FAQs

Questions?

We Have Answers.

You may have questions that you would like answered before coming to see us. Please meet our team who answers many frequently asked questions below.

Company & Investment Process

What is a CFP®?

CFP® means CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. To learn more about our financial team of experts and read individual bios, we invite you to visit our Meet The Team page.

What is a fiduciary?

We hold ourselves out as fiduciaries. As a fiduciary, everything we do must be in the client’s best interest. Fiduciaries are placed in a position of trust. You trust us to do what is best for you, and that is truly what governs our firm. Every question that arises in our firm is answered by first asking ourselves the question, “What is best for the client?”

What is your investment process?

Our investment process here at Sharkey, Howes & Javer is circular process. It is continuous and not a one-time event.
The process starts with defining goals and objectives. We help clients develop a specific purpose to their investment portfolio and outline what they want to accomplish and what the end result looks like before investing.

Once you have established goals, it is very important to define expectations of the portfolio, both for the rate of return and the risks involved. It is imperative that you be honest with yourself in determining what downside you are willing to accept. The market will go down from time to time but remaining invested and not breaking the investment process is critical.

With goals established and expectations set, the next step is to select an appropriate asset allocation (between stocks and bonds and domestic or foreign) and specific investments. Once this step is complete, it is time to monitor the investments. A regular schedule for reviews should be in place (but remember watching too often can lead to unnecessary changes, we need to give time for an investment strategy to work). Also, comparing to a benchmark is fine and from time to time, specific investments will need to be changed, but at Sharkey, Howes & Javer, beating a benchmark is not the ultimate goal, having our clients achieve their goals is.

Overtime, the process starts again with a look at your goals and objectives and if they have changed. Do expectations need to be adjusted? Has your risk tolerance changed?

We would love to be part of this process and work with you on reaching your goals!

How do you manage investments?

We manage your investments by carefully allocating them among many different asset classes to provide you with investment diversification. Your portfolio is carefully monitored and quarterly reports are sent to you to update you on the performance of your portfolio.

Who selects the investments for my account?

The planner you select to work with is responsible for selecting appropriate investments for your portfolio from a list approved by Sharkey, Howes & Javer’s investment committee.

What type of investments do you use?

We primarily use no-load mutual funds, some individual stocks, bonds and Exchange Traded Funds (a mutual fund that trades like a stock).

How often do you review my portfolio?

Your portfolio is reviewed at least three times per year to make sure it is line with your designed allocation. We will also review your portfolio when you deposit or withdraw cash, if we change the overall allocation, or if an investment in your portfolio no longer meets our criteria.

How often do you buy and sell assets?

We generally sell investments when they no longer meet our investment criteria or your needs. The proceeds are normally invested in a suitable replacement. Furthermore, throughout the year and at year-end in taxable accounts, we will harvest tax losses if available, as well as evaluate the impact of capital gains distributions on your portfolio, possibly avoiding such distributions if necessary.

Do you require discretion over my investment accounts?

Yes, we do require discretion over your investment accounts. When you first meet with us, we will provide you with a recommended portfolio for your review and approval. When changes are required, we need to make these changes as quickly as possible. To do this effectively, we require discretion to properly manage your account. Your custodian (Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade) will send trade confirmations of any changes we make for you.

You say you work as a team. What does that mean?

When you choose to become a client of ours, you are just that… a client of the SH&J team. While you might regularly meet with a primary planner, we have created a system which allows any of our CFPs to pick up where you left off. If your primary planner isn’t available, any of our planners can answer your questions.

SH&J’s team is multi-generational with a broad array of interests and expertise. The team approach means you have all of our minds working together to help you make the best possible financial decisions. We constantly bounce ideas and strategies off each other in our effort to benefit you. That’s a lot of expertise at your fingertips!

Our team extends beyond our CFP® members to our support staff who are dedicated to handling your logistical questions. You will find that our support staff are an integral part of the SH&J team.

Working as a team is just one of the things that makes Sharkey, Howes & Javer unique. Give us a call and set up a time to come meet us soon.

Who will I be working with?

The person scheduling your initial appointment will set your appointment with the planner that best fits your needs. However, you have the option of choosing the planner with whom you would like to work with. At SHJ we work as a team, which ensures that all of your planning needs are met. Our primary goal is to provide you with the best client service possible.

What does Fee-Only mean?

Sharkey, Howes and Javer, is a fee-only financial planning firm. Fee-only means that we accept compensation only from our clients – not from any other source. In other words, our clients are the only people we allow to pay us.

What are your fees?

Our fee-only philosophy and complete fee schedule can be found on our Fees Page.

When my account goes down, do I still pay you?

Yes, whether the markets are moving up or down, we are working diligently to manage your money. Your accounts may decline because we have set up a program for you to withdraw funds systematically from your account or because of adverse market conditions. We want your accounts to grow, however we also want to protect your investments in a down market; therefore, we make sure your investments are properly allocated and diversified. We are here to advise you for the long run. 

