Frequently Asked Questions

If we don't answer your questions here, please Contact Us


What type of clients do you work with?


We work with individuals and families of varying ages, backgrounds, and financial status - from retirees in the draw down phase to the young professionals and families in the accumulation phase.  Your plan is always tailored to your specific needs and goals in life. 

Is there an account minimum?


We believe that everyone should have access to the financial markets and sound investment advice. While we do not have account minimums, in some cases a minimum fee may apply.

Where will my money be held?


Your assets are held at an independent custodian, Scottrade, Inc.  The assets are always titled in the clients name maintains control.  Phillip James places trades for clients under an Investment Advisor Account Access agreement. 

Will my account be monitored regularly?


Yes, your accounts will be continually monitored, analyzed, re-balanced, and traded when appropriate.

Phillip James Financial is a Fiduciary - What does that mean?


As a Fiduciary we have a legal and ethical obligation to put the client's interest first. Not all financial advisors are held to this high of a standard, and is often not clear which advisors work this way. In fact, many "broker/dealers" are held to what is called the Suitability Standard, a much lower quality of care. 

Do you alert me when trades are placed?


No.  When we establish a relationship we agree to certain risk parameters, a portfolio allocation, and other trading guidelines.  This will guide our trading decisions and allow us to make timely changes to the portfolio if needed.  However, we will not make any dramatic changes to the portfolio that differ from your original plan without discussing with you first.

Can I get online access to my accounts?


Yes.  With Scottrade you can sign up for direct access to your accounts.  You can also log-into your client portal through Phillip James using the Login button on our home page.

What do you charge for your services?


We charge an annual fee based on the assets under management (AUM), billed quarterly.  Fees range from 1.5% down to 0.25%. We believe in complete transparency. 

What is the advantage of partnering with Phillip James vs. investing on my own?


Independent studies by Vanguard, Russell Investments and Morningstar show individuals who work with a good financial advisor receive meaningfully greater returns over the life of their portfolio - value well in excess of the cost. Advisors add value in many ways, from cost effective investment implementation to strategic withdrawal strategies. But where they add the greatest value is being an accountability partner, helping you navigate the joys and challenges of life. 

<See: Phillip James Value Proposition>

What is your Investment Philosophy?


We take an academic approach to the markets by investing in a globally diversified portfolio based on historical research of assets classes and returns.  Research has proven time and again that asset allocation is by far the primary determinant of total return.  As a result, we construct and manage broadly diversified portfolios using tax efficient and low-cost exchange-traded funds and mutual funds. We also tilt the portfolio to specific types of funds like small cap and value stocks which research has shown outperform over time. Each client’s portfolio is then monitored and re-balanced continually to maintain their ideal asset allocation to stocks and bonds.  This disciplined approach has repeatedly been proven to achieve optimal investment returns over time.

<See: Professional Investment Management>

What is a Fee-Only Advisor?


Fee-Only planners are registered investment advisors (RIA) with a fiduciary responsibility to act in their clients’ best interest.  You pay a fee based on Assets Under Management (AUM) directly to the advisor.  It is very transparent and straightforward. We never accept commissions, sales incentives, bonuses or special perks paid by insurance companies or other financial service entities by selling products.  This removes the conflicts of interest associated with the commission based products.  Consumers should be careful of the new category "fee-based", in which brokers charge a fee in addition to the commissions.

<See: Fee-Only vs. Fee-Based Financial Planning>

How often do you meet with your clients?


At a minimum, we want to meet annually to stay up to date on your situation but you have unrestricted access to us and can meet more often if/when issues arise. 

Who is PJF Tax?


PJF Tax is our affiliated Tax & Accounting firm that provides tax advisory services to clients.  Taxes are a part of everything you do financially, and your plan should reflect it.  We believe that having these two practices under one roof enables us to see a clients' full financial picture and ultimately better serve the client. 

<See: Tax Planning & Preparation>

How do I get Started?


The first step is to schedule a meting with one of our experienced advisors to determine your needs and goals in life. Schedule a meeting here. Or you can read more about our process and learn what you can expect.

Do you only provide financial planning to clients in Minnesota?


While our office is located in Plymouth Minnesota, we are able to work virtually using Skype or Google Hangouts.  We find this to be convenient solution for clients.