Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Financial Transition?

A sudden change in your financial situation can be a life altering event. When life changes money changes, and when money changes, life changes. Successfully managing financial transitions is more challenging than you may realize. It’s not just a matter of managing the financial situation - it’s managing the change. Aequus advisors are among a small, select group of financial advisors trained and certified in the area of Financial Transition Management through the Sudden Money® Institute.

What is Money Shock™?

Money Shock™ is the reaction to abrupt financial change; where fear and anxiety replace our normal rational thinking and creative problem solving abilities. The three stages of the Money Shock Management system are:
• Choices and Change Management for appropriate adjustments to the new financial reality.
• Financial Triage to restore the capacity for clear and stable decision making.
• Well Being to regain your state of wellness with renewed hopes and dreams.

What is a Certified Financial Transitionist™(CFT®)?

A Certified Financial Transitionist™ is a financial professional specifically trained and skilled in the Sudden Money® Institute’s methodology for managing financial change. A CFT® has met and maintains excellent professional qualifications, has completed 15 months of course work, demonstrated excellence is actual client case work, and fulfills the annual requirement of 15 hours of continuing education.

What is financial planning?

Financial planning is the six step process of organizing your finances to enhance the opportunity to achieve your goals and dreams. Financial planning is an on-going process, not an end product.

What is Life Planning?

Life Planning or Financial Life Planning adds the human dimension to financial advice. The discovery process is broadened to include client’s essential goals, passions, core beliefs, fears and anxieties as well as the numbers – cash flow, assets and investments, taxes and insurances, etc. George Kinder is recognized as the father of Life Planning and founder of the Kinder Institute. Michelle Maton has been trained in the methodology of the EVOKE® model at the Kinder Institute and if a Registered Life Planner® (RLP®).

What is Enhanced Financial Planning?

Enhanced Financial Planning expands on life financial planning with the recognition that we all have an infinite number of ways to deal with decision making, especially financial decisions. Enhanced financial planning leads clients on an exploration to develop processes that utilize each client’s own best attributes to maximize their resources to lead them to success, while at the same time, identifying inhibitors that might jeopardize their process toward the life they want to live.  Enhanced Financial Planning is the process that most closely describes the method used by the Aequus Team.

What is a Certified Financial Planner®?

A CFP® (Certified Financial Planning) professional is an individual who has a demonstrated a level of financial planning technical knowledge, experience in the field and holds to a client-centered code of ethics. CFP® professionals are dedicated to using the financial planning process to serve the financial needs of individuals, families and businesses. Most CFP professionals have earned a four-year college degree in a finance-related field, and have completed a course of study in financial planning approved by CFP Board.

CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame logo) are certification marks owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

What is a Registered Investment Advisor?

A registered investment advisor is an individual or a firm that is in the business of giving advice about securities to clients. Depending on their size, investment advisors have to register with either the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) or the state securities agency where they have their principal place of business. For the most part, investment advisors who manage $100 million or more in client assets must register with the SEC. If they manage less than $100 million, they must register with the state securities agency in the state where they have their principal place of business.

Aequus Wealth Management Resources, LLC is registered with the SEC.

What is assets under management (AUM)?

Assets Under Management (AUM) is a financial term denoting the market value of all the funds being managed by a financial institution (a mutual fund, hedge fund, private equity firm, venture capital firm, or wealth management firm) on behalf of its clients, investors, partners, depositors, etc. The AUM is calculated by different methods.

In the most basic sense, the assets under management metric represents the number of dollars on which a financial firm has the legal right to claim a management fee. This fee is based on the client’s contract with the firm and/or fund in question. Therefore, in a given firm the assets under management are not a constant number. AUM is reduced due to redemptions, withdrawals, losses, and other events where investors no longer pay a fee to the manager in question to advise their portfolio. Likewise, AUM can increase when new assets are brought into the firm in question, thereby increasing the fee generating assets the firm manages.

What is the difference between “Fee-only”, “Fee-Based” and Commission?

A fee-only financial planner/advisor is one who is compensated solely by the client. They are often Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) with a fiduciary responsibility to act in their clients’ best interest. They do not accept any fees or compensation based on product sales. Commissions are earned by sales persons selling financial products (i.e. stocks, bonds, mutual funds) and insurance products (for example; life insurance and annuities). Fee-based compensation is usually a combination of a fee for service that is offset or augmented by commissions earned on sales of products.

Aequus Wealth Management Resources, LLC is a fee-only advisor whose sole obligation is to serve the best interests of our clients

What is a fiduciary?

A fiduciary is someone who legally has a fiduciary duty to work in the best interests of their client. That means they have to put your interests ahead of theirs at all times.  RIA’s (Registered Investment Advisers) have a fiduciary duty by law, while brokers and many calling themselves financial planners do not.

A financial advisor held to a Fiduciary Standard occupies a position of special trust and confidence when working with a client. As a Fiduciary, the financial advisor is required to act with undivided loyalty to the client.  This includes disclosure of how the financial advisor is to be compensated and any corresponding conflicts of interest.

As a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm, Aequus is a fiduciary to its clients.  In addition, as a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, Aequus adheres to the Fiduciary Oath as required of members of NAPFA.

What is an Accredited Domestic Partnership AdvisorSM or ADPA®?

Individuals who hold the ADPA® designation have completed a course of study encompassing wealth transfers, federal taxation, retirement planning, and planning for financial and medical end-of-life needs for domestic partners. Additionally, individuals must pass an end-of-course examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations.
All designees have agreed to adhere to Standards of Professional Conduct and are subject to a disciplinary process. Designees renew their designation every two-years by completing 16 hours of continuing education, reaffirming adherence to the Standards of Professional Conduct and complying with self-disclosure requirements.