Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this FAQ list can help answer many of the questions that we have heard from prospective clients while evaluating our firm to determine if Kraus Capital Management is the right fit for your needs.

How are you different from other financial planners?

  • Individual attention
  • Personalized planning
  • Safer money management
  • Reduced stress
  • Continuous planning
  • Structure for your life, investments, Insurance, Legal and Tax

What sets us apart is our personalized approach and frequent communication. We’ll take the time to understand your unique financial goals and design a tailored plan, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all strategy. Our firm is also independent and a fiduciary, which means we only exist to serve our clients with unbiased advice that’s always focused on their best interest.

At Kraus Capital, we provide you the convenience of one-stop to deliver coordinated retirement income planning focused on investment management, tax planning, financial planning, insurance & estate planning to include gifting and charitable giving strategies, ultimately providing you a household CFO to help maximize your wealth.

Chances are whatever you are going through in life, we have already helped clients navigate those same issues and can share the strategies and results.

Why you should contact us:

  • You’re looking for independent, objective advice focused on helping you exhibit ideal investor behavior
  • You’re ready to have a clear action plan of when you’ll be able to retire.
  • You’re not sure if your investments are doing what they should be doing. Are they the right investments to help you achieve your goals?
  • You don’t want to waste time messing with online financial calculators or 1-800 numbers
  • You’re not comfortable with your current financial situation and need clarity on what to do next.
  • You’ve done a good job of managing your investments to this point, but you would feel much more comfortable getting an expert’s second opinion.
  • You’re currently working with an advisor that you’re just not sure about.  You want to make sure that your plan is in your best interest, not the advisor’s.
  • You’re already retired but need confirmation that you have the right strategy in place.
  • You came across sudden wealth (inheritance, for example), and you want to make sure the money is invested properly.

We are in the service and problem-solving business. The reason we exist is to help our clients navigate and organize their financial lives. We build, manage and monitor world-class financial strategies – and we are confident we do it as good as anyone else.

What is a fiduciary and why is it important to work with one?

A fiduciary is a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, and in our case, as it applies to investment management. Essentially, a fiduciary owes to that other entity the duties of good faith and trust. The highest legal duty of one party to another, being a fiduciary requires being bound ethically to act in the other’s best interests. Most advisors tailor their investment advice to individuals’ clients they work with, however, not all advisors are governed by the same standards. Fiduciary advisors work directly for clients and must place clients’ interests ahead of their own, according to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. For example, advisers must do their best to make sure investment advice is made using accurate and complete information and that the analysis is thorough and as accurate as possible. Avoiding a conflict of interest is important when acting as a fiduciary, which means that advisers must disclose any potential conflicts. Advisors who are not a fiduciary, however, serve the broker-dealers they work for and must only believe that recommendations are suitable for clients. This suitability standard is set by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

At Kraus Capital Management, we uphold the fiduciary standard. Our advisors are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Investment Advisor Representatives, which binds them to the Fiduciary standard through the CFP® Board Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct as well as the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

What is a Certified Financial Planner™?

Although many professionals may call themselves “financial planners,” CFP® professionals have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. They understand the complexities of the changing financial climate and know how to make recommendations in your best interest. Unlike many financial advisors, CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board.

CFP® professionals must pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam, which tests their abilities to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life situations. CFP® professionals complete several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification trademarks. When it comes to ethics and professional responsibility, CFP® professionals are held to the highest of standards, as outlined

in CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct. They are obliged to uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence as outlined in CFP Board’s Code of Ethics. The Rules of Conduct require CFP® professionals to always put your interests ahead of their own and to provide their financial planning services as a “fiduciary”—acting in the best interest of their financial planning clients.

The CFP® certification is a voluntary certification; no federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold CFP® certification. It is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its (1) high standard of professional education; (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice; and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. – See more at: CFP Board (link to website?)

What credentials or certifications do you hold?

I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with a degree in business and over 24 years of experience, the last 15 years of that time managing my own Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm. I also continuously upgrade my knowledge through various conferences and professional development courses to stay up to date with industry trends to provide you with the best possible advice. Please visit my bio page here to learn more about me.

What’s a Registered Investment Advisory firm or RIA?

A registered investment advisor (RIA) is a financial firm that advises clients on securities investments and may manage their investment portfolios. RIAs are registered with either the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities administrators.

