What Does Independence Mean to You?

Beth Misak |

By Paul Hynes, CFP®
July 2021

This July, many of us are celebrating not only our nation’s independence, but our own. As we observe America’s birthday, we might also be reveling in face-to-face gatherings and greater freedom of movement.

At HearthStone, we cherish our independence as an investment advisor every day of the year. Our independence frees us from corporate agendas, sales culture, and conflicted compensation. We feel our independence is very meaningful for both us and those we serve. So, let’s explore what being an independent investment advisor means.

It means that our financial guidance is objective. It’s centered on clients. Our advice and recommendations are solely in the client’s best interest; we put their interests ahead of our own. Clients can rest comfortably knowing that they are our number one priority.

It means that we are open and clear about how we’re compensated. We have a written agreement stating this. It defines our responsibilities, what we plan to do, and how we’ll get paid. It’s that simple. And, the way we get paid, as a percentage of assets we manage, means that when portfolios do better, we do better. Likewise, when portfolios go down, we feel the pain.

It means that we’re free to choose from among the best providers on clients’ behalf. For example, we’ve chosen Charles Schwab to hold and safeguard assets. We choose investment providers, such as Dimensional, Vanguard, and others to help us manage money. In every case, we use diligence and care to select what we feel is the best for clients. Then, we keep our eyes on things to ensure that they are doing so—making changes as we deem necessary.

2021 marks the 15th anniversary of “freedom” for Wendy Wildey and me, since we departed from a major Wall Street financial institution. Since that time, our commitment to freedom and transparency for all of our clients and colleagues has only grown stronger.

We would welcome hearing from you what your current thoughts are about freedom and independence. Talk with us. We’re here to help. Until then, enjoy a safe and happy Independence Day.