Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why would I want others to manage my investments for a fee as opposed to managing them myself?

If you frequently ask yourself this question, then it's quite possible you should be managing your own investments.  With the advent of low-cost index funds and other similar investments, the informational barrier to entry for individual investors in the market is ever lower.  At Cascadia, we will honestly evaluate your personal financial situation and help determine if you would stand to gain from our management, or if you would do better investing on your own.  Here is a brief list of some of the reasons people seek Cascadia's management:

  • No strong interest in acquiring the requisite knowledge to choose appropriate investments, asset allocation, and funding vehicles.
  • No strong interest in staying up-to-date on market conditions and relevant information effecting one's investment portfolio, or to think and worry about one's wealth management on a day-to-day basis.
  • No desire to handle large amounts of paperwork, record keeping, and complex tax scenarios.

Additionally, inexperienced investors run a higher risk of inappropriately reacting to volatile market conditions. They might not know when to weather the storm versus exit the market, or how to best take advantage of market upswings. Good investment managers, having more knowledge of different patterns in the market, act as emotional guides to the instability of investing.  This type of emotional stability often translates into a higher return on a portfolio. No one, including professional investment managers, can make perfectly informed decisions in this regard, but knowledge and experience go a long way.

Cascadia only takes on clients that we truly believe will likely have better returns under our management than on their own or with higher-cost advisors.

2. How does Cascadia get paid? What does fee-only mean?

According to the SEC: “an adviser that accepts compensation from the sale to a client of securities has an incentive to base investment recommendations on the amount of compensation it will receive, rather than on the client’s best interests, and thus involves a significant conflict of interest . . . .”  As a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor, Cascadia strives to eliminate that conflict of interest described by the SEC. This means that we receive no commissions or other compensation contingent on a client’s purchase or sale of any security or financial product. Instead, clients pay us directly to work in their best interests. 

Each client’s written agreement with Cascadia specifies fees and terms.  Clients pay Cascadia a quarterly management fee. These fees are based on the market value of the client’s combined managed accounts at the end of each calendar quarter. Fees are adjusted to account for the timing of cash flows such as withdrawals or deposits.

To maximize client returns, Cascadia's management fees are below the industry norm.  Please contact us for additional details. 

[1] Amendments to Form ADV, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 3060 (July 28, 2010), Securities and Exchange Commission [http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/2010/ia-3060.pdf]

3. Do I have enough to retire? How much longer will I have to work?

These important questions can be a major source of stress for many of us, too often leading to our ignoring the problem rather than facing a potentially difficult situation.  At Cascadia, we can guide you to understanding and simplifying your retirement and all the moving parts that comprise it.  Through getting to know you and the details of your financial situation, we can create an Investment Plan that will project your retirement needs and determine if you are on track to meet them.  If you aren't on track towards your target retirement lifestyle, we can help determine what you need to do to live the retirement lifestyle you desire.  The creation and ongoing execution of your Investment Plan, as well as client care and communication, is what comprises our investment management services; otherwise, for those not interested in investment management, we are happy to create Investment Plans on a flat fee basis.

4. How would you invest my money?

There is no one right answer when it comes to investing.  Based on your goals and objectives and with your input, we will create an Investment Plan which guides our management of your assets.   Major factors shaping your Investment Plan include, but are not limited to: your risk tolerance, your liquidity needs, your lifestyle goals, your social/ethical preferences, market conditions, your investment time horizon, the tax treatment of the location of your assets, and estate planning concerns.  

5. What does 'CFA' mean?

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is a globally respected, graduate-level investment credential established in 1962 and awarded by the CFA Institute, the largest global association of investment professionals. More than 90,000 CFA charterholders are currently working in 135 countries. To earn the CFA charter, candidates must: 

1.    Pass three sequential, six-hour examinations.
2.    Have at least four years of qualified professional investment experience.
3.    Join CFA Institute as members.
4.    Commit to abide by, and annually reaffirm, their adherence to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and
Standards of Professional Conduct.

Passing the three CFA exams is a difficult feat that requires extensive study (successful candidates report spending an average of 300 hours of study per level). Earning the CFA charter demonstrates mastery of many of the advanced skills needed for investment analysis and decision-making in today’s quickly evolving global financial industry. As a result, employers and clients are increasingly seeking CFA Charterholders, often making the charter a prerequisite for employment.

The CFA Program curriculum provides a comprehensive framework of knowledge for investment decision-making and is firmly grounded in the knowledge and skills used every day in the investment profession. The three levels of the CFA Program test a proficiency with a wide range of fundamental and advanced investment topics, including ethical and professional standards, fixed-income and equity analysis, alternative and derivative investments, economics, financial reporting standards, portfolio management, and wealth planning.

The CFA Program curriculum is updated every year by experts from around the world to ensure that candidates learn the most relevant and practical new tools, ideas, and investment and wealth management skills to reflect the dynamic and complex nature of the profession.

To learn more about the CFA charter, visit www.CFAInstitute.org.

6. I've accumulated several brokerage accounts and still have three accounts at various work places. How can I understand what I own and what I should do with it?

It is quite common for those who have changed jobs/professions over the years to have accumulated several different personal and workplace investment accounts.  It can be difficult to know where these accounts are or how to access them. If you are in this situation, Cascadia can help.  We know that brokerage and workplace account statements can be hard to understand.  Our goal is to simplify and consolidate your accounts so that you have a clear understanding of your assets.  We will track down existing accounts, consolidate them into a simplified and single location, and work with you to understand what your objectives for the assets should be. Our investment management services include easy to understand quarterly reports that include all of your investments in one place.  

7. I just inherited some money and don't know what to do with it. Can you help me invest it safely?

We are experienced helping clients who have inherited money and feel a responsibility to preserve their inheritance and use it wisely.  We can help you invest your inheritance in a way that fits your goals.  All investments carry some degree of risk, even ones that are historically considered the safest.  If your priority is the preservation of capital and you are risk-averse, we will create an investment plan that fits your level of risk tolerance and strives to achieve the level of safety you desire.