Frequently Asked Questions

Read through the questions and answers by clicking on each below.

What separates BFP from other financial advisors?

There are significant qualitative differences between Blueprint Financial Planning and other financial advisors. Blueprint Financial Planning is bound by The Fiduciary Standard, which mandates that our advice is objective, our work is ethical and transparent, and that we put clients' interests first. We minimize any conflict of interest, and are bound to disclose any such conflicts should they exist. This stands in contrast to the broker's suitability standard, under which an advisor may receive a commission for recommending a financial product.

Another factor distinguishing Blueprint Financial Planning from other financial advisors is our Fee-Only payment policy. Unlike most of our competitors, we do not profit from the sale of financial products to our customers, nor do we receive commissions or referral fees for our work. You pay us directly, and can be assured that our advice is always objective and in your best interest. This straightforward approach is our industry's best-practices standard and the clear choice in most effectively serving our clients' needs.

Blueprint Financial Planning also distinguishes itself from its competitors with premier customer service. Each of our clients can expect attentive, informed consults with an advisor who's taken the time to understand their values and goals. We take pride in partnering with clients as they build their future. Our detailed approach to recommending and implementing a financial plan, which reflects an in-depth analysis of each client's objectives, is the core of our service offering.

"You should fire your broker and find an investment advisor. Brokerage firms would like you to think that they perform the same functions as investment advisors. Many brokers call themselves 'financial consultants' or 'financial advisors.' But they are not the same as independent investment advisors... an investment advisor's fiduciary duty is on a higher plane, like that of a lawyer, a trustee, or the executor of an estate."

~Arthur Levitt, former SEC Chairman

What is a Fiduciary?

A Fiduciary is a trusted advisor who acts for, and on behalf of, another person. A fiduciary duty is a legal or ethical relationship of trust, between two or more parties, regarding the management of money or property. Blueprint Financial Planning proudly adheres to The Fiduciary Standard, the financial planning industry's best-practices standard, which mandates that we act unequivocally and transparently on our client's behalf, and that we disclose any possible conflict of interest. We sit on the same side of the table as you - it's our fiduciary duty.

Advantages of working with an RIA over a stockbroker?

Yes. As an independent Registered Investment Advisor, Blueprint Financial Planning has a fiduciary duty to act in its clients' best interests at all times. Brokerage firms generally are not fiduciaries to their customers - and therefore do not make decisions that are solely in their customers' best interests.

Registered Investment Advisors must disclose any conflicts of interest that exist in the investment advisor's business. Brokerage firms are not required to provide customers with any comparable disclosure.

Registered Investment Advisors do not engage in business activities such as investment banking or underwriting, as is the case with brokerage firms.

When it comes to putting investors' interests first and doing the right thing for their client's investments, Independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are held to a higher standard than stockbrokers. Independent RIAs have a fiduciary duty to their clients. This means they must:

  • Act in the best interest of their client
  • Identify and monitor illiquid securities
  • Employ fair market valuation procedures
  • Observe procedures regarding the allocation of investment opportunities: including new issues and the aggregation of orders
  • Monitor for best execution of trades
  • Have policies regarding affiliated broker-dealers and maintenance of brokerage accounts
  • Disclose conflicts of interest
  • Adopt and administer a code of ethics
What is personal financial planning?

Personal financial planning is a process of making decisions about all areas of your financial life. This includes gathering information about your assets, liabilities, spending and income; discussing and identifying goals and objectives; modeling and presenting financial solutions; implementing a financial plan using tax and legal strategies or investment and risk management recommendations.

Does BFP provide only comprehensive financial planning?

No. Although comprehensive financial planning provides the greatest benefits, we also provide advisory services to address such issues like cash management and budgeting, investment analysis, or college education funding.

What is Fee-Only financial planning?

Blueprint Financial Planning is a Fee-Only financial planning firm. Unlike most of our competitors, we do not profit from the sale of financial products to our customers, nor do we receive commissions or referral fees for our work. You pay us for our services directly, on a Fee-Only basis, and can be assured our advice is objective and in your best interest. This straightforward approach is our industry's best-practices standard and the clear choice in most effectively serving our clients' needs.

What type of clients do you work with?

