Common Questions

Please tell me about the financial planning process.

Answer: Financial planning is a multi-step process that provides you with two important things: (1) An in-depth review of your current financial situation, and (2) a blueprint that shows you how to achieve your goals and objectives for the future. It is important to remember that financial planning is a process . . . not an event.

Will this process require a lot of work?

Answer: It may seem like that at first, but the good news is, if you follow your plan and maintain a disciplined approach, you can rest well knowing you have a good chance of reaching your stated goals. At Sterling Investment Management, Inc., we try to make the process as easy as possible for you. In addition to providing professional advice on your most important financial concerns, we can also provide implementation and ongoing asset management services.

Who can benefit most from your services?

Answer: Any individual or family seeking financial peace of mind can benefit from our services. We welcome clients who need financial planning and/or asset management services and are ready to take steps toward planning for their future.

What is Fee-Only financial planning and why should that be important to me?

Answer: Because we are Fee-Only financial planners, we do not accept sales commissions, bonuses, or other third-party compensation. We work solely for the benefit of our clients. Because we do not sell financial products such as investments and/or insurance, there are no third-party relationships or outside influences to color our thinking or our financial recommendations. For more information on Fee-Only financial planning, including our Code of Ethics, Fiduciary Code and member requirements, please visit www.NAPFA.org.

In addition, our firm is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA); as such, we must comply with a host of regulations designed to protect the consumer. One important question you should always ask when considering a financial planner’s services: ”May I please have a copy of your ADV Part II?” This document contains important information about the planner’s qualifications, fiduciary duties, history of any past violations, etc. Our ADV Part II is posted on our web site under Client Resources.

I understand the benefits of working with a Fee-Only financial planner, but I might need to obtain financial products. How will I be able to do that?

Answer: As an independent financial advisory firm, we do not sell financial products. We will offer specific recommendations and opinions regarding the purchase of the various financial products that may be appropriate for you. So, if you need to obtain an insurance policy or a new mortgage or find an estate planning attorney, we can direct you to the resources you need to help you obtain these products and services.

I have already accumulated substantial assets and think I am doing quite well. But as I progress and build for the future, things seem to be getting more complicated. I want to be sure I am on track, but I don’t always have the time or inclination to manage the myriad of details by myself. Can you help me?

Answer: Yes. People who need more sophisticated financial planning or advice will find our services appealing and beneficial. If you have a desire to simplify your financial affairs, our Ongoing Retainer Client Program may be right for you.

What types of securities do you provide advice for?

Answer: We provide advice for many types of securities, including mutual funds, stocks (as they relate to your portfolio holdings), bonds, and bank deposits. We also provide advice on mortgages, 401(k), and other retirement programs, stock options, AMT, tax planning, life and disability insurance, etc. If it has to do with money and finances, we can provide counseling, guidance and/or resources for you. Clients are encouraged to call us when they have a major life event, such as a new job, a baby, a marriage or divorce, or if they are planning to buy a new home or start their own business.

If I use Sterling Investment Management, Inc. to develop a financial plan, am I obligated to purchase the recommended products?

Answer: Absolutely not. We will offer recommendations which in our professional opinion will meet your needs and objectives, but you are under no obligation to purchase them.

Tell me about your investment philosophy.

Answer: As independent financial planners and investment consultants, we believe in the following fundamental principles with regard to designing an investment portfolio and making specific recommendations: The purpose of a client’s investment portfolio is to fund current and/or future financial objectives. The design of the portfolio must take into account the client’s financial objectives, tolerance for risk, needs for current income or liquidity, and special considerations such as income and estate taxes. The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future. Often investment and economic “experts” provided with exactly the same information often come to different conclusions. We do not suggest that we can, or that any of the money or mutual fund managers that we recommend, will make the correct decision every time. We do believe, however, that studying the historic trends and relationships of investment classes can provide valuable insight. The appropriate allocation of investment assets for your goals and risk tolerance is the most important component in developing an investment portfolio. We believe that having a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, following long-term buy-and-hold strategies, and having patience, will increase the likelihood that one will achieve their long-term financial objectives.

How do you select investments for a client?

Answer: As fiduciaries for our clients, we strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet your objectives, while being very conscious of total expenses and risk exposure.

How do you price your financial planning services?

Answer: Hourly rates are $250 per hour for services rendered by a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP). Ongoing retainer clients pay a fee which is based either on a percentage of assets under management or a minimum quarterly fee. Comprehensive financial plans will be billed at $250 per hour or billed at a fixed dollar amount (but only as agreed to in advance.) This information can also be viewed in the ADV Part II which is posted on our web site under Client Resources.

Are your fees tax deductible?

Answer: Yes. 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.

How can I get started?

Answer: The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Call us at (503) 579-9744. We offer an initial no-cost, no-obligation meeting, either on the phone or in our offices. Most clients find the financial planning process to be stimulating and enlightening. The end result, of course, is greater peace of mind. We look forward to helping YOU build a brighter financial future!

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