Working with a CFP® (Certified Financial Planning) professional in Stroudsburg is an essential 1st step in reaching your desired financial goals. CFP® professionals are well qualified and trained experts who must adhere to the highest ethical standards in the financial industry. Whether they are helping you with budgeting, planning for retirement, saving for education, managing taxes & insurance coverage, or all of the above, a credentialed CFP® professional will be able to help you make the best financial decisions to take control of your financial well being well into the future.
For the majority of people in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the word “finances” doesn’t just mean one thing, and real “financial planning” means much more than just investing. A holistic approach should be taken. This encompasses looking at the entire financial picture of an individual or family, not just one aspect, and therefore helps maximize the potential for meeting both financial and overall life goals. A Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional is trained to weave all the pieces of your financial life together and create a detailed, personalized plan that will works best for you.
Most people in Stroudsburg mistakenly believe all financial advisors/planners are “certified”, however this just is not true. Nearly anyone can make use of the title and call themself a “financial planner.” A CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) can only be a professional who has fulfilled a series of rigorous testing and requirements set in place by the CFP Board. These are the only financial advisors or planners who can call themselves CFP® professionals.
Another thing many don’t know is CFP® professionals are held to strict ethical standards in the financial industry. It is required that a Stroudsburg CFP® professional acquire several years of experience directly related to delivering financial planning services to clients. They must also pass the very comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam before they are allowed to be designated as a CFP® professional.
CFP® professionals undergo extensive training and must master 72 Principal Knowledge Topics in the following areas:
Besides having to meet extensive education and experience requirements, a CFP® professional is bound to a high fiduciary standard of care. This standard ensures that he or she must act solely in the Stroudsburg client’s best interest.
Stroudsburg CFP (Certified Financial Planner™) professionals are required to continually maintain their certification via ongoing education. This is definitely something one should consider with all of the new financial products and instruments that appear all the time in the consumer market. It’s a known fact that CFP® certification is the most recognized personal financial planning standard in the industry. As you consider your financial future, please understand only 21 percent of all financial advisors have this distinction. This data was verified in a 2015 survey by Cerulli Associates, Inc. which is a leading independent research company.
You can feel confident when working with a Stroudsburg CFP® professional that you are working with someone who is totally committed to providing the highest standard of financial planning available.
Our objective at Van Gieson is to help you grow and maintain your wealth in a way that helps you achieve your goals in life. Your local Stroudsburg life, dreams, wants, and means are all taken into account and serve as our guide. These important pieces of information provide the context for all of our recommendations and help to direct everything we do on your behalf.
Glenn Van Gieson, CFP® leads a team of dedicated wealth management professionals that focuses on your goals in Stroudsburg. In order to aid our quest, we work with SEI, a leading global provider of wealth services, to offer a high level of investment sophistication, integrated solutions, and focused attention on your goals and objectives. Working with CFP® professional Glenn Van Gieson, you’ll be confident that you’re receiving objective, high-quality advising based on your specific needs.
Stroudsburg Certified Financial Planner™ professionals such as Van Gieson, understand their clients require guidance, experience and knowledge to prepare for retirement and to reach other family and lifestyle goals. To help achieve these goals, CFP® Glenn Van Gieson uses financial tools and services based on four main competencies:
• Expert financial industry knowledge
• Cutting-edge investment strategies and products
• World-class asset management technology
• On-going commitment to research
Stroudsburg Van Gieson Financial Advisor combines these competencies with in-depth skills, continuing education, and pertinent experience. Along with our in-depth knowledge of your specific financial picture, these aspects enable us to focus on your financial success.
Van Gieson Financial Advisor helps Stroudsburg clients avoid four common investing mistakes.
1. Timing the market
Although financial markets can be very steady over long periods of time, sharp movements in security prices short-term are increasingly common. Witnessing the market big point swings can bring the strong temptation to try “timing” the market to attempt to buy or sell based on the direction of the market or or perception therof. A CFP® professional understands that trying to time the perfect time to buy or sell securities is very difficult, and investors attempting to time the market in this manner may end up losing large sums of money or even missing out on exceptional periods of return.
