Frequently Asked
Questions

Our annual fee formula is $7,500 plus 0.50% of all investment assets, payable quarterly. There is no minimum investment size.

You can learn about our client profiles and requirements here.

Learn more about what “fee-only” means here.

In order to offer truly comprehensive financial planning and management, our services are not available on an hourly basis.

There are many interrelated issues that can impact a financial solution. To ensure we are providing the best and most complete level of service, we do not offer a la carte financial planning.

To ensure we are providing comprehensive financial planning, we consider and make recommendations on your entire investment portfolio regardless of where it is held or who is managing it. We include all of your investments in our annual fee.

Yes. We see the client’s immediate family as frequently being an integral part of a comprehensive plan, so we welcome meetings with other family members at our clients’ discretion.

This is the case for most new clients. We are happy to go through your financial records and get you organized – regardless of the current state of the information.

We meet with each of our clients every quarter in order to review their entire financial situation. In addition, we are always available to meet with clients about any issues that might arise between those meetings, at no additional charge.

We work with clients across the country and communicate regularly via video conferencing, phone meetings, or visits in their home or office.

We will be happy to provide you with existing client references (with similar situations to yours, if possible) after we have an introductory meeting with you.

We follow a team approach at Stepp & Rothwell, Inc. so that there are several professionals familiar with each client’s situation. One of our Planners handles the day-to-day relationship with each client and our Principals – Kathy Stepp, Howard Rothwell, Ken Eaton, Amy Guerich, and Larissa Grantham – are always available as needed. All of our client meetings are conducted by some combination of the Principals and the client’s Planner, based on the needs of the client at the time of the meeting.

We welcome a working relationship with our clients’ existing advisors. At a client’s request, we can provide referrals for new accountants, attorneys, or other professionals.

No. We do not prepare income tax returns; however, throughout the year we do focus on optimizing taxes for the current year and future years, and we review every tax return after it has been filed to determine whether any changes need to be made. We also provide estate planning analysis and advice so that our clients have a clear understanding of the estate plan they establish with their attorney.

Our fee is no longer deductible as a Miscellaneous Itemized Deduction, but part of the fee may be deductible as a business expense for self-employed clients.

We use the discount brokerage firm Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., as the custodian for our clients’ accounts for which we have discretionary management authority. We have worked with Schwab for over 25 years and believe that it provides the highest level of service in the industry, both to us and to our clients. Our clients establish accounts in their own name at Schwab and give us the authorization to carry out transactions in those accounts on a discretionary basis. At no time do we take custody of any client assets. The only thing of material value that we receive in return from Schwab for using it as the custodian of our clients’ assets is software that allows us to access our clients’ data and to manage portfolio accounting.

We are better able to manage our clients’ investments and to make investment recommendations when we have up-to-date information about our clients’ accounts, which we are able to get by having the assets custodied at Schwab. It is not a requirement that the client’s assets be moved to Schwab, however. It is also not a requirement that all of the investment assets be sold and converted to cash before we manage them. We work with the existing investments and determine if and when investments should be sold over time in order to accomplish our recommended investment strategy. In some cases, proprietary assets cannot be transferred to a discount brokerage account, so they must be sold before transfer.

CFP: “Certified Financial Planner.” Individuals who are certified by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and maintain the renewal requirements are allowed to use the designation “CFP.” You can read about the CFP Board requirements here.

CPA: “Certified Public Accountant.” Individuals who meet the requirements of their state Board of Accountancy, which include passing the Uniform CPA Exam, are allowed to use the designation “CPA.” The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) provides detailed information about licensing.

CFA: “Chartered Financial Analyst.” Individuals who have completed the CFA Institute’s CFA Program, including the CFA Exam, are allowed to use the designation “CFA.” You can read more about the CFA designation here.

Firms that provide investment advice must be registered as Investment Advisors with their state securities department or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Given its size, Stepp & Rothwell, Inc. is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and information about us is available on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website. Additional required disclosure information is provided to all prospective clients at our introductory meeting.

*Please Note: The scope of any financial planning and consulting services to be provided depends upon the request and needs of the client. Stepp & Rothwell, Inc. does not serve as an attorney, accountant, or insurance agent. Stepp & Rothwell, Inc. does not prepare estate planning documents or tax returns, nor does it sell insurance products.