Frequently Asked Questions

How much experience do you have?

Over 20 years, Ray Mignone has been an independent, Fee-Only financial advisor and Certified Financial Planner since 1989 and has been recognized by the press and his peers as one of the nation’s outstanding financial advisors. See the Who We Are section of this website for more information.

What do the terms Fee-Only and R.I.A. mean & why should I care?

As a Fee-Only financial advisor we are only paid by the fee that our clients pay us. This means we don’t receive any commissions or referral fees for recommendations of financial products or services we give to our clients. By working with an advisor who is Fee-Only you know for sure that you will be receiving objective financial advice. Someone who is Fee-Based may work for a fee but also has the ability to receive commissions, it’s difficult for you to be sure how much you are really paying for advice with a Fee-Based or commissioned based financial advisor.

R.I.A. stands for Registered Investment Advisor, as a registered financial advisor with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) we have a fiduciary obligation to put our clients’ interests above our own. A financial advisor who is not an R.I.A. is working more like a stock broker and is considered a registered representative of a larger firm and does not have a fiduciary obligation to put the clients’ interests first.

Do you have a financial advisor checklist of things I should look for?

Comprehensive Financial Advisor Checklist

Use the checklist below to screen financial advisors.  It will help you identify a prospective advisor’s abilities and competencies.

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

A Certified Financial Planner is a qualified investment professional who helps individuals and corporations meet their long-term financial objectives by analyzing the client’s status and setting a program to achieve that client’s goals. Financial planners specialize in tax planning, asset allocation, risk management, retirement and/or estate planning.

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation is a professional certification mark for financial planners conferred by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board).

To become a CFP® students must master a list of nearly 100 topics on integrated financial planning. The topics cover major planning areas such as:

  • General Principles of Finance and Financial Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Employee Benefits Planning
  • Investment and Securities Planning
  • State and Federal Income Tax Planning
  • Estate Tax, Gift Tax, and Transfer Tax Planning
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Estate Planning

Examination

The CFP® Certification Examination is a 10-hour multiple choice exam, divided into one four-hour session (Friday afternoon) and two three-hour sessions (Saturday). The exam includes three major case problems and is designed to assess the student’s ability to apply his or her knowledge of the aforementioned areas to financial planning situations.

Work experience

After passing the examination, the candidate must demonstrate to have extensive experience in the financial planning field. The CFP® Board defines work experience as “the supervision, direct support, teaching or personal delivery of all or part of the personal financial planning process to a client” and such experience must fall within one or more of the following six primary elements of financial planning:

  • Establishing and Defining the Client Relationship
  • Gathering Client Data and Goals
  • Analyzing and Evaluating the Client’s Financial Status
  • Developing and Presenting Financial Planning Recommendations and Alternatives
  • Implementing the Financial Planning Recommendations
  • Monitoring the Financial Planning Recommendations

Even after the student passes the exam and meets one or more of the six primary elements of financial planning, he or she must also have completed the following:

Three years full-time or equivalent (2,000 hours per year) part-time experience in the financial planning field

Be approved by the CFP® Board during initial certification, which also involves an extensive background check—including an ethics, character and criminal check.

Ethics and continuing education

The final components are the ethics and continuing education requirements. Students and certificants are required to adhere to the CFP® Board Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and to the Financial Planning Practice Standards. Registered investment advisors have a fiducial duty to care for investments. The CFP Board has the right to enforce them through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.

To maintain certification, license holders are also required to complete certain continuing education requirements on an on-going basis in addition to paying a licensing fee every two years.

Why should I pay you when I can manage my own money?

If you are happy with your investment results over the past 10 years and don’t believe anyone else could have done better, than you shouldn’t hire us. Also if you are happy with the results and the professionalism of your current financial advisor you should stay with them, but……

We have found that after paying our fee most clients believe they have received significant value for their money; not only from improved investment results, but in addition reduced stress and from our financial planning advice. Frankly, many people do a great job of working hard, saving and building wealth during their careers but once they accumulate significant wealth they don’t do a good job of managing it.

Most people take a piecemeal approach to managing their money; they really don’t have a cohesive investment strategy, just a bunch of investments they have purchased over time. We take a holistic approach to money management, building intelligent risk controlled portfolios that are tax efficient and will work smart for you.

How do you help physicans?

Physicians are pressed for time and therefore usually neglect their own finances. Over the years, we have witnessed the drop in payments to physicians from insurance companies, forcing you to work twice as hard to make the same amount of money.  We help by first; trying to understand your practice and more importantly, your family situation and then we take a holistic approach to investing and managing your wealth.

