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Financial Advisors

What should I look for in my financial advisor?

We recommend that you find a fiduciary that always has your best interests in mind. Search out “fee-only” fiduciary advisors that, by definition, cannot legally accept commissions and by law, always put your interests first. Also, keep in mind that there are no legal restrictions to using the title ‘financial advisor.’ Qualifications vary widely. Avoid “fee-based” advisors, who can legally sell you products (including insurance) that pay them commissions and are not always in your best interest. Commissions, while very common in the financial industry, alter the mindset of the professional and give them ulterior motives (a bigger paycheck). Beware of anyone receiving commissions on products they recommend to you (this includes mutual funds and insurance policies) and instead seek out an independent, unbiased opinion from a fiduciary.

Am I a good fit for Martello Investments?

Our goal is to help our clients successfully navigate life’s challenges and help fulfill our clients’ dreams. If you want a partner to help you get there, we will most likely be a good fit. We work with clients of all backgrounds, regardless of their level of financial education.

Should I just manage my own money? Why do I need an advisor?

The advantage of having a financial advisor manage your portfolio is discipline. It is our job to stick to rules that we have seen work time and time again. You may be just fine managing your own money. But many get started with the idea of following a regimented process and after a few setbacks, will realize that emotions are driving their decision-making. Emotions do not have any business in an investment portfolio, and hiring an advisor to do this work for you helps you avoid those traps.

How do I leave my current financial advisor?

We hear this question almost every time a client switches. If you have established a personal relationship with your advisor and want to leave things on a good note, our advice is to be nice, straightforward, and firm. They will be professional about the situation and will not hold it against you. We are also happy to help manage the transition process for you.
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Our Fees

Do you charge me for an initial consultation to see if we are right for each other?

No, we do not. We want to meet you, explore your situation, and find out if we can help before we do anything else. We also offer free fee reviews as part of this process so you are completely aware of what you are paying to your current financial advisor or employer plan and the investments in your portfolio versus what our all-in fee would be.

Do you bill hourly for questions about potential investments, large purchases, or anything else?

The answer to this is a resounding “no.” We enjoy talking you through life events and assisting in interesting opportunities that come your way. We are not a “set it and forget it” shop, and we believe there is room for interesting ideas everywhere. We want to help.

How long am I committed to you?

Our standard contract has no minimum time. We have long-term client relationships, but they are entirely voluntary. You aren’t locked into anything. If you want to switch for any reason, just give us 30 days’ notice.
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Working with You

Are you a fiduciary?

We are fiduciaries. Our fee-only business model ensures that we always put your interests first and you never have to wonder if we are getting compensated in other ways from our recommendations.

Can you draft my will or prepare my taxes?

The short answer is no, we cannot. We are not attorneys or CPAs and cannot legally provide those services. However, we are happy to work with professionals you already use and we have many trusted professionals we can refer you to for these services if you do not already use someone.

I want my family to meet you too. Is this possible?

It’s not only possible -we prefer it. We believe families should be on the same page about financial priorities and goals. We strongly recommend that your spouse or partner is always part of the conversation. Only by gaining an understanding of everyone’s wants and needs will we be able to successfully plan for your future and accomplish your goals.

Who is my point of contact?

We do not operate like many other firms where you have a relationship manager who is the gatekeeper to their firm’s more experienced professionals. You work directly with us, and we operate as a team. You can call or email anyone on your team directly -or schedule a conference call with all of us. It’s entirely up to you. We emphasize a healthy work/life balance at Martello and we cannot imagine good client service when you only have one person to whom you can reach out.
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What is your investment philosophy?

Our view is that it is impossible to “time the market” and end up beating it. On the other hand, due to the fact that we all need to one day retire and need a nest egg from which we can reliably draw income and principal to live, “buy and hold” is inappropriate for those in or approaching retirement. We’ve developed investment strategies where we combine passive and active investing. Regardless of approach, we believe that risk minimization through diversification is a key part of every investment process.

How much will my portfolio grow this year?

We cannot offer any guaranteed return figure. In fact, it is illegal to do so. We can tell you that on average, the market goes up. But it also experiences down periods as well, as you surely know. Our goal is to take advantage of market gains when they happen and help avoid losses in down markets. Regardless of market conditions, we’re always looking for opportunities to help save you money through cheaper investments, efficient tax strategies, and other planning scenarios that present themselves.

My broker did great when the market went up, but lost a great deal of money in the bear market. What do you do differently?

Our approach is based on mitigating and eliminating as many risks as possible. This includes your portfolio holdings as well as your wealth plan. We introduce a mix of active and passive strategies that aim to limit your losses during bad market environments while keeping investing fees low. In conjunction with this, we focus on planning strategies so you can increase after-tax return without increasing your risk.

Will you help advise on my retirement accounts [401(k), 403(b), etc] that are with my employer?

Yes. Even if your accounts are not held with us, they are part of your financial picture and could also be used advantageously for tax planning. We will review the holdings and investment options in those accounts and advise accordingly.

What kind of changes do you make to my investment portfolio?

Before we manage your portfolio or do anything with your accounts, we work with you to develop a document called an Investment Policy Statement. This signed document describes the strategy for your investments, but in broad strokes. This helps you understand what to expect and helps us know what to deliver to you. Changes to this document can be made in future meetings, but we do not make changes without your knowledge or permission. When we have agreed on your IPS, we will make changes to your accounts that fit within its parameters, and we will do this as needed without involving you in the changes. This is part of the service you pay for. That said, you are certainly able to see, on a daily basis, any transactions we have made in your accounts. If you have any questions about what you see, just pick up the phone and ask us. We want you to be comfortable at all times with the activity in your account.
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