Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What differentiates Paradigm Financial Advisors from other advisors?

    We believe Paradigm Financial Advisors can be differentiated from other financial advisors on a number of very important points. Among the most important are:

    • Focus. Family wealth management services for retirees is not a sideline business for us.  Our practice is primarily centered upon providing ongoing Family Wealth Management services for retiring or retired clients wanting a full service type relationship on a long-term basis.
    • Comprehensive planning. All of our work, including investment strategies, is integrated with each client’s financial plan. It is designed to help clients remain in control of their financial freedom & independence.
    • Reputation. We are recognized by our clients, our peers and by other professionals as one of the premier providers of wealth management services for retirees in the Metropolitan St. Louis area.
    • Compensation. We are compensated exclusively by fees (no commissions) paid by our clients thereby allowing us to work in our clients’ best interests and solely for them. In other words, we act in a fiduciary capacity when advising our clients. Unlike us, many of our competitors receive the bulk, if not all, of their compensation (commissions) from the products they recommend. Many times there are hidden commissions and compensation fees, which are not transparent to the client. In that capacity, by law those advisors are required to work in their firm’s best interest, not the client’s. Other firms work as a fiduciary for their client only part of the time (they charge a fee part of the time) and are commissioned salespeople at other times. These advisors call themselves fee-based, attempting to confuse the client into thinking they are fee-only. Usually, in both of these situations, the individuals that represent these firms have an incentive to recommend high cost products, such as whole life and/or universal life insurance, variable annuities, and A, B, & C shares of mutual funds.
  2. How are you compensated?

    Our firm is one of a few truly independent Fee-Only® SEC registered investment advisory & comprehensive financial planning firms in the Metropolitan St. Louis area specializing in Family Wealth Management Services.  We pride ourselves on providing unbiased, objective advice. We receive no commission income or referral fees from the sale or recommendation of any financial product or investment. Our continuing success depends entirely upon the quality of our advice, administrative services rendered and, the satisfaction of our clients. We want all prospective new clients to realize and understand that “Wealth Management” is NOT just money management. Money Management is just one of the important components of Family Wealth Management.

    An agreement is prepared and signed by each party outlining the basic terms of the engagement and fee quoted. The fee is either quoted as:

    1. a percentage of assets under management (See Fee Schedule); and/or
    2. an annual retainer amount for on-going financial planning services.
  3. What are your minimum requirements for accepting new clients?

    To maintain the level of service which all of our clients (both existing and new) deserve, Paradigm Financial Advisors imposes a minimum dollar asset value for opening a client account. The minimum initial asset value for accounts is $500,000, which may be lowered by PFA in its discretion.

  4. Can I review your investment performance over the last several years?

    Prospective clients often ask to see our “composite” investment results. Regretfully, under AIMR (industry standard) rules designed to ensure fairness and comparability, we are not able to prepare a meaningful composite. The reason is straightforward: we do not have a “typical” client portfolio. Instead, each portfolio reflects the time horizon, return objectives, risk tolerance and personal financial goals of the owner. However, in the absence of a composite, we can show the performance of the various stocks and mutual funds we have recommended over time so that prospective clients can observe the range of returns which portfolios comprised of these stocks or funds may have earned.

  5. What makes Paradigm Financial Advisors, LLC different from banks, brokerage firms and/or other financial advisory firms?

    Paradigm is different from other financial advisory and brokerage firms as well as banks in a number of ways. First, Paradigm provides advice on all aspects of our clients’ finances while at the same time, assisting them with the implementation of their recommendations. Paradigm’s service initiatives are designed to be unparalleled. No detail of a client’s finances is overlooked. Reviews of employment contracts, real estate leases, wills, trust agreements, stock option agreements, property and casualty insurance, non-qualified deferred compensation agreements, private investments, hedge funds, corporate minutes, buy-sell agreements, retirement plan documents, business income tax returns, U.S. savings bonds, and even the evaluation of retirement village contracts are routine at Paradigm for comprehensive financial planning clients. Interaction with the client’s other advisors, such as actuaries, accountants, attorneys, bankers, insurance agents, and employee benefits specialists to ensure that everyone is working on behalf of the client is an everyday occurrence. Brokerage firms and banks do not supply this type of service while other financial advisory firms may only offer a few of these services, and often in a superficial manner. Paradigm by contrast, offers its services in a very detailed and comprehensive manner.

