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Hardly a One-Trick Pony: IFA's Menu of Fiduciary Wealth Services

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"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." 

-- Benjamin Franklin


Diversification needs to be a central theme in everything you do with money. That includes not just investing, but also how your personal finances are managed.

At Index Fund Advisors, we're hardly a one-trick pony. In fact, there's much more to the IFA story. 

As true fiduciaries for our clients -- meaning we always put each person's interests ahead of our own -- IFA's advisors are here to lend an expert hand to help solve a wide range of wealth management issues. 

At the core of our planning process is an individually tailored and holistic financial plan. Every client is urged to take advantage of this complimentary service. Without a holistic planning foundation, we've found that people can become prone to making snap judgements during times of heightened market volatility. In short, a constructive IFA financial plan better enables investors to assess how much risk they need to take in order to reach their financial goals. 

As we know from leading academic studies, achieving greater returns over time is directly tied to how much risk an investor is willing to take in allocating a portfolio between different types of assets. As a result, IFA's wealth advisors find that developing a comprehensive financial plan for each person is essential to applying discipline, dare we say order, to what might seem like a rather chaotic marketplace in which millions of investors interact on a daily basis.

Along these lines, we've developed a Risk Capacity Survey. This online survey asks several key questions related to investing in order to help an investor learn which IFA Index Portfolio captures the right mix of stocks and bonds that is most appropriate for his or her unique financial situation. 

Perhaps just as importantly, IFA's RCS is designed to be used not just by newbie investors. We find that many of our clients who are undergoing changes in their financial situations re-take the Risk Capacity Survey to make sure a portfolio's current asset-allocation plan is still a match with their longer-term financial needs and appetites to handle market risk.  

Another tool we make available to our clients is eMoney. It's one of the most comprehensive and popular software planning suites on the market. Working in tandem with an IFA wealth advisor, investors can tackle a variety of different household budgeting issues. These can range from creating strategies to plan ahead for health care and insurance bills to any possible big-ticket purchases such as a car, house or even boat.

The eMoney program also can be used to breakdown how best to save for college. Parents might also want to check out IFA's free online College Savings Analyzer, which can serve as a complement to eMoney in helping them to understand key factors in saving for a child's educational future.  

Using eMoney's flexible "What If" scenario-building feature also allows our wealth advisors to work with clients to understand the impact of Social Security benefits on their future savings and income requirements. In addition, we can use this program's financial modeling capabilities to help gage how different types of loans might play into someone's overall financial well-being.

Such an analysis can prove especially opportune for business owners and high-net investors in determining the best lending facilities or loan structures to pursue. For instance, our advisors can help guide their clients in certain cases to establish a pledged asset line. Such a flexible line-of-credit is designed so that investors can utiliize a portfolio's value as collateral to raise money for business ventures, real estate purchases and various types of personal financial activities.      

In applying such tools as part of a rigorous review of a client's household finances, IFA's financial planning process is designed to help uncover new savings opportunities. Our wealth advisors can help you to take a closer look at your income expectations, much like a business studies cash flow trends on a corporate balance sheet. This can prove an especially beneficial tool for couples preparing for retirement.

In particular, we've developed another free online tool, the IFA Retirement Plan Analyzer. A detailed report is generated using Monte Carlo simulations that estimate the probability of success in reaching an investor's financial goals, given the individual risk and return parameters selected. 

But our advisors don't rigidly follow any particular path to securing each client's financial future. For specific circumstances, we might suggest you talk to an outside professional who can lend more expertise in different aspects of financial and legal services. With referrals, we should note such recommendations are just that. Still, it might be worthwhile to check with your IFA wealth advisor to help in searching for the most appropriate and experienced service professional available at any given time. 

In the case of a client with more complex estate planning needs, for example, we might see a need to maintain an open dialogue with lawyers specializing in these types of matters. You might also want to talk to your IFA advisor to get a referral for a range of savings and banking services, whether it's related to setting up a checking account or searching for someone to handle trustee services. We even have some pointers to offer in selecting an appropriate insurance representative, urging our clients to find an independent consultant who isn't paid by an insurance company to sell its products.

A fee-only insurance advisor can assist you in analyzing your insurance needs without the traditional conflict of interests that may exist with insurance brokers for specific insurance products. (To read more about this topic, see "Financial Advice and Overall Wealth Management.")

We also strongly recommend that investors make sure their individual tax considerations are sufficiently taken into account as part of the development and maintenance of a cohesive and holistic financial planning process. As an independent registered investment advisor (RIA) and fiduciary to our clients, we've seen over the years how intertwined wealth management and tax planning can be in helping people meet their longer-term financial objectives. As a result, we offer an in-house consultancy, IFA Taxes.

This division of IFA is headed by John Dahlin, a certified public accountant (CPA). His group provides expertise in tax planning and related advice to individuals as well as small business owners. It also works with clients and non-clients on tax preparation, bookkeeping and general accounting requirements. Feel free to reach out to Dahlin, who offers each taxpayer a free initial consultation. Also, the first year of any new IFA Taxes client's returns will be done on a complimenatry basis. You can contact Dahlin directly by email at [email protected] or call him at (888) 302-0765.    


This is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, product or service. There is no guarantee investment strategies will be successful.  Investing involves risks, including possible loss of principal. Performance may contain both live and back-tested data. Data is provided for illustrative purposes only, it does not represent actual performance of any client portfolio or account and it should not be interpreted as an indication of such performance. IFA Index Portfolios are recommended based on time horizon and risk tolerance.  For more information about Index Fund Advisor, Inc, please review our brochure at https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/ or visit www.ifa.com.