Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions we hear from clients and prospective clients. Click on a question below to see the answer. If you have any questions not listed below or if you need more information, please contact us.
What distinguishes your firm from others that appear to offer the same or similar services?
1) We are strictly Fee-Only and Fiduciary; As an independent fee-only financial advisory firm, we provide completely objective advice and services to our clients. We have no financial incentive to recommend one investment over another. Instead of being paid by a third party to sell a particular investment or insurance product, we are independent, and our only compensation is fees for professional services paid directly to us by our clients. We strive to make the best recommendations for your situation. We are held to the Fiduciary Standard, which means, by law, we must act solely in the best interest of our clients.
2) For many of our clients, we will be the last financial advisor they will need. Our advisors’ ages provide you the perfect balance of experience and longevity. We pride ourselves on our ability to plan for, and work with multiple generations in a family. Think of a relationship with Horizons Wealth Management as a long-lasting solution.
3) At HWM, we take a true team approach when working with our clients. You will have three Certified Financial Planners™ handling your needs, so you can rest easy knowing that you are receiving the highest quality advice and service. There aren’t many firms you can retain that allow you to work hand-in-hand with more than one advisor. We have time and resources to individualize/customize each client’s financial plan and investments. We believe in the adage that “three heads are better than one.” David, Glen and Susan work together to develop financial plans and manage investment portfolios.
What is the difference between Fee-Only and Fee-Based Financial Advisors?
Fee-Only vs. Fee-Based Advisors:
Do not confuse Fee-Only and fee-based advisors. The terms sound similar, but there are important differences. Financial advisors are currently regulated under two different standards of conduct.
Fee-Only advisors charge a one-time or ongoing transparent fee, depending on the types of services they provide. They are registered with the SEC or a state securities regulator as fiduciaries, subject to the duty of loyalty and due care with their clients. They are expected to act in the best interest of their clients. If they don’t, they can be sued in the court of law. Horizons Wealth is proud to be held to the Fiduciary Standard, but 75% of financial advisors are held to a much lower ethical standard called the “Suitability Standard.”
Fee-based advisors hold licenses that allow them to sell investments or insurance products for commissions. Stockbrokers, broker-dealers, insurance agents, and others who are not Fee-Only are regulated by the private-sector organization (FINRA) or by state insurance regulators and are only subject to a “suitability” standard of conduct. Fee-based advisors do not have a duty to disclose their method of compensation, which can create a conflict of interest between what is best for you and what is best for the advisor.
Over the past few years, financial-service companies have realized that their costumers want objective advice, so they are moving away from the commissioned-based compensation model towards a strictly fee-based structure. However, the big financial companies aren’t ready to abandon their commission-based sales model or commit wholeheartedly to the Fiduciary Standard. This is why investors should be very cautious of the term “fee-based.”
When you work with a Fee-Only Financial Planner, the result is unbiased financial advice from a professional who is committed to acting as a fiduciary in a client-centered relationship.
What types of clients do you serve and is there a limit?
Many of our clients seek our help while facing some type of financial transition such as: planning or transitioning to retirement, divorcees, widows and widowers who need help restructuring their finances, professionals needing guidance for financial or investment decisions, or families who have recently received an inheritance. Our clients come from all walks of life and comprise both individuals and families. You don’t need to be a millionaire to benefit from broad-based financial planning. Financial health — just like the physical or mental kind — takes time and effort.
For Wealth Management, we currently serve approximately 100 client families between our North and South Carolina offices. We believe that to continue to provide an effective and quality service, about 50 families per CFP® professional would be optimal. We serve all of our clients as a team, which places our Wealth Management client limit at approximately 150 client families. Currently we have less than a 1% client turnover rate. This high retention rate allows us to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with our clients.
What do your clients have in common?
In turbulent times, or in times of prosperity, our clients benefit from holistic financial planning intended to help them maximize and preserve the assets they have.
Our clients delegate so they can focus on what’s important: They are willing to trust us to help them make financial decisions, so they can do all the things they can’t delegate to someone else: Time with family (especially grandkids), hiking, gardening, traveling, volunteering, etc.
