• Helping Divorced & Widowed Women Find Financial Peace

 

GET FINANCIAL ADVICE YOU CAN TRUST

 

The right financial planner can significantly help you when processing a divorce or a death, and help after the dust settles. Is it worth it to work with an adviser, and how do you evaluate your options?

 
 
 
 

Sign up to receive periodic newsletters and emails from me with content specifically for divorced and widowed women!

 

WHAT A GOOD ADVISER GIVES YOU

 

Expect more from a financial adviser than investment advice. What else can a quality financial adviser provide a divorced or widowed woman?

 

Post-Divorce Help

Handling the dividing and re-titling of accounts. Reviewing insurance protections and legal documents for needed changes. Taking advantage of tax opportunities.

Estate Resolution

Working with attorneys to ensure steps are properly followed. Handling insurance proceeds and settlements. Updating beneficiaries. Establishing a new financial “normal”.

Education

Explaining your financial options in plain English, without condescension. Answering your questions until you feel confident about where your money goes. Teaching, not telling.

Organization

Developing a clearer picture of your financial situation (rarely does a new client have their finances in order). Setting up organizational systems for keeping on top of your financial life.

Accountability

Holding you accountable to the promises you make to yourself. Ensuring you not only know what to do but you also get it done. Preventing the neglect of financial actions for less urgent issues.

Proactivity

Bringing new ideas and approaches to reaching your financial goals instead of waiting for your call. Keeping current on academic research and improving your plan with evidence-based solutions.

Progress Tracking

Using technology to help track your progress toward your goals. Experimenting with various “what if” scenarios and modeling the impact of changes to your plan. Making adjustments if your plan begins to steer off-course.

Partnership

Developing a long-term relationship with an expert, not a call center. Ensuring you do not feel alone in making decisions and that you feel comfortable in your understanding of your choices.

Objectivity

Shielding you from making emotional decisions based on fear or greed. Accepting the best action may be taking no action at all. Coaching you on letting these temporary but destructive feelings pass.

MORE TANGIBLE BENEFITS SHOULD INCLUDE:

Use academically-supported investment techniques instead of hopelessly trying to “beat the market”
Include high-quality, low cost investment and insurance products and eliminate ones that carry excessive expenses
Take the minimum amount of risk needed to keep your goals on track, instead of seeking out your “maximum risk tolerance”

Match up your amount of guaranteed vs. non-guaranteed income to your situation and your interest in taking risks
Take advantage of tax-saving opportunities when making withdrawals
Ensure your spending levels match up with your future goals

Analyze the use of your home equity to generate additional retirement income without jeopardizing other goals
Monitor your existing mortgage(s) for opportunities to refinance or pay down/off
Review lines of credit and other liens for suitability and alternatives

Provide objective evaluation of product pitches, high-pressure dinner seminars, and others who might prey on vulnerable women
Keep trusted family members, CPAs, and attorneys updated as much as you wish
Help put legal protections in place to keep your financial details as private as possible

Maximize the benefits you receive from the complex Social Security rules, including those for ex-spouses and survivors
Time the collection of Social Security to reduce potential conflicts with your current income
Assist you with the applications for Social Security benefits, Medicare, and Medicare Supplement (“Medigap”) policies

Coordinate with trusted tax professionals on your behalf to reduce demands on your time during tax preparation
Take advantage of opportunities in the tax code to reduce your future taxes (i.e. Roth conversions, income acceleration, etc.)
Manage your investments with tax reduction strategies like tax-loss harvesting

Evaluate your insurance needs for protection from unexpected medical expenses, long-term care, accidents, or other unforeseen events
Monitor your existing policies to ensure they remain cost-efficient and needed
Coordinate insurance benefits from employers with personally-owned policies to prevent overlap or gaps

 Explain and coordinate pension, 401(k), 403(b), and other employer-provided benefits with your overall financial plan
Identify weaknesses or gaps in employer-provided insurance coverage and assist with getting supplemental benefits as needed
Review benefit changes and assist with annual open enrollment period decisions

 

CHOOSING YOUR ADVISER

 

Not all financial advisers are created equal, but cookie-cutter marketing from many firms gives that impression. How do you sort through the messages to find guidance in your best interests?

 

Not all advisers can offer the best options for you. Some have company products to sell, and some only have access to a limited number of options. How can you spot them?

Advisers in Captivity

 
Many advisers affiliate with one large company (called “career” or “captive” advisers). These companies have brand recognition, ad budgets, and impressive offices. If you have seen a TV commercial for a company, odds are they fit in this category.
 

