1207 S. White Chapel Blvd. Suite 150
Southlake, TX 76092

P 817-416-7300
F 817-416-7307

FAQ

What is wealth management?

We believe wealth management is the integration of investments, protection planning, and strategy design. A client’s plan must be coordinated at all levels throughout the client’s lifetime and his or her family’s multi­generational time horizon. We believe that, done properly, our planning process can maximize your accumulation of wealth and solve problems before they occur.

What type of client do you specialize in?

The majority of our clients are leaders and their families who have complex financial affairs and understand the value of delegating to top professionals. These people usually engage us to help provide a plan as the result of a life event. The advice we give to a middle-age leader at a transition or exit is a lot different than advice we give to a retiree. The younger our clients, the more long-term impact we can have.

What is your investment approach?

The Core+ Investment process combines two proven investment methodologies: a low-cost, broadly diversified global core portfolio and, when risk and return justify leaving the safety of the core portfolio, private, opportunistic satellite investment opportunities.

Are you a DFA-Approved advisor?

Yes, we have been DFA approved since 2012.

What is your portfolio methodology?

Our CORE+ Investment process uses evidence-based index funds to capture the returns the markets give us. We lower total cost and tilt portfolios to the five factors that academics have repeatedly demonstrated add returns for the risk taken.

What should I expect from my first visit with you?

During the initial meeting, we and a prospective client determine if we are a good fit for each other. Can we add value? Do you have problems we can solve? Are we a cost-effective option for you and your family? These are the sort of issues we address.

These complimentary meetings usually last 45 minutes to one hour. By the end of the initial meeting, the client–planner relationship is established and we outline the next steps, if there are any, as well as the cost and timeline.

How long does the process take?

Our planning process typically takes around 3–4 weeks, depending on the client's level of involvement in completing paperwork.

What steps do you take in creating the financial plan?

After the relationship is established, the MWA team will begin to collect all of your financial documents, including but not limited to recent pay stubs, federal and state income tax returns for the previous two years, employee benefit statements, social security benefit statements, values of titled personal assets, most recent investment statements, most recent mortgage statements, current wills/trust documents, insurance policies and statements for life/disability/long­term care/property and casualty, annuity statements, and bank statements for the previous three months. We will review each document and use the information you provide to create your custom financial plan, which will be centered on your goals. Based on this information, MWA will make preliminary recommendations to co­create a plan that meets your resources and objectives.

Do you feel MWA’s solutions are better than just buying an index fund?

Vanguard research suggests that financial advisors add more than 3% per year to an account. At MWA, we believe good advice is worth many multiples of the cost. Studies show that when people invest on their own, they tend to make mistakes. At MWA, our goal is to give you prudent advice with strategies tailored to your personal situation.

What is the overall philosophy that guides your company?

First and foremost, our philosophy is to act in the best interests of our clients. Yes, we realize that most financial firms say this, but how many actually structure their organization in a manner that allows them to provide unbiased recommendations? At Mills Wealth Advisors, we do two things that enable us to maintain this focus. First, we remove brokerage commissions and other broker incentives from the equation. Second, we actively seek unique investment opportunities that other firms may not give you access to.

I’m not in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area can you still be my advisor?

Absolutely. Because of our military heritage, we service clients all over the US and Europe. We have invested in technology that allows us to conduct effective remote meetings. We do a fair amount of traveling and could likely meet with you when we are in your area.

How do you meet with your out of town clients?

About 20% of our clients live outside the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Through technology, we have the ability to literally work with clients anywhere in the world. To help facilitate personal interaction, we engage face-to-face meetings, whether in person or through screen-sharing technology. We also make it a point to meet quarterly, semiannually, or annually, depending on client objectives and service requirements. These reviews allow us to keep financial plans up to date and to maintain an exceptional client experience.

How does Mills Wealth Advisors charge for its services?

Mills Wealth Advisors is a fee-based firm. We typically base fees on a percentage of clients’ overall assets that we manage, but occasionally, if it seems logical for the issue at hand, we set up a flat annual retainer or charge hourly. Our fees are accessed on a sliding scale — as portfolio value increases, the corresponding fee decreases.

Because we prefer to charge fees on assets managed or a retainer, the cost clock is never ticking and we are always on an annual retainer should you have a financial question. If hired, we want to be the quarterback of your financial affairs and expect to be involved in any of you or your family’s future major financial decisions.

What is the cost to meet with an advisor?

Nothing; the initial consultation is free. This allows all involved to determine if our approach is the most efficient and cost-effective long-term solution.

