Homepage2021-04-20T13:45:52-05:00

We help progressives build thoughtful, prosperous, impactful financial lives. 

Here’s what we do

Our Approach

Our advice is evidence-based.
We focus on each client’s specific needs.
We are committed to co-creating realistic plans and following up.
We integrate financial health with broader topics like contentment and wellness.
We can also help with the ethical and spiritual issues connected with money.

Have more questions?

How do you help clients?2020-08-09T14:51:51-05:00

We help people build thoughtful, prosperous, impactful financial lives. We do it by helping clients clarify their life vision, make great financial decisions, attain financial security, and remain focused on the goals and values that will ultimately make them happier and the world better. You can read more about our specific financial planning, investment management, and teaching/consulting services.

We help comprehensive clients:

  • articulate financial life visions, goals, and values,
  • develop a financial plan that will support those values, including
    • Retirement planning
    • Investment planning
    • Tax planning
    • Charitable giving, social impact, investing in justice planning (recommended but optional)
    • Spending well to align goals and maximize happiness (including cash management)
    • Benefits decisionmaking
    • Insurance and risk management education
    • Real estate and real estate finance planning
    • Business and career advice
    • Education funding planning
    • Support with estate planning
    • Coordination with any other related professionals of your choosing
  • create systems to automate the plan so it’s easy to stick with,
  • meet 2-4 times (or more as needed) to evaluate how the plan is progressing and revise as goals or realities change,
  • answer questions whenever they arise and help keep you on track with email support.

All this serves to help you achieve financial freedom so money supports you living a free, fulfilling life.

Serving comprehensive clients is our top priority so your scheduling needs are primary. When we have time, we also enjoy work with clients who need a shorter engagement to help get moving in the right direction.

How do I know if I should work with Values Added?2021-04-14T15:19:40-05:00

If you want to live a full and fulfilling life, want someone who puts your best interests first, relies on evidence, understands the emotional and personal dimensions of money and decision-making, and is committed to helping you achieve great outcomes with money and in life, we might be the right firm for you. And if we aren’t, we’ll help you find a firm that is.

Most of our clients bring progressive values to our work together but some hire us just for our capability at tax-sensitive investment management. If you want to live a good life, be comfortable, give back to your community, and invest in family and friends we are likely to be a good fit.

We work with many clients who have inherited money and want to give some away. They often want to figure out how much and want help managing the rest so that their future is comfortable and they don’t need to worry.

We work with many retirees. Some built businesses and others were career civil servants. Some inherited and some didn’t. Regardless of what brought our clients to retirement, we help them steward their resources prudently, invest using evidence-based approaches, use tax planning to increase the amounts they have available for their lifestyles, charitable giving, and whatever other purposes they want.

All of the advisors at Values Added Financial have all spent much of our careers in public service. We live simple lives focused on family, friends, giving to our communities, working for justice, and doing work we feel good about. If we don’t think we can help, we’ll let you know and offer a referral to someone who can.

What will it cost?2021-02-18T16:54:19-05:00

We use a sliding scale based on income, assets, and complexity to determine appropriate financial planning and investment advisory fees. 

Most households will pay an annual financial planning fee of around $8,000 (but ranging from $2,000 to $24,000, depending on the complexity of their needs). We usually adjust financial planning fees over time as the complexity of the client’s situation and need for financial planning increase or decrease. After the first year or two of financial planning work together, financial planning fees are often reduced to account for all of the streamlining of your financial life that we have accomplished together. We only adjust fees after clients have agreed to the change in writing. 

The financial planning fee covers the work we do around vision and goal setting, tax planning, family money systems and spending plans, insurance, estate planning, business planning, workplace benefits, real estate, charitable giving, career management, and many other topics. For business owners, the business portion of the financial planning fee can be deducted as a business expense, which may reduce its effective cost by a third or more. 

For the investment strategy and implementation portion of our work, we typically charge 1% of your assets (excluding your equity in your primary home) per year. Most of our clients choose to have us directly manage their investments for them. We also advise clients on what investments to choose in accounts that we can’t manage like their employer’s 401(k), for example. 

Our fees are similar to many other firms, but we understand our clients better since we have a shared set of values and go deeper in our work. We also have broader expertise than most firms and work on topics that they don’t have the expertise or interest to address, like how to make your charitable giving or social impact investing especially effective. 

