Wealthcare Financial Group, Inc.
President, Retirement Planning Financial Advisor
Martin A. Smith founded Wealthcare Financial Group, Inc.™ as a retirement planning and investment management firm. He is committed to providing each client with values-based advice and custom-tailored service. Thus, the need for prudent advice and high quality service is also the basis for his business philosophy; “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver!” Proverbs 16:16
As a MD Fee-Only Financial Advisor, Martin is able to serve the unique needs of high net worth individuals and family offices with more breadth and depth than what is traditionally offered by wealth managers, Martin has completed a M.A. in Commercial Real Estate Finance at Georgetown University. In addition, he has completed several financial planning designations: the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) and Accredited Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA®) designations, as administered by Fiduciary360 and awarded by the Centre for Fiduciary Studies (CEFEX).
In addition, Martin has earned the Retirement Planning Specialist (RPS®) certification, upon completion of the “AT RETIREMENT®” coursework; an educational program that was jointly sponsored by The Executive Education Department of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and AXA Equitable, Inc. He has also earned the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designation from the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO.
Martin makes regular media appearances, having been a guest on News Channel 8, NBC Universal Channel 4, WTOP Radio News & Business and CBS Radio. In addition, he has been invited to teach a series of financial management educational seminars for the NBA Development League. In an effort to bridge the financial literacy gap, as well as provide ongoing personal finance education, Martin writes for Answers About Wealth™, which serves as the blog for Wealthcare Financial Group, Inc.™
Martin earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Legal Communications, from Howard University in 1992. He later joined A.G. Edwards & Sons as a Financial Advisor and was later promoted to the position of Assistant Branch Manager. Martin resides in Bowie, Maryland with his wife, Walida. Together, they have seven children.
BA, Legal Communications, Howard University
MPS, Commercial Real Estate Finance, Georgetown University
Assets Under Management:
Annual percentage based on assets under management.
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Wealthcare Financial Group, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor. Answers about Wealth is a personal finance blog, written by Martin A. Smith
Martin A. Smith
Martin A Smith Shares 5 Tips for Overcoming Your Money Fears, on the News Talk Live
Martin A. Smith Discussing "Financially Cramming for College", on NewsTalk 8.
On News Talk Live Discussing "Major Retirement Planning Mistakes", on News Channel 8
Hi, and thank you for taking the time to submit your question about Edward Jones's Guided Solutions program. The DOL's fiduciary law (aka "Fiduciary Rule") was set to take effect in a few months, although this could change now considering the new Administration. The Edward Jones representative was correct by stating that the new legislation places additional fiduciary responsibility on Broker/Dealers and financial advisors. One aspect of the Rule is the 'reasonableness' of the costs associated with investing through a brokerage firm and/or investment advisor.
I don't agree that the rule in itself should impose a set "fee" (e.g. 1.35%, 2%, etc.) that you will have to pay. Generally speaking, fees should be reasonable, not excessive. I also believe that fees must reflect the value that you are receiving from the firm where your portfolio is being managed. One advisor may charge 1% and another might charge 1.25% to manage the same amount. The investment representative is supposed to provide you with a prospectus and/or "ADV-2" document that relates to the Guided Solutions program. Basically, merely saying "laws have changed...fill out additional paperwork and accept our fee," falls short of the responsibility we have as financial professionals.
I am not knocking Edward Jones, however, since there are literally thousands of "Jones brokers" around the country, you could work with whoever you want, including hiring an independent Registered Investment Advisory firm, such as Wealthcare Financial Group, Inc. You are doing the right thing by reaching out to a number of financial advisors on Investopedia. You will receive a wealth of helpful information and advice on this site!
Lastly, whoever you hire should prepare a comprehensive financial plan for you that is supposed to inform the investment advice and/or other personal finance related recommendations given to you. At the end of the day, the solutions that we provide to people such as yourself is supposed to help you achieve your values, needs and goals.
I wish you the best!
Thank you for submitting your question. I would be careful about transferring funds into an annuity. On the surface, nothing is inherently wrong with annuities. However, "purpose" is key! You want to understand what the benefits of owning an annuity are, as well as some of the pitfalls, such as those hefty surrender fees that would be assessed against your principal if you need to take a withdrawal that exceeds the usual annual 10% free withdrawal option.
Before suggesting that anyone transfers 401(K) assets into an annuity, any financial advisor worth his/her license and title should seek to learn the following about you:
- What are your income needs?
- What are your expenses?
- How soon will you need to start withdrawing income from the annuity?
