SMS Financial

Do I Need a Financial Planner?

If you earn, spend, save, invest, own, manage, marry, share ownership, buy, sell, give, protect, inherit or retire, you need a financial planner. Only the simplest situations can be navigated without access to professional advice. Over and over, we see clients who make serious financial mistakes that are a result of ignorance and inexperience. The twenty-first century is very complicated; many financial decisions are “counter-indicated”, that is, seen independently you made the right decision, but in light of other external facts and your personal situation, what you did (or contemplate) is the wrong decision. 

Everyone’s finances are planned, some by inaction, lack of concern, or by failure to overcome obstacles to one’s goals.   Hiring a professional financial planner means a systematic commitment to getting your financial affairs in order, acknowledging what you really want and strategies to get there.

Financial planning is a multi-stage process that can be as complex as the client needs. First, the planner takes information about the client’s current and projected financial situation, including demands on resources and goals for the future. Next, the planner evaluates all financial resources available to the client, including earned income, investments, business sales, or inheritances. Last, the planner works with the client to maximize the client’s ability to use the resources to meet the needs, often through tools such as budgeting, asset allocation, and tax alternative scenarios.

No one advisor, no matter how bright or well educated will know everything to execute a comprehensive financial plan. However, we know how to ask you the right questions and how to get expert advice for the strategies that we recommend. We will work to improve the quality of your life and your peace of mind by helping in the following area:

  • Organization: you will have a set of financial statements including a list of all assets and liabilities, as well as a cash flow analysis (budget);
  • Prioritization: of your dreams, goals and aspirations so that you know what you want, how much it will cost, when it will be available and what, if any tradeoffs you will have to make to achieve your most important goals.
  • Motivation: simply put, most of us need a buddy to hold our hand and to be a cheerleader. You may be emotional about your money; scared of investing or doing the wrong thing; or you may just need someone to bounce ideas off of. A SMS Financial we are your advocate and will give you experienced, knowledgeable advice.
  • Implementation: now that you know your financial goals, what is the best way to achieve them? A financial planner will show you the options.

The financial planning process has six steps:

  1. establishing the planner/client relationship;
  2. data and establishing goals;
  3. analyzing and evaluating the clients current situation and options;
  4. developing recommendations and alternatives;
  5. presenting those recommendations and implementing the ones the client selects;
  6. Finally, monitoring the client’s situation on a ongoing basis.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. web site has “10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner&rdquo inside their "Consumer Guide to Financial Planning";. Here are our answers to these questions:

What experience do you have?
What are your qualifications?

  • A complete professional profile for each associate can be found at “Team”
  • Sharen M. Stoner, ChFC, CLU, CFP® has over 40 years of experience. She has been a financial advisor since 1975 and a financial planner since 1986.
  • Jerry Schiff, CPA has 40 years of experience. He has completed hundreds of tax returns and financial plans.
  • James Stoner Holk, CFA, CFP®, portfolio manager, has 11 years of finance experience. He has completed his Master of Financial Analysis degree from USF and has the Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner designations.

Each associate stays current with his or her areas of expertise through continuing education, trade journals, and lessons learned through practice.

What services do you offer?

We offer financial planning and investment management. Jerry also offers tax preparation and planning.

What is your approach to financial planning?

We provide both comprehensive financial planning and financial consulting. Our only restriction on type of client is that they must be nice. Our investment approach is balanced: we recognize that too conservative of an approach will result in falling behind in inflation while overly aggressive investing results in too much volatility and the risk of intolerable loss of capital.

Will only one person be working with me?

You will have a primary relationship with one associate, but the resources of the whole team will be available to each client.

How will I pay for your services?

At the time of the engagement, we will give you a clear statement of our estimate of fees in writing. This fee is dependent on the services provided.

Financial planning can be charged as a flat fee or on a per hour basis. Investment Management is charged as a percentage of assets and are approximately 1% of assets under management. These fees are paid quarterly, in advance, based on the value of the account on the last day of the previous quarter. Fees are paid by direct withdrawal of cash from the client’s account by the custodian to SMS Financial LLC.

How much do you typically charge?

  • We charge either by the hour or by a flat fee for financial planning.  We do not disclose fees over the internet due to differences in customer circumstances; but in the initial consultation, without fee or obligation, we will give you a quote.
  • Our asset management fee is based on assets under management, and fees vary with the size of the account.

Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations?

No, we accept no fees, gifts, commissions or incentive payments from anyone except our clients.

Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?

No, none of the associates of SMS Financial have ever been disciplined for any unlawful or unethical action.

Can I have it in writing?

Yes, you will be provided with full disclosure of all information in writing, of all of the above information.


The SMS Financial LLC site has been designed for informational purposes only. We reserve the right to make modifications at any time, without notice. No information contained on the site constitutes investment advice. Your use of this information does not constitute a client relationship. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The information provided is in no way intended as an offering or a solicitation of a security which may be referenced in the site. It is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any jurisdiction where such use would be contrary to law or regulation, or which would subject SMS Financial LLC to any registration requirement with such jurisdiction. SMS Financial LLC is not offering services in states were we are not properly registered. Please call for the most current information on such registration.

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