How long does the planning process take?
Once you have shared the comprehensive information needed to complete your plan, you can expect the drafting process to take 3-6 weeks depending on the complexity of your financial situation. We believe our process and level of detail set the industry standard in translating the data you provide into actionable planning strategies to help you achieve your goals and objectives. We are confident that the time and effort put into the planning process is well worth it.
If I use Sequoia Financial Group to develop a financial plan, am I obligated to purchase the recommended products or services?
Absolutely not. We offer recommendations, which in our professional opinion may assist you in meeting your needs and objectives, but you are under no obligation to implement your plan with us.
Our Financial Planning Process:
Independent of individual objectives, as a Sequoia client you will complete a thorough, five-step analysis of your current and projected financial position. This process is circular in that the analysis never ends, but rather grows and adapts as your financial needs evolve.
- Understand & Gather Data - Each individual has his or her own specific goals and tolerance for risk. We take the time to engage in open discussion with you so we can truly understand your current situation and future goals.
- Analyze & Develop Plan - The planning team combines our diverse experience with your information to develop a custom financial plan. The plan will detail both our analysis of your financial position and our recommendations for your future course of action.
- Deliver - We meet with you regarding our findings and recommendations. The plan may be refined further based on additional discussion and feedback.
- Implement - Upon completion of your plan, you receive an actionable checklist regarding next steps and responsibilities. Sequoia will be there to help you fulfill that plan and implement the recommendations.
- Monitor - As a member of your personal financial team, Sequoia takes the initiative to schedule regular review meetings to help you remain on pace to meet your financial goals. As your life or the marketplace changes, the plan is revised and the ongoing strategy amended.
What information will you need from me?
Our process is interactive and depends a great deal on you providing us with information and documentation concerning your personal financial situation. Since our recommendations are based on the reliability of the data you provide us, the value received from the plan increases dramatically when we gain a deeper understanding of your current situation and future goals and objectives. We can work to make this process as easy as possible for you by obtaining original documents which we will copy and deliver the originals back to you. All data and documentation provided to us will be treated as confidential at all times, except when you directly express that information may be shared with your professional advisors or other individuals. Below is a sample of information that may be needed to complete your plan:
- Cash flow information related to living expenses, business expenses, and other discretionary expenses
- Most recent statements for bank/investment accounts, mortgages, liabilities, etc.
- Original contracts or recent statement for insurance policies (life, disability, long term care)
- Most recent listing of personal assets and their respective fair market values
- Most recent personal financial report and/or net worth statement
- Copies of deeds and details related to your real estate holdings
- Recently filed federal, state, and local income tax returns
- Estate planning and other legal documents
- Copies of other financial information and correspondence that you believe would be helpful to us in preparing your plan
How much does a new financial plan cost?
Depending on the complexity of your financial situation, Sequoia offers formal planning services at a fixed fee ranging from $1,500 to $10,000+. Sequoia’s client relationships are typically planning-based and the cost of ongoing plan monitoring is dependent on the overall relationship. Throughout our relationship we will continue to assess the need for a formal update to the plan, which if needed, generally costs 50% to 75% of the price of the original plan level purchased at the time the update is completed.
I bought a life insurance policy years ago and have not looked at it much. I’m not really sure what to be looking at. How can I check to see how my policy is doing?
The best way to check on the health of your existing permanent life insurance policy is to order an updated performance projection called “in-force illustration.” This illustration will take into account actual policy performance history and show you how your policy is projected to perform moving forward.
I have had some serious health issues, such as cancer and/or a heart attack. Can I even get life insurance?
Potentially, yes. Not all Insurance companies view certain underwriting risks the same way. It is not uncommon for someone to be declined by one company and receive preferred rates at another. We can help you figure out the best way to receive life insurance if possible.
Am I better off buying term life insurance or permanent for my family’s income replacement needs if something were to happen to me during my working years?
