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Index Fund Advisors Review

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Index Fund Advisors, Inc.

Index Fund Advisors, Inc.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Index Fund Advisors, Inc. (IFA) is a fee-only advisory firm offering a range of wealth management services to individual and institutional clients. The firm holds a spot on SmartAsset's list of the top financial advisor firms in Irvine. It has also won many different awards from entities like the Financial Times, Barron's, CNBC, WealthManagement.com and more.

Index Fund Advisors offers an extrememly robust selection of investing and financial planning content and tools. These include consistent articles and videos that highlight things happening in the market, as well as investing books and movies. But perhaps the most unique tool is the IFA mobile app for Apple phones. Through the app, clients are able to check on their account's performance, contact a wealth advisor directly, read investing articles and more.

Index Fund Advisors Background

Founded by owner and president Mark T. Hebner, Index Fund Advisors has been providing investment advisory services since 1999. The firm is a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and it says it specializes in providing risk-appropriate, return-optimized, globally diversified and tax-managed investment management.

Of the 12 advisors who work at this firm, there are four certified financial planners (CFPs) and one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF).

Index Fund Advisors Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes 

Index Fund Advisors almost entirely serves individuals with and without a high net worth. However, the firm also works with a handful of endowments, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates and charitable organizations.

The firm generally requires new clients to have at least $100,000 in investable assets when opening an account. The firm may decide to waive this requirement, though.

Services Offered by Index Fund Advisors

Index Fund Advisors specializes in the following services:

  • Investment management
    • Risk-adjusted investment recommendations
    • Asset allocation planning
    • Quarterly performance reporting
    • Rebalances
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • College planning
    • Charitable gift planning
    • Estate planning
    • Trust planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Tax planning
    • Accounting services
  • Pension consulting
    • Fiduciary services
    • Education, enrollment and advice for plan participants
    • Investment advice and management for plan sponsors

Index Fund Advisors Investment Philosophy

As its name makes clear, Index Fund Advisors tends to invest client assets in a collection of index funds. It has chosen this philosophy as a result of its belief that strategies that look to beat the market tend to be unsuccessful over the long term. The firm invests throughout global capital markets through index portfolios that it has designed. Each of these portfolios utilizes a different risk tolerance level in order to ensure that every client will find one that meets their needs.

Specific portfolio construction is based on the tenets of modern portfolio theory. As such, the firm will build your portfolio in a way that's designed to maximize returns for your specific risk tolerance. Many of the index funds your money is invested in will include fixed-income securities and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Fees Under Index Fund Advisors

For its investment advisory services, IFA charges fees which are billed quarterly and payable in advance. Additional fees include transaction and/or brokerage fees and other custodial charges. Below, we’ve listed the firm’s fee schedule for investment advisory services.

Index Fund Advisors Fee Schedule
AUM Annual Fee
First $500K 0.90%
Next $500K 0.75%
Next $1MM 0.60%
Next $2MM 0.45%
Next $2MM 0.30%
Next $4MM 0.25%
Above $10MM 0.20%

According to a 2018 study by RIA in a Box, the average annual advisory fee is about 0.95% of a client's AUM. For clarity, here's what you'll pay for advisory services at Index Fund Advisors.

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Investment Management Fees at Index Fund Advisors*
Your Assets Index Fund Advisors Fee Amount
$500K $4,500
$1MM $8,250
$5MM $26,250
$10MM $39,250

Index Fund Advisors Awards and Recognition

Index Fund Advisors has received a number of industry awards over the last few years. For example, here's some recognition it has received:

  • IFA founder Mark Hebner ranks 96th on Barron's 2020 list of the top financial advisors in California
  • IFA ranks as one of CNBC's Top 100 Financial Advisors of 2019
  • IFA placed on the Financial Times' rankings of the Top 300 RIAs of 2019 ($1 Billion and Over Category)
  • Financial Advisor Magazine ranks IFA as one of its Top 275 RIAs of 2018

What to Watch Out For

Index Fund Advisors' SEC-filed Form ADV doesn’t list any legal or regulatory disclosures.

Opening an Account with Index Fund Advisors

The easiest way to become a client of Index Fund Advisors is to call the firm's Irvine, California headquarters and set up a meeting with an advisor. The firm also offers an online contact form, which you should fill out if you want an advisor to reach out to you.

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

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

  • There are many financial advisor firms to choose from, but the work can be done for you. SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool can pair you with up to three local advisors, with the final choice of who to work with being up to you. Get started now.
  • Before choosing an advisor, it's important to ask certain questions to ensure the best quality of service. It's useful to ask whether your advisor honors a fiduciary standard. This ensures that your advisor works in your best interest. You'll also want to ask whether you're advisor has a fee-based or fee-only fee structure. In doing so, you can learn how your advisor is compensated and also anticipate any potential conflicts of interest.

How Many Years $1 Million 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.

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

Methodology To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

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%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. 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