Broker Check

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect from an initial consultation?

Initial meetings must be scheduled in advance, and usually take between 20 minutes to an hour, depending upon how much time you have to meet and how many questions you have. Follow up meetings can be as frequent as necessary to get your preliminary plan in place.

How often will I hear from you after I start working with you?

We recommend individual one-on-one reviews at least once per year, and we will be in touch about a month prior to this date to schedule your next review meeting. You can choose to schedule more frequent meetings (quarterly, semi-annually, etc), and you can always contact us with questions in between scheduled meetings. If there is ever anything we can assist with we are always happy to hear from you.

What happens if I lose my job?

If you leave employment you can keep your account with the school district, or can transfer your 403(b) account pre-tax to any other pre-tax account, whether it is another school district’s 403(b) plan, a private employer’s 401(k) plan, a governmental 457 plan, or a traditional IRA. If you remain in New York state, even if you are no longer employed by a public school district we can still continue to advise you on your investment accounts and conduct regular individual account reviews. And as your job situation changes we can adapt our planning strategies to continue addressing your financial goals over the future years.

How do you get paid?

One of the biggest questions that people have when meeting with a financial advisor (whether they vocalize it or not) is “what's in it for you?” or, more politely, “how are you compensated?” There are a number of ways that advisors get paid for the work that they do.

Frequently our compensation comes from commissions paid by the investment and insurance companies that you choose to work with, so our services come at no additional cost to you. Whenever we assist clients with investment or insurance products, we ensure all internal expenses are disclosed. We do our best to find you the plan that fits your goals while attempting to keep your costs to a minimum.

Sometimes clients need assistance only with planning or other services that don’t involve products with commissions. In those situations we can be retained on a fee for service basis based on the amount of work and time involved. When applicable, fee for service quotes will be provided in advance of commitment, following the initial free, no obligation consultation. In all cases, you will never be charged for any services that you have not been quoted and agreed to in advance.

For some clients, fee based asset management is the preferred option. Fee based asset management is a service provided through one of our Registered Investment Advisor options, where in place of commissions, a management fee is deducted from the assets being managed. In our service model, financial planning is included as part of the management program.

What makes you different from the person that spoke at my staff meeting/sits in my faculty room at lunch/put a flyer in my mailbox?

The difference lies in independence, comprehensive services and personal attention. Independence means we work for our clients, not a product vendor. Most information being delivered to schools comes directly from a product vendor or their representatives. You have a lot of choices in 403(b) plans, and wading through all of the details about plans on your school's list can be challenging and time-consuming. We can provide you with the information you need on all approved plans, without the potential conflict of interest or limitation of working for a product vendor.

Comprehensive Service relates to the broad spectrum of help we can provide our clients. As a school employee you may need specialized assistance with the NY State Retirement system and 403(b) savings, but at some point you will also need the help of a financial advisor that can assist you with broader financial planning issues such as tax planning, Insurance and Risk Management, Education Funding, Retirement Income plans, Long Term Care and Estate Planning and many other issues. With CLASS Advisors you have access to the knowledge and experience of our team of professionals who can help guide you through all personal finance issues. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. We custom tailor our services to individual needs to provide the right services at a good value.

Personal Attention is a core principal in our service model. We know that to serve you well, we must know you well. We seek client relationships that span decades and generations. We know that we can only earn that right by putting clients’ interest first, remaining accessible and having a business structure that will outlast us individually. Our Advisors are not employees, but owners in their share of our practice, so all of us truly work only for our clients. We want all of our clients to feel they have a friend in the business.

We also believe there is a better way to meet and attract new clients than we see being employed by many of the product vendor representatives that call on schools. You won’t find us staked out in your lobbies or break rooms. We feel that is intrusive to your hectic working days, and we respect your time. We work by appointment only, and will gladly arrange for visiting at a time that is best for you and in keeping with you schools policies.

Do you work for New York State?

Our advisors are independent consultants who are not employed by NYSTRS, NYSERS, or any public school district or TPA. With your authorization, we will work closely with your school district and your pension system to provide the most comprehensive service available, but ultimately we work directly for our clients and not an outside organization.