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"A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish"
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

   

Frequently Asked Questions

Just by going through the planning process, you gain a better understanding of whether or not you are on track to achieve your goals and what changes you need to make if you are not.
Questions it can help you answer include:

  • How can I create a plan to create and preserve personal wealth?
  • How should I provide for my children's education?
  • How much should I have invested in company stock
  • How can I analyze my corporate incentive package or early distribution options?
  • How can I achieve a specific financial goal?
  • Should I rollover my corporate pension plan to an IRA?
  • Do I have enough money to retire how I choose?
  • I just received a lump-sum inheritance. What now?
  • When should I execute my stock options? How can I minimize the taxes?
  • How do I create an estate plan so my heirs receive what I wish?
  • How can I best give money to charity?
  • How can I plan to minimize my current estate taxes?
  • Am I adequately insured and at a fair price?

The Financial Planning Process is not complicated but it requires a good deal of commitment and thoroughness. The process follows these six steps to help you plan for your goals:

  1. Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship.
  2. Gathering client data, including goals.
  3. Analyzing and evaluating your financial status.
  4. Developing and presenting financial planning recommendations and/or alternatives.
  5. Implementing the financial planning recommendations.
  6. Monitoring the financial planning recommendations.

We are fee only investment advisors - we strive to eliminate conflicts of interest and potential problems by not taking any commissions, trailing fees, or performance based compensation. We believe that what we are compensated for is our advice, not our ability to generate brokerage. This is the number one consideration you should have when looking for an advisor, who they are working for. We work only for you.

Our investment philosophy is embedded in our name - Structured Asset Management. Structure refers to the types and quantities of assets that make up your portfolio. We believe that research has shown conclusively that individuals are vastly better rewarded by getting their asset allocations correct than by trying to pick securities, or time markets. We want you to have an investment plan that is structured for your needs.

We don't trade in and out, we don't try to figure out the next great thing and we don't hype what's hot in order to earn a commission from you.

We believe that having a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, following long-term buy-and-hold strategies, and having patience, will increase the likelihood that you will have a successful investment experience.

We write our recommendations into an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) which covers all the details of your investment plan and serves as the controlling document for all of our actions. The Investment policy Statement:

  • Establishes the investor’s expectations, objectives and guidelines in the investment of the Portfolio’s assets
  • Creates the framework for a well-diversified asset mix that can be expected to generate acceptable long-term returns at a level of risk suitable to the Investor, including:
    • Describing an appropriate risk posture for the investment of the Investor’s Portfolio specifying the target asset allocation policy
    • Establishing investment guidelines regarding the selection of investment managers, permissible securities and diversification of assets
    • Specifying the criteria for evaluating the performance of the Portfolio’s assets
    • Defines the responsibilities of the investor and the advisor
    • Encourages effective communication between the investment manager and the investor

No, we are fee only advisors and take no compensation from anyone other than our clients whom we serve. We use a lot of Dimensional Fund Advisors funds in our client portfolios because we believe they are vastly superior to almost any other offering out there. DFA funds are based upon the best in continuous academic research.

They are institutional only; meaning they limit investor access to the funds, prohibit trading in and out, and have very low expenses. They can only be accessed through investment advisors who have gone through a rigorous approval process. This institutional only nature reduces turnover, costs, and taxes which improves returns for investors.

Keep this in mind as the best free advice you will ever get Costs Count - a 1% reduction in your costs will result in a 20% greater terminal balance for your portfolio over a twenty year period. That is a huge amount. It can make the difference between living the lifestyle you choose and living a lifestyle chosen for you.

It might not be quite as sexy to tell your friends that you reduced your costs by 1% as it is to talk about a hot stock, but it can be much more profitable in the long run.

There is a huge variation in costs among different investments and only a few of them are visible to the average investor. Tax costs, trading costs, custody costs, mutual fund expenses, annuity fees, and 12B-1 fees are just the tip of the iceberg and require careful management.

<p>We monitor our clients' investments on a monthly basis to search for information that may impact their holdings. Since our philosophy is long-term we recommend very little trading outside of rebalancing considerations. Each client's overall asset allocation is reviewed at least once a quarter when we make recommendations about rebalancing.</p>
 

This very much depends upon your reasons for investing. Do you want to fund a college education for a child, save for a secure retirement or leave a legacy for generations to come? Each of these has different inputs that will impact your asset allocation. Remember that we design portfolios to help you achieve your goals based upon your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. However, we generally do not recommend that you invest in equities if your time horizon is less than five years.

We do not generally recommend individual stocks in constructing portfolios. We believe research and experience have shown that broadly diversified baskets of equities are the best way to invest. We do however deal with individual stocks on a regular basis in two instances. A client who has an existing position in individual stocks, or who is receiving company stock as compensation needs an appropriate assessment and a strategy for managing their holdings. Hedging existing holdings and effective tax strategies always need to be addressed. We always work with your existing equity holdings to integrate them into your structured portfolio design.

Absolutely not! We are fee only registered investment advisors, not brokers. Your funds and securities are held at a custodian in your name only.

After engagement of Structured Asset Management, Inc. it generally takes from two weeks to three months to develop a plan and fully invest your assets.

All of your trade orders, confirmations and statements are sent to you on monthly basis by the custodian. In addition, for investment management we provide a comprehensive customized quarterly report. Clients can access their statements online from their custodian at any time.

The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Contact us here or call (610) 648-0700. We offer a free initial consultation by phone or in-person. When you decide to engage Structured Asset Management, Inc. we will discuss with you the steps and data collection process that will be needed for your situation. A large part of the value you receive is from participating in the process. Articulating your goals is the first step towards achieving them.

Latest Blog Posts

Jun 28, 2017 by Structured Asset Management, Inc.

I am glad to see the new requirement for investment advisors dealing with 401(k) plans take effect. Now advisors have to acknowledge their fiduciary status in writing and subscribe to an impartial standard of conduct. The big keys are that under these new standards, these advisors must:

  • Give advice in the clients' best interest
  • Charge reasonable compensation
  • Disclose conflicts of interest
  • Disclose the fees so they can be understood
  • Make...
Jun 26, 2017 by Structured Asset Management, Inc.

The new rule going into effect with the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule gives brokers and insurance agents till January 1, 2018 to come into compliance with the rules we have been following for decades.

This is huge news for 401(k) plan participants. Now advisors will have to consider the fees, the benefits and the services provided before they recommend a rollover from a corporate plan to an IRA. Imagine that, a rule that makes these people have to actually work in someone...

Jun 22, 2017 by Structured Asset Management, Inc.

Good news for 401(K) plan sponsors and participants! Under the new Fiduciary Standard of Care rule, all advisors that give investment advice to 401(k) sponsors and their employees (participants) now have to comply with the ERISA standard for fiduciary care.

Before this happened, only advisors who, like us, were subject to the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 were held to the fiduciary standard. Others had what's called the suitability standard. Brokers and insurance...

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