  6. How often do you reevaluate my plan/investments?

    The frequency of meetings/conversations varies from client to client, according to individual preferences and circumstances. After completing our initial comprehensive financial planning effort, we maintain an ongoing dialogue with our clients on all aspects of their financial decision making. We recommend that progress on all financial plans be reviewed at least annually and be thoroughly re-evaluated at least every two to three years. We communicate with our wealth management clients throughout the year (but at least quarterly), monitoring their portfolios and reporting on the progress toward each client’s goals.

  7. How do I get to your office?

    Directions and a map are located here. If you need further instructions, please do not hesitate to phone us at (314) 966-3400.

  8. Why should I choose a Fee-Only® Advisor?

    Choosing an advisor is a very personal decision that may come with some uncertainty. What we offer is financial advice, but what our clients really buy is the confidence and peace of mind that comes from working with experienced advisors they trust. As Fee-Only® advisors, we can be objective in the advice we offer since we do not sell or receive any compensation for recommending specific investments or insurance. Our success depends entirely on the quality of our advice and the satisfaction of our clients.

  9. What should a client expect of us?

    First and foremost, we want clients to know that everyone in our firm is trustworthy and will always act in their best interest. Being a fiduciary and “fee-only” advisory firm, we believe we can give clients a high degree of confidence and comfort since we have nothing to gain from the advice we give.  By personal we mean caring, highly trained & enthusiastic team members answering our phones instead of machines so that your needs and requests can be handled promptly & efficiently by a staff that prides itself on personal service and always going the extra mile. We consistently strive to go beyond our client’s expectations. Our greatest reward is our client’s peace of mind.

    Lastly, our business is not just about helping clients manage or grow their investments. It’s about having fun working together and living a life “on purpose” or by design. An entirely different Paradigm . . . mutually rewarding and fulfilling. It’s about showing and guiding clients how to get to or remain where they want to be and considering alternatives for all the “unexpected stuff” that life seems to present along the way.

    The bottom line at Paradigm is that our team focuses on the client’s entire financial situation, assists clients in achieving their goals, attempts to provide unparalleled service, and does it without a bias on a fee-only basis.

  10. What happens if the person I work with leaves the firm?

    Paradigm Financial Advisors has experienced low turnover of its professional staff. Maybe more important than this solid history is our very strongly held company value of recognizing that all clients are “clients of the firm,” rather than clients of individual planning professionals. As a consequence, clients can be confident that we are very highly motivated to work closely together as a team to serve our clients’ needs.

  11. Do you accept clients who live outside Missouri?

    Yes. We work predominantly with retired & semi-retired clients who frequently have both winter and summer homes or may actually take up residence in “warm & sunny” places throughout the United States.

  12. Can you help me with my taxes?

    Although tax considerations permeate all of our analyses and recommendations, and although we have a great deal of individual tax experience, we do not directly prepare tax returns. We routinely work with our clients’ accountants to ensure a two-way exchange of information, facilitating the accountant’s return preparation and an accurate view of our clients’ tax situation. With our extensive experience and contacts, we can recommend tax preparers to clients who will benefit from this assistance.

  13. I am comfortable investing in U.S. companies, but am less comfortable investing in international markets. Do you normally recommend international exposure?

    Yes, we believe U.S. investors should avail themselves of the growth opportunities outside our borders. The United States’ equity markets today represent less than half of the world’s total equity value. We believe that, by ignoring international markets, investors deprive themselves of the opportunity for substantially higher long-term returns than are available in the U.S. Furthermore, by diversifying into international markets, investors may experience lower volatility for their portfolio, as a whole, over time. For these reasons, we coach our clients to make an appropriate commitment to international equities consistent with their return objectives and tolerance for risk.

