Ep. 11 – 21 Questions (Series) – 10. Do you focus solely on investment management, or do you also advise on taxes, estates, retirement, budgeting, debt management, and insurance?

Welcome to the Real Retirement Financial Planning Podcast. This series covers the 21 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor. The list of questions was inspired by Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal, and his blog post: The 19 Questions to Ask Your Financial Adviser. Responses to Jason’s questions I read from other advisor websites lacked depth. “Yes,” or “no,” sometimes needs more context and a greater explanation into the whys. The goal of this series is to target the essence of what I think Jason is trying to protect you from, and help you make a better educated decision.

21 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

10. Do you focus solely on investment management, or do you also advise on taxes, estates, retirement, budgeting, debt management, and insurance?

Jason says, “Here the best answer depends on your needs as a client.”
At MARGIN, we specialize in rigorous financial planning for clients nearing retirement at a fixed fee.  We believe that retirement planning is different than just managing a diversified portfolio; there’s a lot more things that can go wrong, and a lot of decisions to make.  Sometimes a specialty premium is warranted for a profession, product, or entity having unique nuance, and other times it’s not worth the higher fee, and it’s all about marketing.


  1. Professions: Women in transition, doctors, millennials, small business owners, air plane pilots, dentists, athletes, video game players, etc.
  2. Products: Home equity conversion mortgages, annuities, 401(k)s, etc.
  3. Entities: Big corporation company retirement and benefit plans
Just remember occupation specialties usually charge a premium; some are worth it, and many are not. Retirement planning is a little different then just a low-cost diversified portfolio:
  1. Timing and planning for social security benefits
  2. Retiree specific tax planning
  3. Medicare and other health decisions
  4. Withdrawal strategies:
    • Buckets
    • Segmenting portfolios
    • Using annuities for income flooring
    • Dynamic spending rules like guardrail and ratcheting
    • Reverse equity glidepaths
    • Valuation-based asset allocation
      • MOST importantly, we combine what’s best for each client depending on their goals, and the current financial environment
  5. Housing wealth and reverse mortgages
With MARGIN Clients receive value in the following scope of financial planning services, and discretionary asset management:
  • A Digital Dashboard of Your Financial Life
  • Pre-Retirement Decision Income Planning
  • Tax Planning and Minimization
  • Discretionary Asset Management and Development of an Investment Policy Statement
  • Personal Real Estate and Direct Real Estate Investment Analysis
  • Insurance and Employee Benefits Review
  • Educational Savings Planning
  • Personal Advocate with An Attorney, CPA, or other Professional
Do you work with an advisor that specializes in your needs? If you work with a specialist firm, is the premium “worth it”? If you work with a call center, or larger firm, can they really answer all your questions?
Show Note Links:
(1) https://www.kitces.com/blog/retiree-specialist-designations-investment-news-retirement-income-summit/