2. Assuming past performance guarantees future results
You may have wondered why you frequently see the disclaimer “Past performance does not guarantee future results” on nearly every marketing piece on investments mentioning performance. The reason is it proves true. Looking at the listings of financial managers ranked by their three, five, or 10 year returns provides little if any insight into future performance. Some investors or managers hear of the latest red hot mutual fund, etf, or stock and sell unwarranted percentages of their current holdings to buy in. Stroudsburg Van Gieson Financial Advisor does not believes this is a reliable method of investing. It may cause you to sell when you really should be buying, and vice versa.
3. Using your savings and outliving your assets
An array of innovations in healthcare in recent years have greatly boosted Stroudsburg residents average life expectancies, bringing longevity to the forefront as one of the most important factors in planning an individual or couple’s retirement successfully. Most retired people greatly under-estimate how long their resources will last them (e.g., 20, 30, 40 years). The current health of you and your spouse, your family history, and the total amount of wealth/assets you want to transfer to your children all need to be considered in these calculations.
So what do you do knowing these things? You must consider many things. Whether you plan to retire fully in Stroudsburg or change and lessen your work, how can you make sure the times ahead are as full and blessed as you dreamed? And in some ways, perhaps most important, how do you assure your money lasts as long as you need it to? The plans you have for the last third of your life are too important and should be too exciting to just hope the finances will work out. Glenn Van Gieson and our Stroudsburg Certified Financial Planning team will come alongside you at each step along the way to help guarantee your success in life. We work hard to help you avoid commonplace omissions and mistakes that can hurt the plans of many. Van Gieson Financial Advisor uses a Goals-Based approach to investing. This enables us to set up investments custom-made for every stage of of your life ranging from accumulation of wealth, to maintenance, to distribution to heirs.
4. Ignoring the power of diversification
Different asset classes tend to go into and out of favor over years or decades. Often, when individual investors create their own investment portfolios, they will many times neglect varying asset classes that provide critical diversification and other possible benefits. Our CFP® professional team will make sure you harness the power of diversification to enhance investment returns and provide a buffer against market volatility. (please not – Diversification may not always protect against market risk.)
Van Gieson Stroudsburg Financial Advisor employs six steps toward achieving your investment goals.
1. Asset allocation
4. Portfolio construction
2. Portfolio design
5. Tax management
3. Investment manager selection
6. Risk management
These tried and true steps encompass an investment process refined over fifty years of serving both individual and institutional investors. Our institutional partner SEI built this process around an experienced knowledge of markets, consistent research, a laser focus on risk management, broad diversification and a commitment to achieving goals for clients. While the process may seem to be simple at a glance, there are a wide array of complex individual components that must work together to make sure the plans implemented keep you on the right track to your goals.
1. Asset allocation based on your objectives
Contrary to popular opinion seen in many individual investors, timing the market and selecting stocks are not the prime keys to attaining investment goals. Actually, the most important part of the investment process is determining how to best allocate assets among broad asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives. Getting the mix of assets right is critical. Detailed research has shown over time more than 90% of the return differences between portfolios will come from proper asset allocation. Van Gieson Financial Advisor works hard to see that you’re invested in a diversified mix of assets. This will help you to move towards your financial goals no matter what the current market environment may be. The overall results of your investing really begins when we make sure your portfolio is allocated correctly for your goals. A CFP® professional will work with you closely to:
• Understand your goals and objectives.
• Identify relevant risks.
• Select the appropriate portfolios or allocations. Asset allocation is a unique process in which each of your objectives is carefully defined and aligned with multiple strategies that use various assets.
• Allocations are actively managed over time as market conditions and asset-class characteristics change.
• Allocations are constructed using carefully selected components consistent with your strategy objectives.
• Ongoing research results in addition of new investment sub-classes to enhance opportunity.
A typical client’s investment portfolio includes a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and cash investments. The exact percentage that should be devoted to each asset class will depend on your time horizon, risk tolerance and personal circumstances.
(please note: Asset allocation may not always protect against market risk nor satisfy investment objectives. Investing involves risk including possible loss of principal.)
