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First Financial Equity Corporation Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

First Financial Equity Corporation

First Financial Equity Corporation is a privately-owned, full-service brokerage firm. In fact, it's dually registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a broker-dealer and investment advisor. The firm partners with other financial advisors, providing them with various wealth management services that they then offer to their clients.

The fee-based firm emphasizes on its website that it believes in a conservative, well-diversified, long-term approach to investing. First Financial has billions of dollars in client assets under management, with hundreds of advisors managing more than 6,000 individual and institutional clients. When it comes to advisory fees, this firm charges asset-based fees, hourly fees, fixed fees and commissions. 

First Financial Equity Corporation Background

First Financial Equity Corporation has been in business since 1985. In addition to its dual registration as an investment advisor and broker-dealer, First Financial is also a member of both the Financial Industry National Regulatory Association (FINRA) and Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Jeffrey Graves serves as the firm’s CEO, while Randy Sitzman and Ken Madsen serve as chief operating officer (COO) and chief compliance officer (CCO), respectively.

First Financial Equity Corporation Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

First Financial serves non-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans and government entities. 

The firm generally requires a minimum investment of $25,000. This minimum doesn’t apply to retirement accounts, and First Financial may accept investment accounts with less than $25,000 depending on the specific circumstances of each prospective client.

Services Offered by First Financial Equity Corporation

 This firm offers the following advisory services to its network of advisors and clients:

  • Portfolio management
    • Risk tolerance determination
    • Discretionary and non-discretionary management
    • Wrap fee program
  • Financial planning
    • Tax planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Risk management
    • Investment planning
    • Estate planning
  • Pension plan consulting
  • Educational seminars

First Financial Equity Corporation Investment Philosophy 

First Financial uses several methods to conduct investment research and offer personalized advice. Among those are fundamental analysis, technical analysis, charting analysis and cyclical analysis. The firm also utilizes long-term purchases, short-term purchases, short sales, margin transactions, option writing, tactical asset allocation, strategic asset allocation, market timing strategy and modern portfolio theory.

First Financial mainly invests in exchange-traded equity securities, U.S. state and local bonds, investment-grade corporate bonds, securities issued by pooled investment vehicles, cash, cash equivalents and other investments. 

First Financial Equity Corporation Fees

For financial planning and consultation services, hourly fees typically range from $50 to $350. Flat fees for those services range between $500 and $1,500. In many instances, First Financial uses investment advisor representatives (IARs) to provide investment advisory services and other services. Asset-based fees for such services cannot exceed an annual rate of 2.50%, according to the firm’s brochure. Third-party manager programs range between 0.35% and 2.00%.

What to Watch Out For

First Financial has six disclosures listed on its record with the SEC. The firm’s most recent regulatory violation took place in 2019 after FINRA found the firm failed to file certain U4 updates on time, failed to maintain appropriate written procedure for compliance and failed to file the CEO certification for the 2014 to 2016 period. The case was settled with a $200,000 fine and censure.

First Financial offers both investment advisory and brokerage services. Some advisors may earn additional compensation from investment product and securities sales. This can create a potential conflict of interest, but this firm says it operates under a fiduciary duty. 

Opening an Account With First Financial Equity Corporation 

First Financial offers multiple options for getting in touch. One of those options is to visit the firm’s Arizona office or any of its other offices. You can also contact an advisor at (480) 951-0079.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

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How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research