All About IFG

IFG is a  a retirement planning advisor providing wealth management services for private clients since 1991.  IFG clients work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® who is also a registered investment advisor and an ACCREDITED INVESTMENT FIDUCIARY®.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS® can save clients a more than a few headaches when it comes to personal retirement planning.  Some firms ask the question, “Do you know your number?”   But, with longevity risk becoming a far more real issue for many, the real question should be, “Do you know your income?”  This is something a qualified retirement planning advisor can help identify – and something you don’t want to get wrong.

Our friend in this video wasn’t a plumber, I guess.  He could, of course, hire a plumber to do it FOR him, but financial planning and the management of financial assets isn’t like plumbing.   The fact is, clients SHOULD be involved in the process.  A good advisor shouldn’t be planning or investing FOR the client, but WITH the client.

A good retirement planning advisor should act as an educator and coach.  And, coaching DOES make a difference!  See How to Get Value from an Advisor Relationship.

 

Studies have shown that most Americans are woefully unprepared for retirement.  Indeed, many wait until they’re about to retire before beginning to plan for the very first time!

The real value of an advisor may be due to the education and coaching process a client receives.  This is this has been shown to help advisory clients reach their full financial potential.

Those who do plan in advance do better!  How much?   According to an independent research study by Vanguard Funds, a company with a long-established reputation for low expenses and consumer advocacy, published a paper for the profession regarding the long-term value of using a retirement planning advisor for planning, implementation, and followup and found it does outweigh the so-called ‘costs’, and by more than most would suspect!  A study by both Envestnet and Vanguard came to the same conclusions.  The Envestnet study can be found here.  (In case some of the terminology may be unfamiliar, 100 basis points (bps) = 1.00%.)

Financial Planning and Investment Advisory Practice Profile

IFGi Philosophy_and_Profile 201606_001IFG is a Registered Investment Advisor provides independent retirement income planning and wealth management advice to serious clients seeking objective help from a qualified retirement planning advisor.  You can learn more by downloading IFG’s Practice Philosophy and Profile.

Resized CFP_Logo_GoldFounding principal Jim Lorenzen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, as well as an ACCREDITED INVESTMENT FIDUCIARY®  who began independent practice in 1991 and now serves clients across the U.S., as well as locally in Simi Valley, Moorpark, and Thousand Oaks.  You can learn more about Jim here.

IFG believes in straight talk.  If you would like to arrange a short introductory phone call with Founding Principal Jim Lorenzen, here’s how you can get started.

The IFG Client Profile

Since 1991, IFG has been serving private clients and their families, who are concerned about future taxes and inflation and want greater predictability for their financial futures by establishing strategies and ‘auto-pilot’ solutions requiring less effort.

People preparing for retirement: 

      • Private clients preparing for retirement.  Often they are executives and business owners for whom 401(k) contributions are not enough and are seeking greater tax-efficiency, or simply those nearing retirement and concerned about wealth preservation.
      • Conservative – Not interested in stock tips, trends, or the latest investment fad.
      • Focused – Knows the difference between education and financial entertainment; does not get advice from television gurus.
      • Long-Term Oriented – Does not let daily news (financial, economic, or any other) impact decision-making.
      • Willing to learn – Education plays a large part in the IFG service process.  Clients should understand the “why” behind their plan and its components; and, quite often, real education can be in conflict with the ‘sound bite entertainment’ put forward by the media, whose only concern is ratings.
      • Understand the value of professional guidance.  It’s not about ‘beating the markets’ or overcoming an annual expense ratio, as the consumer media would have people believe.  Most often, the value is achieved through tax reduction, risk mitigation, or simply avoiding mistakes.  Value provided in those areas often dwarf their attendant costs.
      • Appreciate “straight talk” – Straight talk can sometimes be in conflict with what people want to hear or expect, based on something they’ve heard or seen.  Helping clients achieve their long-term goals is something IFG takes seriously.  It’s simply about doing what’s right and makes sense.

What IFG Providesbusiness concept

There are two types of planning options:

  • Focused planning:  A specific issue like retirement income planning, for example.
  • Holistic planning:  A more comprehensive planning approach that would include tax-advantaged wealth management, estate, and other issues.

Not all planning assignments are alike; but the types of services that are typical in many planning projects include:

      • Situation analysis
      • Goal setting and prioritization
      • Assessment and analysis of risk profile
      • Budgeting and cash flow analysis
      • Analyzing the impact of concentrated positions on overall portfolio
      • Developing asset allocation strategy and investment policy
      • Developing tax-advantaged and efficient wealth management strategies including  optimized Social Security and retirement draw-down strategies with capital needs vs market-exposure stress-testing
      • Searching and selecting appropriate portfolio components and investment managers
      • “Safe money” options that provide a competitive return with no downside risk while maintaining liquidity and building security
      • Tax-advantaged strategies for wealth building and preservation while providing for future security
      • Independent third party reporting – unrelated to IFG or the managers and/or investments they cover.
      • Monitoring investment performance
      • Coordination of estate and tax planning
      • Consulting on current and post-career business interests, including transition strategies.