To pay for those expenses, these companies provide their advisers incentives to sell you their products. Some require minimum sales “production” and some provide perks to advisers for reaching sales goals. Some limit access to certain products or make it more difficult to use a product outside of their firm.

 

One reason I started III Financial was to free myself from these constraints.

 

This simplifies the adviser/client relationship because there are no competing interests involved.

Declaration of Independence

 
Independent advisers take the harder path by cutting out third-party incentives. This levels the playing field so that no recommendation creates a financial incentive for the adviser.
 

As a completely independent financial planner, I am free to help select the best options for you, regardless of the company offering the right solution.

 

No Experience Necessary

 
The bar is low to call oneself a “financial adviser”. Some stockbrokers executing trades all day use the title. Insurance agents may use the title because the title “insurance salesman” sends many people running. And some comprehensive financial planners use the term as well.
 

For each job, the amount and type of training required varies greatly. What the title “financial adviser” fails to indicate is the level of experience and knowledge the adviser possesses.

 
 
 
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The Certified Financial Planner™

 
Though many professionals call themselves “financial advisers”, those holding the CFP® designation have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. Only those of us who have studied long hours, completed the 6 courses, and passed the (at the time, grueling two day 10-hour) test are authorized to display the CFP® marks. It is estimated that only 10%-20% of financial advisers hold this designation.
 

Pay attention! Some CFP® professionals work as captive employees of large firms. Conflicts between their employer and their CFP® designation can hinder the adviser’s ability to work in your best interest.

 

“What am I paying and for what?” sounds like a simple question, yet many people find their adviser dancing around the issue. The most common methods of compensation add many conflicts. Also, costs can be like termites: you may not see them but they can still do severe damage.

Hidden Commissions

 
Commissioned-based advisers may provide advice for what appears to be little or no cost. Only if you buy products from them will they get paid. How could this work to your disadvantage?
 
 They create conflicts. Different products and companies pay differing levels of sales commissions. Minimum quotas and sales contests on certain products or “production” can create conflicting incentives. Even trustworthy advisers can fall prey to the external influences!
 
They charge disproportionate fees. Mutual fund sales commissions often cost 3%-5% of the investment when you buy them. The ongoing expenses are often 0.50%-1% every year (moving $500k this way could cost you up to $25,000!). Brokerages and mutual fund companies rewards the salesperson up front for “making the sale”. There is little financial incentive for on-going support.
 
They introduce legal complications. Did you know that a “broker” and an “investment adviser” are two different roles under the law? A broker has a legal duty to the broker-dealer they work for, not the client. By law an investment adviser must put the client’s interests ahead of his own. To learn more, simply Google “financial fiduciary standard”.
 
 

Commissioned products introduce conflicts, disproportionate costs, and legal complications into the picture.

 

AUM fees may seem small when stated as 1%/year. Yet, that 1%/year fee on $1,500,000 of retirement savings adds up to $15,000/year! With the costs of owning mutual funds, the total cost often DOUBLES to $30,000/year or more.

Asset Fee Conflicts

 
Advisory fees, often referred to as an “Asset Under Management” fee, usually get disclosed as a small percentage. The argument for it is that if the value of your account goes up, then the adviser benefits. If the value drops, then the adviser shares the pain. Why would this model cause problems?
 
They impact decisions. Several important decisions at retirement affect the size of your nest egg. Should you pay off your home? Should you exchange assets for more guaranteed income? Should you take the lump sum from your pension? The choices you make could change your account balance and reduce the adviser’s compensation!
 
They ignore complexity. Let’s compare two clients. Client A has a straightforward financial situation. Client B deals with inheritances, complicated family dynamics, and estate planning issues. Why charge them the same amount for advice just because they have the same account balance?
 
They penalize wealthier clients. Why should a client with $5 million pay so much more than a client with $1 million? More money does create some extra complexities. The complexities are not enough to justify such a price difference. Does your doctor charge you based on the value of your home?
 

The Solution: Fixed Fees

 
Level, fixed fees can be set based on the complexity of your situation, not the dollars in your account. Advice can cover areas of your financial life where the sale of products is not needed (like Social Security or tax planning).
 
 The adviser works for you. Without compensation from any entity other than you, an adviser with a fixed fee has no incentive to suggest any solution other than what they see as the best for you.
 