2. Portfolio design: Identify sources of long-term, above-average returns
What are the factors that cause some investments to outperform others across multiple markets in given geographic regions? Van Gieson Financial Advisor suggests starting this off diversifying asset classes — including equity, fixed-income, and alternative-investment portfolios. We help and advise you in considering the types of investment strategies that work best across different phases of the economic cycle (expansion, stress, distress, recovery). We complete this analysis with projections on how the portfolio may react during each economic phase, along with identifying of return sources. These will be prepared by Stroudsburg Certified Financial Planner™ professional Glenn Van Gieson and the Van Gieson team.
3. Investment manager selection: A multi-manager approach to optimize results
Investment diversification with multiple managers is an important key to financial success. Multi-manager diversification distinguishes Van Gieson Financial Advisor from most other investment advisors, particularly in the Stroudsburg area. This approach is known by the term “manager of managers.” Because we work in partnership with SEI, we are able to use leading investment managers with innovative investment ideas. The investment manager selection process is an exhaustive, step-by-step approach. It begins with identifying opportunities, inefficiencies and diversified sources of gains in the markets. SEI takes this time and care and selects about 140 different firms from a pool of over 20,000 specialist investment products. The selected managers are each given specific asset management assignments to handle security selection for their respective portions of the portfolio. SEI takes responsibility for hiring, monitoring, and replacing the independent investment managers in the program that benefits our clients.
Specialist investment managers are tapped to work together in different parts of the bigger picture. The styles of these managers complement each other. Managers who specialize in certain disciplines have the expertise necessary to implement a specific investment course. They know where to seek opportunity, and how to anticipate favorable and unfavorable changes. Van Gieson Financial Advisor has seen over time that tapping multiple managers with highly differentiated investment processes and expertise enhances portfolio diversification and serves to provide lower volatility than often experienced by single-manager portfolios for our clients in Stroudsburg.
A multi-manager approach provides you several important benefits:
• Potential for greater performance, better consistency, and lower overall volatility
• Access to some of the best investment ideas globally from leading minds
• Less dependency on a single manager
• Access to institutional investment managers (with high minimum account requirements) generally available only to large organizations
• Reduction of risks that offer no long-term reward
The institutional investment managers selected by SEI that we have access to are often not available directly to normal retail investors, or if they are, there are minimum requirements such as having millions of dollars to invest. Because Van Gieson Financial Advisor works in partnership with SEI for our Stroudsburg clients, we have direct access to relationships with traditional, hedge fund, and boutique institutional management firms, thanks to its buying power.
4. Portfolio construction: Multiple layers of diversification
Portfolios constructed for our Stroudsburg clients consist of multiple layers of diversification designed to optimize return while managing and hopefully greatly reducing risk. The sheer number and variety of available investment choices continues to grow all the time. Each of the financial markets and segments have different characteristics, return potential, and associated risks. Most Certified Financial Planner™ professionals believe that division of assets between different classes is only the beginning of the asset allocation story. The greatest success stories require diversifying the entire portfolio structure, using a five-level approach as follows:
• Level one–asset classes like equity and income-generating securities, such as bonds
• Level two–multiple sub-asset classes and styles like large cap, small cap, growth and value
• Level three–geographic diversification of our portfolios
• Level four–individual managers, each of which is a specialist in a particular asset class or style
• Level five–individual securities selected for each portfolio by those managers
5. Tax Management—wouldn’t you rather keep what you earn?
It would be a very large mistake for a financial planner to ignore taxes in the overall equation when working with investment clients. Not taking taxes into consideration can hurt the client’s chances of meeting their objectives. As the old saying goes, it’s not just the what you earn that counts—it’s what you keep. If left unchecked, taxes can significantly reduce your after-tax return. The CFP® professional, including those on Stroudsburg’s Van Gieson team, can employ techniques designed to help you keep more of the money you earn. We put a special focus on tax management to help manage tax implications within your portfolio at Van Gieson Financial Advisor. We can help you enhance after-tax returns on investments.
(Neither SEI nor its affiliates provide tax advice. Please note that (i) any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained in this communication cannot be used by you for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties;
(ii) this communication was written to support the promotion or marketing of the matters addressed herein; and (iii) you should seek advice based on your circumstances from an independent tax advisor.)
