Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on Jul 13, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the importance of working with a certified financial planner vs. someone else?


The term “financial planner” is used by many financial professionals. You should ask any planner what qualifies him or her to offer financial planning advice.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ must have passed a rigorous CFP certification process that includes significant education and experience requirements, as well as pass a comprehensive exam that tests their personal financial planning knowledge and skills.

Additionally, CFP registrants must meet regular continuing education requirements (30 hours/2 years) and ethics requirements. You may visit to check whether your financial planner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.

Both Jill Powers and Steve Hess are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS.™


My money is in a 401k, so I don’t incur any costs for my account – right?  Why would I pay Trilogy Wealth Advisors to manage this money when I retire?

Every investment product has some sort of investment management cost associated with it – even so-called “no load” mutual funds inside retirement plans. These management fees vary widely and can range from a few basis points (fractions of a percent) to nearly 2 percent per year. This management fee is deducted from your account’s return every year. You don’t see it, but you do pay it by a reduction in return.

When Trilogy Wealth Advisors manages money for a fee based on the asset value, we use low-cost index funds called Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs. These are very low cost index funds that have internal management fees ranging from as low as 0.09% to 0.60%. The average cost is about 0.30%. When we add our fee for managing qualified retirement plan money, the total cost is often very competitive when compared to the rate currently paid inside a typical 401k plan.

We feel that the value of our full financial planning and investment advice is a valuable and worthwhile option – especially when you can get it for a price similar to what you now pay to self-direct your 401k. Why not get professional help with the investment that, next to your home, is probably the largest financial asset you own?


How is my account protected against fraud and theft?


As a part of our wealth planning services, Trilogy Wealth Advisors directs the placement of customer investment assets, however, we do not actually CUSTODY, or hold, those investment dollars. Your assets are invested in one of two places – either at a CLEARING FIRM (Schwab or Pershing) or directly with the FUND COMPANY (Templeton, Pacific Life, Putnam, etc.) Each of these entities insures client accounts against employee fraud or theft. In addition, Trilogy Wealth Advisors and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. carry similar insurance to protect customers against fraud or theft. Additionally, every account is protected by SIPC for up to $500,000 ($100,000 cash) in the event of broker/dealer insolvency. As you know, none of these policies insure your account against market fluctuation or loss.

Every employee of Trilogy Wealth Advisors and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. who has access to customer funds has been fingerprinted and had a complete FBI background check, per industry regulations. Every time a change in your client data (for example: address, investment objective, occupation) is made, this change should be reported to your financial advisor for documentation. This change will generate a regulatory-required letter stating that the change has been made to your account. This helps protect you in two ways: in the event of unauthorized changes to your client account, you will receive written notice to alert you, and if a key-stroke error or typo has created an input error, you will also have the opportunity to correct your account. If no such changes occur, you will receive a letter every 3 years just to verify that the information on file is still accurate.

For more tips on avoiding investment-related fraud, go to the FINRA Investor Information Center.


How does Trilogy Wealth Advisors charge for their services?


Trilogy Wealth Advisors is a fee-based financial services provider. “Fee-based” means that we can charge either fees or commissions for the work we do, based on the needs of each client we serve. You can click on our Client Services Menu for more details.