Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a financial advisor and how do I know if I need one?
A. A financial advisor, sometimes referred to as a wealth manager, is the coordinator of all the various parts of a person’s financial life. The need for a will, trusts, tax planning, investment strategies, retirement goals and health care options are all addressed in the estate/wealth planning process. The wealth manager is like the GPS unit in a car, it can determine the best route to reach your financial destination based on your initial desires and needs and then has the ability to provide a new path based on new facts or unexpected turns in life.
There is no magical amount of assets or age that determines whether or not you need a financial advisor. But rather the amount of time, expertise, current knowledge and interest, one has to monitor the numerous changes in today’s world. The ability to understand the effect and the need to make changes, if any, based on the volatile financial markets, new tax laws or changes in healthcare, etc.
Q. What is an investment advisor?
A. An investment advisor is an individual or company that is in the business of providing advice about securities to clients. These securities usually involve the standard stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or exchange traded funds. Often these advisors will manage a portfolio of these securities and are compensated based on a percentage of the portfolio value or by receiving commission or referral fees from the underlying assets.
Q. Does JLR Associates provide financial or investment advisor services?
A. JLR Associates is a hybrid investment advisory firm that blends the traditional model of evaluating economic investments with alternative investments that supports one’s interests and values (“value investing”).
Based on our personal and professional experiences we are able to identify the missing pieces of estate/wealth planning process and make recommendations on professionals and/or firms that provide either wealth management or standard investment advice services. Our network and experience will enable us to recommend companies that we would consider a good fit to your individual needs.
JLR Associates provides fee based services based on the amount of the type and frequency of service needed. We do not sell investments or products nor do we receive commissions or referral fees. Therefore we can provide unbiased independent recommendations.
Q. What is holistic investing?
A. There are many terms used in describing “holistic” investing. Numerous publications have articles labeled “green investing”, “socially responsible investing” or “value investing” that address investments made to support social, environmental or personal causes and interests. Frequently these investments have uncertain or immeasurable economic benefits, and are made more from a charitable or gift viewpoint than from a rate of return (not there is anything wrong with that).
We believe that there are investment opportunities that can support both societal (climate change, governmental practices) and financial performance (return and/or risk reduction).
Q. How do we get started?
A. Once contacted by a prospective client, we will arrange a phone interview to determine a mutual fit. This will involve a basic review of current financial assets, short and long term goals (travel, retirement) and cover the bases of other important financial documents (wills, trusts, pension/retirement income). We will discuss their personal expertise or advisors used in investment analysis, tax law, and health care requirements. We will address personal interests, beliefs and goals and the desire to increase activity in support of these.
Finally, but most importantly, we will discuss time horizon and the client's tolerance for risk. There are low risk, low return opportunities (much like bonds) and higher risk but higher return opportunities (much like venture capital).
Once it is determined that there is a mutual fit, then an in person meeting is arranged to go into greater detail of the client's personal wealth situation, their interests, values and goals.
Once all the personal data is collected then a formal proposal is made for a data collection and analysis study.
Q. What are some examples of previous studies and recommendations?
A. Many clients like the safety and security of dividends from electric utility stocks. However, there are many concerns with these companies with their coal fired power plants and the effect on climate change. We were able to identity utilities with no major coal plants, or are in the process of shutting down coal based facilities and replacing the output with investments or purchases from cleaner sources. Thus we were able to recommend a slightly different portfolio of stable dividend paying utility stocks.
Recently a client contacted us with a concern regarding international investments in a self-directed IRA. It had been strongly recommended to the client to have a portion of their portfolio invested in international stocks and/or indices especially in China and Asia with its track record of rapid growth. The client had concerns on China’s political polices, currency risk, and overall lack of transparency on its economic data. A study was performed in maintaining an international investment footprint but to look at less risky political environment. Based on data collected and the clients concerns it was recommended that the client change its China investments into more conservative German based stocks via a currency hedged fund (HEWG).