6. Risk management—manager monitoring
SEI commits significant resources to the continuing oversight of its investment managers. There are more than 115 professionals employed globally, who average 11 years of financial industry experience that focus exclusively on related research, portfolio strategy, and investment manager monitoring. All of the employed managers are required to stick to their assigned investment styles to assure that desired levels of diversification are maintained for all clients including Van Gieson Financial Advisor’s Stroudsburg clients. The manager lineup may be adjusted as needed as the markets change, or if a more compelling investment opportunity presents itself. Sometimes SEI may also change managers because of changes within the management firm itself. Managers are evaluated in both qualitative and quantitative criteria.
• Qualitative criteria include the manager’s people, process and portfolios.
• Quantitative data, like performance and style adherence, are tracked closely.
It is essential that a clear understanding exists between Stroudsburg Investor clients and our Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional clearly outlining investment objectives and the governing policies which make up the Investor’s portfolio. Van Gieson Financial Advisor and you will consult as needed to:
• Establish reasonable expectations, objectives, and guidelines in the investment of the portfolio’s assets.
• Set forth an investment structure detailing permitted asset classes, normal allocations, and permissible ranges of exposure for the portfolio.
• Maintain open and ongoing communication.
• Create the framework for a well-diversified asset mix that can be expected to generate acceptable long-term returns at a level of risk suitable to you.
At Van Gieson Financial Advisor, we truly want to provide you with as much information about the financial planning process and the people that you are going to be working with. Here are some questions to help give you a more in-depth look at how Certified Financial Planner™ professionals operate and what it entails to earn the CFP® mark of distinction.
Why work with a CFP® professional?
CFP® professionals are held to strict ethical standards. Furthermore, a CFP® professional must acquire several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients and pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam before they can become certified and call themselves a CFP® professional.
What is a Certified Financial Planner™ as Fiduciary?
Fiduciaries are required to act in the best interests of their clients when providing financial advice, so CFP® professionals must do this always — even if those interests are in conflict with their own. It’s a legal and ethical distinction that holds financial planners to the highest standard of professional care.
What is the CFP® Certification Exam?
The CFP® Certification Exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits, retirement planning, estate planning, investment management, and insurance. This very comprehensive exam ensures that a CFP® professional is highly qualified to develop a specific and well thought out plan for your finances.
What is the Financial Planning Association (FPA)?
The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is the largest United States based membership organization for CFP® professionals and also includes members who support the financial planning process in other roles.
What is the goal of the Family Protection Association?
The Family Protection Association helps members minimize risks and maximize lives. We’re focused on the safety, security, and success of the family.
How long does it take to become a CFP® professional?
In general, the course work in a certificate level program can be completed in 18 to 24 months. CFP Board does not endorse one particular CFP® program over another, as all available programs cover the same core curriculum. Where they may vary is in style, length, and delivery/teaching method. They may include certificate programs, undergraduate programs or graduate programs.
How to become a Certified Financial Planner™ professional.
1. Complete a CFP Board-registered education program
2. Sit for the CFP® exam
3. Hold or earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college within five years of passing the CFP® exam
4. Demonstrate financial planning experience
5. Pass the CFP Board’s Candidate Fitness Standard
Which Certified Financial Planner™ course is the best?
1. The College for Financial Planning
2. Boston University
3. Kansas State University
4. University of California – Los Angeles
5. University of California – Irvine
How much does the Certified Financial Planner™ course cost?
The CFP® exam costs $595 to take (that’s just the exam fee – and it’s higher for international locations). Review materials and/or classes will run a CFP® candidate anywhere from $400 to $1,400+ depending on which course they choose and where. CFP® professionals are well invested in their professional financial planning and it’s required training.
How hard is the CFP® exam?
Most students that have taken the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) board exam agree that the case studies are the most difficult and important portion of the test. The exam itself is six hours long, with two three-hour sessions that have a 40-minute break between them.
Are there a lot of Certified Financial Planner jobs available?
Employment of personal financial advisors was projected to grow 15 percent from the year 2016 up to 2026. This is much faster than the average for all other occupations. As the population ages and their life expectancies rise, demand for trusted, high quality financial planning services will most likely continue to increase. Bear in mind that this statistic is for personal financial advisors. CFP® professionals, who are better trained and generally more knowledgeable than most other financial planners, make up a much smaller number of all financial advisors. As there will be a high demand for them in the future, most will continue to operate in their own practices.