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.

FAQ Videos

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 CFPs 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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



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