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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

AdviceOnly

An Advice-Only Financial Advisor is a properly registered firm with appropriately licensed professionals who are legally authorized to provide investment advice to the public and do not manage or sell investments or other products. Services are generally offered on a fixed fee or hourly basis. The advisor should also not have a revenue-sharing agreement with other firms that do manage investments or sell products. This allows the advisor to give advice unencumbered by an incentive to refer you to a service provider they are receiving kickbacks from.

A registered investment adviser is required by law to prepare and abide by a code of ethics that requires the advisor to provide advice to clients that is in the client’s best interest. This is called the Fiduciary Standard of Care. Since a true Advice-Only Financial Advisor does not receive compensation from anyone other than their clients, they have no conflicts of interest when providing advice. They are incentivized to provide the best advice they can to their clients because the client’s success is their success.

Advice-Only Financial Advisors can also be a good choice for DIY investors who just want some guidance from a trusted resource and are comfortable implementing the recommendations on their own. It is also a cost-effective way for investors with less than $1 million dollars of investable assets who are comfortable meeting with an advisor once or twice a year to review their portfolio and get implementation support. Investors with less than $1 million pay the highest percentage fees at asset under management (AUM) firms, which generally charge 1+% of the value of your assets under management every year.

AMCP can help you review your existing portfolio or help you establish a new portfolio, answer your investment questions, as well as provide ongoing advice and implementation support on retail trading platforms. Our fees are budget-friendly because they are based on the fair pricing of our service, not the value of your investments. You pay for the services you need and then invest the rest in yourself, whether it be into your portfolio, debt repayment, education, or goal savings. AMCP helps you make the most out of your money, not just your securities investments.

Yes, we are an investment advisory firm that is licensed and registered to provide personalized investment advice and analysis on 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457 Plans, IRAs, SEPs, and other retirement and taxable investment accounts. A More Certain Path may only offer investment advisory services in the United States to residents of states and jurisdictions in which A More Certain Path, LLC is properly registered or exempted from registration.

At AMCP we believe that you can build sustainable wealth with a properly diversified portfolio comprised of low-cost investments that follow their respective markets. We generally recommend the use of low-cost market or sector index exchange-traded funds and mutual funds. Using higher-cost investments/investment services, frequently trading, or trying to time the market can hinder the growth of your portfolio significantly. Allocation of investments across various markets helps to lower the volatility of your portfolio because different markets perform differently from each other.

A well-diversified portfolio will often not achieve the daily or annual highs of one market but will also not likely fall as far as any single market will fall. This provides for more stable growth over time. The less your portfolio falls, the less your portfolio has to recover to return to growth status.

Asset allocation that is in line with a client’s risk tolerance is the cornerstone of a properly designed and managed portfolio. Portfolios need to be re-balanced periodically to ensure that their allocation does not drift too far from the portfolio target allocation and the client’s risk tolerance. Over time as different asset classes perform differently, a portfolio’s allocation will shift towards higher performing markets, increasing the risk in the portfolio. Rebalancing the portfolio at least annually will help keep it in line with the client’s risk tolerance and target risk rate.

AMCP works intently with its clients to understand their risk tolerance. Your risk tolerance is the measurement of your comfort with taking risks. When investments are involved, risk tolerance is the measurement of your comfort with investing in investment markets. How we recommend your investment portfolio to be allocated is correlated to your risk tolerance. Different allocations can produce different levels of investment return and risk. We strive to help you strike the right balance between the two.

Registered investment advisers who recommend or use specific stocks and bonds in their portfolio design must employ a lot of resources to meet the technological, compliance, recordkeeping, and fiduciary standards that go along with those recommendations. By offering this service AMCP would not be able to provide accessible, affordable advice to those who are underserved by the firms who provide this very expensive service. Investment management is not the same as financial management. Investment management is a part of financial management, not the other way around. Investment advice without comprehensive financial advice won’t likely lead to the well-being you seek.

The average saver is not served well by trying to get ahead quickly by picking just the right stocks or investments. That is not to say that it is impossible, but the probability of success is low, and generally is achieved more through luck and/or opportunity not broadly available. The average saver is served well by investing most of their available investable funds in a properly allocated portfolio funded with low-cost investment funds that have historically grown in reasonable correlation with their markets (benchmark).

If there is a company that you believe in and believe will be a good investment, then consider investing a small portion of your available investable assets in it (<3%). Your early purchases are what will pay off the most if the investment achieves or exceeds the growth you hoped for. You receive the payoff for the risk you took before knowing the investment would be successful. If the investment fails, you haven’t lost a significant amount of wealth tied to that investment. There often isn’t much gain if you buy the stock after it becomes well known and successful. Take a measured risk you can afford to take and accept measured rewards that contribute to the sustainable growth of your overall portfolio.

