common questions and answers

Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers to your questions about our fee-only financial planning services. 

Financial Planning Frequently Asked Questions

About Squam Lakes Financial Advisors

We’ve been providing fee-only financial advice to clients since 1982. We initially opened our practice in Georgetown, Connecticut, and eventually wound up in paradise overlooking White Oak Pond and Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire.

We typically serve between 18 and 32 clients. Our goal is to provide individualized and personalized attention to our clients.

Yes. We always act as your fiduciary and provide strictly fee-only financial planning to avoid all conflicts of interest.

Since 1983, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) has been the leading association of fee-only financial advisors. NAPFA has strict business and ethical standards for its members including professional competency, client-focused financial planning, and fee-only compensation.

NAPFA members by definition are fiduciaries and will always have the client’s best interest as their sole responsibility. NAPFA members do not sell any products. We provide services, expertise, and experience to our clients with objective advice at all times.

Our sole source of income comes directly from our clients either in the form of a retainer relationship or what we refer to as a “plan,” typically a three- to eight-month engagement for pre-or post-retirement planning. All of our fees are fixed.

Services

The key to success in the retirement world is to choose financial planning professionals with documented experience and expertise.

Bob Maloney holds a Master of Science in Financial Services and a bachelor’s degree in financial services. Bob has more than three decades of experience in retirement planning for clients. He is a recognized leader in the field and was a founding member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the leading professional association of fee-only financial advisors. Bob has received numerous awards for his contributions to the financial planning community. He also holds the Accredited Estate Planner Certification from the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. 

Read more about Bob >>

Often, this is a very personal choice. In many cases, we meet individuals who are looking for a long-term financial planning relationship that extends through various life milestones. This is where a retainer option may better benefit the client. Other clients may be looking for a “check-up” if you will, to see if they’re on-track to meet their personal financial goals. A short-term engagement may work better for this situation.

Yes, we can. Retirement benefits through a prior employer or more than one employer can be essential in determining when and if one can retire. We take these into consideration as we develop a twenty-five-year cash flow projection to determine if retirement is going to be comfortable or if adjustments need to be made.

Many years ago we decided that providing financial planning services and investment management services under the same roof could lead to conflicts of interest. For this reason, we do not provide investment advice as it relates to the selection of stocks, bonds, or other investments. However, we do provide an investment policy statement based on our analysis that a wealth manager or portfolio manager can use as guidance.

We provide referrals to other professionals based upon prior experience and cost.

For example, one of the firms to which we refer investment work provides a 35 percent discount off their standard fees due to the volume of business we’ve given them over the years. We do not personally benefit from this discount. Instead, our clients begin with a smaller base of fees which provides a better avenue to long-term growth.

We receive no incentives to recommend other professionals or financial products.

Who We Serve

No, you do not! As much as we like face-to-face meetings after we have been hired, Zoom or Microsoft Teams are viable alternatives that we can take advantage of at any time. With this in mind, our clients extend far beyond New Hampshire.

Absolutely! It makes sense to start early. The best time to begin retirement planning is typically when one is in their 30s or early 40s. Don’t wait too long – it becomes much more challenging if you wait until your 50s to begin thinking about your financial future.

Of course! We can work on an hourly basis or we can quote a minimum fee for this type of relationship. 

No, we have no minimums as it relates to assets.

Getting Started

A comprehensive retirement plan may take between four to eight months to complete. To fully serve our clients, we request a significant amount of information that not only includes the individual, but also relevant family members and advisors. We review property and casualty insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, pension, and 401(k) or 403(b) plans, etc.

Once all this information is collected and analyzed, we develop and present recommendations to our client(s).

Absolutely none. We’d much prefer that our first meeting with a prospective client be an opportunity to get to know each other and to see if our process and services are a good fit for your needs. If we decide to move forward, we’ll provide a detail list of what we’ll need from you to get started.

Some clients choose to deliver documents to us in-person. If that’s the case, we scan originals and return them as soon as we can. Other clients prefer to use our secure document management platform called Box. Clients can upload their documents into Box and we can access them down as needed.

We use Box to upload pertinent documents and recommendations so that our clients can have easy access to them.

For non-retainer financial planning, fees are paid one half up front with the remaining balance due when the plan has been completed.

For retainer-based clients, fees are billed quarterly during the course of the year.

Yes. For financial planning services, if a client cancels within the first two weeks, we will return the fee subject to an adjustment for the time and effort put forth to that point.

Of course! This is, in fact, how we prefer to operate. There is no fee for our first meeting, regardless of how long it takes. Our goal for the first meeting is to ensure that you’re comfortable with our services and confident in our potential to work together.

Contact us today to begin the conversation >>

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