You know exactly what you pay. A flat fee for continuing comprehensive financial planning AND investment advisory needs gives you a known and non-variable cost to your advice. No hidden fees, no surprises, no hourly charges.
 
You can save money. For many clients, a flat fee combined with the use of very low expense investments cuts their annual costs by 50% or more compared to an AUM model! You can simply redirect some of the costs you don’t currently see toward an advocate for you, and keep the rest in your pocket.
 
 

Fixed fees do not change based on the decisions you make or where your money is kept. Instead, it is often based on the complexity of your situation.

How Much Difference Can This Make?

 

Many Many Certified Financial Planner professionals charge 1%+ of your asset value. They also often use costly mutual funds.

Over 20 years, the difference between this fee and a fixed fee can be significant! In this case a $2,000,000 portfolio would forgo $2 million more in profits.

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Assuming 8% annual gross return, 1% AUM advisory fee deducted quarterly, and 0.75% mutual fund expense ratios. III Financial using $2500/quarter fee, increasing $250/quarter every 2 years, and 0.1% fund expense ratios.

Who is Flying Your Plane?

 
If you are flying to Hawaii, would you prefer a pilot or a travel agent in the cockpit? A travel agent can sell you a ticket to Hawaii and wish you a great trip, but that this the end of their job. A pilot knows how to make adjustments when (not if) there is turbulence so that your plane arrives in Hawaii.

 

My industry has many “travel agents” disguised as pilots. They sell you their tickets/products but nobody guides your plane to your destination. Many people (maybe even you) have worked with advisers like this without ever knowing the difference. I firmly believe a true “financial pilot” adds tremendous value by guiding you from take-off (growing assets) to landing (spending assets) while making sure proper protections (insurance) are in place.

 
 

Ready to talk? Click the button below, or call me directly at 512-562-1905!

 

ABOUT ME

 
 
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From Tragedy to a Purpose

 
Hi, my name is Elliott Weir. I know that getting to know someone’s background is important to developing a trusting relationship, so here’s how I went from a “computer geek” into the financial planner you see to the left.
 

MANY years ago my lifelong fascination with computers led me to complete a Computer Science degree from Southern Methodist University. I realized during school that I would not be satisfied writing computer programs, so once I graduated I secured a great job with Ernst & Young LLP as a technology consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

Then on August 20th, 1997 my life changed forever. After a brief battle with cancer, my father passed away. I suddenly found myself helping my mother with insurance, investments, attorneys, CPAs, and more, because my father was the one in charge of these things for the family.

Why I Share This With You

 
This formative event explains a lot about who I am, about III Financial, and about what you can expect from me. I choose to work with divorced and widowed women because I want to have a meaningful and direct impact on their lives, as I did for my mother.
 

As clear as this is to me now, it took me years to piece it all together into my true calling. In that time, I continued with Ernst & Young, left to earn my Master in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, and spent a short while at IBM Tivoli. Then the light bulb went off and I became a financial adviser in 2004.

 
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Weir Family 2016

 

What else makes me different from most financial advisers?

 

A Different Approach

I cannot change how the financial industry behaves. I CAN offer you a different kind of relationship – clear, for your benefit, and focused on getting you results.

Prompt Responses

Every call, text, and email receives a prompt response directly from me (no call centers or gatekeepers!). Almost all responses come within 1 business day.

Making It Easy

No stuffy waiting rooms, long drives to an office, or difficulty parking. We meet at a place of your choosing. The easier it is to work together, the more we will get done.

Genuine Concern

My interests extend beyond picking investments and monitoring your net worth. I care about my clients and always strive to deliver service I would want family or friends to receive.

Respect

My role does not include judging your past decisions, but using that as the building materials for the future. Your questions are valid and will be answered without condescension.

Positivity

Motivating people with fear tactics may work in the short-term but it cannot last. A good relationship shows you opportunities and possibilities, and new perspectives and ways of looking at things.

 

What types of people or situations are NOT a good fit?

 

You seek out unnecessary financial risks (short Vegas trips may be OK)

You only want validation of your decisions, instead of educated guidance

You regularly spend more than you bring in

Your self-esteem is tied to your account balances

You only need help with basic budgeting and expense management

You are in need of debt management / credit counseling

 

FAQ

III Financial (pronounced “Three Financial”) comes from a couple of different places. The obvious one is a personal one – I’m named after my dad Elliott Weir, Jr., which makes me a “third”.
 

