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The Planning Center

The Planning Center, Inc. is a financial advisor firm headquartered in Moline, Illinois with approximately $708 million in assets under management (AUM). The fee-only firm has 14 advisors spread between its offices in Illinois, Oklahoma, Louisiana, California, Alaska and Minnesota.

The Planning Center works with roughly 1,150 clients. The firm works mainly with individual clients, but it also offers its services to pension and profit-sharing plans, high-net-worth individuals and corporations. It offers a wide range of investment advisory services, financial planning services and consulting services to its clients. The firm’s mission is to help its clients navigate financial decisions throughout their lives.

The Planning Center Background

The Planning Center was established in 2002 by founder Marty Kurtz, who still serves as one of the firm’s partners. Eric Kies serves as the firm’s president and chief compliance officer (CCO).

The Planning Center is employee-owned by a collection of 10 individuals. This group includes firm partners Kurtz, Kies, Matthew Sivertsen, John Longstaff, JJ Sessions, Andrew Sivertsen, Cicily Maton, Michelle Maton, H. Jude Boudreaux and Michael Branham.

Nearly every financial advisor at The Planning Center holds a certified financial planner (CFP) certification. Beyond this, the firm's staff boasts certifications including certified financial transitionist (CeFT), certified public accountant (CPA) and chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS).

What Types of Clients Does The Planning Center Accept?

The Planning Center offers services to individuals, high-net-worth individuals, estates, trusts, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans and small businesses.

The Planning Center Minimum Account Sizes

The Planning Center doesn’t have a minimum account size requirement. However, some services, such as tax planning and the Capstone Wealth Program, will have a minimum annual fee:

  • Capstone Wealth Program: $3,000 minimum annual retainer fee (rounded to the nearest $250)
  • Tax planning: $120 minimum annual fee

Services Offered by The Planning Center

The Planning Center offers a fairly standard range of services. The firm provides the following to its clients:

  • Investment advisory services
    • Asset allocation planning
    • Ongoing portfolio monitoring and review
    • Capstone Wealth Program
    • Tax planning
  • Stand-alone financial planning and consulting
    • Estate planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Divorce planning
    • Cash flow and asset management
    • Philanthropic gift planning
    • Retirement planning

The Capstone Wealth Program serves as a more personalized rendition of the firm's standard investment advisory services. This program also comes with integrated financial planning services and regular advisor-client meetings.

The Planning Center Investment Philosophy

The Planning Center approaches the investment management process in fairly standard fashion. When determining the proper asset allocation for each client, the firm will consider the client’s economic situation, liquidity needs, risk tolerance, proposed investment period, need for diversification, reliance upon current income and present and anticipated tax situation. For the most part, The Planning Center tends to invest in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Occasionally, the firm may add equities, fixed-income securities and insurance products to its asset allocations.

When it comes to analyzing securities, the firm relies primarily on fundamental analysis, which involves comparing current market valuations to historical data. The firm also uses a combination of investment strategies including long-term purchases, short-term purchases, trading and modern portfolio theory (MPT).

Fees Under The Planning Center

Fees for investment advisory services from The Planning Center don’t follow a specific fee schedule. Instead, the firm will determine an appropriate fee based on a number of factors including the size of your account, the complexity of the services you require, the length of the relationship and other factors. This fee will never surpass 3.00% of your AUM annually, though.

If you’re engaging in the Capstone Wealth Program, things are a bit different. You’ll be charged a fee that’s a percentage of your net worth, as well as a fee that’s a percentage of your adjusted gross income (AGI). These fees adhere to the following schedules:

Net Worth-Based Fees
Client Net Worth Fee Percentage
Up to $2,500,000 0.50%
$2,500,000.01 - $10,000,000 0.25%
$10,000,000.01 and above 0.10%

 

Income-Based Fees
Client Income Level Fee Percentage
Up to $500,000 1.25%
$500,000.01 - $1,500,000 0.75%
$1,500,000.01 and above 0.50%

What to Watch Out For

There's little to watch out for with The Planning Center. The firm is not affiliated with, or registered as, a broker-dealer, and it doesn’t typically recommend other investment advisors for clients. Additionally, the firm offers its investment advisory services on a fee-only basis. This means it only makes money through the fees it charges clients.

However, the firm does indicate in its Form ADV that, should one of its advisors recommend you roll over your retirement assets into an account managed by The Planning Center, a conflict of interest could arise. This is because the result of this recommendation will lead the firm to earn an advisory fee. Despite this potential conflict of interest, the firm abides by fiduciary duty, legally binding it to act in clients' best interests.

Disclosures

The Planning Center doesn’t have any legal or regulatory disclosures listed on its Form ADV.

Opening an Account With The Planning Center

There are a few different ways you can get in touch with The Planning Center. You can visit the firm’s website and fill out its contact form with your name, contact information and a message. You can also call the firm at (888) 333-6986, or you can email clientservices@theplanningcenter.com.

Where Is The Planning Center Located?

The Planning Center is headquartered in downtown Moline, Illinois on 5th Avenue, just a short walk from the John Deere Pavilion. Additionally, The Planning Center has offices in Maple Grove, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; Tulsa, Oklahoma; New Orleans, Louisiana; Fresno, California; and Anchorage, Alaska.

Tips for Finding an Advisor

  • Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • If you find that you don’t have quite enough money to meet the account minimums of many traditional advisors, then you may be interested in a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors often have lower minimums and fees, while also helping you reach your investment and retirement goals.

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 cost of living in retirement there.

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

Methodology SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities. Using that calculation, we determined how many years $1 million would last in retirement in each major city.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors throughout the country. 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.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Finally, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would last in each of the cities in our study.

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