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Our Answers to Common Financial Questions 

From Working with Us to Exploring Fee-Only Advising

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.

- Alan Lakein

Q: There are many financial advisors out there. Why should I work with you?

A: This is an excellent question! We certainly would be honored to help you achieve your financial goals. But, we know that we are not the right advisor for everyone; nor is every client the right client for us. For example, if you are looking for a financial advisor who will trade stocks to “beat the market,” you are definitely in the wrong place. Why? Because we only focus on what we can control. Predicting if the stock market will go up or down or guessing what interest rates will do next are not things we can control. But, if you’re interested in things like planning for the retirement of your dreams, investing smarter, and enjoying a tax-efficient retirement income stream, you’re in the right place. 

Q: Isn't hiring a financial advisor too expensive?

A: This is a very common misconception. Actually it is NOT too expensive to hire a financial advisor. As a matter of fact, not hiring a financial advisor could be extremely costly to you and your financial future. Recently, Vanguard released the results of its Advisor's Alpha study. They determined that on average, financial advisors add about 3% in net returns by determining a suitable asset allocation, controlling portflio expenses, rebalancing, behavorial coaching, asset location, withdrawal strategy, and utilizing total-return versus income investing. This additional 3% far exceeds my annual asset management fee of 1%. 

Q: What does “fee-only” mean and why is it important?

A: The term "fee-only" refers to the method of compensation for the financial advisor. Fee-only advisors are compensated solely by fees paid by their clients and they do not accept commissions or compensation from any other source. We believe that there is a significant conflict of interest if an advisor stands to gain financially from the purchase of any product he or she recommends to their clients. That is why when Tapparo Capital Management was founded in 1997, we purposely chose to do business as an independent, fee-only firm. We act as a fiduciary, are fee-only, and do not accept any commissions. These are two important ways we are different from traditional financial advisors. 

Q: You are a fiduciary. What does that mean?  

A: A fiduciary is an individual who has an ethical obligation to always act in the best interests of their clients and place clients' best interests before their own. It also means that a fiduciary must make sure to provide financial advice that is sound, accurate, and free from conflicts of interest. Furthermore, fiduciaries are required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest to their clients and must strive to transact on behalf of their clients in a manner that is as efficient and low-cost as possible. The fiduciary standard was established as part of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

Q: If I do not live near Topsfield, can I still work with you?  

A: You certainly can. As a matter of fact, many of our current clients live nowhere near Topsfield, Massachusetts. Today’s technology has allowed us to be a virtual, location-independent firm. We can easily work with anyone with a web browser and an Internet connection. If you happen to live in the Boston area, we certainly can meet in person at your home or at our office. Whichever is most convenient for you. On the other hand, if the distance is too great, we can meet on the phone or utilize a video call. Our clients know that they can always reach us via email - even after hours and on the weekends. 

Q: Do I need to have a minimum portfolio size before you will work with me?  

A: We have always believed strongly that it is critical that everyday people have access to what is normally reserved for the ultra-wealthy. We believe everyone deserves access to an innovative balance of institutional investment options and unbiased planning advice. If you are committed to saving diligently and working together to develop a realistic financial plan, then it is less important how large your investment portfolio is and more important to get you on the path to achieving your financial goals. 

Q: What is your philosophy? 

A: Tapparo Capital Management provides unbiased financial advisory and investment management services on a fee-only basis to pre-retirees and retirees. Our mission is to create and maintain wealth for our clients through long-term effective asset management strategies. We build client relationships based on trust, competent professional advice, continual communication, and prompt personal service. We assist our clients in setting financial goals, monitoring these goals, and keeping them informed of the process and achievement of these goals. 

Q: How do you invest your clients’ money?

A: Our investment philosophy is based on our belief that the most important investment decision an investor can make is not which investment to buy, but rather how assets should be allocated based upon the investor’s attitudes, objectives, circumstances and risk-taking capacity. Many people assume that all they need to achieve their financial goals is good investment advice. While this is important, we believe that good investment advice can only come from good investment planning. An investment plan creates a larger framework within which it becomes possible to make coordinated financial decisions that maximize the probability of achieving your goals. We do this through tactically managing risks in your portfolio to more efficiently achieve your goals and having a long-term perspective. 

Q: How do we get started?

A: The first step is to get to know each other a little better. We can discuss your objectives, concerns, and goals. There is never any obligation or cost to do this. And, you will never be pressured into utilizing our services. From there we can mutually decide on appropriate next steps.  

P.S. It’s OK if we are not the right financial planning firm for you - we can still be friends!

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