Frequently Asked Questions
What if I want to call you with a question about a vehicle purchase or mortgage refinancing or something else in general….will I get a bill for your time?
No, general questions and support is unlimited and included. Our goal is to help you avoid the common money mistakes that set people back so we encourage you to call or email us with questions anytime.
What do you charge for the tax and estate planning that you provide?
There’s no extra fee. These services are all included, however, since we are not practicing attorneys, we do not provide legal drafting services. So once we work with you on general estate planning, we’re happy to work with your estate planning attorney of choice to finalize everything in writing. Or, if you don’t have an attorney, we’re happy to provide you with names of those we trust. For tax strategies, we’ll also work with your accountant to implement strategies we’ve discussed, or we’re happy to meet with them as well to coordinate efforts.
Is there any way to try out your services before committing?
We understand that hiring a financial advisor is an extremely important decision. That’s why we provide a free introductory meeting where we can review your current financial situation and give you an overview of what we can do for you. There’s no obligation, and our goal is to mutually decide if it’s a good fit. If it is, then we can discuss moving forward if and when you’re ready. If it’s not a fit, then you’ll at least have gotten some objective insight on your financial situation, which is always a good thing.
How long of a contract do I need to sign up for?
The good news is there are no contracts! We have very long-term client relationships, but they are voluntary. We want you to be happy, not locked in. So there’s no continuing obligation. If you want to switch for any reason, just give us 30 days’ notice.
HOW WE WORK WITH YOU
Will you help advise me on my retirement accounts [401(k), 403(b), etc] that are with my employer?
Yes! Even if the accounts are not held with us, this is still an important part of your financial picture. We’ll review those holdings and advise you accordingly so that everything in your financial world is coordinated appropriately.
Many of my decisions involve members of my family. How does that work if I hire you?
We love to hear that! Family dynamics are an important part of life and we firmly believe that open communication about money is important. So, we often work with families so that everyone is on the same page about financial priorities. We also strongly recommend that your spouse or partner is always part of the conversation. We believe it is our responsibility to explain everything in terms that make it easy for everyone to understand and stay interested.
I have an accountant and an attorney that I have worked with for years. Will you work with them?
Yes, your valued team members can provide us with significant insight and serve in important roles for you. As your financial advisor, we often serve as the ‘quarterback’ who is coordinating efforts on your behalf. We’ll work closely with your professionals to make sure the strategies that you approve are implemented efficiently, making the most of all of your professional resources.
Can you help me with stock options and other executive compensation issues?
Yes, we’ll help you address these types of situations, with a goal of maximizing your income and minimizing your tax burden. We also have team members who will be pulled in as needed to advise on any area of specialization. You’re in good hands with our diverse team.
Who will I work with at your firm?
We’re very different from most firms where you are assigned a ‘relationship manager’ who is usually focused on sales. Your principal contacts are financial professionals or client service professionals. In addition, you will get a team, not a single advisor, dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. If you need more specialized assistance (such as a business valuation specialist or someone skilled with special needs planning, for example), we’ll add that person to your team. Your team members will be easy to reach by phone or email.
How often will we meet?
We will be in touch often by email or phone, to update your progress. We like to schedule in-person meetings or conference calls at least once a year, or more often if you prefer or if your circumstances require it. There are no additional charges, either…it’s all covered in your single annual fee.
Do you have a mobile app so I can access my accounts wherever I am?
Yes! One of the ways we help you stay informed is by providing user-friendly tools that are a pleasure to use. Your client dashboard will give you easy access to your accounts at all times and allow you to pull up details of any recent activity.
Are you a fiduciary?
Yes! Our firm was designed so we could serve as your trusted advisor. So we legally agree to always put your interests first. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
INVESTMENT AND FINANCIAL PLANNING QUESTIONS
What is the firm’s investment philosophy?
