FAQs

Q?  WHO CAN BENEFIT MOST FROM WORKING WITH MARYLAND FINANCIAL ADVOCATES?

A.  If you are the parent of a special needs child, or are caring for an aging parent or relative, the planning process at Maryland Financial Advocates may benefit you. We take pride in making a positive difference in the lives of our clients. In addition to our long history of providing traditional financial planning services, Colin Meeks has a focus on Special Needs Financial Planning and Elder Care Financial Planning.

 

Q?  DO YOU OFFER TRADITIONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING?

A.  Absolutely. Colin Meeks is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and has over 20 years of experience in serving clients with traditional financial planning. The Custom Financial Strategy™ is a thorough process that is designed to help you with setting realistic goals, investment management, income strategies in retirement, family protection, tax planning, and estate and legacy planning.

 

Q?  HOW DO YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR SERVICES?

A.  We charge a flat fee for our financial planning services. Depending on your plan and our time involved, our fees range from $1000-$5000. If we manage assets as part of your ongoing plan, we may also charge a percentage of assets as a management fee. This fee starts at 1.25% and decreases based on account balance. We fully disclose all fees, in writing, so that you can decide if our planning services are right for you.

 

Q?  DO YOU OFFER A FREE CONSULTATION?

A.  No. We charge a nominal fee for your first meeting that will be deducted from your planning fee should you decide to move forward. We charge an initial fee because we are professional financial planners, not commission based salespeople. At the end of this meeting, you’ll have a clearer picture of your financial situation and how we can help going forward. It will be completely up to you if you’d like to continue the planning process. We also offer a 100% money back guarantee if you are in any way not satisfied with this meeting. Our current fee for an initial consultation is $297.

 

Q?  WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN OUR FIRST MEETING?

A.  Whether you are coming to us for traditional financial planning, special needs financial planning, or elder care financial planning, our first meeting together should prove to be very valuable to you. Through our unique Discovery and Review process, we’ll gather enough information to prepare your Strategic Blueprint and Timeline so that we can map out how we can work towards your family’s core personal and financial needs. We’ll get to know each other, review some things about your family’s situation, answer any questions you have about your planning options, and decide on the best way to move forward. There are no financial products to buy during this meeting and there is no obligation to continue with the planning process should you decide it will not be helpful to your family.

 

Q?  IS THERE AN INVESTMENT MINIMUM OR INCOME MINIMUM TO WORK WITH MARYLAND FINANCIAL ADVOCATES?

A.  We have no set minimums or maximums in terms of income or wealth in order to work with us. Our clients have a broad range of incomes and wealth. In many cases, we are hired for our unique planning services and do not manage any investments. If we feel that we can positively impact a family’s finances, investments, and overall financial plan and you see value in initiating a planning relationship, we are happy have you as a client.

 

Q?  WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO FOCUS ON JUST A FEW AREAS OF FINANCIAL PLANNING?

A.  Colin Meeks has been advising individuals on various financial planning issues since 1994 (retirement planning, income planning, investment strategies, insurance planning, etc). His 2 main specialties are elder care financial planning and special needs financial planning. He has focused on these 2 areas as that’s where his personal experiences have lead him. He is most passionate about special needs financial planning because he is the father of a special needs child. Colin and his wife, Jennifer, have taken great pride in their roles as advocates and the voice for their son and want to share their knowledge and experiences to help others in their journey.

 

Q?  WHAT IS ELDER CARE FINANCIAL PLANNING?

A.  If you are caring for an aging parent or relative, or think that may be a possibility in your future, Elder Care Financial Planning may help. There are specific conversations that you can have with your family that will bring many of these planning issues to light. This type of planning includes discussions about the family home, protection of assets, costs of ongoing care, government benefits, legal documents and legacy planning

 

Q?  WHAT IS SPECIAL NEEDS FINANCIAL PLANNING?

A.   As your special needs child’s voice and advocate, putting together a plan is of utmost importance. Your plan may include investment and asset management, various insurances, a special needs trust, government benefits help, guardianship, transition planning, creating care continuity documents, an ABLE account. Our process can help you determine which components you should consider.

 

Q?  WHAT IS A SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST AND DO ALL FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS MEMBERS NEED ONE?

A.  Special needs trusts, or supplemental needs trusts as they are often called, are an important cornerstone to the financial planning for most individuals with special needs. Special needs trusts are established to hold assets for the benefit of an individual with special needs. The trusts serve multiple purposes. They provide protection for the individual with special needs from those who may try to take advantage of them financially and also protect them from creditors. One of the most beneficial aspects of special needs trusts is that the assets held in the trust are not deemed to be owned by the special needs individual who is the beneficiary of the trust. Therefore, the special needs individual is likely to qualify for government financial aid and be eligible for a variety of programs that require Medicaid eligibility if all of their other financial resources are held in the special needs trust for their benefit. Not everyone needs one, but it is a topic that we will discuss in your planning process.

 

Q?  HOW WILL I KNOW IF I AM MEETING MY FINANCIAL GOALS?

A.  We will meet frequently and communicate often. The last phase of our planning is called the Custom Plan Inspection, where we review progress, assess your situation, and make adjustments. Remember, the planning process is focused on you, your family, and your goals. All of our actions are consistent with that strategy. So whether we are doing Special Needs Financial Planning, Elder Care Financial Planning, or traditional financial planning, tracking and monitoring progress is always part of the plan.

 

Q?  WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT MARYLAND FINANCIAL ADVOCATES?

A.  We are an independent financial services firm. We act in a fiduciary capacity in our relationships at all times, meaning that we will act solely in your best interest and always put your interests ahead of ours. Our recommendations and implementation decisions are based solely on what we think is in your best interests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Maryland Financial Advocates. All Rights Reserved. The financial consultants of Maryland Financial Advocates are Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives with securities and investment advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA / SIPC.  The LPL Financial Registered Representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: MD, VA, PA, FLA, NJ, DE, WA, TX, GA.