RIAs and the people who work from them have fiduciary obligations to their clients, meaning that they have a fundamental duty to always and only provide investment advice that is in their client’s best interests. RIAs typically earn their income through management fees, calculated as a percentage of a client’s assets under management (AUM) by the RIA. Unlike broker-dealers, RIAs have a fiduciary duty to put the best interests of the client first. Investment advisor representatives (IARs) are the financial professionals who work for RIAs.

What services do you offer?

As a financial advisor, we offer a range of services tailored to meet your specific needs. These may include investment management, retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning, risk management, insurance planning, education planning, and more. We can help you create a plan that aligns with your goals and objectives.

Our firm provides a comprehensive range of financial planning services, including retirement income planning, social security optimization, tax planning, insurance planning, estate planning, and ongoing investment management. You can find more detailed information on our Services Pages.

What type of clients do you typically work with?

Our clients are single or married. Most were, or are W-2 wage earners in, near or at retirement, likely own a home, sometimes a second home, whether it’s a rental or vacation property, have Social Security benefits, maybe a pension, generally a few financial accounts, legacy 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs, HSAs, may or may not have cash value life insurance, some may or may not have annuities, kids are usually all grown. Most have worked hard and saved well. They are charitably inclined. They value professional advice, are not big risk takers and would like to delegate the management of their investments. They are looking to maintain their standard of living throughout retirement, and many share similar hobbies like sports and travel. They are ready to clarify, simplify and organize their financial life. They see the value in partnering with an experienced, credentialed advisor focused on retirement income planning to help them define goals, analyze and test retirement scenarios and design/implement strategies to assist them in achieving their retirement goals. They want help answering questions, reduce worry and decrease complexity so they can focus on what matters to them most. They partner with us on a long-term basis to help them stay informed, access our expertise as needed, make adjustments as changes in their finances, markets, laws and life occur. We design and implement a completely integrated retirement income plan covering all and any unexpected aspects of their financial lives through ongoing communication and collaboration and a meeting schedule that may involve anywhere from 2 to 4 comprehensive planning meetings per year.

Clients generally begin working with us because they experience a life event that creates challenges or opportunities to their financial situation, and they are looking for a professional to help guide them through the critical decisions they have before them. These events commonly include such things as a new job or business opportunity, sudden wealth through company stock or inheritance, feeling like you are paying too much in taxes, preparing for retirement, or a death in the family.

Do you have to manage my investments for me to work with you?

Yes. We are a comprehensive retirement income planning firm that combines our consulting and modeling process with investment management services.

The typical client who contacts us is looking for the right partner and would prefer to delegate investment management decisions. Through the planning process, if we mutually determine we are the right partner, then clients set up accounts, transfers assets and Kraus Capital provides ongoing oversight of those investments, plan updates, tax planning, and coordinates the components involved in delivering reliable retirement paychecks.

What is the minimum asset level for someone to become a client of Kraus Capital Management?

Retirement planning is a dynamic process. From planning for retirement, establishing an investment strategy, optimizing your taxes, charitable giving, estate plan and insurance

coverage; bringing all the pieces of your financial life together is a challenging task. Although many professionals may call themselves “financial planners” or “tax advisors”, CFP® professionals have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. Kraus Capital Management understands all the complexities involved and we know how to make recommendations in your best interest all for one set fee. As a result, we find that clients get the most from our services if they have a minimum of $500,000+ of investable assets.

How are you compensated for your services?

How we get paid can vary depending on the services provided. For our investment management service, we receive a fee directly from the client’s account based on a percentage of assets under management we manage for you. It’s all encompassing and includes a series of strategy meetings that convert to ongoing planning and investment management and is priced between 1.25% to 1.5% for accounts up to $1 million. Lower rates apply to household balances over $1 million.

Sometimes, this may also be accompanied by commission-based compensation paid to us by an insurance company. Rest assured that we will be transparent about our fees, provide them to you in writing and work with you to find a compensation structure that aligns with your needs.

Why should I hire you?

First, we have the training to help you get clarity regarding your financial life. Second, we have the technical expertise to help you improve upon your finances. Third, we create a Retirement Income Plan that is easy to understand while we collaborate with you and hold you accountable to your plan. A plan isn’t worth the paper it is written on if it’s not put into action.

