Interview Us

Before you hire any independent professional listed in the 1800ADVISER.COM directory or otherwise, we encourage you to ask questions and interview them.

Unlike software or robotic programs that match individuals with professionals, we believe that you should be comfortable asking questions so that you can hire the best person for you and your situation. 

Below, is a list of typical questions we receive:  

Frequently Asked Questions  

Can you tell me about The Independent Adviser Corporation?

Since its founding in May 1998 by Michael Porcelain, The Independent Adviser Corporation has become a beacon of trusted ideas and guidance, assisting thousands of individuals, families, and businesses. We provide free educational resources and facilitate connections with independent professionals listed in the 1800ADVISER.COM directory, the premier toll-free online directory of Fee-Only professionals in the United States. Our company has been prominently featured in respected publications like Ticker Magazine, Financial Planning Magazine, Newsday, Crain’s Business News, and

Our founder, Michael Porcelain, is not only a CPA but also holds MS and MBA degrees from Binghamton University. He is a distinguished member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and its Personal Financial Planning Division, as well as the New York State Society of CPAs and a lifetime member of the American Association of Individual Investors. Michael’s extensive career includes executive roles at two of the world’s largest accounting firms, namely PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and KPMG Peat Marwick LLP. His insights have been showcased on various radio talk shows and are regularly cited in the press.

In addition to his role as our founder, Michael has served as CEO, President, and CFO of a public technology company for over two decades and currently serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee for a public defense and aerospace company. He is also the brains behind—a testament to his expertise and innovation in accounting. Visit their website to view his full biography.

To learn more about our impactful history, click here.

Can you tell me about your 100% Independent & 100% Objective Buy-Side Research?

Because we are not an investment bank (e.g., we do not perform corporate underwriting or equity offerings), we can provide 100% Independent and 100% Objective research. We have access to respected research analysts in select industries, and our research reports and newsletters reach thousands of investors.

We have the freedom to say what we think—not what companies want you to hear. We focus on the needs of the investor, both institutional and individual. We believe that analysts who work for firms such as Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, although highly competent and influential, are biased because they are known as ‘sell-side’ analysts. Their main purpose is to sell you the stocks of companies their firms underwrite. Unlike others, we provide research directly to the public at the same time we provide it to institutional investors.

When conducting our research, our analysts like to probe management to understand the real trends. We attempt to speak with line managers, vendors, suppliers, as well as CEOs. We do our homework and are always on the lookout for the next clue. We use our intelligence and instinct. We regularly read company and industry reports, economic analyses, and briefings. We listen to conference calls with company officials, supplemented by broad economic and interest rate outlooks, along with timely industry and individual company information from published sources.

We participate in various seminars and professional organizations. When making specific buy recommendations, we generally follow the process below:

We first develop a list of investment opportunities in stocks of companies that have long-term value and bright futures. For growth-oriented investors, we favor stocks that offer medium to long-term potential for superior capital appreciation. For income-oriented investors, we seek dividend-paying stocks. We also look for value stocks that provide superior long-term appreciation. Once we assess a company’s fundamental strength, we generally use technical analysis to recommend any initial stock purchases.

When recommending mutual funds or ETFs, we consider several factors: historical performance, performance relative to assumed risk, performance among peer funds, and performance in rising and falling markets. These ratings are maintained by groups such as Morningstar.

If you are working with an independent professional listed in the 1800ADVISER.COM directory, they are not required to read or use our investment research. They are free to make specific recommendations based on each individual’s risk tolerance, asset class preference, time horizon, and investment goals, and to utilize research produced by any firm.

Can you tell me about the types of investments you prefer?

Our buy-side research team advocates that most investors should include individual stocks, ETFs, and low-cost mutual funds in their portfolios. Historically, these investments have outperformed other types and have consistently outpaced inflation. In contrast, cash and bonds do not appreciate but only generate interest. We recommend using cash and bonds for diversification, income generation, principal safety, and liquidity.

While commodities, Bitcoin, and stock options may suit certain investors, our team believes that most will find better investment opportunities elsewhere. If you choose to work with a Fee-Only financial adviser listed in the 1800ADVISER.COM directory, they will help determine the investments most suitable for your unique financial situation.

What is your success with clients like me and can I get references?

Yes. Upon request, if you opt for a Fee-Only Professional listed in 1800ADVISER.COM, they can provide references from similar clients, which can help you assess their potential success. If you wish to receive personal references, please provide a description of your background, personal circumstances, and goals using our Free Consultation Form. We will then relay this information to an independent professional who will supply references most suited to your needs.

It is important to note that we can provide references in accordance with our “Our Great Privacy Policy” and as constrained by our Terms of Use, Legal Notices & Disclaimers. Whether you are seeking a financial adviser, attorney, accountant, or college adviser, it’s crucial to recognize that everyone’s situation is unique. Moreover, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. For instance, in investment management, all strategies experience short-term fluctuations and depend on an individual’s risk tolerance and asset allocation. Success should be gauged by how well your goals are being met by your professional. 

