What is a fiduciary? And, why should you make sure your advisor is one?

To us a fiduciary means you as the client are put first and foremost. The advisor has an integral obligation to make financial decisions and recommendations that are in your best interest. The actual definition of a fiduciary according to is, “a person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.” Typically in terms of financial advisors and investors, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other assets for another person. But to Goodwin Investment Advisory, it goes beyond this – to act on your behalf, putting your interests ahead of our own, with a duty to preserve good faith and trust. We believe being a fiduciary thus requires us as your advisor, being bound both legally and ethically, to act in your best interest.

A fiduciary has integrity

To us at GIA, a fiduciary means someone who has integrity, which is one of our promises to our clients. When you sign on to be a client here, we send you a promise letter that includes our values and our commitment to you as our beloved client.

Our Promise to You

We promise you that we are carefully committed to your financial goals, hopes, and dreams. We will invest your capital just as if it was our very own. You will never find another investment adviser who will care more about you and your family, or who will be more deeply committed to creating opportunities where hope for financial freedom can thrive. 
We promise to have integrity. We will never tell you we can do something we can’t, nor will we tell you we’re going to do something, and then not do it.  
We promise to be honest. We commit to tell you the plan, the unvarnished truth, especially when you may not want to hear it.  When you ask us a question to which we don’t know the answer, we promise always to say, “I don’t know” – and then to move heaven and earth to get you the answer. 
We promise to be trustworthy. We believe you will never in your life find an adviser you can trust more implicitly than you can trust us. If we work together in that spirit of mutual trust, there is nothing within reason that we cannot accomplish.
We promise to be learners. We will continuously learn as the financial industry is always changing to provide you the best and most current options. 
We promise to provide the confidence your money is invested right and will be there when you need it.
We promise to be responsible. We clearly understand that you are entrusting your family’s financial future to us. Not to a particular financial plan, not to an investment portfolio – to us. We are honored to accept that responsibility.

What we ask from you?

Not to worry. We will insist that you create a plan and stick to the plan. We will encourage you to hope, because we know that in investing, optimism is the only long-term realism. Let us worry for you. Trust and know that we want the absolute best for you!

As a fiduciary our advisors are committed to:

  1. Putting your best interests before their own, which means seeking the best prices and terms for you.
  2. Do not sell you any products.
  3. Do not put their own finances first by purchasing securities for their own account before buying them for you. (This is called self-dealing and it is illegal.)
  4. Acting in good faith and providing you with all the relevant facts.
  5. Avoiding conflicts of interest–if, for any reason, there is a conflict of interest, this must be disclosed to you before any decisions are finalized.
  6. Doing their due diligence and trying their best to be accurate and thorough with the advice they give to you.

How do we earn our money?

At GIA we provide you services and are paid by receiving an annual percentage of your assets under management, which we take directly from your invested accounts with us each quarter. This means if your annual percentage with us is 1% then we would calculate 0.25% each quarter (according to the balance on the last day of the quarter). As your assets increase, your percentage fee decreases because we have a tiered fee structure. When you win with money, we win as well. We act in our customers best interest and provide you with services such as investment managementrisk managementfinancial planning, retirement planning, tax planningestate planning, as well as other specialized services for a fee.

Tim Goodwin, CEO and founder of Goodwin Investment Advisory, graduated from Berry College with a degree in Finance. Upon graduation he went to work for a local financial firm, but quickly learned that his personal values and the values of the firm did not line up. So he decided to start his own firm, originally because he saw people hiring brokers and paying high fees and really wanted to help people get better returns on their investments and to help create excess wealth so that they were able to be more generous with their money. He also wanted to create an unbiased approach that would help his clients by trying to provide people with a true fiduciary that could help them see better returns than doing it on their own, or by hiring a broker. Then, it evolved because his clients kept asking him for advice. In 2010, Tim added financial planning and consulting as a service that from then on became part of the client experience. His mission changed over time from just investing and managing accounts to incorporating all the services we now have today.  When asked, Tim stated that one of the reasons he started Goodwin Investment Advisory, in Woodstock, Georgia was, because –

“I saw the need for a different kind of financial firm that upheld my values of integrity, honesty and trust. A firm that operated in the best interest of its clients at all times and fulfilled my mission to lead all people to financial peace, independence and generosity.”

He truly wanted to see others grow their wealth and enjoy it as well as have the opportunity to be generous with their wealth and create a legacy they were proud of. He also wanted to set the tone of integrity in the financial industry by truly caring more about his clients than other advisors he had seen, or worked for.  All these factors led him to our vision, “to see your family empowered with confidence that your legacy will last for generations.” He realized that many people were scared to navigate financial decisions especially when it came to planning for retirement years and doing it alone. Did you know that according to Dave Ramsey in his article titled, Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor, “More than half of investors who work with a financial advisor (55%) said they saved more for retirement as a result.” And, The National Study of Millionaires found that almost 7 out of 10 millionaires (68%) worked with an investment professional or financial advisor to achieve their net worth. They didn’t do it by themselves!

So we encourage you not to do it alone!  Find a fiduciary, or someone you can trust to help advise you so that you can truly enjoy your hard earned money. As a fiduciary, we don’t want your money – that is not our goal. Our goal is to help give you guidance and confidence in your financial plan and for you to know your money is invested correctly and will be there for you when you need it. We want to manage your money, but want you to be the one to enjoy it. Here is a link to download our right-fit guide if you are looking for the right-fit advisor for you.

Goodwin Investment Advisory strives to provide services as outlined above to our clients, but nothing here should be construed as a guarantee of investment performance. Our team strives to deliver on the promises and commitments outlined above, but in some cases we may not reach the level that you desire, and in such cases we invite you to contact us so that we can discuss your concerns.
By Published On: June 3rd, 2022

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Tara Bruce
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