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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between financial planning and retirement planning?

A: Financial planning covers all aspects of a person's financial well-being. This might include savings, investments, retirement and college savings plans, insurance coverage, and estate planning.  Retirement planning covers only investments made for retirement.

Q: What is the difference between asset allocation and diversification?

A: Asset allocation refers to the diversity of your entire savings and investment portfolio across asset classes. Stocks, bonds, cash, and real estate are asset classes. Diversification refers to the types of investments held within each class.

Q: What is fiduciary responsibility, and why is it important?

A: Fiduciary means to hold a confidence or trust. At Scott Smith Financial, our advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients, and we must put a client's needs and interests ahead of our own.

While stockbrokers and insurance agents are regulated and licensed, they do not have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. The recommendations they make must only meet the "suitability standard." In other words, the risk level of the product must be suitable for the client based on income, assets, risk tolerance, or additional specific standards.

Q: Which certifications do our Advisors hold?

A: Our advisors hold different and complementary certifications. You can look on the Our Team page for each Advisor’s credentials.  Each certification provides us with additional insight into our clients' needs.

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) has competence and experience in all areas of financial planning. Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:

  • Continuing Education – Complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and other parts of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial planning field; and
  • Ethics – Renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of care.

A Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) also has extensive experience in helping individuals assess their financial goals. To obtain the ChFC certification, a candidate must complete the program and pass the tests administered by the American College of Financial Services.

A Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is a professional designation for individuals who wish to specialize in life insurance and estate planning. Holders of the Certified Financial Planners designation will often add CLU to their credentials to demonstrate additional subject-matter expertise. Individuals must pass a series of courses and examinations administered by the American College of Financial Services to receive the designation.

Q: How can I check out the background of Scott Smith Financial and our advisors? 

A:  At the bottom of each of our web pages, you can click on the  Broker Check to find our registration information, current ADV filing, and Brochure.  Just type in the name of our firm (Scott Smith Financial, Inc. - CRD 138393), and we will come up in the results.  As a Registered Investment Advisor, our firm is registered with the SEC. You will have to click More Details and then click Go to SEC Site to see our registration information.

A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) doesn't need any special training or certification. However, an RIA must be registered with the security agency of the state in which he or she does business or with the Securities and Exchange Commission if their assets under management (AUM) exceed $100 million.