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Frequently Asked Questions

At JL Smith we believe in integrity, objectivity, competence, transparency, and professionalism. Our personalized, dedicated wealth management approach is driven by our love for our clients and helping them live their best life by taking the stress of money management away. As such, it is important to ensure we are truly the right fit for each other. We feel this FAQ can help answer many of the questions that we have heard from prospective clients while evaluating our firm and determining if JL Smith is for you.

WHAT MAKES JL SMITH DIFFERENT FROM OTHER INVESTMENT ADVISORS?

We provide you the convenience of one-stop to deliver coordinated investment management, tax management, financial planning, insurance and estate planning, retirement planning, and charitable giving strategies, ultimately providing you a household CFO to help maximize your wealth. 

In addition to our financial, tax, & investment knowledge, we have built a community of other successful, working American families. 

Chances are whatever you are going through in life, we have already helped clients navigate those same issues and can share the strategies and results.

Furthermore, JL Smith offers an integrated suite of wealth management and financial planning services that are designed to care for our clients’ entire financial picture. From tax and asset management to healthcare and long-term insurance strategies, and specialized Social Security planning, we deliver professional, holistic advice.

ARE YOU A FIDUCIARY?

Yes, at JL Smith we uphold the fiduciary standard. Our advisors are holistic financial advisors, Fiduciaries, and Investment Advisor Representatives, which binds them to the Fiduciary standard through the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule. Our team includes Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents admitted to practice before the IRS. Our Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents adhere to a code of ethics to demonstrate honesty, integrity, and objectivity in all their professional actions and relationships.

WHAT IS A FIDUCIARY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO WORK WITH A FIDUCIARY?

A fiduciary is a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons to manage assets. Essentially, a fiduciary owes to that other entity the duties of good faith and trust. The highest legal duty of one party to another, being a fiduciary requires being bound ethically to act in the other's best interests. Most advisors tailor their investment advice to individuals’ clients they work with, however, not all advisors are governed by the same standards. Fiduciary advisors work directly for clients and must place clients' interests ahead of their own, according to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. For example, advisers cannot buy securities for their accounts prior to buying them for clients and are prohibited from making trades that may result in higher commissions for themselves or their investment firms. It also means advisers must do their best to make sure investment advice is made using accurate and complete information and that the analysis is thorough and as accurate as possible. Avoiding a conflict of interest is important when acting as a fiduciary, which means that advisers must disclose any potential conflicts. Advisors who are not a fiduciary, however, serve the broker-dealers they work for and must only believe that recommendations are suitable for clients. This suitability standard is set by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU WORK WITH?

-Our firm is designed to accommodate Triple-A clients - Assets, Attitude and Advocacy.

Assets – Having the assets that our strategies will accomplish your goals and entrusting us with those assets in our holistic financial plan.

Attitude – While financial planning can be mundane, having fun, laughing with a positive attitude creating a friendship along with a long-term relationship

Advocacy – Our clients are advocates, not only for us, but more importantly, they are advocates for the people who are important to them. Their family, friends, community, and colleagues.  If they see that someone is facing a difficult financial question or decision, they go out of their way to introduce us, so that we can act as a sounding board for them. We currently participate in community events and will continue to be part of events our clients are passionate about.   

EXPLAIN YOUR HOLISTIC APPROACH?

With our holistic approach, we provide you the convenience of one-stop to deliver coordinated investment management, tax management, financial planning, healthcare and long-term insurance strategies, retirement planning, and charitable giving strategies, ultimately providing you a household CFO to help maximize your wealth. 

For most individuals and families seeking advice on their financial, tax, insurance, investment, or legal needs, they are forced to meet with different professionals (investment advisor, CPA, attorney, insurance agent). Those professionals operate in silos and they don't all sit at the table collaborating on your behalf. In many cases each of those professionals are just trying to sell their individual products or services.

The end result is that you may have a lot of pieces of the puzzle (investment products, insurance policies, tax services, maybe even a will or a trust), but no picture on the front of the box to show how they all come together.

At JL Smith we’re a little bit different from any other firm you’ve probably talked to in the past. Our holistic approach ensures all these areas are coordinated and working together.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM ASSET LEVEL FOR SOMEONE TO BECOME A CLIENT OF JL SMITH?

We work best with first generation wealth clients that have a minimum of $500,000+ of investable assets and our typical client has a net worth of $1m - $100m+. While we are a multigenerational firm, we also work with successful professionals who might not have the minimum for investable assets but strive for a holistic financial plan.

WILL THERE BE COSTS I SHOULD EXPECT TO PAY FOR AN INITIAL CONSULTATION?

We strive towards excellence. Each individual will receive a complimentary consultation with one of our advisors for 15-30 minutes. On that call, we will discuss your individualized situation determining what your goals and concerns are. From there we will be able to provide the potential cost associated with your individualized holistic plan after your Discovery meeting. Our services can be a bundled price or an hourly charge based on the complexity of the plan. We generally begin each new client relationship under a financial and tax management engagement.

