Frequently Asked Questions
How are you different?
First, the firm is structured as a "Fee-Only" Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). This means we don't sell products, eschew commissions, and are legally required to give you advice in your best interest. Second, we combine investments & financial planning in our Wealth Management service under a single fee structure. Last, we only manage portfolios with sustainable investments; ESG screened investments aren't a side gig for us.
How are portfolios screened?
We have a unique sustainability questionnaire you can try for free Here. Your answers are filtered through software that sources data from NGO watchdog groups, government stats, academia, and the SEC on thousands of mutual funds & ETFs to determine how a particular fund scores. We can even provide you real-world examples covering how a fund votes proxies to what shareholder resolutions they initiated.
What if I want a plan but don't have $400,000 to invest with you?
No problem. We ask for a 1st year minimum fee commitment of $4,000. This can be satisfied by investing at least $100,000 and then paying for the plan with money from outside of your investment accounts.
Do I have to invest all my money with you?
No, but you should. You're not diversifying by having other accounts with other advisors or by doing it yourself somewhere else. Diversification comes from a properly constructed global portfolio of noncorrelated asset classes. If you're worried about paying a fee and being disappointed with results, check out our Value Proposition.
How often do I meet with you?
This is slightly dependent on who you're working with at Aspen Leaf Wealth Management. In general, if you are a Sustainable Portfolio client, you'll have the opportunity to meet at least once a year. If you're a Wealth Management client, you'll meet once a year with a 6 month check-in in between. Account balances, holdings, and performance are updated daily and available in each client's online portal. All clients receive new educational Learn content updates throughout the year as well as email & video content during major market events or when there are significant changes to tax law. Clients are encouraged to call or email in between structured reviews if questions arise. What we don't do is burden you with more meetings than are necessary to deliver advice. If your dentist said you need to come in for 2 extra visits for brushing instruction on top of your semi annual cleanings, you'd probably fire them! In our world, more meetings don't equal more value. We respect your time too much to make you focus on finances more than twice a year.
Talk to me about performance!
In general, you should expect your portfolio to closely track the stock & bond market minus our advisory fee. In our decades of experience, this usually means the rate of return investors receive is normally + or - a percentage point or so of their best-fit benchmark. However, the more we customize a portfolio, the more we should expect returns to deviate from the market's return. This can work for or against us. Clients can check their account balances and performance at their designated client portal. If you haven't yet hired us, feel free to Contact us for our most recent performance numbers.
What if I don't agree with your advice?
You are free to choose your own adventure. We are not dictators. All we ask is that you have the courage to express your feelings. We'll do our best to listen to your perspective. Often, a solution or alternative recommendation can be found. If for some reason you're truly unhappy, there are no long-term commitments, no investments you'll be stuck with, and you are free to transfer your accounts without any account closure fees.
What information do I have to share with you?
You wouldn't ask your doctor for health advice without discussing your medical background, right? Same thing with money! To set up an account and deliver financial advice, industry regulations require us to collect basic information such as social security numbers, income, email addresses, phone numbers, and home addresses. For Wealth Management clients engaging in financial planning, expect us to ask for things like your most recent tax return, 401(k) statements, insurance policies, HSA statements, health insurance policies, bank statements, workplace benefit summaries, etc.
How do I know you're not full of it?
Ask us for references. Look us up CFP Board's site. Check out our clean records at Brokercheck.com. Call the Colorado Division of Securities and ask about complaints (there are none). Read through our posts on our Learn page for a sense of our expertise. Ask the person who referred you to us more about their experience. Spend as much time as you need chatting with us before you hire us. At the end of the day, we acknowledge that hiring someone to help make intelligent financial decisions and manage a portfolio is a roll of the dice. However, at some point, you have to take a leap of faith. Hiring a financial planner is a big commitment and we don't take your decision lightly.