Regarding investments, it is essential to understand that recommendations are subject to legal regulations. Notably, Rule 206(4)-1 under the SEC’s Investment Advisers Act prohibits the use of testimonials, including any statements that reflect a client’s experiences or endorsements. Economic or market conditions can also significantly affect financial outcomes, such as dividends, interest, and other earnings.

Will I maintain control over my investments and how do I receive updates?

If you use a financial adviser listed in the 1800ADVISER.COM directory, your assets should generally be held in your own account with a broker or other financial institution, not with your financial adviser. 

You should be certain that the account established is in your name so that you always have personal access to your funds. You and your financial adviser will agree upon objectives and your financial adviser may ask you for discretionary investment authority to execute your strategy. This means they can place orders to buy and sell investments and reinvest the proceeds without obtaining your prior approval for individual transactions. This is how most discretionary investment accounts are established. 

Your investment manager will need a limited power of attorney from you (included with their account applications). This allows the investment manager to place trades on your behalf but prohibits him or her by law from transferring assets out of your account.

Each month, you should receive a statement directly from the custodian (e.g. Fidelity or Charles Schwab) indicating the monthly performance of your investments. This information is a detailed summary that contains information such as market values, investment dividends, interest, and security sales and purchase activity. You will receive a breakdown of the portfolio by investments. You should discuss how often you want to receive a performance summary from your Financial Adviser. We believe that quarterly performance is appropriate for most clients. Depending on the nature of your account, you will receive Internet-based on-line access via a client only page so that you may monitor your investments 24 hours a day.

What process or system should my FInancial Adviser use to define my needs?

Independent Fee-Only financial advisers listed in the 1800ADVISER.COM directory generally adhere to the following process to thoroughly define your needs:

Step One: Understanding Your Objectives and Goals
This initial step often involves filling out a detailed questionnaire about your finances and personal circumstances. Completing this accurately is crucial to ensure that your financial adviser fully understands all relevant aspects of your situation.

Step Two: Developing Your Asset Allocation Model
Your financial adviser will create an asset allocation model tailored to your needs. This model will define the distribution of your portfolio among various asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and cash, based on your risk tolerance and investment objectives.

Step Three: Selecting Investments
With an agreed-upon asset allocation model, your financial adviser will then select appropriate investments to help achieve the goals you’ve set together.

Step Four: Ongoing Review
You will establish with your financial adviser the frequency and depth of ongoing reviews that you feel are necessary. This ensures that your investment strategy remains aligned with your objectives over time.

Each client’s approach may vary based on individual preferences and needs, and your specific financial adviser will customize their service accordingly. 

Can you tell me what fees you charge? Are there account minimiums?

After your free consultation, fees for services are transparently agreed upon in writing and vary depending on the type of service provided. Once we better understand your situation, we can offer you a more precise estimate.

Fee Structure by Service Type:

Money Management including 401k, 529 & College Savings Advice: Typically, you can expect to pay a set fee for these services, generally around 1% of the assets being managed. Higher or lower percentages may be available depending on the amount of assets. In some cases, an agreed-upon monthly fee may be arranged. Account minimums may be set by individual professionals. Fees for a single 401k or college savings plan can start as low as $200. For comprehensive college savings and integrated financial aid planning, flat fees start at around $1,000.

Financial or Retirement Planning: Embarking on a financial plan journey doesn’t have to be expensive. Plans are tailored to your specific needs, with prices starting as low as $250. Some advisers may offer a complimentary financial plan as they get to know you, with the prospect of providing ongoing money management services. 

Tax Returns and Tax Planning: Professionals listed in the 1800ADVISER.COM can handle personal, business, and trust Federal, State, and local returns, including returns for partnerships, S-Corps, and LLCs. Personal federal tax returns typically range from $200 to $400, plus $50 to $75 per state return. Business returns tend to be higher, and legal advice pricing will depend on the complexity of your needs. Once we understand your specific situation, we can provide a more accurate estimate.

Legal Services (Including Family Law Matters, Elder Law, Wills, Trusts, and Estates): Attorneys in the 1800ADVISER.COM directory charge directly for their services, with structures including hourly rates, flat fees, or contingency fees. Rates start as low as $100 per hour but may increase based on geography, experience, complexity, and the specific legal services required. Fixed fee arrangements are available, starting as low as $200 and ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 or more for comprehensive packages. All fees are negotiable and agreed upon in advance.

Medicare/Social Security Assistance: We do not work on commission and do not sell policies. We provide advice and planning strategies. Fees for one-hour consultations typically start at $100, with flat-fee packages available. Costs may be higher if your needs are complex or if you require legal assistance through an appeals process.

If you are interested in specific cost details for your situation, consider scheduling a free consultation by Clicking Here. 

What is the next step and how can I begin working with you?

Do You Still Have More Questions?

Our 1800ADVISER.COM directory allows you to browse biographies of individual advisers and learn more about their practice. 

Have other questions about our services or need further information? Simply Click Here to contact us.

We’re here to help and will respond within 24 hours.

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