Our clients come from a variety of backgrounds, and many walks of life. Some are approaching or planning for retirement, others are parents who want to discuss funding their kids' college education, while others may be young people just starting to plot their financial future. What our clients have in common is the desire to work with an experienced, knowledgeable advisor who can help them develop a sound financial plan for achieving their goals.

Blueprint Financial Planning partners with clients to clarify goals, design and implement a plan, and monitor and adjust the plan if necessary. Our expertise and experience is at your service every step of the way.

Can Blueprint Financial Planning serve clients in all 50 states?

Yes. Blueprint Financial Planning is based in Worcester, Massachusetts. We can, however, work with clients is all 50 states. Today's technologies offer tremendous opportunities for successful long-distance advisory relationships. Our planning software is collaborative and web-based, enabling us to work on-line with clients, regardless of location.

Investment law dictates when, based on the number of clients and assets under management, Blueprint Financial Planning must register in each state or at the national level.

Will BFP work with my accountant or attorney?

Yes. With your permission we will work with your other advisors. We strongly advise that clients permit us to work as a team on their behalf. Allowing us to speak directly and/or provide data and information assists in seamless handling of your financial needs. We initiate such discussions only with your express permission.

Can I make trades in my investment account with you?

We do not recommend that a client trade in their investment account. We are, however, willing to assist in opening a trading account for clients to make their own investment selections and trades. We can arrange for this service to be conducted on-line, if desired.

What is Blueprint Financial Planning's privacy policy?

We will not divulge any information to a third party unless clients give us express consent. We have instituted a privacy policy, listed on this Website under Resources that directs our actions on a daily basis. Our recommended custodian and technology partners are equally committed to maintaining this confidentiality.

Will Blueprint Financial Planning hold my assets?

No. We are Registered Investment Advisors, not brokers. We hold no client assets. The only funds we receive from clients are our fees. When given limited discretionary authority, we generally recommend the establishment of accounts at major low-expense brokerage firms (e.g., Scottrade Advisor Services). The accounts are titled in your name only. We will prepare all paperwork necessary to open your accounts. We will keep you informed of the account opening process, and will contact you immediately should further action on your part be required.

All account transfers take tax consequences and trading costs into consideration. We look to transfer your existing securities, in what is referred to as an "in-kind" transfer, wherever feasible. You will receive confirmation of all account activity, including any trades and transfers, as it occurs.

What is Limited Discretion?

Limited discretion is the authority clients provide Blueprint Financial Planning relative to their investment portfolio. It authorizes the custodian of the client's assets (e.g., Scottrade Advisor Services) to accept our instructions regarding purchases and sales within the account. We hold no securities license. We do not trade the account to benefit our firm through the receipt of increased commissions. Limited discretion does not allow us to have funds dispersed from the account, other than delivery to the account owner at their address of record, or for payment of our fees if you have authorized us to do so.

How is Blueprint Financial Planning compensated?

We are compensated solely by the fees paid by clients to our firm. These fees are agreed to in writing by Blueprint Financial Planning and its clients in advance of services rendered. We receive no commissions or referral fees.

Are other costs involved?

As with all investment-related advice, there's a variety of potential costs. However, as Fee-Only planners, we are diligent in our effort to control costs and taxes; we provide clients with details regarding all fees and expenses they may incur. These include:

Custodial Costs - Fees paid to the securities custodian for holding your assets, providing monthly reports and executing trades within your accounts. Our recommended custodian, Scottrade Advisor Services, has very low costs. For these accounts we estimate this cost to be less than 1/10th of 1% on an annual basis. These fees are reflected in your monthly account statement. Please note these custodial costs are not paid to Blueprint Financial Planning.

Fund Fees and Expenses - Fees and expenses associated with the management of specific investments. These fees are paid to the respective investment funds. For any particular portfolio, the total cost will be a function of the asset allocation. We will be happy to provide details of this estimate upon request. Returns reported by funds on client statements are net of any fees and costs. Please note these fund-related fees, and expenses, are not paid to Blueprint Financial Planning.

We provide exceptional value relative to the total cost of our services and all related fees and expenses. Because returns to our clients are net of all fees and expenses, it is in our best interest to keep these fees low so that performance does not suffer.

How often is my account traded?

