Frequently Asked Questions

Wealth Management FAQs

1. How are you different from other wealth management firms?

At SDM Advisors, our goal is to be your one-stop shop as you work towards your goal of achieving lifetime financial security.  In many cases, an individual or family might work with an investment advisor, accountant, and insurance agent all at different firms.  We believe in a more holistic approach and through our partnership with accounting firm SD Mayer & Associates, our goal is to become your trusted advisor that you rely on when you need help in areas ranging from financial planning and investments to tax planning and preparation.    

2. What are the next steps if I decide that I want SDM Adviosors to work on my financial plan?

The first step to working on a financial plan is to have a brief call or meeting to learn more about you – your goals, values, interests, and relationships are all very important to us as we get to know who you are.  Once we gather this information, we work on a financial plan tailored to your needs and goals.  Financial planning is not one size fits all – each individual and family are unique and we recognize that as we come up with a plan that is suited for you.  Together, we will then walk through your plan and tweak it throughout several meetings as needed until we come up with the best result possible.  We enjoy working with clients on an ongoing basis and further developing the plan as life evolves!    

3. What is your investment philosophy?

As a firm, we support a passive investment philosophy.  We strongly believe (and research has shown!) that most active fund managers have not been able to outperform the market over long periods of time.  That is why we work with our clients to invest in a diversified portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and don’t try to time the market.  We would rather spend a time working on updating your financial plan, in addition to tax, insurance, and estate planning, to make smart decisions that will help you achieve lifetime financial security.

4. How are your fees assessed and what will they cover?

For financial plans, we work with our clients to agree on an equitable, flat fee amount based on the complexity of your plan.  If you decide to invest with SDM Advisors, our fees are typically around 1% of assets under management, with incremental decreases in fees as your AUM amount increases.  In addition to providing asset allocation and investment advice, our fee also includes ongoing financial planning and tax planning, as needed.

Retirement Plan FAQs

1. If I want SDM Advisors to help with my retirement plan, will you act as a fiduciary?

Yes, we do act as a 3(21) co-fiduciary for retirement plans that we are the advisor on.  We work with our clients an ongoing basis to make sure that plan sponsors satisfy ERISA fiduciary compliance requirements.

2. Does SDM Advisors only work with one recordkeeping/investment firm?  What if I would like more options?

As an independent advisor, we have access to a wide variety of recordkeepers and investment options.  SDM Advisors is not compensated for recommending specific recordkeepers or funds.  Therefore, we maintain an objective apporach and seek to assess plan sponsors’ needs and goals to provide recommendations on recordkeepers that will work well with your company’s retirement plan.

3. How are SDM Advisors’ fees assesed for retirement plans?

Our fees for retirement plan services are transparant and will either be assessed through a flat fee or as a fixed percentage of plan assets.  We determine our fees together through careful consideration for each client’s needs.

4. Do you only work with large retirement plans?

At SDM Advisors, we work with plans of all sizes.  Whether it’s a tech company start-up plan or an established 401(k) plan with hundreds of participants, SDM Advisors has the capabilities and expertise to provide top-notch service to satisfy our clients.

5. What services will my SDM retirement plan advisor provide?

At SDM Advisors, we pride ourselves on assisting both retirement plan sponsors and employee participants.  For plan sponsors, we provide support in many ways, including: providing recommendations on plan design tailored to your organization’s needs, working on periodic fiduciary investment reviews to assess the performance of current and potential plan investments, and conducting a benchmarking analysis of plan costs and services.  We also provide regular employee education meetings, and make ourselves available to help your employees optimize their use of your company plan.