Our clients want to stop stressing and worrying about their money: They want the freedom and peace of mind knowing all their financial assets are under the watchful eye of a steadfast firm. Perhaps this benefit, more than any other, is the most valued- the chance for relaxation. Having found the right financial advisor, you can properly relax, safe in the knowledge that an investment professional is taking care of a wide range of challenges and questions that you would otherwise have to deal with.
Our clients value our work, time and expertise: Our community of clients is comfortable with our Fee-Only model. We charge a percentage of assets under our management. Our compensation is explained at the very beginning of our relationship and is always transparent.
How long has Horizons Wealth Management been in business?
We were founded in 2007 by David Hunter and Glen Martin. Our three Certified Financial Advisors (David, Glen, and Susan) have a combined 45+ years of financial experience and a depth of knowledge to share and benefit our clients.
Why should I work with a NAPFA registered fiduciary?
There are a number of different financial planning certifications. While a financial planning professional can have any of several designations or certifications, at the very least you should make sure that he or she is licensed and in good standing with the licensing authority.
NAPFA, The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. NAPFA ensures that our firm remains compliant with Fee-Only services for your benefit. A Fee-Only advisor is paid only by his or her clients. They do not charge sales commissions, and they do not receive any compensation from investment or insurance providers. As a result, they do not face the conflicts of interest inherent in other compensation models.
One of the major benefits of selecting a Fee-Only advisor is a freedom from the inherent conflict of interest that can arise when a significant portion of the advisor’s income comes from selling financial products. Fee-Only financial advisors provide advice and ongoing services for transparent fees, but many advisors are paid to sell you investment products for big commissions.
The concern you should have as a potential client is whether or not the advisor is recommending a certain financial product because it enhances their bottom line and if the products recommended are truly in your best interest. The greater the advisor’s dependence on commission income, the greater the conflict. In the end, the conflict can cost you, both in out-of-pocket expenses and in the quality of the advice you receive. We believe there is a significant conflict of interest if an advisor stands to gain financially from any recommendations you may follow.
Another advantage of using a Fee-Only financial advisor is the opportunity for them to offer an objective second opinion of your current financial situation and investments. Because we can work with clients on a Fee-Only basis, we can complete a financial review of your current investments and financial situation to determine if you are on the right path to meet your goals.
See the NAPFA Fiduciary Oath.
See the ADV Part 2 brochure outlining our Fee-Only Services.
What types of financial services do you offer?
At Horizons Wealth Management, we take the time to understand each client’s unique needs; therefore, we are able to provide you with personalized financial strategies and solutions. Our financial services include:
Why should I hire a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)?
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) has competency and experience in all areas of financial planning. A CFP® has completed courses of study in over 100 topics of financial management including equities, taxes, and retirement planning. He or she must also follow the Certified Financial Planner™ code of ethics. All CFPs® providing financial planning services are required to adhere to a fiduciary standard of care. Being Fee-Only fiduciaries, we strive to reach even higher standards above and beyond those set by the CFP® board.
Today more than ever, Certified Financial Planner® professionals are an essential resource. From budgeting, to planning for retirement, to saving for education, to managing your taxes and your insurance coverage, “finances” doesn’t mean just one thing for most Americans. “Financial Planning” means much more than just investing. Bringing all the pieces of your financial life together is a challenging task; therefore it is critical to work with a well-trained CFP®.
Do you have an investment minimum?
We do not require a specific minimum value of assets to work with clients. Instead, we believe that a client’s attitude toward investments and accumulation efforts are more important than net worth or income. We take pride in working with clients of all sizes to help them grow their portfolio and achieve their individual financial goals.
Our Wealth Management service is specifically suited to those individuals with ongoing financial planning needs (such as tax efficiency, estate matters, customized portfolio needs, etc.). Typically, our Wealth Management relationships range between $850,000 to several millions of dollars under our management.
Our Horizons Managed Portfolios service is available for those individuals or families whose needs may not yet require our Wealth Management service. These individuals are primarily interested in investment management, while their comprehensive financial planning needs are less frequent or complex.