We do not frequently make trades in your accounts. We have a carefully constructed rebalancing procedure, and will rebalance your accounts according to the dictates of the Investment Policy Statement that reflects your needs and circumstances. With your authorization we will make trades for tax purposes, changes in investment strategies, and changes in funds or fund style.

What is your investment philosophy and investment approach?

To view our investment philosophy click here - Investment Philosophy

To view our investment approach click here - Investment Approach

What types of investments do you offer?

We do not offer any investments. We are financial planners, not money managers. The design and implementation of customized investment portfolios is, however, an important part of our practice. We recommend a variety of funds in a wide range of investment styles and classes for the benefit of our clients.

As Fee-Only planners, we focus solely on the best interests of our clients. We restrict ourselves to utilizing investments that have no commissions. In addition, we emphasize selection of cost- and tax-efficient funds and strategies.

As an independent Registered Investment Advisor, we have access to the entire universe of investment selection. We generally avoid investment strategies with high fees, strategies that are unclear in their investment holdings and strategies that are not liquid.

How often will you meet with me?

We meet with clients as often as necessary; we recommend meeting with new retainer clients quarterly. Some clients meet with us three times a year; others prefer yearly meetings for a comprehensive annual review. We are proactive in scheduling client reviews and contact each client to schedule reviews on a routine basis.

In addition to meeting personally throughout the year, we regularly communicate with clients through telephone conference calls, email and articles on our web site. We emphasize continuous communication, with the goal of maintaining strong relationships with each client.

We ask that clients contact us if there are any changes in their financial situation or investment objectives. Such changes may prompt review, and possibly revision, to previous recommendations or services. We also ask that clients contact us should they wish to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services.

Can you discuss your firm's investment performance?

Our clients' portfolios are positioned through their individual asset size, mix of taxable and qualified assets, tax bracket, risk tolerance and individual preferences; therefore we do not share individual performance numbers with other clients.

Our rebalancing parameters usually specify recommending equities be bought when the market is dropping (buy when the market is low and cheap) and equities be sold when the market is rising (sell when the market is high and expensive). This helps to take profits off the table in a rising equity market and to buy at a low point in a falling equity market.

How often will I get reports from you?

Although custodians send reports with transactions and other information on a monthly basis, we may also provide comprehensive customized reports when meeting with clients, along with updated reports at anytime, subject to client request.

Is my money safe at Scottrade Advisor Services?

Scottrade Advisor Services is the recommended custodian of Blueprint Financial Planning. To provide its customers with the maximum asset protection, Scottrade provides two parallel forms of account insurance, one through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and another through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

Scottrade customers are eligible to receive up to $1,000,000 in individual account protection from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Customers enrolled in Scottrade's Bank Deposit Program, which includes multiple FDIC-member banks, are insured for cash held in their Scottrade brokerage accounts between trades.

Scottrade is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The assets you have with Scottrade are insured by SIPC up to $500,000 for each separate account, including up to $250,000 in cash. Scottrade's insurers provide up to an aggregate of $25 million of additional securities protection, of which $1,150,000 may be applied to cash. This coverage provides you with protection against brokerage insolvency.

To be clear, FDIC and SIPC coverage does not protect your investment principal from market volatility (i.e. against loss of the market value of securities). It does provide protection in the event the custodian of record goes out of business. For more information, go to http://www.scottrade.com/investment-products/account-types/asset-protection.html

Who regulates Blueprint Financial Planning?

Blueprint Financial Planning is a Registered Investment Advisor regulated by the State of Massachusetts Securities Division and all states where business is conducted within defined parameters and advisory laws. The firm has been issued an IARD/CRD# of 158306. You can see Blueprint Financial Planning's' State of Massachusetts registration and firm Form ADV at the following link:

http://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov

You may call the Massachusetts Securities Division at 617-727-3548 to confirm Blueprint Financial Planning is properly licensed to provide investment advice.

College Planning Advice    

Solutions to college funding challenges.

Learn More

Social Security Planning Advice

Guidance on collecting Social Security benefits.

Learn More

Advice for Retirees      

Maximize the likelihood that your assets last long.

Learn More

Advice for Wealth Creation

Achieve financial security and independence.

Learn More