If your question isn't addressed below, don't hesitate to Contact Us and ask!
What does "tenon" mean?
It's a woodworking term. A "mortise and tenon" joint is of the simplest yet strongest ways to join together two pieces of wood. A tenon is a square or rectangular peg that fits snugly into a mortise, which is a mating square or rectangular hole.
Our firm was named after a tenon for a few reasons:
- like a woodworking project, a retirement plan does not necessarily need to be complex to be effective
- it symbolizes the joining together of the various parts of a financial plan
- it is a subtle nod to our founder's passion for woodworking
What's a fiduciary, and why does it matter?
A fiduciary is someone who acts on behalf of someone else and is required to always act ethically, in good faith and in the best interest of the other person. When someone else is giving you financial advice or managing your investments, you logically want them to be acting as a fiduciary for you...in your best interest.
However, not all financial advisors are required to act as fiduciaries. Currently, any advisor who is licensed to sell securities or insurance products is not required to act as a fiduciary when they are transacting a product sale. Instead, they are only required to make sure the product is "suitable" for you. Unfortunately, suitability is a much lower hurdle than having to be in your best interest.
Tenon Financial is legally required to act as a fiduciary at all times, which means we are ALWAYS required to act in YOUR best interest.
What does "fee-only" mean?
There are multiple ways a financial advisor can be compensated. Many earn commissions from products they sell. Often, that commission is not directly paid by the client but is instead paid by the company whose product the advisor sold.
"Fee-only" means the advisor is only allowed to be compensated directly from the client - not from commissions and not from any other similar sales or production incentives.
Any advisor who is licensed to sell securities or insurance cannot not be fee-only, even if they don't actively sell such products.
What's your philosophy on investment management?
We're not stock pickers. We don't believe it's possible to consistently beat the market by trying to pick individual securities. We also believe investment expenses matter...a lot.
Given these beliefs, we use a passive fee-conscious approach to investing.
- "Passive" means we don't try to pick specific stocks or bonds with the hopes they will outperform the overall market. Instead, we essentially invest in the whole market. We do this by using mutual funds or exchange traded funds which seek to mimic the returns of the market.
- "Fee-conscious" means try to invest only in products which have minimal expenses.
The value in our investing style is not trying to beat the market, since that's not possible to do with consistency. Instead, the value is ensuring your portfolio of diversified low-fee investments is appropriate for your long-term objectives, your near-term income needs and your overall comfort in taking investment risk.
Do you provide just investment management without the rest of the ongoing retirement planning service?
Sorry, but we don't offer investment management as a standalone service. As fiduciaries, we're required to always act in your best interest. We believe it's not possible to know what's in your best interest if we don't understand your whole financial picture. Therefore, unless we're involved in your broader ongoing financial planning, we cannot know what investment strategy is best for you and your situation.
How do you determine your annual fee?
Our fee is based on the complexity of your financial life and therefore the amount of resources necessary to serve you throughout the year. The fee will be mutually agreed upon prior to entering an engagement with us. As your life and financial circumstances change over time, your annual fee may increase or decrease.
How are fees paid?
Fees can be paid by check, credit card or ACH. Furthermore, if we manage your assets, fees can be deducted directly from your investment accounts.