Questions and Answers

  • How safe is my money?

    For your added safety, SOAWM does not take direct custody of your assets and has implemented appropriate policies and procedures to assure this does not happen. Your funds and securities are held in custody at Charles Schwab or another custodian of your choice.

    Funds and securities held at custodians such as Schwab that are brokerage firms, are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. If customer assets are unaccounted for due to record-keeping errors or misappropriation, customers are reimbursed by the assigned trustee or SIPC up to $500,000 per customer for all accounts held in the same capacity, including a maximum of $250,000 in claims for cash. Whenever possible, the actual stocks and other securities owned by a customer are returned. If necessary, SIPC funds will be used to purchase replacement securities (such as stocks) in the open market — even if the market value of these investments has changed.

    Schwab presently offers its customers an extra level of coverage — a program led by Lloyd’s of London, a well-respected name in the insurance industry, as underwriter for additional brokerage insurance for Schwab customers. This “excess SIPC” protection of securities and cash is provided up to an aggregate of $600 million, limited to a combined return to any customer from a trustee, SIPC, Lloyd’s, and other London insurers of $150 million, including up to $1.15 million in cash. This additional protection becomes available in the event that SIPC limits are exhausted and there are no additional funds available from the estate of the failed brokerage firm.

    For further information, please see:

  • How is my personal information and other data protected?

    In accordance with our Privacy Policy we only share personal information with third parties as necessary to provide services. The data security policies and procedures employed by these third parties are reviewed and monitored on a regular basis for adherence to strict industry standards. In addition, Seasons of Advice maintains a private $2 million cyber-security insurance policy to cover client losses resulting from data theft.

    SOAWM realizes data security is an ongoing process and not a steady state. Our processes and systems are consistently upgraded and subject to monitoring in real time 24/7/365 by a third party.

    • Multi-level, multi-factor security measures are employed to provide the highest level of assurance that your sensitive data is protected, and sensitive data is transmitted within an encrypted virtual network.
    • Our primary technology environment uses Microsoft cloud which is “enabled to meet the complex standards and requirements such as ISO 27001 and 27018; SSAE 16 (SOC 1 and 2); EU Model Clauses; HIPAA/HiTRUST, including BAA; FedRAMP; and PCI DSS.”
    • Our CRM system utilizes internet firewall and intrusion detection systems from Cisco as well as 256 bit encryption from GeoTrust, one of the largest providers of SSL security in the world. Their encryption keys are replaced (not just renewed) annually to provide even more security.
    • We require our personnel to use two-factor authentication to access our systems from remote locations.
    • Your data is not shared with any third parties for advertising purposes (mined).
  • How do you get paid?

    SOAWM is generally compensated by clients for wealth management services according to a fee that is based on a percentage of assets under management. Financial planning clients are generally charged a separate fee for financial planning. Fees may, however, be negotiated. For further information, please review the fee schedules in our SEC ADV Disclosure Brochures and Wrap Fee Disclosure Brochure.

  • Do we meet face to face or just by phone?

    It’s up to you. We always love to see our clients in person as often as possible. But sometimes “life happens” and it isn’t always easy to come to our office. Our advice process is effective whether delivered in person, on the telephone or on a web based broadcast for more complex presentations.

  • Where are your offices located?

    We are located in midtown Manhattan, NYC at 120 West 45th Street 14th Floor, between sixth and seventh avenues. We are convenient to most public transportation.

  • Can you do business with anyone from anywhere?

    Sure. If we find that we are a good fit together we can advise you pretty much anywhere in the world. That said, specific situations and local laws for clients who are permanently living outside of the United States may impact our working relationship. Let us know where you live and we can discuss the unique rules.

  • How much do you charge?

    Typically we charge separately for overall financial advice and for investment management advice, although sometimes these can be charged together. Financial planning fees can range from $100 per month to $5,000 per month depending on the complexity of the situation and are a flat fee. This amount can be negotiated as complexity changes. For most clients that pay for ongoing financial planning SOAWM will implement its proprietary Seasons of Advice® process.

    SAOWM also charges to provide ongoing management advice on your investments. The fee ranges from 0-2% per year and is negotiable based on complexity and other factors. This is in addition to the financial planning fee and is charged monthly in arrears based on the average monthly balance equal to one-twelfth times the annual agreed upon fee.

  • What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

    First and foremost we help people build dreams into goals and then goals into actions. So give a little thought as to what you would like to achieve from a financial standpoint short, medium and long term.

    It would be very helpful if you brought a copy of your most recent tax return, a paystub (if applicable) and an idea of how much money you spend, but it does not have to be very detailed at this point. Bring a hard copy of any investment accounts including 401k and insurance statements. If you have investment choices from you 401k or other retirement accounts you should bring those as well. We will also be asking you about your estate planning strategies and eventually will want to have a copy of your will but that could be at a later date. By the way, as a SOAWM client we provide a secure site where all your documents can be held and accessed at no additional cost.

  • How often do you review my accounts?

