Frequently Asked Questions

Who, What, When, Where, WISE

Our Approach

Personal financial planning at Wise Planning is a highly customized, strategic process. After working with you to define your financial priorities, today and going forward, we prepare a written plan that includes specific strategies for achieving your objectives. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions, aligned with your priorities for your life. 

It’s common for people to think that financial planning is only about investments, but that’s just one piece of each person’s overall financial life. While it is critical to get investments right, we believe it’s equally important to address all of the other aspects. We work with you on
– Investments
– Taxation
– Employee benefits
– Insurance
– Retirement planning
– Estate planning
– Cash flow management and budgeting
– Education funding

Our team is by your side to implement action steps we discuss and decide upon together. We manage the details, coordinating closely with other service providers including attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, and custodians of your investments to ensure your plan is executed faithfully and successfully.

Our role as your financial advisor is ongoing. Quarterly reviews (or more frequent evaluations, as conditions warrant) allow us to adapt to changes in the external environment or in your personal situation.
Wise Planning has been using the same broad-market indexing strategy since 1997. Indexing wasn’t popular back then, because it was widely assumed that a smart portfolio manager could beat the market consistently. Some advisors may have also felt they needed to actively pick stocks to justify their fees. Time has proven that wrong; over the long haul, the market generally beats active management.

From the beginning, our approach has been to focus on what we can control and what will have the greatest impact on our clients’ lives. Complex investment strategies do not fall into that category. We do not analyze individual stocks, we do not have opinions on value versus growth stocks or one sector versus another. We do not try to time the market, we do not make economic predictions, nor forecast currency movements. We do not think people should pay us to do things that we do not believe are doable.

A 2010 study by Morningstar concluded that the only predictive factor in mutual fund performance was the expense ratio. Their 2016 follow-up supported these results. Meanwhile, Vanguard founder and indexing champion John Bogle had been beating that drum for decades– “In investing, you get what you don’t pay for; cost matters,” he liked to say–and this always made sense to us.

Although gains are always more pleasant than losses, we do not care much about what a portfolio returns daily, monthly, or even annually. We do not measure performance by investment returns, because no one can control them. What we do care about is whether or not your investment strategy and other financial choices are supporting the priorities in your life.
Some people manage their finances on their own, and some people are successful at it. Given the inclination to do so, you could likely master the technical aspects of investing and other financial topics. However, actually managing your own finances is more than just having the knowledge. Sound financial management requires strategic planning, judgment, follow-through, and discipline.

Having a professional in your corner can help you stay out of your own way. With support, you’ll be better able to avoid procrastination, have confidence that you’re making reasonable decisions, be disciplined in taking action when (and only when) appropriate, and avoid overreacting to the events of the world around you (like when news media are screaming, as they regularly do, about the next financial apocalypse just around the corner!

There are probably many areas of your life in which you’ve hired a professional (construction, health or career coaching, physical training, tax preparation), despite the possibility you could do the work yourself. In this sense, financial planning is similar.
Even when working with a planner, it’s great to continue educating yourself. We have a page that links to some of our favorite resources in the realm of financial planning and personal finance.

Morgan Housel’s 2020 book, The Psychology of Money, is one we recommend to just about anyone. And anything by John Bogle is bound to give you useful insights. Fans of Bogle have gone on to create the Bogleheads web forum, which applies his philosophy of index investing to DIY investment management.


Keeping your costs low and avoiding conflicts of interest is important to us. As fee-only advisors, we are paid directly by our clients. We receive no commissions or remuneration of any kind from any other sources. This means you have our undivided loyalty; we recommend only cost-efficient financial products and services that best serve our clients’ interests.
Our fee schedule is posted here.

During our initial meeting, this will be one of the key questions we seek to answer. We want to offer a service that’s in your best interest- and that includes how much it’s going to cost you. If we feel our costs would harm you financially, we’ll tell you!
Nope! We’ll hold one or more initial meetings to make sure Wise Planning is a good fit for you, and you for us. We’ll answer any questions you may have about the process and how we’d work together. Only after signing a contract to move forward will we ask for an initial payment.

Working with Wise Planning

No, we don’t have any required minimum, and are happy to work with anyone to whom we think we can be of service. However, we also don’t want our fee to place an unreasonable burden on you. See also “Is your fee reasonable for me?” above.
Yes. As fiduciaries, we’re required by law to act in your best interests, disclose any conflicts of interest, and put your interests ahead of our own. For more information on the role and responsibilities of fiduciary financial advisors, see this 2023 article in Forbes.
Yep! Our team is located all over the country. We work with clients from anywhere in the US through regular meetings over Zoom or phone.
Take a look at our team profiles here to learn more about everyone’s backgrounds. Our team has a combined 100+ years of experience in financial services, as well as a diverse set of experience in other industries and fields of study. Many of our planners have also pursued the CFP® designation; see “What is the CFP® designation?” below.
Of course. We want to make sure we’re offering you the best service; if our relationship is no longer serving you, you have the freedom to walk away. Our contracts include a minimum fee for the initial planning work. After that, you can cancel at any time.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP®, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Financial planners on our team pursue this designation because we believe the education, testing, and other certification requirements make us better. 

For more information about the CFP® certification, visit the CFP Board’s website.


Information security is critically important in an era when identity theft and similar crimes have become ubiquitous. We look for every possible opportunity to increase the safety of your information and reduce risk.

We avoid sending sensitive information in emails, and instead use more secure online portals where files can be safely uploaded and downloaded.

We use dual-factor authentication when available and select app-based over SMS-based authentication when available. Our hardware is protected with strong passwords which are stored securely using a trusted password manager.
Here are links to the security policies of many of the software companies we use regularly:

DocuSign (digital signature)
Wealthbox (client relationship management)
1Password (password security)
Google (email, calendar, etc.)
Schwab (client investment management)
Holistiplan (tax-return analysis)
Wise Planning does not hold custody of any of your investment assets, instead relying on Charles Schwab and other custodians to keep your hard-earned dollars safe. When appropriate, we establish permissions through custodian forms, which allow us to place trades in your accounts and move money only to pre-authorized locations (such as your bank). Information about Schwab’s policies that keep your accounts safe is available here.