FAQs

FAQs

What is Blankinship and Fosters’ core business?

We provide integrated financial planning and portfolio management with a special focus on serving retirees, near retires and financially independent women.

What’s a fiduciary and why is it important to me?

A fiduciary is someone who always acts in good faith and in the best interest of each client. At Blankinship & Foster, we are fiduciaries. Adhering to a fiduciary standard turns a moral obligation into a legal requirement. As Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), Blankinship & Foster is legally bound by the fiduciary standard. Many other types of financial professionals are not held to this same standard.

How is Blankinship & Foster compensated?

We are a fee-only firm. We are compensated only by our clients. We do not accept any commissions or payments from any third parties.

What does “fee only” mean?

Fee only means that we are paid by our clients, and only by our clients. We do not receive commissions nor do we sell insurance or any other products. We do not receive any referral fees and we are not compensated by any third parties. View our Fee Schedule.

Where is my money held? What is a custodian?

Client investments managed by Blankinship & Foster are always held with an independent custodian. Our preferred custodian is Charles Schwab & Company. A custodian is a third-party institution that holds a client’s securities for safekeeping either in electronic or physical form, and executes trades, serving as an added check and balance by protecting against fraud or theft. Your advisor and your custodian are two separate entities, with no overlapping management or control, and all activity in your accounts is confirmed separately by each party. You can contact either party to confirm the status of your accounts at any time.

Do you take custody of, or have access to my assets?

No. We use an independent custodian, primarily Charles Schwab & Company, to hold your assets. You still maintain control of your assets. Only you retain the ability to withdraw any assets from your account. You will simply sign a Limited Power of Attorney on your account(s) to name us as the advisor. This provides us with the ability to interact with the custodian about your account(s), have trading authority and deduct our management fees.

What’s a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®)?

CFP® is a trademarked professional designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to financial professionals who have successfully completed ongoing certification requirements. Earning a CFP® designation requires extensive education and examinations in areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement. Additionally, maintaining a CFP® designation requires significant continuing education each year. Prior to becoming a CFP®, applicants must have at least three years of consecutive financial professional experience. For more information about the CFP® designation, please visit http://letsmakeaplan.org/choose-a-cfp-professional/why-cfp-certification-matters.

What’s a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)?

A CFA® is a globally respected, trademarked professional designation awarded by the CFA® Institute – the largest global association of investment professionals – to financial professionals who pass three levels of exams covering areas such as accounting, economics, ethics, money management and security analysis. Prior to becoming a CFA®, applicants much have at least four years of investment career experience, and hold a bachelor’s degree. A CFA® is known to be one of the most respected designations in finance. For more information about the CFA® designation, please visit http://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/Pages/index.aspx

What’s an Enrolled Agent® (EA®)?

Enrolled agents (EA®s) are tax experts, federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. For more information about the Enrolled Agent specialization, please visit http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Enrolled-Agents/Enrolled-Agent-Information.

What’s a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®)?

CDFA® is a professional designation awarded by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA). A CDFA professional is skilled at analyzing data and providing expertise on the financial issues of divorce. The role of a CDFA professional is to help the client and his or her attorney understand how the decisions he or she makes today will impact the client’s financial future. In order to become certified, professionals must have a minimum of three years of professional experience in finance or divorce. CDFA professionals must also satisfy continuing education requirements. For more information about the CDFA® designation, please visit The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.

What’s a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®)?

The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® is a credential awarded by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. CSA professionals have a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives. In order to become certified, professionals must pass background checks, accept terms or attestation, and must satisfy continuing education requirements. For more information about the CSA® designation, please visit the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.

Does Blankinship & Foster have an account minimum?

Because of the level of service we provide and our desire to continue to be able to provide that same level of service as we grow, our minimum wealth management relationship size for assets that we manage is $1,000,000.

Are there financial incentives for you to recommend certain financial products?

Absolutely not. We only recommend financial products that are suitable for you and that meet your financial needs.

Are my assets pooled with other investor funds?

No, we do not pool client assets.

I have some investments I want to manage on my own. Can I still work with you?

Yes. We can set up a separate account(s) that will hold the assets you would like us to manage, and collect our scheduled fee only on those assets.

Can I get money out of my account quickly in case of an emergency?

Yes, your accounts remain very liquid. If there is enough money in your money market account to handle your request, then we can usually transfer money into your bank account within 24 hours. If we need to liquidate investments to meet your cash requirements, then your money will generally be available within 2-3 days.

Do you contact me before you make trades in my accounts?

As long as we are acting within the terms of your agreed-upon asset allocation using agreed-upon funds, we do not need to contact you before making trades on your behalf. This includes re-balancing, buying new positions upon contributions and selling positions to free up cash. We have found that most clients prefer this arrangement.

Can you arrange for regular transfer to my bank account each month?

Yes. We can set up your account for regular withdrawals on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. In most cases there is no cost to you for this service.

How often do you meet with your clients?

We believe it is beneficial to meet in person on a regular basis. How often we meet will depend on your individual needs.

How often will I receive statements on my account?

You will receive monthly statements from your custodian showing your balances, positions and any activity in your account. Your custodian will send you any trade confirmation notices. In addition, Blankinship & Foster will provide quarterly statements providing performance reporting.

Can I have duplicate statements sent to another family member, advisor, CPA, attorney or other trusted party?

Yes, we can arrange for family, advisors and/or members to automatically receive duplicate statements. We can also send your accountant cost-basis information and year-end tax statements.

Can I see my account balance and transactions on the Internet?

Yes. Once your accounts have been set up, you can access them via our secured website.

Is my account guaranteed?

No. The value of your investments will fluctuate, and there is no way to insure against investment losses. The brokerages we use as custodians for your assets have insurance (known as “SIPC” coverage) to protect against the possible loss of securities by the brokerage which does not include market losses. The advisors of Blankinship & Foster, LLC are also covered by Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance.

It should be noted that Blankinship & Foster will never have possession of your money; you will never write a check made payable to Blankinship & Foster. When you open an account, you will always make the check payable to the custodian for your benefit. If you mistakenly write a check to us, we will not cash it and it will be returned to you.

What if I want to close my account? Will I have to pay a penalty?

Our investment management contract is open-ended, meaning you may discontinue using our services at any time. You would not have to pay us a penalty for cancellation, and any unearned fees would be refunded.

How do I pay you for your services?

Investment management fees are collected at the beginning of every calendar quarter. Our management fee is billed directly to the accounts so there is no need to write us a check each quarter.

Are the fees I pay your firm deductible on my tax return?

Depending upon the scope of our engagement, all or part of our fees may be deductible on your tax return. Please consult your tax advisor.

Is Blankinship & Foster affiliated with any other companies?

Blankinship and Foster is an independently owned company, and is not affiliated with any other company. As a result, we are not beholden to any other company’s interests or agendas, and are free to act in our client’s best interests. See our form ADV for more information.