This allows us to get to know each other, understand the resources you have accumulated, develop customized strategies and solutions we feel will enhance your situation, and show you the value in working with our firm for ongoing wealth management. If you decide you want to hire us to implement those solutions for you, the next step would be to become a wealth management client.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE FINANCIAL & TAX PLANNING?

Wealth management is an investment advisory service that combines our holistic approach to financial services to best serve the needs of our affluent clients. It is a consultative process whereby we glean information about your wants and implement a strategy utilizing appropriate financial products and services.

Holistic financial planning is a dynamic process. From establishing an investment strategy, planning for retirement, social security maximization, strategic health care options, to optimizing your taxes, charitable giving, estate plan and insurance coverage, “finances” doesn’t mean just one thing for most people—and “financial & tax planning” means much more than just investing.

JL Smith understands all the complexities of the changing financial & tax climate and we know how to make recommendations in your best interest. Holistic planning takes the guesswork out of managing finances and helps you understand the implications of each decision you make. The average person faces an uncertain economy and more options for saving and investing than ever before. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused, unless you find a way to understand the big picture. Over several decades, we have developed and refined a process that puts all the pieces of the financial puzzle together for clients as their life unfolds and needs evolve. As you go through our financial planning process, The Bucket Plan®, you gain insight and education into what you own, how it aligns with your goals and objectives, and what you can do to improve your situation.

At the end of our process, you will receive a written plan of exactly how your assets should be positioned, our strategies and recommendations for investing, and financial modeling showing your progress towards achieving your goals.

Once we have documented your plan, we will discuss the implementation through our active wealth management services.

WHAT IS WEALTH MANAGEMENT?

It is how we proactively implement tax, financial, investment, insurance, and estate planning strategies to addresses the ever-changing financial needs of you and your family.

HOW DO I WORK WITH JL SMITH FOR WEALTH MANAGEMENT SERVICES?

At JL Smith, we utilize the spectrum of financial disciplines available, such as financial and investment advice, estate planning, tax services, and retirement planning, to manage our client's wealth for one set cost. That cost generally ranges between 0.5% - 1.0% of the assets we manage, depending on the amount invested. This fee is deducted right from your investment advisory account on a quarterly basis. For example, if the annual investment advisory fee is 1.0%, then 0.25%  is billed quarterly.

We only assess our fee on the assets under management by our firm, but we do advise on all our client’s assets to help them achieve their goals and objectives. For example, if a client had $1,000,000 of assets under management with JL Smith but also has $500,000 of company stock and 2 investment properties, we help advise on all their assets, liabilities, and opportunities even though we are only actively managing and billing on the $1,000,000 they have entrusted with us.

DO YOU OFFER TAX PREPARATION AND MANAGEMENT?

Yes! As Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents admitted to practice before the IRS, our tax team has achieved the highest credential the IRS awards. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years.

We have unlimited practice rights in front of the IRS. This means we are unrestricted as to which taxpayers we can represent, what types of tax matters we can handle, and which IRS offices we can represent clients before. We offer tax preparation services to our wealth management clients at discounted rates.

For our wealth management clients over $1,000,000 of assets under management with our firm, we offer individual tax preparation at no additional cost. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TAX PREPARATION AND TAX MANAGEMENT?

Tax preparation is reactive, you are taking historical numbers and filing them into software correctly to determine how much you owe or receive back as a refund. Tax management is proactive and is a year-round process. From ensuring a plan is in place to fund estimated tax liabilities, to monitoring investment transactions or stock options so they don’t cause the wrong type of tax, to managing proper investment types to maximize after tax returns, proper tax management can add substantial wealth to you and your family over time. When clients engage with our wealth management offering, tax planning is included in our offering. We also offer tax planning a la carte at an hourly rate of $300/hour for our non-wealth management clients.

HOW OFTEN DO WE COMMUNICATE?

We feel that communication is the cornerstone of a successful relationship. It is also a two-way street. We routinely meet with our clients at least twice per year, generally at the beginning of the year to map out the road ahead, as well as towards the end of the year to solidify any decisions that may have an impact on the tax year.  In addition to our routine meetings, we pride ourselves on unlimited availability for our clients. We want to be a part of every major financial decision you face, as well as a trusted resource for things you just need a second opinion on. For this reason, we generally are speaking with most of our clients between 3 - 10 times per year. 

In addition, we regularly communicate ideas, economic conditions, market trends, investment ideas, and other writings we feel will benefit our clients through our blogs and emails.

Lastly, we regularly conduct webinars for our clients on timely issues or opportunities we feel would be important to learn more about.

We are never more than a phone call, meeting, or email way!

IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SUBMIT THEM HERE:

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