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Frequently Asked Questions

You've Got Questions ... We've Got Answers!

+ What is a financial advisor?

A financial advisor is a skilled professional who guides you through topics such as how much money you should save, the types of accounts you need or are best suited for you, the types of insurance you should have, and estate and tax planning.

They are also there to teach you about your professional path. This includes things like basic budgeting and saving to more advanced topics like properly understanding a complex investment or how your insurance works.

+ When should I start seeing a financial advisor?

Many people think that it doesn't make sense to start seeing a financial advisor until you are in or nearing retirement. While a lot of clients at Premier Planning Group do fall into that bucket - there are also many other buckets to consider!

  1. You're About to Start a Family
  2. When you get married and begin to have children, you may find yourself with a heap of new financial challenges. With marriage comes joining finances; with children comes the high costs of having them, to life insurance, and college savings.

  3. You're Self-Employed
  4. When you're self-employed, you may find yourself with different financial opportunities and retirement options than a non-self-employed person. Financial advisors can help you make sure you're getting the most out of your business, which in turn can lead to a more successful business and more money for you.

  5. You're a High Earner
  6. If you're a high earner, you may have the ability to save a lot of money but not know the best way to prioritize your investments and take advantage of various tax breaks. A financial advisor can help you sort out those decisions.

  7. You Have a High Net Worth
  8. People with high-net worth often have a unique set of financial issues including coordinating large balances spread across different types of accounts to advanced estate and tax planning strategies.

+ How often will I hear from my financial advisor?

This can vary from advisor to advisor. However, CEO and Founder of Premier Planning Group, Brion Harris, thinks its crucial for financial advisors to keep in touch with clients on a regular basis. This is why he has endless options for clients to be in the know - from the Weekly Commentary to chocolates on Valentine's Day to a calendar with the upcoming year's events and more.

+ How often should I see my financial advisor?

This can vary from client to client, but a good rule of thumb for everyone is to meet with their financial advisor at least once a year. However, there are some other situations that you should consider making an appointment with your financial advisor as well:

  • You've Acquired More Money to Invest
  • Sold a property? Received an inheritance? Whatever the situation, if you find yourself with more money, it may be a good idea to visit your financial advisor and determine the best plan for investment.

  • Major Life Changes
  • Big changes such as marriage or divorce, having or adopting children, or job changes may be a good time to make a visit to your financial advisor.

+ How much does my first appointment with a financial advisor cost?

This varies from advisor to advisor, but Brion Harris offers complimentary first appointments. He wants to do everything he can to create the best financial plan for you, however, before your first appointment, he can have no way of knowing your situation, and therefore believes that he should not charge you for your time before he gets to know you.

+ Do I have to invest a certain amount to meet with a financial advisor?

Brion Harris doesn't have minimums on investments and he doesn't have maximums. At the end of the day, he just wants to help you grow whatever wealth you have.

+ Does my financial advisor profit off of my investments?

Brion Harris typically does not charge an hourly rate to meet with clients. The way he makes a living in his profession are through fees and commissions off the products he sells. When clients choose money manager strategies, Brion is compensated via a fee charged against the account value. With products like annuities, mutual funds, and alternative investments, a commission is typically earned at the time of the purchase. Some products offer a residual compensation after the inital purchase in which he would also make a profit on. Both types of products offer various pluses and minuses, but there is no "right" or "wrong" product. The bottom line is that Brion works with his clients to find products that suit their investment objectives and work towards achieving their financial goals.

+ What fees are applied to my investments?

This varies from product to product. Typically products through money manager strategies receive fees. Other products like annuities, mutual funds, and alternative investments typically receive commissions and residual compensations. One type of product is no better or worse than the other. All that matters at the end of the day is finding the type of products that work best for your financial needs and goals.

+ Are you able to provide tax advice?

While financial advisors and their staff are very knowledgeable about which investments are taxable and which aren't - at the end of the day, we are not Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Brion Harris does however work with some of the top CPAs in Annapolis to provide answers to some of those questions we may not be able to.*

Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., its affiliates and Premier Planning Group do not give tax or legal advice. You should consult an experienced professional regarding the tax consequences of a specific transaction.

+ Which of my investments are taxable and which aren't?

  • Roth IRAs: Deposits are made with after-tax dollars, which means you don’t pay any taxes on your money when you out your funds in retirement. However, there is a 10% penalty on early distributions on income earned.
  • Traditional IRAs: These IRAs are tax-deductible and are treated as regular income for taxes if you withdraw at age 59 ½ or older. (You’ll be hit with a penalty if you withdraw before that age.)
  • 401(k), 403(b), Solo 401(k)s: You don’t have to pay any taxes on your funds until retirement. Note: Most early withdrawals (those taken before age 59 1/2 ) are taxed as ordinary income, plus a 10% penalty fee.
  • 529 College Savings Plan: States and educational institutions created tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans for college savers. When used for tuition, room, board and fees at qualified institutions, they are not subject to federal tax or (typically) state tax. Over 30 states offer a tax deduction for 529 contributions.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA): You can deposit money tax-free, withdraw funds tax-free when you use them for a qualified medical expense and investment gains aren’t taxed, either, as long as you use them for a qualified medical expense. Furthermore, if you are retirement age, you can withdraw funds like a traditional IRA.

+ What is the difference between different types of IRAs?

An IRA plan allows you to save money and defer taxes until you retire. IRA plans have annual contribution limits that are established by the government and rise gradually with inflation; individuals age 50 and older can make slightly higher "catch-up" contributions. There are a few types of IRA plans:

  • Traditional IRA
  • A Traditional IRA (individual retirement account) allows individuals to direct pretax income toward investments that can grow tax-deferred. The IRS assess no capital gains or dividend income taxes until the beneficiary makes a withdrawal. Individual taxpayers can contribute 100 % of any earned compensation up to a specified maximum dollar amount. Income thresholds may also apply. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax-deductible depending on the taxpayer's income, tax-filing status and other factors.

  • Roth IRA
  • A Roth IRA is an individual retirement plan that is funded with after-tax dollars; the contributions are not tax deductible – although you may be able to take a tax credit of 10 to 50% of the contribution, depending on your income and life situation.

  • A simplified employee pension (SEP) is a retirement plan that an employer or self-employed individuals can establish. The employer is allowed a tax deduction for contributions made to the SEP plan and makes contributions to each eligible employee's SEP IRA on a discretionary basis.

  • A SIMPLE IRA is a retirement savings plan that can be used by most small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. "SIMPLE" stands for "Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees," and employers can choose to make a mandatory 2% retirement account contribution to all employees or an optional matching contribution of up to 3%. Employees can contribute a maximum of $12,500 annually in 2018; the maximum is increased periodically to account for inflation. Retirement savers ages 50 and older may make an additional catch-up contribution of $3,000, bringing their annual maximum to $15,500.