Financial Planning Questions

Comprehensive Financial Planning

A fiduciary financial advisor can help you create a blueprint to a more secure financial future. A fiduciary financial advisor is distinct from other types of “financial advisors,” since a fiduciary acts in your best interest. District Capital is a fiduciary. We can help you save money, build your wealth, achieve your life goals, and avoid costly financial mistakes.  

Absolutely. Hiring a personal financial planner is a big decision. You should definitely do your due diligence. Feel free to schedule a free discovery call with us, and we’ll try to answer all your questions.

A financial planner is a professional who helps individuals and families reach their life goals by making smarter and holistic financial decisions. A good financial planner will give you advice on cash, debt, credit, taxes, investments, retirement, insurance, and estate planning. A financial advisor is usually associated with those who manage investment accounts of high-net-worth people.

We will give you advice on cash management, debt and credit management, tax planning, retirement planning, investments, insurance, estate planning, and identity theft protection. You will receive a personalized and detailed Personal Financial Plan via Monday.com (usually containing more than 30 action items). We will also share with you a pdf of your personal financial plan.

We offer pro-bono financial planning for DC, MD, & VA individuals who earn less than $64,000 per year and have less than $50,000 in liquid assets.

CFP stands for Certified Financial Planner. It is a highly-respected financial planning designation. A CFP® professional has undergone a rigorous curriculum and has met extensive experience requirements.

A fee-only financial planner is a financial advisor who does not earn commissions. A fee-only financial planner offers transparent pricing with no conflicts of interest. 

Find out four reasons why a fee-based financial planner might be your best choice.

A fiduciary financial advisor acts in your best interest and avoids conflicts of interest. Since a fiduciary financial planner is not affiliated with a financial institution, s/he can look at the entire marketplace and recommend the best financial products.

We believe so.
One study showed that those who worked with a comprehensive financial planner built about four times more wealth, than those who had no plan. This can be done through a combination of low-cost portfolio construction, rebalancing, tax efficiency, and behavioral coaching. Our blog goes into more detail about why we believe financial planners are worth it.

Traditional financial advisors typically require a minimum of $500,000 or $1,000,000 in investable assets. Modern fee-only financial planners are doing away with minimum investable assets, and instead opting for a fixed annual fee paid monthly. This is making financial planning more accessible to young and mid-career professionals. District Capital does not have any investment minimums.

If your financial advisor uses a well-regarded custodian with strict security protocols, it will be hard for a financial advisor to steal your money. A custodian with strict security protocols will require your actual signature before transferring to a third-party account. This issue becomes moot if you work with a modern fee-only financial planner. A modern financial planner helps you with retirement planning and investment advice, without having custody of your assets. So there is very minimal risk of theft.

Here are the top 3 certifications to look for when considering a financial advisor.

1) CFP® – Certified Financial Planner
2) AFC® – Accredited Financial Counselor
3) ChFC® – Chartered Financial Consultant

A certification that would be a major plus is the CFA designation – Chartered Financial Analyst. The CFA
designation is one of the highest distinctions in the investment management profession.

In the Washington, DC area, we are aware of only five CFP®, AFC®, or ChFC® professionals with a CFA designation. One is the Managing Partner of District Capital.

Finding a financial planner can be complicated and maybe even overwhelming. Here are some things to look for in a financial advisor.

1. Look for a fiduciary financial advisor: Fiduciary financial advisors have a sworn oath to act in your best interest.
2. Check for credentials: Unlike other professions, there’s not one specific way to become a financial planner. There are over 200 different designations. Look for professional credentials such as chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP) or accredited financial counselor (AFC). These designations also require their holders to act as a fiduciary.
3. Understand how the financial advisor gets paid: Financial advisors are paid in three different ways - commissions, fee-based, and fee-only. Our advice is to look for fee-only financial advisors. They only get paid through the fee. There are no commissions, kickbacks, or referrals.

Here are some questions that you might want to ask a potential financial advisor.

While you might be able to do your finances by yourself to try to save money, there are so many benefits to hiring a financial planner. Doing it yourself involves a serious commitment in time and energy. You may miss important information that you didn’t know to look out for and it may also cause you a lot of additional stress. Is this how you’d like to be spending your precious time? Just like you are an expert in your profession, financial planning is our bread and butter.

We’ve spent years honing this craft and it’s what we do best. We help you not only elevate your finances, but also save you time so that you can do the things that you enjoy.

Yes, of course. Our example clients are just common situations that we see but we do work with a variety of clients. Feel free to schedule a complimentary discovery call to see if we are a good fit for you.

District Capital

Our mission is to provide affordable, best-in-class financial advice to DC professionals in their 30s and 40s. Our financial advisors are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals or Accredited Financial Counselor® practitioners. Thus, we can give you holistic financial planning advice. We do not sell products and do not receive referral compensation, allowing us to give you objective advice. We are CFA charterholders, and thus can give you top-notch investment advice. We meet people where they are. 

We are headquartered in Washington, DC. Our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals and Accredited Financial Counselor® practitioners are located in Washington, DC, Denver, and Chicago.

We primarily serve clients in DC, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, and California. But since we meet clients virtually, we can work with clients in most states across the U.S. 

We charge a flat-fee fee for our Personal Financial Planning service: $375 to $900 per month for individuals, and $450 to $1,250 per month for couples (for at least 12 months). If you’d like us to directly manage your investment accounts (IRA, brokerage, old 401k), we charge a percentage of your assets under our management, with a minimum fee of $1,000 per year. We do not get commissions from any financial product we might recommend. 

Yes, we do offer virtual financial planning. We work with clients nationwide except for residents of WA, TX, NE and LA.

Client Experience

After you give us the green light, we will:

  1. Share our privacy policy and disclosures.
  2. Send you a contract to e-sign.
  3. Request you to link your accounts with our financial planning software (military-grade security; read-only).
  4. Request financial documents (paystub, 401k statement, tax return, etc).
  5. Ask you to reflect on 3 life planning questions, to help elicit your true goals.

For the next two weeks, we will analyze and evaluate your financial status, and develop our financial planning recommendations. You will receive a personalized and detailed Personal Financial Plan via Monday.com (usually containing more than 30 action items). We will also share with you a pdf of various financial projections. We will discuss the highlights with you over Zoom. We will help you implement your financial plan as life unfolds.

You will meet with your financial advisor every four months on Zoom.

Yes. You can email us anytime with questions. Concerned about what you read in the news? Send us an email. Upcoming life changes (salary raise, got a new job, want to purchase a new house, preparing for a child)? Send your financial planner an email, so we can prepare for it in the next meeting.

Most certainly. We will examine your 401k’s fund line up, and recommend an allocation we believe is optimal, given your situation and current market conditions.

Personal financial planning is designed to maximize your money. We can help you lower your taxes, increase your wealth, and make smarter financial decisions.

We ask clients to link their bank, credit card, investment and loan accounts through our financial planning software. This will enable us to run retirement and other projections. It will also make our meetings more efficient. The software only reads the balances and holdings of your accounts. It does not obtain your account information, nor does it store passwords. It also has military-grade security.

Yes, all information that you provide us is kept strictly confidential.

We prefer to work with clients who will stay with us over the long-haul. That said, clients can cancel anytime after working with us for at least 12 months. Just email us. There are no cancellation fees. 

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questions to ask a financial advisor