D3 Ethics, Education, Experience™
D3 Financial Counselors is an independent, fee only, fiduciary financial planning firm. Our business model is structured to give client’s the peace of mind that we are working as a fiduciary, acting in the best interest of our clients. Consequently, our investment activities and fees are completely transparent to our clients. There is no term to our contracts, so we work to earn our client’s trust on a daily basis.
Why is it important to work with a fiduciary financial advisor?
A fiduciary financial advisor has the legal obligation to put the client’s best interest before their own. Registered investment advisors (RIA’s) are legally considered fiduciaries; brokers and agents are not fiduciaries under the law.
What are the advantages of working with an independent financial advisor?
Being independent allows a financial advisor to consider all options that would be beneficial to the client’s unique situation. There is no company pressure to push one product over another. Also, being independent gives the financial advisor a wider variety of options to consider when helping clients achieve their goals. Being independent gives client’s access to multiple institutional providers rather than one. This enables advisors to recommend the best low-cost products.
What are the various ways in which a financial advisor can be compensated?
- Fee-Only Compensation – The advisor charges the client directly for advice and/or ongoing management. The advisor does not receive commissions or any other financial reward for the actions they take on the client’s behalf. Educated consumers often choose fee-only financial advisors because they want to know how much they are paying for financial services and paying fees is more transparent than paying commissions for financial products. Additionally, paying fees for services lowers the potential for any conflict of interest between the advisor and the client. Compensation is based on an hourly rate, a percent of assets managed or a flat fee.
- Fee-Based Compensation (fee and commission) – This form of compensation is often confused with Fee-Only, but it is not the same. Fee-based advisors charge clients a fee for advice delivered, but they can also receive commissions for products they sell or recommend. Because the amount of outside compensation varies based on the products the advisor recommends, this can cause a conflict of interest and lessen the advisor’s ability to keep the client’s best interest first and foremost.
- Commissions – The majority of client’s that work with advisors who are compensated through commissions do not understand how they are compensating their advisor. A commissioned advisor does not charge the client a fee for advice delivered but gets compensated based on the products they recommend. This creates a conflict of interest because often the advisor will recommend the most profitable products rather than recommending products that are in the best interest of the client.
If you would like assistance with your pursuit of an experienced fee-only financial advisor, we recommend using this guide provided by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and this guide provided by the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards as resources. Two of our Certified Financial Planners on staff are also NAPFA-registered financial advisors.
It is important for the team at your investment advisory firm to have a broad educational background, so they can evaluate all aspects of the financial decisions you face. It is also important for your advisor to be able to educate you so that you can evaluate the pros and cons of these financial decisions. Don Duncan, the founder of our firm, has honed his education skills by teaching classes at Lewis University, DePaul University, and Keller Graduate School. We work to ensure you understand all of the economic consequences of your financial decisions.
At D3 Financial Counselors, we have Certified Financial Planners™ to analyze the planning aspects of your financial decisions.
Learn more about each professional designation:
- AWMA® – Accredited Wealth Management Advisor℠
- CEPA – Certified Exit Planning Advisor
- CFA® – Chartered Financial Analyst
- CFP® – Certified Financial Planner™
- CIMA® – Certified Investment Management Analyst
- CPA – Certified Public Accountant
- CRPC® – Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠
- CSEP® – Certified Specialist in Estate Planning
- FPQP® – Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional
- MBA – Master of Business Administration
- MS – Master of Science
- PFS – Personal Financial Specialist
Financial Planning Experience
We have been providing value added financial planning for more than 15 years. We have had the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, serving them in a fashion that helps them achieve their personal and financial goals. We have five multi-generational Certified Financial Planners™ on staff with different areas of expertise to help you with your unique situation.
Tax Planning and Preparation Experience
We have been doing strategic tax planning and return preparation for our “Affordable Family Office” clients for over 13 years. We have helped our clients plan through and take advantage off several major changes in the individual, business and estate tax environments. The best example of D3 helping our clients maximize their after-tax wealth was our ability to quickly assess the major tax overhaul in December 2017 and our ability to make customized recommendations to our clients based on their unique goals. Click on this link to see examples of how we helped our clients maximize their after-tax wealth by minimizing the tax drag on their financial plans.
Investment Management Experience
We have been investing in the financial markets since 1980. We experienced the first great recession in 1981, the boom years in the 1990’s, the technology bubble in 2000, and the financial crisis in 2008. Our firm has over 50 years of combined investment management experience. This includes managing billions of dollars in mutual funds, collective trust funds and portfolios for high net worth individuals. We focus on risk-controlled investment management. With our institutional experience, we bring LaSalle Street to Main Street. We focus on the specific risk characteristics of potential investments with as much vigor as the evaluation of the potential reward. As a result, we maintain our institutional contacts and resources which we utilize to benefit you.
What type of experience should I look for in a financial advisor?
You should consider someone that has the most experience in the areas where you have the most needs. For example: If you are looking for sophisticated, risk controlled, investment management based upon your goals, look for a financial counselor that has managed assets through multiple investment cycles. If you are looking for insightful planning, consider a financial counselor that has a wide variety of experiences that can be applied to your situation. If taxes are your most pressing concern, look for an advisor that has experience with the area of tax work you are most concerned about (personal, real estate, business, estate, etc.).
If you are looking for an advisor that can integrate, planning, taxes, and portfolio management to help you maximize the probability of achieving your financial goals, click on the button to schedule a telephone call with one of the owners of D3, to see if we are the right fit for your needs.