How will I know if I'm on track to reach my goals?

As financial advisors, it is important to us that you accomplish your goals. Consequently, the quarterly reports and planning updates we provide are designed to show you where you stand on the road to meeting your goals.

How will I know if I'm on track to reach my goals?

As financial advisors, it is important to us that you accomplish your goals. Consequently, the quarterly reports and planning updates we provide are designed to show you where you stand on the road to meeting you goals.

How do we get started?

When you are ready to set up a complimentary appointment, please Contact Us.

Family & Retirement Planning

How can I save on income taxes?

Taxes can be saved in a variety of ways ranging from simple measures such as, reviewing allowable deductions, gifting appreciated stock, maximizing contributions to an IRA or a qualified retirement plan, to more complicated strategies such as reviewing your business structure or employing family members.

How can I prepare for college funding?

Start saving for your children’s college education as early as possible. You will need to determine what type of college you would like your children to attend and how much of the cost you are willing to support. Two to three years prior to your child starting college, you need to learn about FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and college funding from federal sources, state sources, and scholarship programs. Do not pay for scholarship search engines. They are free. Contact us for a list of Internet resources that can be used in your research.

How do I save for my children's college education?

The best college savings vehicle in place today is a 529 College Savings Plan. The State of Colorado has an excellent one. In addition, there are Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, custodial accounts and other accounts that can be useful when saving for college.

How much should I save for college?

With college costs rapidly rising, many clients are asking us how much they should be saving for their children or grandchildren’s college education. First, we always suggest you start saving early. As to how much to save, well, factors such as private vs. public or in-state vs. out-of-state will influence that “how much” question.

When saving specifically for college, we generally start with the 529 plan and work our way to other potential options from there. 529 plans receive federal and state tax breaks, are low maintenance and allow you to maintain control of the funds. One of the biggest advantages of the 529 plans is your contributions will grow tax-free as long as the money is used for college education.

While saving for college is a noble goal, remember rule number one is: save for retirement first, children’s education second.

If you’d like to chat more about your specific situation, give us a call. We’d love to meet you.

When can I retire?

When you have enough money to meet your long term goals. Of course the age you can retire is contingent upon a number of factors such as life expectancy, the level of income desired during your retirement, your current age, the amount of money you have saved, future inflation rates, projected investment returns and the amount of money you plan to contribute to your retirement fund/401(k). 

How much should I save for retirement?

When we are talking about retirement savings, there are many factors to consider. Some of these include: What age would you like to retire? and What kind of lifestyle do you want to live when you retire?

In general, most people start off retirement with 100% of their current living expenses, sometimes even more. Typically, the only time the expenses reduce is if a mortgage is paid off. That said, we believe each of your situations is unique, and requires a thorough understanding of all of the moving pieces and how they work together for you.

When determining how much you need to save, start by answering the questions we mentioned previously… what age you’d like to retire, what kind of lifestyle you want to live when you retire. Get down to the nitty gritty of your desired lifestyle. Are you going to sell the house, start traveling more, or maybe move to a new area? Consider answering these questions with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ who can give you honest input and advice as you work through the retirement planning process.

We’d be honored to work through your retirement planning with you. Give us a call to set up a time to meet soon.

What retirement plan is best for my business?

The type of business you are in and your goals and objectives will determine the retirement plan most suitable for your business. Your company’s demographics will also factor into which retirement plan is most appropriate, including the average age of your workforce, salaries, etc.

What estate planning documents do I need?

The estate planning documents you need depend upon your specific circumstances. However, most estate planning documents generally include a will, trust(s), medical directives, durable powers of attorney, and HIPPA documents. It is advisable to work with an estate planning attorney to draft the appropriate estate planning documents you require.

How much life insurance do I need and what type?

The amount of life insurance you need depends on the promises you have made or wish to make to your loved ones. We can determine exactly what amount of life insurance you will need to fulfill these promises.

What other forms of insurance are most useful to me?

Other forms of insurance that may be useful to you include, but are not limited to: disability, long-term care, health, liability, home and auto. Having adequate coverage in each area is an important part of staying on track to meet your financial goals.

401(k) Investments

What is an 401K?

A 401(k) plan is an IRS approved tax-deferred payroll savings plan sponsored by an employer. Most 401(k) plans may provide for additional employer contributions, such as matching and profit sharing options. Employees contribute either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of each paycheck as a salary deduction to their 401(K) account. Plans offer a wide variety of investment choices ranging from conservative to aggressive options.

Can you help me set up or improve the 401(k) plan I have for my business?

Yes! Sharkey, Howes & Javer, has dedicated professionals who work with individuals and corporations to set up or improve existing 401(k) plans. Scott Brookes, Director of Retirement Plan Services, will help you set up or review your 401(k) plan. Contact us directly to discuss any retirement plan design questions you may have.

For a personal introduction to our team, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions!

CONTACT US

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