Once we complete the upfront financial planning work, we can then take a large burden off of your shoulders by working directly with your accountant, lawyer, pension actuary and insurance agent to coordinate all of your finances.  We provide you update reports and we manage your investments in an agreed upon investment strategy.  Your time is freed up to spend with your patients or family.

More and more physicians are finding it hard to retire with enough savings to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.  This is mainly because of neglect or mismangment of their own investments.  We won’t try and sell you anything, you pay for our objective advice and our success is based solely on the sucess of your investments.

We have a proven track record of helping physicans and their spouses transition into a retirement in which they can enjoy without financial worries, I am confident we can help you too.  Why not give us a try?  contact us

Please explain the financial planning organizations NAPFA & FPA?

NAPFA

NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, is an organization through which Fee-Only financial planners can further enhance their professional skills, market their services and become part of a collective, influential voice on matters that affect them and their clients. Founded in 1983, NAPFA currently has more than 2,000 members nationwide.

Fee-Only compensation indicates that an advisor never accepts commissions or compensation of any kind related to the products he or she recommends.

NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors maintain the highest standards of proficiency in the industry.  It indicates that a financial planner adheres to the industry’s most demanding practice requirements, including Fee-Only compensation, and meets NAPFA’s rigorous standards. Through our NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor program, we have created the financial planning industry’s clearest message about the level of responsibility and care that must be exercised on behalf of each client.

FPA

Ray Mignone has been on the Board of Directors of the Long Island Chapter of the FPA for over 10 years, having served as President and for over 10 years as Vice President of Ethics.

The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is a leadership and advocacy organization connecting those who provide, support and benefit from professional financial planning. FPA is the Heart of Financial Planning™ and represents a promise of financial well-being, hoping to create a world where everyone thrives and prospers.

Based in Denver, Colo., FPA has 96 chapters throughout the United States representing more than 25,000 members involved in all facets of providing financial planning services. Working in alliance with academic leaders, legislative and regulatory bodies, financial services firms and consumer interest organizations, FPA is the premier resource for the public to find a financial planner who will deliver advice using an ethical, objective, client-centered process.

Local Chapters

A nationwide network of 96 chapters is the lifeblood of FPA. Each chapter promotes the advancement of knowledge in financial planning, supporting programs and projects that help the public learn the benefits of financial planning.

Public Education

FPA offers resources designed to help the public understand the importance of financial planning and the value of objective advice from a financial planner.

How do I know my money will be safe with you?

Your investments are held with a third party custodian, TD Ameritrade, we never hold any of your investments. Whenever you hear of investors losing their money to a corrupt advisor, such as Bernie Madoff, it’s because they gave their money directly to the advisor or a brokerage firm owned by the advisor.

Our clients’ money is invested with TD Ameritrade, we can only receive copies of your statements and make trades in your account, we don’t have the ability to withdraw your investments. The benefit of having a third party custodian is that you receive statements directly from them, you can check your account directly on their website or walk into any TD Ameritrade branch office and check your balance at any time.

Is my money safe at TD Ameritrade?

TD Ameritrade, our custodian, is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The assets you have with TD Ameritrade are insured by the SIPC up to $500,000 for each separate account, including up to $100,000 in cash.

Up to an aggregate of $250 million of additional securities protection, of which $900,000 may be applied to cash, is provided by London insurers. This coverage provides you with protection against brokerage insolvency.

TD Ameritrade is 45% owned by Toronto Dominion Bank one of the few AAA rated banks in the world. Unlike most of the other large brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade did not take any TARP money from the government in 2008/2009.

How much are your fees?

Please keep in mind that the fees you pay us are the only fees we receive. We do not receive any commissions, trails or referral kickbacks.

Wealth Management

This comprehensive service includes ongoing investment management including assistance with most financial planning aspects of your family’s life. In many cases a financial planning project such as a complete retirement analysis is completed upon the initial engagement.

Fees are based on the total assets under management. Our minimum quarterly fee is $1,250 per quarter and it makes the most sense to have us manage at least $500,000 of assets. This can include existing accounts such as 401k, 403b or annuities that cannot be transferred over to our custodian. All fees are billed quarterly and deducted from your account.

Fee Schedule

1% on the first $1,000,000
.75% on the next $1,000,000
.45% amounts over $2,000,000

 

Are your fees tax deductible?

Yes, with certain limitations. Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code permits an itemized deduction for tax and/or investment advice in the miscellaneous section of Schedule A. It is subject to a 2% floor of the adjusted gross income on a personal tax return.