Comprehensive financial planning is typically worth way more than it costs. We love that we add tremendous values to clients’ lives, both in ways that are easy to measure and in ways that aren’t. High-quality investment advice and management tends to substantially improve outcomes, sometimes by large amounts (hundreds of thousands of dollars or more over time). You can read more about that in an excellent, accessible paper here. We aim to generate value for clients well in excess of fees charged.

We don’t have an asset minimum though our services typically make sense for people with significant complexity in their financial lives and/or with $500,000 or more of investments. 

When we have available bandwidth, we often offer Financial Strategy Intensives, which are 3-session sprints that cover a couple of prominent questions but aren’t intended to be comprehensive and don’t include implementation or ongoing support. Financial Strategy Intensives typically cost $3,000.

Donation to social justice causes/issues

Ari and Zach both donate 20% of their incomes to justice causes on a range of issues. One example: Zach supports global health via Project Muso. Within three years of Project Muso deploying their model in Mali, child mortality dropped from 15% to 1.7%. We also donate to other organizations and focus on supporting environmental, feminist, racial, LGBTQ+, and economic justice.

Can you help me with socially responsible investing?2020-08-12T13:40:25-05:00

We mostly work with people who care about living socially responsible lives. What that means differs by person. Balancing career decisions, charitable giving approaches, socially responsible investing (SRI) strategies, and personal lifestyle is challenging to do in a serious way. Most advisors will just recommend a SRI fund and move on. This is a naive way to approach the topic and results in many clients ending up with overpriced investments that don’t deliver much, if any, social change. With us, you get a team of advisors who have significant experience in social change work, evaluating impact, and with shareholder activism. We bring a rare depth of experience to evaluating the differences between the approaches of different SRI firms and whether their change work really works. And it gets even more complicated since some don’t want to maximize social change but rather want to completely avoid certain industries regardless of cost.

No matter how you balance social issues, financial issues, and lifestyle, we are ready to bring our deep understanding of SRI and the related financial, spiritual/religious, and moral questions to your situation so we can figure out the best solution.

How do you help make the world better?2021-04-20T13:50:37-05:00

You probably haven’t seen this question in other advisors’ materials. It’s here because it’s an important part of what Values Added does.

We help scale financial education and empowerment in our area, giving free workshops locally.

We also work on policy and political fights to help improve financial regulation and a range of other issues. For instance, Zach chaired Janeese Lewis George’s successful DC Council campaign. She a significant political leader in DC. Ari is active as a policy advisor, continuing his work on issues like paid family leave, sick days for all, and fair scheduling. Bridget tutors students and helps support education in Capitol Hill, where she lives. Kathryn is active in education equity and anti-racist work.

Ari and Zach both donate 20% of their incomes to justice causes on a range of issues. One example: Zach supports global health via Project Muso. Within three years of Project Muso deploying their model in Mali, child mortality dropped from 15% to 1.7%. We also donate to other organizations and focus on supporting environmental, feminist, racial, LGBTQ+, and economic justice.

Are you feminists? How about LGBTQ+ friendly? Anti-racist?2021-04-28T14:52:35-05:00

Absolutely. 

Being feminist is an important part of how we see the world. Thinking about the ways that patriarchy influences work life, family life, and financial life more broadly is essential to understanding those topics in a serious way.

It seems obvious to us that any progressive would be LGBTQ+friendly at a minimum but unfortunately, it isn’t universal and so we all still need to clarify. It’s been important to us to build a practice that is actively inclusive and supports clients with many family and relationship structures. We are honored to have many LGBTQ+ clients.

We are committed to inclusion, non-judgment, and ongoing learning so if you want to talk about a way we could support you and be more inclusive of any aspect of your identity, please let us know and we’d love to learn more so we can build a safe space together.

Our firm is dedicated to anti-racist principles. We believe that racism isn’t just an issue of personal bias but is an insidious system of oppression in which we are all complicit. We have an obligation to fight to change that system. Ignoring the injustice is agreement to perpetuate it.

I have a different question!2020-08-09T21:02:57-05:00

Contact us and we can figure it out. If we are not the right firm for you, we’ll let you know and make a referral.

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