  14. Why should I hire Paradigm Financial Advisors when I can buy mutual funds and stocks on my own?

    Buying specific stocks or mutual funds is only one, and, ultimately, a relatively unimportant piece of our entire service array. Our clients hire and retain us as advisors because of a coordinated matrix of services we provide. We serve our clients as comprehensive wealth managers, providing personal financial planning & advisory services, including the monitoring of investment portfolios. The benefits our clients receive include:

    • Expert recommendations and objective implementation to help clients achieve personal financial goals – i.e. financial independence, wealth transfer to family or charity, expansion of lifestyle, and many more.
    • Financial roadmap – An action plan optimizing cash management, debt, investment, insurance, employment benefits, and wealth transfer opportunities.
    • Ongoing advice – we serve both as an initiator of planning opportunities and as a sounding board – about any matter in any personal financial area, such as Cash & debt management, Insurance planning, Estate planning, Income tax planning, Employee benefits, stock options, restricted stock, deferred compensation, Investment strategies, private placements, mutual funds, separate account managers.
    • The coordination of investment plans with financial planning objectives throughout retirement.
    • Determination of a strategic investment plan for target returns, tolerable risk, and expected outcomes based on what is necessary to meet crucial client goals and/or, beyond those, what is available to accomplish opportunistic objectives.
    • Ongoing monitoring of stocks, bonds & mutual funds and managers.
    • Well considered, though generally infrequent, changes in stocks or mutual funds due to new opportunities uncovered by our on-going research.
    • Consideration of income, gift, and estate tax implications of any portfolio actions.
    • Portfolio rebalancing to maintain the target asset allocation.
    • Year-end tax loss sales as appropriate and available.
    • Efficient coordination with tax preparers of information about capital gains/losses and taxable income for tax estimates.
  15. Investment Advisory

    PFA provides continuous investment supervisory services for client assets that are generally held in accounts with Schwab Institutional or TD Ameritrade Institutional or occasionally with another custodian. Under our advisory agreement, assets are held with one or more custodians selected by the client for custody and execution service.  PFA is independent and unaffiliated with any broker-dealer.   The clients work with PFA to authorize and direct PFA to purchase and sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and other equity securities consistent with the investment objectives of the client in these accounts.

    PFA also provides continuous investment supervisory services for assets held outside of Schwab Institutional or TD Ameritrade Institutional to include and coordinate the client investment assets (wherever held) with the client’s overall family wealth management plans. Such assets may include 401(k) accounts, IRA’s, deferred compensation plans and brokerage accounts.

  16. Comprehensive Financial Planning

    PFA Clients may choose to receive ongoing COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL PLANNING, described as follows:

    1. PERSONALIZED INVESTMENT PLANNING: development of investment policy statement or statement of specific investment objectives, review of client goals and objectives, determination of an appropriate asset allocation, selection of individual securities or specific mutual funds, and exchange traded funds, monitoring of performance, and rebalancing recommendations for portfolio as necessary.
    2. FINANCIAL PLANNING AND FORECASTING: projected future values, inflation adjusted income, and tax analysis.
    3. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: sources and use of funds and time horizons.
    4. MONITORING: consolidated detailed reporting and evaluation on a quarterly basis.
    5. COORDINATION WITH OVERALL FINANCIAL PLANS: cash flow, budgeting, tax, retirement income, education funding, insurance sufficiency, estate and legacy planning, development, implementation and execution of stock option strategies, development of tax credit strategies,  business advisory and consulting services for existing clients or new clients referred to PFA by others, and advice on securities.

    PFA provides clients these comprehensive services to help clients develop and remain “on track” with their long term plans.  Clients should seek outside counsel with their Attorney and/or CPA on legal and tax issues prior to implementing any recommendations we make.  We will work closely with your attorney, CPA and any other advisor as may be necessary to implement the conclusions you reach.

  17. I have reviewed information about Paradigm Financial Advisors and I am confident that I meet your minimums. How can I arrange to meet someone from your firm before I send in the Confidential Questionnaire?

    Please call our office at (314) 966-3400 or email info@pfaclient.com to arrange a meeting at your convenience.