The other reason is because of a writing concept called the “Rule of Three“. It suggests that things presented in threes are more satisfying or effective than when presented in other numbers. The Latin phrase, “omne trium perfectum” (everything that comes in threes is perfect) conveys the same idea. When reading through this website, see how many times concepts or ideas are presented in groups of three – it just makes things clearer!

By working with a limited number of clients, a physical office is an unnecessary waste for my firm. Why should I create high overhead costs only to give you the “luxury” of wasting time in traffic to meet? Instead, we can meet where it is convenient to you, and even via teleconferencing if you want!
III Financial, LLC is a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the state of Texas Securities Board. I can take on new clients residing anywhere in the United States.
In order to fully address the client’s financial needs, I often identify areas that should be addressed by other professionals such as a CPA or attorney. I am more than happy to provide referrals to clients when assistance is needed.
 

I do not require my clients to work with specific professionals, especially if there is an existing relationship. In those instances, I will contact the other professionals (with your permission) to establish a dialogue with them.

 

I do not accept nor pay any referral fees to the professionals I recommend – it is based solely on my confidence in them to provide quality service to you.

There are a lot of different ideas on the “right way” to invest money for the future. Over the years I’ve studied active investing vs. passive investing, investing in the USA versus abroad, investment techniques of the Ivy League endowments, and countless other strategies and theories. Though managing investments can be complicated, there are a few key tenets that I incorporate into the portfolios I manage:

  • Stock market forecasts, “hot stock tips”, and other predictions serve no purpose to a prudent investor.
  • Portfolios should be designed using proven evidence on how markets behave, allowing the markets to work for you.
  • Investment expenses should be minimized to keep more money in the investor’s pocket (but “cheapest” is not always best!)
  • Helping investors stay disciplined in the face of fear and greed adds significant value.

III Financial does not take custody of your funds.  They are held at custodians who are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). All of your assets are held in your name or in entities you created (i.e. trusts). Neither the custodian nor III Financial can distribute money from your accounts without your permission and knowledge. Please note that your investments can and will fluctuate in value based on the investments made.
The media has put the spotlight on the value of having your adviser be a “fiduciary” – the legal and ethical obligation to put your interests first. For some companies, the new Department of Labor rules have required significant changes to their business practices, compensation, and relationships with their clients.

Adhering to this higher fiduciary standard is nothing new for me – I have always had this high standard in place for all of my clients.

This means that my sole focus is on your financial needs and goals, and how I can best help you reach them.

 

III FINANCIAL SERVICE PLANS

 

NOTE: Service level pricing varies based on complexity and assets involved.

Silver
$199-$399/mo**(equivalent to 0.19%-0.39% for $1M)

Objective Advice / No Product Sales

Asset Management

Evidence-Based Asset Allocations

Account Rebalancing

Tax Harvesting

24×7 On-Line Account Portal

Maximum of 3 accounts

Insurance Need Evaluation*

Financial Plan

Estate Planning*

Beneficiary Maintenance

1 Review Meeting / Year

Gold
$299-$599/mo**(equivalent to 0.29%-0.59% for $1M)

Objective Advice / No Product Sales

Asset Management

Evidence-Based Asset Allocations

Account Rebalancing

Tax Harvesting

24×7 On-Line Account Portal

Maximum of 5 accounts

Inherited IRAs

Stock Option Analysis

Insurance Need Evaluation*

Life Insurance

Disability Income Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance

Health Insurance / Medicare

Financial Plan

Goal Planning / Tracking

Retirement Income Creation

Social Security Maximization

Estate Planning*

Beneficiary Maintenance

2 Review Meetings / Year

Platinum
$499-$999/mo**(equivalent to 0.49%-0.99% for $1M)

Objective Advice / No Product Sales

Asset Management

Evidence-Based Asset Allocations

Account Rebalancing

Tax Harvesting

24×7 On-Line Account Portal

Unlimited # of accounts

Inherited IRAs

Stock Option Analysis

Roth IRA Conversions

Insurance Need Evaluation*

Life Insurance

Disability Income Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance

Health Insurance / Medicare

Financial Plan

Goal Planning / Tracking

Retirement Income Creation

Social Security Maximization

Estate Planning*

Beneficiary Maintenance

Trust Account Administration

Asset Protection Strategies

Gifting Strategies

3+ Review Meetings / Year

* I do not sell insurance nor practice law; we will work with other trusted professionals as needed.
** Billed from a designated investment account. Together we review the client fee every 2 years to determine if any changes in the fee are appropriate.

 
 

Ready to talk? Click the button below, or call me directly at 512-562-1905!