts which you may not transfer for management here, such as a 401(k) or an annuity. Clients frequently have a blend of asset management and retainers so that all parts of their portfolios make a cohesive whole.

The fee for retainers is individually determined. The starting point is roughly half the asset management fee, but the ultimate cost is determined based on complexity. Also, in contrast to the asset management service, the fee is a flat annual retainer fee which does not vary in price based on the amount of your assets. We reserve the right to change the fee in the future, but do so infrequently and provide plenty of advance notice.

Please know that in the retainer arrangement, we do not bear responsibility for the tax impact of investment changes, since we have no control over the implementation of our recommendations. There are also some situations we may not do on a retainer basis at all due to their greater complexity.

One-Time Planning

One-time plans are priced at an hourly rate of $275. Factors included in our time estimate are the time we take to meet with you, researching and analyzing your situation, and formulating recommendations tailored to your situation. Before you hire us, we provide you with a written quote with the cost of the engagement. Because clients may hire us for a wide variety of needs, the quote may vary from several hundred to several thousands of dollars.

Implementation help is not included in one-time planning, although we provide reminders, and referrals to other professionals you may need to execute the plan. The client always has the option to hire us at the hourly rate for implementation.

For a listing of services offered by Kulig Financial Advisors please review our services.

The following principles and convictions will inform the investment recommendations that we present to our clients:

A. Asset allocation is the most significant factor in determining your long-term investment performance. Asset allocation refers to the way you divide your investments between stocks, bonds, cash and other investments.

B. We believe that investing in stocks requires a time horizon of five years or longer. Investors who will need access to their funds within five years should not be in the stock market. As we experienced from 2000 to 2010, stocks are capable of delivering little or nothing in terms of returns for an entire decade.

C. We do not believe in market timing, which is a strategy that seeks to move in and out of the market in anticipation of either upward or downward market movements. Few (if any) investment professionals have over a long period of time demonstrated their ability to consistently add value beyond a buy and hold strategy. We believe in controlling risk through prudent asset allocation strategy, not by attempting to time the market.

D. We believe that there is a role for both active and passive investing strategies. To clarify, "active" management is an investment approach where fund managers choose securities based on research, judgment, and financial analysis. "Passive" management is a buy and hold strategy that seeks to provide broad market exposure and typically tries to replicate the returns of the designated index (like the S&P 500). Passive investors make no attempt to exclude or include stocks in their portfolios based on criteria used by active managers. For many investors, we recommend a core plus satellite investing model. Conventional wisdom holds that the purpose of core portfolio holdings has been to harness the long-term appreciation potential of traditional assets such as large-company stocks and high quality bonds. The goal of asset allocation has been to strike a balance between these two low correlation asset classes that optimizes their risk-adjusted returns. However, following the economic crisis of 2008 and early 2009, we believe that there are three key factors that need to be considered in constructing the core portion of investors' portfolios. These factors are: historically high volatility, historically low interest rates, and renewed awareness of the potential for historical correlations to break down. In this environment, traditional holdings -- especially long only stocks -- may be too volatile for many investors, especially those nearing or in retirement. We believe that post-crisis core portfolios may benefit from some revisions to traditional asset allocation, and believe that hedged equity, global fixed income and risk managed alternative investments may be appropriate for many investors.

E. We believe that fees and expenses have a very negative impact on a client's wealth over a long period of time. For example, if two investors with $100,000 are able to earn an average of 9% per year over a 20 year time period, but one investor chooses a higher cost investment that assesses an extra 1% per year in fees, the investor with the higher costs will have $94,345 less at the end of the 20 year period. Expenses and fees must be carefully managed.

The seven steps approach was designed to clearly communicate the way that we work with our clients and to clarify the roles and responsibility of the financial planner and the client. For a full description, please go to our process page.

Call us at (413) 565-2839 or e-mail us at nkulig@kuligfinancial.com to schedule an introductory meeting. We offer a no fee, no obligation get acquainted meeting, either by phone, by teleconference, or in person.

Yes, as described in "How do I implement recommendations?" Kulig Financial offers different service levels to meet varying client needs when it comes to portfolio oversight. The highest level of service is full implementation and monitoring of your portfolio. Please read the question "What is your investment philosophy?" and well as the question on pricing of our services to see if this is right for you.

Kulig Financial Advisors offers several levels of service and professional oversight to assist you in implementing our recommendations. You have several options to choose from depending on your need; they range from subscription, retainer and asset management services, to simple reminders to follow through on your own. Please see FAQ How do You Price Your Financial Planning and Investment Services for details.