We have a variety of possible client engagements, and, after the end of the first meeting, we will present a recommended engagement letter and appropriate fee for your given circumstances. MWA’s financial planning engagement costs can vary based on the complexity and time involved, but most cost between $500 and $2500. When hourly fees apply, our bill rates range between $125 and $250 per hour, depending on the scope and professionals involved.

Why is a fee based planner better than a commission based planner?

How Mills Wealth Advisors is paid is not as important as ensuring that we provide unbiased advice to best position clients to accomplish their goals. That said, commission-based planners often face more perceived conflicts of interest and have far fewer product choices. By operating in a flat fee-based environment with full disclosure, MWA is free to recommend investment vehicles that we feel are best suited to a client’s situation. It also means we are able to seek any investment, public or private. Many private investment opportunities, such as private equity and real estate, are typically avoided by most investment firms, even though they have been one of the most successful investment areas because their broker–dealer does not allow advisors to be compensated.

What other services do I receive with the advisory fee?

We provide quarterly performance reports, portfolio monitoring, portfolio rebalancing, account reporting, secure account access, updates to your financial plan, and on­call support anytime you need help or have questions.

Are the transaction costs included in the annual fee?

No, transaction fees charged by custodians are in addition to the MWA quarterly fees and any charges issued by the funds or investments you may own. MWA goes to great lengths to minimize all fees and costs, especially transaction fees. We have accounts of different sizes that offer fewer transaction costs and even portfolios made up of no-transaction-cost ETFs for dollar cost averaging and smaller accounts. Transaction fees are negligible in most accounts.

How and when do you charge the fees?

For most assets that are under discretionary management and are not covered in a separate billing agreement, we charge fees in advance at the beginning of each quarter. We automatically debit fees from the account to which the management fee was earned per a client’s written instruction.

Do you receive soft dollars or other types of fees that could harm your independence?

All of our fees are billed transparently to clients and are listed in our ADV II document. On the investment side, we receive compensation through management fees, financial planning fees, and, in limited situations, performance fees, as outlined in a separate management agreement.

On the insurance side of our business, we utilize brokers so that we attain the broadest access to the best products. Life disability and long-term care pay us through commissions. Commissions make up less than 10% of our total revenue. We choose to continue to offer term insurance, disability, and long-term care because we have deep personal experience in this area. We believe strongly that much conflict can be removed if money is managed and insurance is provided in a fiduciary capacity. Insurance commissions are often less over time than assets under management fees. In addition, we have found that by directly offering insurance, we can give our clients better pricing and a much better client experience than advisors who only outsource insurance.

What if I'm dissatisfied with your services?

We bill accounts in advance, but if you are dissatisfied with our services at any point, please notify us to terminate the relationship. We only charge for the time in which we manage money, and our clients are free to leave at any time.

Should I pay off my house or invest the funds?

This varies for each client, depending on individual situations. We feel that risk, expected return, stage of life, and prioritization of goals can all impact this important decision. The key factors you need to consider are your current mortgage rate, your tax bracket, and your risk level in the market. Only after careful consideration of these factors will you be able to make an informed decision.

Who needs an estate plan?

Everyone needs an estate plan. A proper estate plan will ensure that your wishes are executed, whether through a simple will or a complex trust. MWA and our team of professionals will make sure that your family is taken care of.

How much do I need to save for college?

As with most answers in financial planning, it depends, but here are a few rules of thumb to consider. Currently, most public schools cost around $25,000 per year, and private schools cost around $50,000 per year. The cost of college is rising faster than the cost of inflation. Most likely you are currently paying regular childcare costs, so you probably won’t need 100% of this figure. Additionally, many parents find that students perform better if they share in paying for their education. Most clients try to save 33–75% of the cost of college before their kids enter college, often in a 529 or education account. Remember that a UGMA account is your child’s asset and will hurt financial aid formulas. No matter your goals, MWA can help you create a plan that will work for you.

How much insurance do I need and what kind?

Having the right insurance is one key to a healthy financial plan. As part of our financial planning process, we will evaluate and make recommendations based on your individual situation.

Can I retire?

This depends on your individual circumstances. We would be happy to answer this question with a customized financial plan in which we will project what income requirements are necessary to meet your retirement needs.

What should I do with my 401k left at a previous employer?

At MWA, we are proponents of consolidating, whether it be to your new employer’s 401k plan or to a rollover IRA. However, it is best to evaluate the pros and cons to see what fits your circumstances.

Do you offer 401k retirement plan design to businesses?

Yes, we currently offer a fiduciary-based retirement plan design and implementation for businesses. Your business can hire us as a co-trustee and completely outsource your 401k and much of your 401k liability. We believe the 401k industry needs the advice we provide our individual clients. If you have not benchmarked your company’s 401k plan, please contact us and let us show you how we can help.