Experience and Expertise: With 24 years of experience in the industry, with the last 15 years as our own independent firm, our team possesses the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complexities of wealth management. We stay on top of market trends, regulatory changes, and best practices to provide you with the highest level of service and guidance.

Client-Centric Approach: Your financial goals and aspirations are at the heart of everything we do. We take the time to understand your unique circumstances, listen to your concerns, and craft personalized strategies that align with your objectives. Our commitment to transparency, open communication, and responsive service ensures that you always feel informed and supported.

By integrating investment management, retirement planning, estate planning, tax strategies, and risk management, we provide comprehensive solutions that address every aspect of your financial life.

Long-Term Partnership: Our goal is to build a long-term partnership with you based on trust, integrity, and mutual respect. As your life evolves and your financial needs change, we adapt our strategies and recommendations to ensure that you remain on track to achieve your goals.

If I hire you, who will I work with and what should I expect?

You will work directly with me, Brian Kraus, a Certified Financial Planner®.

You should expect the most thorough retirement projection modeling process you’ve ever been through. We deliver a ton of education and different projections to see the impact of decisions, tax modeling, varying retirement dates and much more. It’s so comprehensive we usually deliver it over a series of two or more meetings.

With our ongoing service, we view it as our responsibility to deliver the retirement paycheck laid out in your plan. To deliver on this, we provide all aspects of portfolio management, update your planning projections each year to guide you in decision-making, and conduct annual tax reviews and projections. We are available to our clients for consultation on any topic that has a financial aspect to it such as moving, insurance decisions, refinancing, funding education for grandchildren, estate planning, and more.

It’s no fun being excited about a new relationship only to find out it wasn’t what was promised to be. Whether it’s moving to a new area, making a big purchase or choosing who to trust with your retirement planning relationship – you want to know you’ll be treated well even after you become a client. While we are very proud of the planning and service we provide in onboarding a new client, we take even greater care to engage, educate and empower you throughout your long-term relationship with our team. Our relentless pursuit to deliver the best client experience, and a client retention rate that is practically unheard of in the financial services industry, we will continue to build a company culture, invest, train, and communicate with one central goal: serving you.

How often do we communicate?

It’s been said many times that the number one reason people change their financial advisor relationship is because of lack of communication from their advisor. That will not happen at Kraus Capital. We communicate throughout the year, schedule your reviews months in advance so you always know when you’ll hear from us next, educate with a quarterly financial focus and fill the in-between time with emails to keep you up to date and on track. 

We feel that communication is the cornerstone of a successful relationship. It is also a two-way street. We routinely meet with our clients at least one to three times per year, generally at the beginning of the year to map out the road ahead, as well as towards the end of the year to solidify any decisions that may have an impact on the tax year. In addition to our routine meetings, we pride ourselves on unlimited availability for our clients. We want to be a part of every major financial decision you face, as well as a trusted resource when you need a second opinion.

The frequency of meetings or communications can vary based on your specific situation and needs. Initially, we will work closely to understand your goals and develop a comprehensive retirement income plan. After that, regular check-ins and reviews may be conducted to ensure your plan remains on track and adjusted as necessary. We are always available to address any questions or concerns you may have.

In addition, we regularly communicate ideas, economic conditions, market trends, investment ideas, and other writings we feel will benefit our clients through our blog, newsletter, and quarterly financial focus topics.

We are never more than a phone call, zoom meeting, or email way!

How do we get started?

See our detailed step-by-step process here.

What should be my biggest concerns as I approach retirement?

We think about this often. Here’s what I’d focus on:

  1. Make sure you have a retirement income plan that adjusts for inflation.
  2. Build an investment strategy to support the income plan
  3. Social Security optimization/maximization plan.
  4. Life insurance and survivor plan
  5. Long-term care plan.
  6. Medical/Medicare supplement plan
  7. Estate plan
  8. Tax efficiency plan

What should I be investing in right now?

We believe the best investment you’ll ever make is hiring a good financial advisor. By helping you consistently make smart financial decisions across all aspects of your life we can add far more to your wealth than we ever could by trying to guess which stock is going to beat the market next year. To determine what you should be investing in, first we must know what you need your money to do for you, and when you need it to do this task. Then, and only then, can we begin to match investments to your needs.

Contact Us

Ready to take control of your financial future? Schedule a consultation with us today. Our team is ready to assist you in creating a roadmap to financial success and helping you navigate the complexities of wealth management. Let’s embark on this journey together.