- Does the funds that you are considering transferring to an annuity meet your future withdrawal needs, assuming that you receive a modest return, such as 5%?
- Do you need a "bonus" added to the initial premium that you are considering paying to set up the annuity (the "bonus" usually increases the "income base" of the annuity for withdrawal purposes)?
- Have you done adequate estate planning with the assistance of an attorney (before committing funds to an annuity, it would be best to complete your estate planning, e.g. Will, Living Trust, etc.)?
- When will your other $250K annuity be free of surrender charges penalties?
I always caution investors about buying an annuity because they have been the subject of many controversial financial product sales for many years. Again, you should consider what your needs are and ask yourself if an annuity is best suited to help you achieve whatever it is you are seeking to accomplish? You should also ask yourself if your goals can be achieved with a well managed investment portfolio?
I hope this helps. Please do your research, speak with a few different financial advisors, and try to gain as much objective advice as possible before making a final decision.
Take care and I wish you the best!
Thank you for submitting your question. It is very typical for the advisor that is associated with an employer retirement plan to "encourage" employee participants to roll the funds over into a IRA that is with the same institutional investment custodian, in your case Fidelity Investments. First, there is nothing wrong with Fidelity. In fact, a number of independent Registered Investment Advisors (myself included) use Fidelity Institutional as the investment custodian for our clients IRA accounts. Therefore, from the outset, I cannot say that rolling the funds over to Fidelity is the wrong thing to do. Furthermore, if I am going to be objective, then I would also say that there is no guarantee that rolling the funds over to Fidelity Investments would be the right thing for you to do either.
My suggestion is that you seek advice by meeting or speaking with at least two additional independent financial advisors and then figure out which firm is best suited to assist you with making this decision, including the subsequent retirement financial planning decisions that you will have to make.
I believe that your decision should be based more so on the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the firms that you interview. For example, how well do they understand your values, needs, and goals? Do they provide a complimentary financial plan, or would you have to pay to have a financial plan prepared for you? What is their approach to portfolio management? Are they a credentialed fiduciary? How much would they charge to manage your portfolio and will their compensation be based on commissions or a quarterly fee that is based on the value of your portfolio?
Ultimately, you are in a position of strength because many financial advisors are seeking prospective clients such as yourself. I would only caution you to be quick to do more research, get a couple of additional opinions, and be slow to make a fast decision, especially if you are being "encouraged" by a financial advisor representative of your employer's 401(k) plan.
I wish you the best with making this important financial and retirement decision.
Thanks for submitting your question. I am glad to learn that your credit score has recovered. It appears that you are well on your way to potentially an excellent credit rating with a 788 credit score, so congratulations on bouncing back! I cannot say whether or not you would qualify for a loan because I am a MD Financial Planning professional, not a loan officer. A hard money lender will more than likely charge a much higher rate of interest and the loan will probably come a lot sooner than if you were to use conventional/traditional financing through a local back. If there are no major impediments to your credit and ability to obtain a loan, then 2018 is just around the corner. It may be best to wait it out and secure credit with a longer credit term and at a much lower rate of interest, instead of going for the quick fix by getting in bed with a hard money lender who is going to charge two to three times in interest what the bank will and may also demand a balloon payment at the end of the loan. Use good judgment!
I am sorry to learn about the problem that you have had with your financial advisor erroneously distributing funds from your Roth IRA instead of your Traditional IRA. First, you want to find a CPA and discuss your options with him/her because while the Internal Revenue Service considers return of funds to the account within 60 days a tax-free rollover, you can only reverse an IRA contribution once in 12 months. Whether or not your financial advisor is liable for 'distributing funds from the wrong account' is not something that I can confirm. There may have been conversations between your advisor and you that he/she might claim led him/her to believe you requested a distribution, or perhaps they were just acting in complete error and not paying attention to detail. I don't know. Whether your financial advisor has any liability will probably depend on what he or she may or may not be able to prove as far as communications with you, or distribution instructions/request from you. Again, I do not know.
You should speak with your financial advisor's Branch Manager (aka "Complex Manager") if they work for a large brokerage firm (Merrill Lynch, UBS, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, etc.), or send a letter to their Chief Compliance Officer. Any correspondence sent by you to a compliance official at a Broker/Dealer will warrant a phone call back to you! Explain your situation and simply ask the Compliance Department. 9 times out of 10, they are going to be accommodating to you because no one wants to face an arbitration hearing before a FINRA panel. Who knows, that may be where you are headed, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it will just mean that this process will most likely take a year or so before it gets resolved.
I wish you the best and hope that you are able to get this resolved without much fanfare!