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Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of options out there for financial advice. Why should I work with you?

I can’t say for sure that you should, to be honest. You should interview several planners before you choose one. You need to understand their philosophy, process, and personality. And you need to like each one of those. If you are in your 30’s & 40’s, working professionally, earning well, facing an increasing list of important financial decisions, and you want an independent and objective assessment of how you’re doing, I encourage you to schedule a complimentary Client Fit call.

At Rivermark, we spend our time focused on issues that you face: equity compensation, reducing taxes, college planning, prioritizing savings goals, diversifying your investments, and many others. 

Are you a CFP?

Yes.  These marks indicate that I have completed rigorous training and education requirements, uphold a strict ethical obligation to my clients, and continue to educate myself on the best financial planning and advice practices.

Are you a Fiduciary?

Yes.  At Rivermark, we have a legal and ethical obligation to do what's best for you.  No exceptions.  

What is an Enrolled Agent?

Enrolled agents (Circular 230 practitioners) are federally authorized tax practitioners empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax issues including tax preparation and filing, audits, collections, and appeals. The EA credential is the highest awarded by the IRS and is earned by passing a three-part Special Enrollment Exam or through previous and specific experience while employed by the IRS.

How does Rivermark make money?

For new client engagements, we charge a fixed fee for developing your financial plan.  The fee is based on the complexity of your situation.  

For plan implementation, ongoing support and advice, we offer a Financial Wellness Program on a subscription basis.  With an active subscription, you get access to professional advice year-round for a fixed monthly cost.  Subscription pricing is also based on the complexity of your financial profile.

Investment management services are priced based on assets under management.  

If your financial plan shows a need to purchase insurance or annuity products and you choose to work with Rivermark to select and purchase these products, the insurance company pays me a commission for the sale of these products.

Click here for pricing details on all planning and portfolio management solutions.

Do you work virtually?

Yes.  We have a virtual team that can serve you no matter where you are located in the U.S.  A majority of our clients are "local" in the Bay Area, but we also serve clients across the country.

Do you have an asset minimum?

No.  Pricing is based on your household net worth and the complexity of your financial situation, not on the size of your investable assets.

What is included in a comprehensive financial plan?

Here’s a pretty complete (but not exhaustive) list of topics we will talk about if they apply to your situation:

  • Identifying Values and Setting Goals: Why is money important to you and what would you like your money to enable you to accomplish in life? This is step 1 and it informs us on what we’re planning for.
  • Risk Management: This term is most often associated with insurance, but it actually covers much more: sufficient cash reserves, adequate savings rate, estate planning documents to care for your family, an appropriate investment portfolio.
  • Housing: We can evaluate if you should buy or continue to rent, how much you can afford and the required down payment, planning to upgrade into a larger home, refinancing options, and whether you should explore real estate investing.
  • Education Planning: Everything from choosing the best savings vehicles, to helping you find ways to lower the cost. We can help you figure out your best strategy, including your eligibility for financial aid.
  • Employee Benefits Optimization: 401(k) contributions and investment options, life & disability insurance, employee stock purchase plans, Health Savings Accounts…the list is long. We work together to ensure you are taking full advantage of the benefits available to you.
  • Equity Compensation: Stock options, restricted stock units, employee stock purchase plans, etc. These all have different tax consequences and risks, and they all affect your financial picture differently. We review your available stock compensation and advise you on how it could best serve your goals.
  • Estate Planning: For most people with young families, estate planning is primarily needed to protect your children in case anything happens to you. We can identify needs in your existing estate plan and partner with your attorney to ensure that your estate plan works well with your overall financial plan.
  • Investment Analysis: Are you following a strategic investment plan? Can the strategy be adjusted to better align with your goals? Are you paying too much in fees? Are you taking on too much risk? Not enough? We’ll answer all of these questions and give you a consolidated view across all of your accounts.
  • Cash Flow Management: We review your income and expenses to determine how much or how little you are saving, how much you should be saving, and where. If you have debt, we can also advise you on how best to pay down debts.
  • Retirement Planning: It can be difficult to think about retirement when it’s likely 20+ years down the road, but retirement planning cannot wait until you’re 60. We look at when you are likely to achieve financial independence given your current savings and spending goals, and we adjust your plan to get you back on track if necessary.
  • Tax Planning: Taxes play a major role in your financial life. We look for ways to minimize current and future income taxes as a part of your overall financial plan. We also coordinate with your tax professional to make sure your tax decisions work well with the rest of your financial plan.
What does Rivermark stand for?

Rivermark is the name of a residential community in Santa Clara, CA where I lived for approximately 10 years, essentially spanning my 30’s. It was during this time that I encountered many of life’s events which have big financial implications:

  • 1st home purchase
  • engagement and wedding
  • having a baby (and all that comes with it!)
  • Starting college funding
  • Increasingly complex healthcare options
  • Actively managing my portfolio
  • RSU / ESPP / Stock Options
  • Purchasing life insurance (beyond what was free from my employer)
  • Drafting estate documents (with the help of a licensed attorney)

I started this business to help motivated professionals in their 30’s & 40’s to make informed decisions on many of these same topics.  For that reason, Rivermark to me is synonymous with the client base I hope to serve.