One of the reasons why we have been doing quarterly updates is to keep in contact with current and past clients. We keep receiving emails from clients telling us that they like the updates and the hellos. Honestly, we like sharing our opinions as well (but who doesn’t). Even with all of the reaching out and trying to stay in communication with folks, it seems like we still have a lot of room for improvement in these areas.
When Justin first began working in academia, October of 2012 to be exact, Justin was already a CFP® and had been working in personal finance for about 10 years. It was during his time in academia that Justin first learned the ins and outs of student loans (and is still learning).
The world of educational debt was a deeper well than he first realized when he began researching the topic. But it was an incredibly important issue to everyone Justin counseled, so he couldn’t help but dive in head first. Over the years Justin has created a reputation for himself as “that guy” who knows about loans. This reputation has its pluses and negatives. The plus side, people trust him to help them understand a very important aspect of their lives. The negative, people fail to realize we can discuss a whole lot more than just loans when working together.
The idea is to be as well rounded as possible and at the same time be knowledgeable in the areas that cause clients the greatest amount of concern.
Our relationship with our clients
First and foremost, our style in working with clients will always be a passive one. You make the decisions that you think are best for you based on the work that we have done together to help you determine what those options might be.
No one is ever required to keep working with us, or even take our advice. But we will always be ready to offer our opinion and advice when asked (remember, we love sharing our opinions). Every client relationship is an annual one. After 12 months it is up to the client to determine for themselves if they want to continue with counseling, look into planning, or go their own way (que Fleetwood Mac music).
We don’t ‘chase’ people and hope we have never made anyone ever feel like they were chased. It is our job to make sure our clients feel like they are getting something out of the relationship. It is also our job to properly articulate all of the ways people can work with us.
We figured now was a good time to reintroduce everyone to these areas.
InsMed is made up of three separate companies that all work together to help our clients achieve their various goals.
InsMed Insurance Agency, Inc. – the parent company. Everyone, Justin and Molly included, are employees of InsMed Insurance. No, Molly and Justin don’t sell insurance, but we do talk about it. We will refer people to InsMed Insurance if they have questions regarding insurance, but we don’t get compensated any more or less if a client buys a policy, refers a friend, or takes a pass. The InsMed Insurance people we most frequently refer clients to are:
Morten Sorensen (Life and Disability) and Mary Gurin (Disability, Business, Malpractice, etc.).
You may recognize InsMed Insurance from your time in medical school or residency; InsMed Insurance is one of the country’s largest providers of disability insurance to medical schools as well as house staff programs. They’re the insurance experts, and we are big believers in recognizing our limits and calling in the specialists, when necessary.
InsMed Loan Advisory Services, LLC – This is where we meet the majority of our clients and first begin working with them. This is our counseling service. The company name is probably the main source of confusion for those of our clients who think we just talk about loans. This is why we are updating the company name to InsMed Financial Wellness, LLC in the coming weeks. The counseling doesn’t stop after a repayment plan is chosen, but it can continue until you think you need more advice than simply setting up a savings plan or a budget. Consider the counseling the baseline starting point before life starts to get more complicated.
InsMed Financial Services, LLC – Is our RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) arm. Please note that advisory services can only be provided in states where the firm is registered or exempt from registration. Some of our clients migrate from counseling to planning as their situations change. There are few restrictions to what we can discuss and the software that we can use when working with individuals under a planning agreement. A big difference comes down to investment advice. With counseling we can talk to you about what a mutual fund is, but we can’t direct how to invest your money. Think of the RIA as our DEA license. A pharmacist knows about drugs, but there is only so much they can do without the license. We know about investments and long-term savings, but we can’t say much unless we are working with a client under this kind of agreement.
Regardless of how we engage with our clients, we are still not able to give tax or legal advice. However, we have no problem referring folks to professionals who do offer such advice.
Another area that can cause some confusion is the topic of investment management. As Justin has told many of you, he doesn’t like staring at the market for hours on end making trades and taking orders. Some people view investment management as the only part of financial planning, which isn’t the case. It is just one part of a financial plan. Just because we don’t invest your money doesn’t mean we can’t engage in financial planning.
We do work with a third-party investment manager (MJB Asset Management, LLC) for clients who do want to completely offload the tasks pertaining to investment management. But again, it is up to the client to want to go down this path. We can also meet you in the middle, and make recommendations for specific investments that you execute yourself. It is all about what makes you feel comfortable.
After a 12-month engagement ends, you are not cut off from speaking to us, or receiving updates, but we are not able to provide detailed advice at that point. Similar to working with a physician.
Yes, there is a lot to unpack, but the goal is to give each of our client’s options. We would love nothing more than to continue to work with every one of our clients, but understand that sometimes it isn’t how things work out. Needs change, opinions shift, and life takes us down different paths. Just know that as everything changes and remains in flux, we will always be ready to help when you are ready.
Best – Justin & Molly