Sensible Money Named One of Best Phoenix Financial Advisors
Two organizations have ranked Sensible Money as one of the best financial advisors in Phoenix/Scottsdale. What an honor! ThreeBestRated chose Sensible Money as one of the best three financial services companies in Scottsdale, and AdvisoryHQ ranked us in the top eleven financial services companies in the Phoenix area.
This reward is special, as we were not aware we were being evaluated, and we were not required to pay ThreeBestRated or AdvisoryHQ a fee or buy an ad in their publication. (Many “top advisor lists” solicit expensive ads from the firms they select.)
As AdvisoryHQ explained to us, their policy is as follows, “All of our review and ranking articles are always 100% independently researched and written. Firms do not pay for their ranking or our award emblem. In fact, most firms do not even know that they are being reviewed and ranked by AdvisoryHQ until after our reviews have been published to the public.”
Below are some of the factors that contributed to the selection of Sensible Money as one of the best financial advisors in the Phoenix area.
Fee-Only, Independent Advisors
Did you know of the 350,000 plus financial advisors in our country, about 94% work in a business model that allows them to accept commissions from the sale of investment or insurance products? We fall in the 6% that does not. We do not participate in commissions of any kind.
Fee-only means that rather than being paid to sell you something, our job is to represent you with the same standard of care that a CPA or attorney has. We give advice that is in your best interest. You would think that all financial planners do this, but that is not so. Because of the conflicts of interest that exist in the financial advice industry, in 2016 the Department of Labor issued a new consumer protection law referred to as the DOL Fiduciary Rule. What is a fiduciary? A fiduciary is someone who is required to act on behalf of the best interests of their clients.
The new rule may not pass, but whether it passes or not, we will continue to have a fiduciary duty to our clients.
As a fee-only, fiduciary advisor, we can manage investments on behalf of our clients – but we can’t receive compensation that is based on the type of investments we use. When we manage investments, we custody assets with the institutional division of Charles Schwab, and build equity portfolios with low-cost index funds (often Dimensional Funds). For the fixed income component, we use bond funds, Guggenheim Bulletshares, and individual municipal and agency bonds. We can take over existing portfolios, incorporate existing holdings, and develop a tax-efficient transition plan for changes that need to be made.
Smart Planning Approach
Dana Anspach, Sensible Money’s Founder and CEO, is a nationally recognized expert in retirement income planning.
From 2008 – 2016 she wrote for About.com as their MoneyOver55 Expert. This site is now called TheBalance.com where she continues to serve as their expert on Retirement Decisions. She also contributes retirement planning content to MarketWatch and is the author of Control Your Retirement Destiny (now in its 2nd edition) and Social Security Sense.
Since 2009 Dana has been part of the Retirement Income Industry Association, where she collaborates with top academics in the field of retirement income planning. These experts recognize that you cannot approach retirement planning in the same way that you approach general financial planning. Dana acquired the Retirement Management Analyst designation (RMA) in 2010. There are currently only a few hundred RMAs in the country, and four of them work for Sensible Money.
Using the knowledge from the RMA program, Dana designed an incredibly thorough financial planning process that all of Sensible Money’s financial planners use. This planning process contributed to the selection of Sensible Money as one of the best financial advisors in Phoenix.
Another area of expertise that makes our services stand out from other Phoenix financial advisors is our ability to include tax planning in the work we do. Many brokerage firms prohibit their financial advisors from providing tax advice. The best financial advisors are not subject to these restrictions because they don’t work for a brokerage firm. Instead, they practice as independent financial advisors, and they know that tax planning is an important part of the financial planning process and that it can add real value.
Research by Morningstar, Vanguard, and Ernst & Young have all consistently shown that appropriate tax planning consistently applied to a client’s situation can add anywhere from 1 – 3% in additional value. For example, in Morningstar’s Alpha, Beta, Gamma paper they quantify the “Gamma” or potential value that can be added by tax-smart allocation and withdrawal sequencing as ranging from 2.33% to 4.41%. We pay attention to taxes. A few key areas where we focus are the location of your assets (which asset classes belong in which types of accounts), applying tax-loss and gain harvesting to all non-retirement accounts, and designing a plan as to how you will withdraw funds in retirement in a way that is as tax-efficient as possible. We incorporate all of this into our service offering.
Complimentary Introductory Meeting
You do not have to decide whether you want to work with Sensible Money right off the bat. We offer a complimentary introductory session where we have conversations about whether financial planning can add value for you. At this meeting, we provide an estimate of how much financial planning for your situation will cost.
Many people find their financial advisor from a friend. This might work out, but the best financial advisor for your neighbor or friend might not be the best financial advisor for you. Some financial advisors have particular areas of expertise. Be sure to interview advisors to find the best person for you. Below are questions you can ask to help figure out if a potential advisor is right for you.
To find the best advisor in the Phoenix area, make sure you ask questions such as:
- How are you compensated?
- Do you have a fiduciary duty to your clients?
- Do you put your advice in writing?
- Do you provide performance reports that show me how my investments are doing relative to my goals?
- Do you provide tax planning?
The answers to these questions should be yes. Also, ask the Phoenix or Scottsdale advisors that you may be interviewing if they have an area of specialty and ask them to describe their typical client.
Check Us Out
Our physical office is located in Old Town Scottsdale, although, to avoid traffic, many of our clients prefer web meetings once they’ve met us in person once or twice. Plan your meetings around lunch or happy hour – our front door opens up onto the patio of the restaurant 5th and Wine! If you are looking for a financial advisor, visit the services page of our website to learn more about our process and pricing. We’d welcome the opportunity to help you build and preserve your wealth.