For life insurance needs that are temporary in nature, we generally recommend term life coverage. However, there are arguments to be made for paying the higher cost for permanent coverage that comes with an investment component. Sequoia’s general opinion is that your life insurance coverage and investments assets should be separate.
How does Sequoia charge for family wealth services?
- Investment advisory services, including comprehensive trustee support services, may be offered for a “variable basis point fee” or fixed retainer. Our advisory fees are most often applied using a tiered schedule, which begins at 1.1% and reduces to 0.15% based on portfolio size.
- Family office or planning engagements may be offered for a fixed retainer fee, which is often structured in two to three phases, identifying specific timelines and deliverables for each phase.
Can Sequoia provide aggregate reporting on all of my investments regardless of where they are custodied?
Yes. Sequoia has developed a strategic relationship with a web-based aggregation site, which allows our clients to aggregate and view consolidated reporting on assets whether they are managed by Sequoia or an outside advisor. Through this service, you can also track liabilities and values of non-traded investment assets, such as real estate, private company stock or alternative investments. However, if we are engaged to provide trust reporting, assets must be held at Charles Schwab.
How does Sequoia integrate with my current advisory team?
If you have existing relationships with other professionals or internal employees, we will work with your team to provide centralized coordination and oversight of your total estate and wealth. We respect the role that these individuals play within your current planning, and will work with them to leverage their talents and perspective, and to structure your engagement with Sequoia accordingly. We can also facilitate introductions to other professionals, if needed, to round out your advisory team.
Does Sequoia offer proprietary products?
No. Sequoia is an independent firm and does not offer proprietary products. This allows us to recommend solutions that best fit your needs. We work alongside you and your family to advance your objectives without bias.
Can Sequoia support more than just 401(k) plans?
Yes, Sequoia also works with 403(b), Cash Balance, Defined Benefit and Non-qualified plans.
What services are available for the participant?
Sequoia assists with participant education, offering group and individual participant education for plans that we serve. Sequoia can also manage other service providers to deliver a consistent message.
Can Sequoia increase the Level of Fiduciary Support?
Absolutely, Sequoia can also act as an ERISA §3(38) Investment Manager.
Will Sequoia join our plan committee as fiduciaries?
Yes, Sequoia will sit on the committee with you as an ERISA §3(21)(a)(ii) Co-Fiduciary.
What experience does Sequoia have as being Retirement Plan Advisors?
Sequoia is the advisor on over 100 plans and over $300 million dollars of Assets Under Advisement. Our team has worked in the retirement plan industry for over 50 years collectively, and we sit on advisory boards of national trust companies and third party administrators.
Which plan providers does Sequoia work with?
As an independent advisor, Sequoia works for the plan sponsor. As such, for all practical purposes, we can work with any retirement plan service provider.
What are the fees involved with the service?
Plan fees vary based on the asset size, plan design, platform provider, and desired services – among other factors. However, Sequoia offers complete fee transparency and fully discloses all fees as part of our process. Sequoia helps plan sponsors understand the different vendors and associated fees within a plan.
How does Sequoia determine what securities to purchase?
Our asset allocation strategy is a product of the Sequoia Strategic Investment Outlook, and security selection for each asset class and sector is based on rigorous research, performance, risk characteristics, and expense considerations. Using diversified asset classes and sectors, Sequoia gets exposure to a very broad investment universe for client security selection which includes mutual funds, exchange traded funds, common stocks, bonds, hedge funds, and private equity funds.
Why is portfolio diversification important?
Different asset classes and asset sectors perform differently in any one particular market environment with some performing better than others. As the prevailing market environment changes – often times unexpectedly – the leading asset classes and sectors may no longer perform well and past laggards can begin to outperform. Sequoia hopes to achieve optimal risk-adjusted returns through adequate portfolio diversification across different asset classes and sectors.
How does Sequoia develop its investment strategy?
We believe portfolio diversification can improve portfolio returns and, just as important, help limit inevitable declines in portfolio value. For each portfolio we manage, we utilize an asset allocation strategy that corresponds to a client’s long-term return objective and risk tolerances.