AMCP became a registered investment adviser for the purpose of providing much-needed investment advice to average savers who need all of their resources to work together effectively to make up for the income-earning gap average savers face. The investment portion of your plan is how you grow your wealth, the other parts of your plan are how you grow your well-being.

Available investable assets are generally made up of cash and investments that can be easily sold at market prices and that are not needed for living expenses, emergency fund savings, or near-term goal completion. If you put money into markets you can’t afford to lose in the short term, then you will likely end up taking the money out of the market at a current loss which compounds the future loss. Investments should generally only be made with funds that can remain invested for the mid-to-long term in correlation with your goal dates.

Being financially literate is a good start. It means you likely understand how to budget and manage cash flow, understand, and can maybe even calculate, the future value of money, and understand how debt can spiral out of control without proper management. While these skills are an important part of creating a financial plan, a financial planner can help you create a framework for your plan. Components of financial literacy and planning are like puzzle pieces that need to be fitted together with your personal circumstances in order to complete the life picture your plan strives to create.

Financial planners use their experience and knowledge of other people’s circumstances to help their clients better understand their own probability of success. We make it our business to know the trends of income, savings, debt, and default rates. We have a perspective on what works and what doesn’t. Financial planners provide you with hindsight so that you can plan with foresight.

In addition, AMCP is an advice-only registered investment adviser which means we can also provide you with investment advice and recommendation implementation support.

Since we only have an hour for the session, it is important to remain focused on the topic(s) at hand. When clients pay ahead of time, they are more conscientious about staying on topic. It is the most effective way for you and AMCP to optimize our time together.

StratSessPmt

A financial plan is like a map that shows you where you are and the routes you can take to get where you want to go—the achievement of your goals. But like any roadmap, it can’t show you every potential obstacle that could occur on that pathway. The plan is based on the roadways remaining clear and well-maintained and that a sustainable availability of fuel (income) will exist.

 

There are rarely any straight pathways in life to well-being. There will always be delays, detours, and breakdowns. Your strategy is how you deal with them so that you can get back on track with your plan as quickly as possible. Statistically, peak earning years are between the ages of 45 and 59, and then income tends to decline due to job loss, disability, or unexpected early retirement. The amount of those peak earnings can be substantially less for some demographics, such as women and non-Caucasian people, making it even harder to maintain a consistent income growth pattern to that peak.

Many occupations, including high-paying ones, can be stressful or physically demanding and difficult to perform over a 30- to 40-year career. And while on average people say they generally expect to retire around age 66, the overall average retirement age of the US worker has been between 60 and 61 since 2004, which is before the age of availability for Social Security or Medicare benefits. 66% of Americans are under- or unprepared for retirement by the time they retire. If your financial plan has you retiring at 65 or later, you better have a strategy for maintaining your income to that age.

At AMCP we recognize any plan is as good as the strategies designed to support it. To that end, we help you identify resources you can build strategies around to protect and grow those resources to achieve your goals.

WhyStrategy

The crux of a strategy is risk assessment and risk management. If everything worked as planned, you wouldn’t need a strategy. A strategy is designed to mitigate risks that will throw your plan off its path. At AMCP we help you identify risks and solutions for mitigating or managing that risk, depending on your options. We will help you build action plans designed to grow your resources and reduce your risk.

Having a strategy can make the difference between your plan being a success and just being a reminder of the goals and dreams you once had.

Strategy sessions are where we discuss what is challenging you. You are not required to engage in financial planning to schedule strategy sessions. It is intended as a forum for you to discuss your concerns and to get personalized answers to your questions. If based on a session, you decide you want to dig in further, we can discuss strategies for designing a budget, managing cash flow, and building good credit. These are the building blocks for good financial management.

Achieving well-being is contingent upon being well in all areas of your life. Money is just one tool in your bag. The less you are dependent on it for achieving well-being, the more money you have to put to work for your future. You can’t always control the amount of your income, but you can have a strategy for optimizing the income you do have. Strategy sessions are a great way to hash out creative solutions that can improve your cash flow and conduct risk assessments to improve outcomes.

Yes. The very fact that you ask for help indicates you are helpable because you recognize that you need or want help. You are not your financial mistakes, and you are now a bit wiser due to them. Financial literacy is greatly lacking in our educational forums yet understanding how to manage money is pertinent to building sustainable wealth for your future. Consumers are put under enormous pressure every day that can impact how people make financial decisions for their present and future. Following fragmented advice from various sources which don’t have your best interests at heart (even if they think they do) can often lead to unintended consequences.

AMCP can help you understand your current financial position and work with you to design a plan and help you build a strategy to achieve your goals. We serve as a trusted advisor who takes the time to understand your individual circumstances and to provide customized solutions that take into consideration all other areas of your life.

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