We’ve been doing this for a long time, so we’ve learned what has and hasn’t worked over our nearly half a century of experience. First of all, we don’t believe anyone can consistently time or beat the market. But we do believe that an overly simplistic ‘buy and hold’ strategy can be problematic unless you’re very young. So we’ve developed a strategy where we combine passive investing with some active investing elements. On top of that, our firm has deep experience in tax planning, because that’s one of the few areas where you can get additional return without taking additional risk. As a Linscomb & Williams client, we apply our tax planning expertise so you’re always poised to take advantage of those opportunities. We also employ our own research staff to help us create carefully assembled globally diversified portfolios that are appropriate for the particular investing climate.
What kind of investment returns can I expect to earn with your firm?
Unfortunately, we can’t offer any guaranteed return (and if you find an advisor who does offer one, beware!). But we have over four decades of experience helping people build their net worth in a sustainable fashion. Our goal is to help you make gains when the market is offering those opportunities, and then help you hold onto those gains during down markets. In the meantime, we are always looking for opportunities to increase your returns through efficient tax strategies.
My last broker did fine when the market kept going up, but ended up losing too much of my money in the bear market. Why are you any different?
At Linscomb & Williams, we’ve been helping investors navigate complex markets for almost 50 years. Our approach emphasizes risk mitigation, not reactivity. When you are a client, we’ll use our investing capabilities to always be looking ahead. We manage your risk very, very closely. Many brokers and financial advisors stick to passive investing, which leaves your portfolio rising and falling with the market. This can create significant problems unless you’re very young. Instead, we invest using a blend of passive and active strategies. The active strategies are designed to help dampen your losses during bear markets. The passive strategies allow us to keep your investing fees low. Along with that, we’ve got a strong focus on tax and estate planning strategies so you can increase your return in ways that do not entail increasing risk. This is especially important at the late stages of bull markets and during bear markets and allows our clients to keep their money working for them during all of these time periods.
Do you get my permission before making a significant change to my investment portfolio?
At Linscomb & Williams, we’ve tailored our processes so they are flexible and customized to your needs. Before doing anything with your investments, we’ll work together with you to develop an Investment Policy Statement. This document, which we will agree upon together, will lay out the strategy for your investments. This way, you know what to expect and we know what to deliver. If there’s any significant change to this, we will discuss with you in advance. Day-to-day changes in your portfolio, within your Investment Policy Statement guidelines are initiated by the Investment Committee, however, without prior consultation with you. You can always see any transactions that have taken place in your client dashboard, which provides details on all of your activity. If you have any questions, just email or call us to discuss further. Our goal is always to keep you informed and comfortable with what is happening to your money at all times.
SELECTING A FINANCIAL ADVISOR
How do I know if I am a good fit for Linscomb & Williams?
We’re here to help clients achieve their goals and life dreams. You will be a good fit for us if you have wanted a full-service partner over simply desiring investment management. We love to work with clients who know where they are and where they want to go but need help with the HOW. That’s what we love to do…help you get there.
What should I look for in a financial advisor?
First, we always recommend that you only consider firms that act as your fiduciary at all times. Always ask; otherwise the advisor can legally put their interests in front of yours, which is never a good thing. Second, we recommend that you limit your search to fee-only financial advisors. That means they don’t accept any commissions. In other words, they don’t sell you anything. That will help ensure that you get true objective advice, not product recommendations. We have several other recommendations. They are important so we’ve put them in a free eBook, which you can download here.
Finance is not within my expertise and I know next to nothing about investing. What kind of advisor is most appropriate for me?
We have clients ranging from artists, to executives, to engineers. One thing we do know is that if you’re not in the finance industry, you probably don’t understand all the terminology. So, it is our responsibility to communicate with you in a way that’s easy to understand.
I want to be involved and enjoy investing. Am I better off managing my own money or working with a financial advisor?
Many of our clients love investing, but after a few setbacks, they realize that it’s far too easy to make decisions based on emotions or unconscious biases. Even professionals struggle with adhering to disciplined rules when managing their own money. Our Investment Committee, on the other hand, has numerous checks and balances to ensure that we handle all client money with discipline and free of common biases. In addition, due to our size, Linscomb & Williams offers many ways to capture additional returns without additional risk in the form of access to less expensive bonds and mutual funds, and access to specialized research. Learn more in our free eBook on this topic here.