Life Lessons from a 401k Plan Roll Out

Aptus recently provided education, counseling and enrollment assistance for a new 401k plan with around 2,000 eligible employees across several states. Participation in the plan increased more than 30% and savings rates improved meaningfully as well. We were excited to see the positive impact on the plan, but we were most surprised by the lessons learned along the way. We discovered new ways to think about courage, skepticism, trust, shame, leadership, communication, culture, empathy and life.

Aptus Quoted in TheStreet Article on Reasons to Fire Your Financial Advisor

Interesting article in TheStreet by Ellen Chang on the many reasons to part ways with traditional financial advisors. '"Some advisors are not fully disclosing their inherent conflicts which make it difficult for them to provide truly unbiased advice," said Tim Quillin, a CFA and partner at Aptus Financial, a Little Rock, Ark.-based financial planning firm. TheStreet article: Fire Your Financial Advisor If He Follows Any of These 12 Doctrines

Aptus Guest Column in Arkansas Business: "Your 401k Plan Matters"

Aptus Partner Tim Quillin wrote a guest column in Arkansas Business on 401(k)s. "If you’re a small-business owner or executive, please go through a formal review of your 401(k) plan. Chances are you can do better. A high-quality 401(k) plan shows employees you care about their long-term future and often provides peace of mind that makes your workforce healthier and more productive. It matters." Arkansas Business column: Your 401(k) Plan Matters

Our Cash Flow System Makes Budgeting [Relatively] Cool

After doing plans for over 250 clients, with an average income of $300,000, we can say with confidence that of all the important things we do for clients—from tax planning to investment planning—absolutely nothing is as important or life changing as cash flow planning. One of our greatest challenges at Aptus has been finding a cash flow system that works universally for our clients. And we have it. Read More

You Paid How Much to Your Financial Advisor?!?

Look, we get it. You trust your advisor. You have peace of mind. You don’t want to manage your own money.  But $20,000?!? We can work with you on a plan to transition your assets to very low-fee mutual funds that can be extremely easy to self-manage. For a one-time charge of $4,000, we can help you break up with your financial advisor. It will be an educational process and ultimately liberating. You can do it yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone. Read More

Aptus Quoted in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on the Fiduciary Rule

Another good article on the fiduciary rule. 'Acting as a fiduciary means you're doing what's in the best interest of clients, said Tim Quillin, a partner with Aptus Financial in Little Rock. It's a higher level of accountability than the suitability standard used by brokers, planners and insurance agents who work with retirement accounts. "It's a little sad that we need regulations to define investment advisers as fiduciaries to retirement plans," Quillin said. "That should be fundamental to what our goal is as an investment adviser."' Arkansas Democratic-Gazette Article on Fiduciary Rule

Aptus Quoted in Article on the Fiduciary Rule

Great article in about conflicts of interest in front of the pending fiduciary rule. "To avoid this conflict, some firms like Aptus Financial have chosen a different strategy and charge investors by the hour for financial or tax planning and asset management and do not sell any products. 'We are fiduciaries not just in name, but in the truer sense of removing all conflicts of interest from our business and focusing solely on what's best for our clients," said Quillin. "Ultimately, we think this is where the world is headed.'" Article on DOL Fiduciary Rule

Financial Advisors Need to Earn Your Trust

Trust is a funny thing. Place trust too easily and your labeled gullible. Place trust too slowly—or not at all—and your deemed cynical. Given the financial stakes involved in selecting an advisor, we’d err on the side of cynicism. Do your homework and make the advisor earn your trust. Read More

Most Individual Investors Should Keep It Simple with Asset Allocation

Our overriding investment philosophy at Aptus is “keep it simple.” As we highlight in our Hierarchy of Financial Needs, your retirement outcome is more likely to be determined by your income level and savings rate than it is to be driven by clever stock picking or crafty asset allocation decisions. We encourage our clients to capture broad market returns across a range of asset classes utilizing low-fee index funds. Our asset allocation recommendations are primarily informed by the averages of a host of target-date fund families. Read More

Five Common 401(k) Pitfalls - And Related Questions to Ask Your Employer

With no standardization, no transparency and no individualized education, people are buying 401(k) lemons and they may never know it. So what can you do? You can ask questions, lots of questions. The truth is that your company—the sponsor of the 401(k)—may be as confused as you are by an industry that thrives on complexity and opacity. You should be aware of these 5 common 401(k) pitfalls and be prepared to ask your company the appropriate questions. Read More

What You Don't Know About Your 401(k) Can Hurt You

Employees face a bewildering number of choices with their 401(k)s. How much should I contribute? How much can I afford to contribute? Should I pay off student loan debt before participating in a 401(k)? Should I do a Traditional or Roth 401(k)? How should I allocate my funds across stocks and bonds? What specific funds are best for me? We wouldn't expect you to become an expert, but we think it's in your best interests to ask your company about your plan. Question authority. Read More 

What the Heck is "Passive" Investing and Why Do We Recommend It?

We have tremendous respect for hard-working, talented portfolio managers and we continually challenge our assumptions, but there are several reasons why we recommend that our clients invest in passively-managed index funds, which simply track a market benchmark like the S&P 500. Most notably, it's just really hard to beat the market after accounting for fees. Over the 15-year period ending Dec. 2016, 92% of large-cap equity, 95% of mid-cap equity, and 93% of small-cap equity managers underperformed their benchmarks. Read More

Aptus' Hierarchy of Financial Needs

Because of the historical focus on product sales and the current focus on asset aggregation, most traditional financial advisors concentrate on investment portfolio construction, asset allocation and securities selection. We think they miss most of what contributes to your overall financial well-being. We believe that financial counseling needs to address a much larger portion of what we think of as the Hierarchy of Financial Needs. Read More

Why Passive and not Active?

For the average investor, myself included, the best long-run investment strategy to create wealth is a passive strategy.  In contrast, active managers attempt to “beat the market” and earn what investment professionals call “alpha.”  They do this in a couple of ways. Read More