FAQs for Advisors
How long does it take before I can be up and running?
The Garrett Planning Network offers a turn-key solution to get your practice up and running. Depending on the degree of your financial planning experience and the length of time it takes you to register with your state, it is possible to begin seeing clients within about 3 months of becoming a Garrett member.
How long does it take to become fully operational?
Again, this depends on your financial planning experience. It also depends on your ability to glean from our marketing coaching, practice management support and utilization of all resources the Garrett Planning Network has to offer. Like any new business your 1st and 2nd years will be the toughest. We have found that most of our members are at or near capacity in their 4th or 5th years.
What should I expect as my 1st year’s start-up budget?
There are many variables involved but new planners should expect to spend from $5,000 to $15,000 (approximately 65% of our current members spent less than $15,000) in addition to the Garrett initial enrollment fee. A more detailed budget can be obtained through Garrett’s Manager of Operations, Justin Nichols, at Justin@GarrettPlanning.com.
Once I open my planning business can I write off the Garrett membership fee as a start-up expense?
The first $5,000 of start-up expenses (computers, software, office supplies, etc.) can be written off in the year in which you open your business and the balance of your start-up expenses must be amortized over 15 years. We believe the IRS would treat our membership fee as a licensure fee, therefore 100% of the membership fee must be amortized over 15 years. The amortization is actually computed on a monthly basis, so you may write off 1/180th of the expense each month.
Do most Garrett advisors pay for office space or is it possible to work out of a home office?
Most Garrett members pay for some type of office space. Quite a number of Garrett members do their “behind the scenes” work from home, but meet clients in an alternate office setting. For example, office sharing arrangements and leasing executive suites by the hour are becoming more popular within our membership. However, there are many Garrett members who work from their home and also see clients in their home.
I have passed the comprehensive CFP® certification exam but I still need to fulfill the work experience requirement before I can use the certification. If I am accepted as a member of the Garrett Planning Network how will I obtain certification?
By following the CFP® requirement guidelines found at www.cfp.net.
Do I need to have the CFP® designation to become a member of the Garrett Network?
Effective January 1, 2007, the Garrett Planning Network formally instituted a policy requiring all new applicants to have or obtain their CFP® certification within five years of opening their business.
What do I do with all of my licenses, i.e. Series 6, 7, 63, etc.?
Due to the fact that Garrett advisors do not accept any commissions, these licenses to sell will be unnecessary. Depending on your certification(s) and the state(s) you will be practicing in, you may need to take and pass the Series 65 exam.
What geographic restrictions would be imposed on me if I become a Garrett advisor? Am I limited to working only with residents of my state or am I able to deal with clients in other states as well?
Garrett headquarters does not impose any restrictions like this. You would most likely be registered only in your home state initially and you would have to operate within the de minimus rules set forth by other states. Each state has its own de minimus rules which detail how many of its residents you can work with before you have to register with the state. A handful of states require that you register with the state to work with even one of its residents.
Fee-Only, Hourly Financial Planning
Who does the implementation of Garrett members’ financial planning recommendations, the advisor or the client?
This depends on your client’s preference and your preference. If your client is willing to pay your hourly rate for you to help them implement your financial planning recommendations, then you may certainly do so. If your client wishes to utilize your specific advice and recommendations to implement these things on their own (e.g. make investment trades, obtain appropriate insurance coverage, contact an estate planning attorney, etc.), they may do that as well.
What if I run into client subject matter that I feel is not my area of expertise?
If you feel that you are the best fit for the majority of a client’s needs, by all means work with them and utilize the talent and knowledge of the Network to get specific coaching and direction in the specific area of question. Our private intranet community and discussion boards will help you through those other areas of financial planning. In other words, “You may be self-employed, but you are not alone.” If you feel as though a particular client’s needs are outside your expertise, you should always inform the prospective client of this. In the future you may feel competent in handling more complex cases.
One of the reasons I am interested in Garrett membership is because I want to be a financial planner who gives objective advice without selling any products. I do not wish to be a sales person, but I realize that I will need to promote my practice in order to secure engagements. Will Garrett help me with sales?
The Garrett model will certainly help you understand why Fee-Only, hourly advice is a great solution for the client and we will teach you how to effectively communicate this message to your prospective clients. The Garrett Planning Network will coach you on several specific methods to enable you to market yourself properly through the Network so clients come to you.
Is it possible to begin doing Fee-Only planning on a part-time basis?
Yes. When a planner chooses to open their own Fee-Only, hourly practice, the calendar tends to dictate their schedule. We have had a good number of Garrett members either begin part-time or continue part-time for various life/work/family reasons.
Next Steps to Learn More
What is the best way to begin learning more about the benefits of becoming a Garrett member?
Some of the best ways to learn more about the Garrett Planning Network are:
- Peruse both the Public and Media areas of our website: http://www.garrettplanningnetwork.com
- Review the Features & Benefits page in the Financial Advisors are of our site: http://garrettplanningnetwork.com/features-and-benefits/
- Attend a virtual meeting with Sheryl Garrett and Justin Nichols