Frequently Asked Questions
Helping You Achieve Financial Independence On Your Own Terms
Our FAQ page aims to cover the questions we get asked on a regular basis.
What Makes a Fiduciary Different
Not all financial advisors are fiduciaries. In fact, many are not. While fiduciary financial advisors, such as SEAMFI, are obligated to act in their client’s best interests, many other financial advisors do not have this same mandate.
Commission-based financial advisors earn money through commissions paid by the investment vehicles their clients’ purchase (e.g., funds, insurance products, etc).
Fee-based financial advisors earn money through commissions and also by charging their clients either a fixed fee or a percentage of the funds they manage.
Fee-only financial advisors, like SEAMFI, don’t charge commissions. Instead, their sole source of income is the fee clients pay based on financial advice or ongoing investment management. Setting a fee rather than sales commissions reduces conflicts of interest between the advisor and the client.
About the Firm
Yes. We are fiduciaries. This means we are legally obligated to place your financial interests above our own.
Our compensation comes from the fees we quote you at the onset of our relationship and never through commissions or fees based on where or how you invest your money.
We believe this is the very best way to serve our clients.
MK Lee is a Certified Financial Planner™ certificant. This means she has met the certification standards required by CFP Board, including completing the initial and ongoing education, examination, experience, and ethics requirements. Additionally, MK is a member of several professional organizations, including the CFP Board, NAPFA, and the XY Planning Network. MK holds an MBA from the University of Chicago with a concentration in accounting, finance, and economics.
SEAMFI stands for Simple, Easy to understand, Actionable, and Mindful solutions for Financial Independence.
We focus on education and action. So many financial planning topics such as investments, tax consequences, and smart retirement strategies can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Our job is to translate those details into easy-to-understand concepts and actionable plans.
Also, our practice specializes in investment strategies surrounding equity compensation. We have a deep understanding of the unique opportunities (and many decisions) that stock compensation recipients face and can provide the informed guidance needed to optimize these opportunities.
We believe in passive investment management and thus focus on diversification and cost efficiency. Our investment suggestions also consider:
- Financial goals and investment horizon
- Tax efficiency
- Flexibility and convenience in relation to the investment platform
- Simple maintenance going forward
That is correct. We do not manage investments on our client’s behalf. We do provide full investment analysis for new clients and meet annually thereafter with clients who wish to review their finances regularly and discuss investment rebalancing. However, we can recommend a qualified investment management service provider for day-to-day investment management.
Who and How We Can Help
Our clients are often busy families and professionals trying to understand their finances better and achieve their financial goals.
Many of our clients receive equity compensation such as RSUs and stock options. We help them understand what kind of stock compensation they have and how to maximize it to reach financial goals.
Our clients understand that financial planning is teamwork and that there are tasks we’ll ask them to complete. They are motivated, responsive, and engaged in their own financial planning process.
- Those seeking a financial planner who focuses on education and advice versus providing investments services or selling financial products
- Those with a six-figure income but uncertain whether you have optimized your financial potential
- Those receiving stock options or restricted stock as part of your compensation package
- Those with $10mm+ in cash or in liquid financial assets. There are additional strategies and options to consider at this liquidity level which may require more complex strategies than what SEAMFI is focused on offering.
- Those who love stock picking and want advice in this area. If this is how you would like to build your investment portfolio, SEAMFI’s investment philosophy will not meet your needs. Our clients might have concentrated stock positions due to their employer’s compensation plan. They might also have a few single stock positions here and there because they enjoy the experience of picking stocks. SEAMFI understands every client’s unique situation and we focus on helping clients build a diversified portfolio to fit each client’s needs.
- Those who believe they can beat the market and are interested in trying to time the market.
No, we have no minimum investment requirements.
Our office is in Tacoma, WA, just south of Seattle. However, our practice is location-independent — we meet clients virtually over Zoom. This gives us the flexibility to work with clients across the nation.