But, as a financial advisor and founder of Hopewell Junction-based Mountain Pass Planning, DeVico offers transparency. He makes sure every client knows exactly what they’re paying and why. He takes it a step further using a “holistic approach” to financial planning and employs a flat fee for financial planning and asset management—an uncommon approach in his industry.
As DeVico notes, most advisors charge a percentage of their client’s assets being managed. So, say an advisor’s rate is one percent, the annual fee to manage $500,000 worth of a client’s assets would be $5,000, or $10,000 to manage a $1 million account.
- Photo Courtesy of James DeVico/Mountain Pass Planning
“If individuals really took a close look at all the fees they are paying, they’d be shocked. It’s usually an eye-opening experience,” says DeVico, who always asks, “Should one pay more fees just because they have more money? Imagine the amount of fees paid over 30 or more years—it’s crazy.”
Mountain Pass tackles that “disconnect” DeVico saw in the industry: “I need to be comfortable and up front with what people pay me, and I always want them to feel they’re getting good value,” he says. “More importantly, a flat fee provides an environment for more objective advice and greater emphasis on the client (not just his or her portfolio).”
Finding the right person to guide you on your financial journey can be overwhelming, but DeVico says he offers the same advice to any family member or friend: “Look for someone who puts you first, wants to understand your goals and help strategize with you to get there.”
“You want to find an advisor who wants to be in the trenches with you, who’s going to walk alongside you through your life and financial decisions and really operate at the intersection of your life and your money,” DeVico says. “A lot of advisors look at clients as portfolios because they’re focused on the money or the retirement account. But the portfolio is not the client; it’s the person. After all, it’s about your life, not just your money.”