Frequently Asked Questions
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How long has LodeStar® been in business?
LodeStar Advisory Group, LLC.® was formed in August, 2003. We have been performing financial planning work and investment management for clients since 1993.
How long, on average, have you worked with the majority of your current clients?
Over twenty (20) years.
How is LodeStar® different from the competition?
LodeStar® is a proud member of NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Members of NAPFA, who have met all necessary requirements of membership, have earned the right to call themselves NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors. This prestigious title is recognized by those in the field and in the media as identifying those who are professional, ethical financial advisors. It’s all about putting you, the consumer, first. NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors act in a fiduciary capacity at all times. They take a holistic approach to planning that takes into account all of your financial considerations – from investing to estate planning. The goal is always to preserve and grow your money. As NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors, we are highly competent and have met more than a de minimis certification standard, offer holistic service, and operate on an objective Fee-Only basis. That means we do not sell financial products on commission. We are unbiased, without the potential for conflicts of interest. Our only purpose is to look out for your overall financial well-being.
If I sign up for LodeStar's® Financial Planning Services, what will occur?
At our no-cost, no-obligation initial meeting, we get to know each other and determine whether we both would like to move forward. Next, we get to know each other better - much better. We use our values-based goal setting process to help you envision a life that uniquely fulfills you. Then we use our expert technical skills to translate your values-based, life-fulfilling goals into financial objectives and to make recommendations for using all of your resources and our expertise to reach those objectives. We'll get you set up on our award winning financial planning platform – MyWealthPlan, the most powerful financial planning software in the industry and will work closely with you to get your complete financial life in order. Our tight-knit, integrated, holistic planning approach will give you the highest probability of achieving the outcome you are looking for – an organized, worry-free, financial life.
How do you charge for your financial planning services?
The financial planning fee we charge is for 12 months of service. The fee is based on the complexity of your situation. If you sign up for our Wealth Management Services Agreement, you will receive investment management and ongoing, year-round financial planning.
Will you provide me with a fee estimate and a written proposal for your Financial Planning Services?
Yes. After your initial meeting, you will be provided with a proposal letter that details what we will be doing for you with a comprehensive fee calculation for the first year.
What is LodeStar's® investment philosophy?
Our investment strategy focuses on protecting your portfolio by allowing for more flexibility in its construction. It includes both a passive and active investing approach. We are able to provide efficiency and cost savings for our clients through prudent use of passive ETFs in certain areas, but we also add substantial value by utilizing strategies that actively manage both market trends and market risk. Our risk-engineered portfolio design process embraces an "enhanced" diversification model. A wider range of non-traditional alternative mutual funds and ETFs are blended into your core asset allocation in order to better protect your portfolio against potential downturns and/or severe losses. We favor a philosophy whereby the criteria of value, preservation of capital and discipline are paramount. We look for growth opportunities, but not at just any price. We believe that it is important to avoid disasters by diversifying your resources and that it is possible to discover profitable investment opportunities in all sectors, even the more mature and less trendy ones.
How do you select investments for a client?
Before we recommend any investment, we consider current economic conditions, where we are in the business cycle, the outlook for that particular asset class or type of security, valuation levels and how the investment fits within your portfolio given your objectives and tolerance for risk.
How are sell decisions made?
LodeStar® adheres to a rigorous sell discipline aimed at avoiding disasters. We sell any stock that becomes unattractive due to the prospect of deteriorating fundamentals, relative overvaluation, or both.
Where will my assets be held?
We manage and report on your portfolio via direct downloads from our custodian, Fidelity Investments, Inc.
Who is Fidelity Investments, Inc.?
Once known primarily as a mutual fund company, Fidelity has adapted and evolved over the years and is now a global leader in the financial services arena.
How often do you review my account?
Generally, we review each account on a continuous basis. If circumstances warrant, such as market irregularities or a specific need surfaces, we will review your account(s) and contact you immediately.
Why do you review investment accounts so often?
Simply because that is what our system is designed to do. We are always watching for news relating to our current mutual fund, stock and bond, etc. holdings and ones we would like to invest in. If there are major economic, political, and/or market changes, we will review your portfolio immediately.
How often will you meet with me?
We give you the option to meet with us as often as you'd like. Generally, clients like to get together to discuss their portfolio(s) on an annual basis. Additionally, we encourage you to call us when you go through a major life event, such as a new job, a baby, a marriage, a divorce, or if you are planning to purchase a new home or start your own business.
How will I be updated on my portfolio?
You will receive a monthly statement from Fidelity Investments, Inc., which will list your securities, transactions that have occurred in the account during the month and the current end of month values. Additionally, as trades are executed, you will receive a confirmation statement with full details of each buy or sell. You may also view your account through the client area of LodeStar's secure website.
Will you consult me when making trades?
Our practice is to consult with you prior to any initial investment allocation. We discuss different investment strategies and what you can expect from those strategies. This is explained to you in writing in your investment management contract. Almost all of our accounts are managed on a discretionary basis. If your account is managed under a discretionary agreement, we generally will not discuss each and every trade with you. You may, of course, call us at any time to discuss any aspect of your portfolio. You do have the option of having your account managed under a non-discretionary agreement.
What's the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary wealth management?
Under our Discretionary Wealth Management Agreement, we have the ability to trade in your account without your verbal or written permission for each trade. Under our Non-discretionary Investment Management Agreement, we must speak with you directly prior to any trade that is made in your account.
Do I have to stay with your service for any length of time?
We would like you to stay with our service forever. However, there is no obligation on your part to do that. We disclose, in our contracts, that clients can terminate service with us at any time upon receipt of written notice from you. We will require payment of any fees owed us through the date of termination.
Are there any restrictions on taking money out of my account?
It's your money - there are no restrictions on withdrawing or depositing funds. Our services include the ability to write checks or wire funds from your account, and to make automatic monthly or quarterly deposits to or withdrawals from your account. We ask that you alert us sooner rather than later about large deposits (e.g. upcoming bonus) or large withdrawals (e.g. down payment on a house) so that we can ensure your asset allocation is properly configured.
What do you provide me with at year-end to prepare my taxes?
Fidelity Investments, Inc. provides tax reporting data via a comprehensive Form 1099 at year-end.
Does LodeStar® maintain a code of ethics?
Yes. LodeStar® is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards. Memebers of our staff who have earned the CFP® designation are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility as outlined by the CFP Board of Standards, Inc.
How can I get started?
The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Call us at (239) 325-5110 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation initial meeting. Appointments are scheduled based on availability during regular business hours of 9-5, Monday through Friday. Expanded office hours are available to accommodate special needs or emergency situations. Most clients find the financial planning process to be stimulating and enlightening. The end result, of course, is to get you to a place in your life that is uniquely fulfilling. We look forward to guiding you to that place.