    Most clients will own investments directly from SOAWM’s recommended list of investments. Our recommendation list is monitored on an ongoing basis and formally reviewed by SOAWM’s investment committee at least quarterly. Investment decisions are filtered down to each client account and cross-referenced monthly with the specific investments owned by each client.

  • How often will we meet?

    Depending on the level of ongoing service we agree to provide, we may have a formal service meeting no less than semi-annually. Seasons of Advice® clients usually receive four ongoing service meetings, one each season. In the beginning however there may be multiple meetings required to build the foundation plan and establish the initial implementation program.

    In addition our investment team is always reviewing our recommendation list and letting us know if there are situations where waiting until the next scheduled meeting is way too long. In those cases we would reach out to you preemptively.

  • Is there a minimum to work with you?

    We do not currently have minimums. However, each potential client relationship is evaluated to determine if the relationship fits within our business model. We also will not take on fiduciary responsibility if we do not legitimately believe we can help our clients achieve their goals.

  • Will you prepare my tax returns?

    No. We do not prepare income tax returns. If you are engaged in our Seasons of Advice® model we will include a tax planning season and take a proactive approach to coordinating with your tax advisor. This process is designed to help you and your tax preparer become aware of many issues regarding your tax year before the year ends, thus helping to determine year-end tax strategies and help to streamline the preparation of the return.

  • Do I have to give you all my money?

    No. You are under no obligation to place all your assets under our asset management program, although you can possibly earn lower fees as assets grow past certain benchmarks. We do require you to disclose all your assets and, at your option, we can include all the assets within a global performance report as part of your annual fee.

  • What services do you provide?

    SOAWM provides a wide range of services including ongoing comprehensive financial planning, retirement planning, tax strategies, estate planning, education and goal planning, wealth management services including asset allocation design, portfolio construction and investment management.

    SOAWM also offers insurance solutions through Seasons of Advice Insurance Services, LLC. This includes but not limited to life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care and fixed annuity strategies.

  • What is a fiduciary? Are you a fiduciary?

    A fiduciary is someone who must set aside personal motives and conflicts of interest in favor of pursuing the best interest of a client. As a registered investment adviser, SOAWM is deemed to be a fiduciary with respect to its clients.

  • Describe your investment approach

    SOAWM manages assets by targeting long term allocation models, typically determined by your comprehensive financial planning analysis or risk profile.  Allocation models are reviewed quarterly by the SOAWM Investment Committee to determine tactical over- or under weighted asset categories.  SOAWM may also automate quarterly rebalancing of an individual client’s portfolio.

    SOAWM will utilize different types of investments to implement a client’s asset allocation model, including, but not limited to individual stocks and bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and other appropriate securities. Most investments are determined by the SOAWM investment committee and tracked on the SOAWM recommendation list that is monitored on an ongoing basis and formally reviewed monthly.

  • What is an asset custodian and why do we need one?

    An asset custodian is a financial institution, such as a bank or a brokerage firm, that is responsible for safeguarding financial assets. As an investment adviser SOAWM is responsible for directing the purchase and sale of your investments, but SOAWM does not itself hold those investments. Instead, those investments are held by your selected custodian pursuant to a separate agreement between you and the custodian, and you authorize the custodian to follow SOAWM’s instructions.

  • What are some criteria you use to determine the appropriate financial investment strategy for your clients?

    Our investment models reflect the time frame and risk tolerances of our clients’ goals. Strategic asset allocation is generally believed to be the primary factor in projecting performance returns. Specific recommendations within the target model are considered based on objective standards such as quality of ratings and sector categories. In addition, subjective factors and market metrics such as price/earnings ratios and management ratings are evaluated to help us select and deselect investments. Recommendations to change holdings mostly align with the agreed upon service frequency. However, in extreme situations we may act preemptively to protect our clients assets.

  • How often and by what method will I receive my financial statements?

    SOAWM prepares a Personalized Financial Report (PFR) incorporating the statements of your custodian as well as those accounts linked through our consolidation provider. This PFR is intended to focus on overall asset allocation status and performance. The PFR is available through your Client Login button on the top of this website. You will need to establish your security credentials to access as well as link your other accounts. Your SOAWM client concierge can help. This information is updated daily.

    You will also receive statements at least quarterly from Schwab or from your selected custodian.

  • How will you coordinate with my other financial professionals (accountant, lawyer, etc.)?

    SOAWM, as part of the Seasons of Advice® process, features a family, security and cash flow season in the 3rd quarter of the year. The objective of this season is to help our clients address and annually reassess the issues regarding estate planning and account titling. We regularly work with your attorney to help strategize changes that may be required. SOAWM does not provide legal advice.

    You will receive required tax documents directly from your custodian usually in February of each year. SOAWM, as part of the Seasons of Advice® process, features a tax planning season in the 4th quarter of the year. The objective of the tax planning season is to help gather relevant tax related information and begin the dialogue with you and your professional tax advisor to see if there are any tax saving strategies and year end planning opportunities. In most cases we will communicate a summary of our tax gathering findings in a letter to your tax preparer, typically before the end of the year.

    While SOAWM does incorporate long and short term tax planning strategies as part of the service, it does not provide tax advice.