This is a solution for those just starting to build their investment savings, or who are not in a position to hire an all-inclusive wealth manager. For these clients, we have a meeting to determine an optimal investment portfolio matching your goals and risk tolerance. Your funds will then be invested in a diversified, efficient and low-cost portfolio, which is automatically rebalanced by Horizons Wealth Management. These clients can log into their portfolio to view it twenty-four hours a day and also have electronic monthly statements. We know it is still helpful to have access to a Certified Financial Planner; therefore, we are always available to assist our H.M.P. clients with their financial questions on an hourly fee basis ($200/hour). Typically, our Horizons Managed Portfolios clients have $750,000 or less to invest.
Can you help me with my 401(k)?
Some of our clients’ 401(k) or 403(b) accounts are their biggest, if not their only, retirement savings vehicle. Contributing a portion of your salary into the account is extremely important, but it’s only half of the battle. Many people feel that just contributing to their account is sufficient. However, in order to retire comfortably, consistent and hands-on management of the account from a competent financial advisor is necessary.
Our Morningstar Portfolio Management software allows us to track and manage clients’ 401(k)’s as a part of their overall investment strategy. You want to make sure you are partnering with qualified experts when making important decisions regarding your 401(k).
Do you help clients with retirement planning?
Yes! As a component of the financial planning process, we provide retirement planning counsel and advice to many clients. Considering retirement is exciting, but it can also cause anxiety and fear. When it comes to saving for retirement, there is no better time than today to assess your plan for the future. To learn more, see our Retirement Planning.
How do you work with clients remotely?
Although Horizons Wealth Management is based out of Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC, we work with clients all over the world. We make sure the experience of our out-of-the-area clients is as positive as that of our local clients.
To do that, we use…
- GoToMeeting, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc. for virtual meetings.
- A secure online client vault via Citrix to store and exchange sensitive financial documents.
- Our website and other electronic communications for client updates, briefings, and announcements.
For all our clients we use various technologies to ensure expedient communication between face-to-face meetings.
Why don’t you have any success stories on your website?
Our industry is highly regulated and we are not allowed to share past client success stories; they may accidentally or intentionally promise that we can create the exact same result for you. Rest assured, though, that our clients frequently tell us that we make them feel safe and taken care of—and we are extremely proud of our work and the relationships we have with our clients. We will be happy to provide client references at the appropriate point in the process.
Where will my assets be held?
Horizons Wealth Management is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and completely independent. Our Wealth Management clients’ assets are custodied at Pershing LLC. We use Shareholders Service Group (SSG) as the discount broker to process trades. SSG provides statements, tax documents, and online access.
Our Horizons Managed Portfolios accounts are held at Goldman Sachs/Folio Institutional.
All accounts are SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) insured.
What can I expect from an Initial Meeting?
We welcome anybody to sit down and interview us about ourselves and our services for absolutely no fee for the first hour. This usually involves questions about our services, credentials, experience, fees, philosophy, and investment strategies. During this initial meeting we also discuss your goals, needs, and expectations because understanding your goals and timeline for achieving them is a necessary step in determining your financial needs. If you are interested in exploring more about Horizons Wealth Management, we encourage you to contact us to see if an initial meeting is the next step forward.
What questions should I ask when interviewing a financial planner?
- Are you a fiduciary?
- How are you compensated? Do you accept referral fees or make commissions?
- What licenses, credentials or other certifications do you have?
- What services does your advisory firm provide?
- What types of clients do you specialize in? Do you have many clients like me?
- Could I see a sample financial plan, quarterly report, quarterly newsletter, etc.?
- What is your investment approach? How will you help me reach my financial goals?
- How much contact and communication do you have with your clients?
- Will I be working only with you or with a team? What happens to my relationship with the firm if something happens to you?
- What makes your client experience unique? Why do I want to work with you and your firm?
Is your firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)?
Yes, because our firm is managing over $100m, we are registered with the SEC. Please refer to our ADV-2 for additional regulatory information.
How can I get started?
Here’s how we can get started:
Call us at: 828-337-9395
Email us at: email@example.com
We will be happy to answer any questions you have about our firm, our 3-step on-boarding process, our fees or our financial services. If we determine that an initial meeting is the next step, we will get that scheduled at either our Asheville, NC or Greenville, SC office.
While taking this initial step may seem daunting, most clients find the financial planning process to be helpful and empowering. You may start the planning process with a nervous state of mind, but in most cases, the end result is greater peace of mind.