Blog Launch of Arch Financial Planning, LLC

A New Kind of Financial Planning is Here

Welcome to the official blog launch of Arch Financial Planning, LLC “AFP,” a fee-only firm specializing in early career dentists and physicians with student loans. I am thrilled to share my passion for bringing real financial planning to these under-served communities. 

Traditional wealth management firms focus on selling their investment expertise and pushing expensive insurance products. I set out to change that. 

Personal finance and investing are taught as a math-based field in academia. Therefore, most advisors think that’s how they have to interact with clients. AFP believes that each client deserves advice beyond the numbers. 

AFP will practice real financial planning by gaining a deeper understanding of each person’s ‘why.’  

Not All Advisors Are Created Equal

When you visit most financial advisor websites, it’s challenging to differentiate between them. For example, most advisor websites have a lighthouse or a picture of a couple walking on the beach as their featured image. Their websites say that they work with “individuals, families, executives, and women.”

They are generalists, push unnecessary insurance products, and don’t specialize. Therefore, I’ve decided to build a better experience for my clients by specializing in their specific needs. 

Many other ‘advisors’ engage with you primarily to sell life insurance or annuity products. These recommendations may not be in your best interest, and the advisor is incentivized to make this recommendation because they earn a huge commission. 

As a fee-only financial planner, I do not accept commissions when insurance products are purchased, and my clients only pay me. I offer objective advice to our clients and minimize conflicts of interest. 

I want to help evolve the public’s perception of financial advisors and financial planners through AFP. Real financial planners are different and specialize in the clients they serve. 

Why is Your Niche So Specific?

While many physicians specialize, the same is not true for advisors. Most advisors are the equivalent of general practitioners and should refer to the specialists list physicians do. Unfortunately, that’s seldom the case. 

While general practitioners are critically important, many AFP clients carry student loan balances and need complex repayment strategies. AFP works with dentists looking to start their practice. Many advisors specializing in dentists would focus on older dentists selling their practice because they come with assets to manage. 

AFP also works with physicians employed by a 501(c)3 hospital system, which commonly pursue public service loan forgiveness on their student loans. The average advisor trying to serve retirees has no formal education in helping the physician achieve this type of loan forgiveness. 

AFP will have a deep understanding of the needs of its clients. Our expertise is in you. 

What Makes Arch Financial Planning Different?

The AFP service model is designed for early-career dentists and physicians with student loans. Our ideal client will be less than 15 years from graduation from their dental or medical school program. 

With early career dentists and physicians, additional education is necessary to advise on your student loans. Few advisors (less than 1%) are genuinely qualified to advise on your student loans. AFP advisors will have the additional education and knowledge to advise on student loans properly.

I also have a service model for pre-retirees and recently retired couples. I’ve served this type of client well my entire career and want a service model for my early career clients to transition into their retirement. However, this will not be the focus of our efforts to grow.

What Are Your Qualifications?

As a CFP® Professional and Certified Student Loan Professional, I hold credentials to the highest standards possible to serve early career dentists and physicians with student loans. 

The CFP® education is the gold standard for financial planning. Without these marks, you can’t be sure your advisor is qualified. Without these marks, the advisor is likely missing core competencies to serve you well. 

I also hold the Certified Student Loan Professional designation, the only formally recognized credential by FINRA, a regulatory authority for financial advisors that provides education on student loans. 

How Does This Compare to Medical Professionals?

The barrier to entry to become a financial advisor is embarrassingly low. For context, AFP clients usually obtain an MD, DMD, or DDS, have years of training after school, and have to pass rigorous exams.

In the financial planning industry, we don’t have the same barrier to entry. While industry exams are necessary to pass, they don’t require much formal education. To supplement their education, some advisors are pursuing CFP® marks.

Coming out of a CFP® professional program allows many advisors to act as general practitioners. Like our doctors who specialize, I have decided to obtain further training by obtaining the CSLP credentials. 

Who is Not a Good Fit

AFP is not for you if you’re looking for an advisor that focuses on active management in your portfolio. Based on academic evidence, I don’t actively trade individual stocks or subscribe to what the latest talking head is saying on CNBC. Both of these tend to lead you towards losing investment strategies.

AFP is not a good fit if you’re looking for something short-term and then moving on. The AFP service model and value proposition are designed for long-term relationships with clients. I offer stand-alone planning for student loans but only if capacity allows.

How it Works

The AFP financial planning process starts with a meeting to assess a mutual fit. I want to understand what you’re looking for and discuss how the AFP planning process can help. 

Next, we will conduct a ‘discovery meeting’, where AFP learns more about you and your goals. I want to diagnose before I can prescribe. 

After clarifying all goals and objectives, reviewing your financial picture, and building a plan, we will meet to discuss implementing your plan. After the meeting, we will tackle your top 1-2 pain points and move on to the remaining recommendations. 

While implementing and monitoring your financial plan, it’s important to remember that every plan may not go exactly according to plan. Life will bring plenty of twists, both good and bad. The value of a relationship with AFP is that I will be there to guide you and your family through the good and bad. 

Investment Strategy 

I believe your investment strategy shouldn’t be based on what the latest talking heads on CNBC say you should be doing. They don’t know you or your goals. In addition, the financial news media is notorious for poorly trying to time the market with their recommendations.

I design and implement portfolios based on academic research and Nobel Prize-winning research. AFP manages portfolios based on academic research using globally diversified low-cost ETFs and mutual funds. 

I seek to capture market returns but tilt our portfolios towards small, value, and more profitable companies. Academic research shows that over long periods of time, this can outperform the underlying index. 

I will share more details about this in another post. 

Do I Invest The Same Way?

Many advisors don’t invest in what they’re recommending to their clients. They are limited to model portfolios designed by a chief investment officer and have to stay within strict limits due to their firm’s compliance programs. 

Bottom Line: They don’t practice what they preach. 

My portfolio follows the same strategy I recommend to my clients. While I may hold a different target to bonds than you, I practice what I preach. 

How To Sign Up 

If you want to sign up, you can click the link below. The link below will lead you to a brief questionnaire followed by the ability to schedule an introductory call. 

If you’re still curious, you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our services at: 

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