How to get value from your relationship with a qualified retirement planning advisor? – See our guide.

Minimizing Uncertainty

While certain components of the wealth management process can feature guaranteed solutions, it’s important to understand that, more often than not, the planning and management process is about probabilities arrived at through extensive back-testing and ‘stress-tests’ using sophisticated technology combined with common sense.

 

You can learn more about the IFG approach to asset management by downloading the IFG Investment Philosophy.  You’ll find it straightforward.

For those with larger portfolios and desiring to use institutional management, you can review IFG’s screening and selection process for institutional managers here.

Planning mistakes are quite common, even among some calling themselves planners without the prerequisite credentials.  You may be interested in IFG’s report, Why Most Retirement Planning Will Probably Fail, which you can learn more about here.

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Investment Management

All financial and retirement planning, as well as all investment advisory services, are provided on a fee-only basis.

IFG clients have access to virtually the entire investment universe of investment choices, including institutional-level asset management in separately managed accounts optimized for tax efficiency.  You can learn more about IFG’s screening and selection process here.

For some accounts, low-cost index mutual or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are recommended.  IFG utilizes only no-load, no-commission, and no surrender charge investment solutions.    IFG does not receive commissions or any other compensation of any description from third party investment service providers. In addition, clients have 24/7/365 access to their accounts, as well as up-to-date tax and performance reporting direct from the asset custodian.

Insurance Solutions

In those cases where insurance is a desired solution component, our screening begins with only “investment grade” carriers.  While virtually every company touts high ratings, it’s worth noting that almost all the rating agencies are paid by the carriers they rate.   Knowing what’s ‘under the hood’ in the company’s investment portfolio is important.  Some very highly-rated companies have gone under simply because the rating agencies didn’t know(?) what was happening.

It’s also important to understand how the companies treat existing policyholders vs. new sales.

Insurance-based solutions, normally not requiring continuous ongoing management oversight, so ongoing advisory fees would seem inappropriate.  Therefore, insurance services are provided on a commission basis under California license 0C00742.  IFG is independent of all carriers.  Solutions chosen, when required, are chosen based on both the carrier’s track-record, financial stability, and ‘best fit’ for meeting the client’s objectives.

Who is The Independent Financial Group?

6a017c332c5ecb970b017ee9006d09970d-120wiThe Independent Financial Group isn’t a group of people working for IFG; the name depicts what IFG provides for clients.   Too often, investors are steered to “bundled” solutions packed with hidden fees and back-door compensation arrangements.   As you’ll see below, IFG unbundles these services, and their providers, to create a custom-tailored, transparent solution.   This puts the client in control, not the providers.

The Independent Financial Group name refers to YOUR group of independent financial resources – not IFGs – chosen and custom-tailored to meet YOUR specific needs and to meet YOUR specific goals… all with the help of a qualified, experienced advisor.

      • Independent advice from a qualified advisor
        Financial Planning: CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional
        Investment advice:  ACCREDITED INVESTMENT FIDUCIARY®.  
        Insurance: Non-captive independent agent (California license #0C00742.
        Learn more about IFG’s Founding Principal, Jim Lorenzen
      • Major “brand-name” custodians IFG does not take custody of client assets at any time.
      • Independent due-diligence: 2 layers
        (a) independent third-party due-diligence at the institutional level plus – not related to the managers and institutions they cover.
        (b) at the advisory/client level utilizing a ‘best interests’ fiduciary standard vs. a suitability standard.  Note:  The Independent Financial Group is a Registered Investment Advisor bound to a fiduciary standard of client care.
      • Independent third-party institutional reporting: Unrelated to the managers they cover.
      • Independent investment selection and management – unrelated to the parties conducting due-diligence.
      • State-of-the-art industry-leading technology – independent and unaffiliated with institutional custodians or investment providers.  Our platform, created by PIEtech, enhances the client-advisor collaborative effort and provides an easy/intuitive client interface.  One of the reasons IFG can collaborate with clients in Florida as easily as with clients in California.

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Transparency. This puts the client in control.

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The creation of IFG meant moving away from the old paradigm (the advisor working as a captive rep for a firm)….

The Old Organization Paradigm

…To a New Paradigm
The advisor is independent of all the firms and product providers, working only for the client.

The New Paradigm investing structure features an independent advisor working solely for the client in an ‘unbundled’ environment without hidden compensation. Investment service providers serve the client independently avoiding revenue sharing and other conflicts of interest. The result: YOUR independent financial group dedicated to putting YOUR interests first. You are the CEO, and the advisor acts as your personal CFO.

You can hear Jim Lorenzen talk about The IFG Difference here!

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Become an IFG client!  

You can arrange an introductory phone call with Jim Lorenzen, CFP by using our convenient scheduler!  You can do it here!