What exactly does Fortress Planning do?
We help families reach their goals. There are many different ways people help families reach their goals. We do it through the lens of financial planning. We try to help people get all their “stuff” in order that they may not want to deal with (spending plan, investments, insurance, etc.). We have spent countless hours looking at the markets, researching investments and learning what it takes to be successful financial planners. We bring all of that knowledge and experience to our clients and explain it all in simple ways that relate to their specific goals.
How does Fortress Planning Group get paid?
We get paid by what is referred to as a management fee. That means if you elect us to manage your assets, we charge a small percentage of the assets. Clients never pay us directly (you will never have to write us a check!). It is an automatic fee that comes out of your investment accounts per our management agreement.
What does it mean to be fee-only?
Let’s try an analogy: The health industry no longer allows doctors to get paid a commission for prescribing a certain drug to patients. This was a good change, because doctors were potentially prescribing drugs that were not in the patient’s best interest, simply to earn a commission. Did you know that the financial community still collects commissions for financial products that they sell? At Fortress Planning Group, we think this practice should be eliminated from our industry because some investment advisors are selling products that are not in the best interest of the customer, simply to earn a commission for selling the product. We are adamantly opposed to this practice in the financial industry, and we never collect commissions from any company. We only make suggestions that are in the best interest of the client. This is why our firm is a called a fee-only firm.
Where is my money held?
All client accounts are held by a qualified independent custodian, TD Ameritrade Institutional. Fortress Planning Group has selected this custodian because of its commitment to client service, low costs, security and a dedication to operational efficiency.
Is Fortress Planning Group affiliated with TD Ameritrade Institutional?
No. Fortress Planning Group is not affiliated with TD Ameritrade, nor are we compensated by TD Ameritrade in any way. We receive no fees, commissions, or incentives. In the spirit of full disclosure, our firm is supplied necessary software that allows our in-house portfolio management system to work efficiently and cleanly with TD Ameritrade’s back-office operations and trading desks. This software is available to all investment advisors.
Does anyone at Fortress Planning Group have access to my money?
No, we have what is called discretionary authority. It means that we can make the necessary trades in your account to execute the investment plan, but we never have access to withdrawal money.
What is a fiduciary?
In the investment industry, not everyone is created equal. Brokers do not need to act in your best interest. By contrast, a registered investment advisor is held to the fiduciary standard. This means that they must act in your best interest. Fortress Planning Group is a registered investment advisor and Scott and Kevin are fiduciaries. Any recommendation that they make has to be in your best interest. Most folks think everyone in the financial industry is a fiduciary, but unfortunately, this is not the case.
What does the CFP® after your name stand for?
Scott is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, or a CFP®. The financial industry literally has an alphabet soup of letters that people can obtain after their names! The CFP® designation is the gold standard for comprehensive wealth managers. It means that Scott has taken post-Bachelor classes in the following areas: Financial Planning Theory, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Planning, and Estate Planning. It also means that he passed a rigorous two-day, 10-hour exam and that he has at least three years of experience in the practice of financial planning. As a CFP, Scott also is required to take continuing education classes to stay current and keep his license.
Are you going to try to sell me something?
No, we do not sell investments, insurance or other financial products. We will never try to sell you anything, other than the fact that more things are possible than you might think when you have a plan, a comprehensive wealth management plan.
Will you recommend “hot” stocks to me?
No, we do not have any special information or secrets about the stock market that is not widely available to all investors. We will, however, share what we know to be true based on science and extensive research. We will make recommendations based on those facts, not random opinions.
Why is the financial industry so confusing and intimidating for regular people?
Great question! That is exactly where we started, too. Through our research and experiences, we have discovered that in reality, it is NOT that complicated. It is made to seem complicated though, so that people will feel confused and helpless and can more easily be sold on financial products.
Where is Fortress Planning Group registered? Can you serve people outside of those areas?
Fortress Planning Group is registered in Wisconsin and yes, we can serve anyone in the United States. Our meetings can happen in person at our offices, over the phone or by virtual meetings. You let us know what is most convenient for you and we will do our best to accommodate your request.