Review of Minerva Planning Group | Everything You Need to Know About MPG. Overview of the Advisors, Process, Services, Fees & More


Intro: Review of Minerva Planning Group


One of the most important decisions for those seeking to secure a sound financial future is their choice of financial advisory firm.

While many options may be available for wealth management, not all of them have the same commitment to putting their client’s needs ahead of all others or the same depth of market expertise.

Opening up about your finances in order to plan for current and future financial goals takes a lot of trust, so you want to ensure your financial advisor is a good match for you and someone you can trust completely.

Factors such as whether a firm accepts outside commissions (fee-based) or not (fee-only), as well as its overall wealth management philosophy and industry certifications, are all factors that go into choosing the best partner to help you protect and grow your money.

One Atlanta area financial advisor that checks all the boxes when it comes to knowledge, expertise and a strong commitment to their clients is Minerva Planning Group.

Based in Decatur, this Georgia wealth management firm serves clients in the greater Atlanta area and thanks to modern technology – all throughout the U.S as well.

Image courtesy of Atlanta Financial Advisors: Minerva Planning Group

It’s easy to see what makes Minerva Planning Group stand out to those seeking a safe haven they can trust with their finances. The firm was founded in 1987 by Sandra Porter and became one of the first fee-only firms in the state of Georgia.

A fee-only firm doesn’t accept any outside commissions, thus eliminating any conflicts of interest that come from being paid to sell a particular financial product.

Beyond being fee-only, this Atlanta financial advisor is also a fiduciary, taking on a legal commitment to serve their client’s best interest above all else. This dedication is one that creates a foundation of trust from the very beginning of any client-advisor relationship.

If you’ve been turned away by wealth management firms that only work with high-net-worth individuals, you’ll feel welcome at Minerva. They help secure sound financial futures for multiple client types at different asset levels and also have some key specialties.

Clientele specialties they work with include:

  • Near retirement age
  • Retirees
  • Aging parents
  • Those who’ve received an inheritance
  • Federal government employees
  • Emory employees

Their focus on taking a holistic approach to financial planning and creating personalized plans tailored to each client’s financial life coupled with their financial acumen have made them a success in the industry for over 30 years.


Experienced Advisory Team

One of the strengths of the advisory team at Minerva Planning Group is its industry experience and credentials.

The team is led by Micah Porter, the nephew of Minerva’s original founder. Micah is President and CEO of the firm and has kept his Aunt’s strong client-centric commitment and philosophy of putting the client front and center of everything they do.

Here is an overview of the thoughtful team you’ll be working with at Minerva Planning Group.

Micah Porter: He brought his expertise in business planning and corporate finance to the firm in 2003. He takes an individualized approach with each client, understanding their financial goals and requirements in order to formulate a perfect strategy for their needs.

Mr. Porter has industry experience working with multi-billion dollar companies and he earned his Master’s in International Business with a financial focus from the University of South Carolina. He’s also fluent in Spanish and conversant in German.

Certifications:

  • CFA charterholder
  • Certified Financial Planner™

Matt Godown: This Atlanta native serves as Minerva’s Client Relationship Manager and is a graduate of Georgia State University with a B.A. in Economics. He has nearly a decade of experience in the financial industry.

Syed Huda: The team’s Investment Analyst is also a CFA charterholder and has a Master of Arts in Economics from the City College of New York. He handles the necessary investment research and due diligence required to formulate successful portfolios.

Amy Mawson: Ms. Mawson serves as the firm’s Client Service Associate and brings an international depth to the team. She grew up in Belgium and earned a B.A. in Economic and Social Studies and Master’s in International Development from the University of Manchester.


Full & Comprehensive Financial Planning Process

A factor that keeps some people from seeking financial advice to help manage and grow their wealth is confusion about the process and what it will entail.

Minerva Planning Group takes the mystery out of the experience by providing a full and comprehensive view of each step a client will go through to formulate and execute a successful financial strategy.

Their simple 6-step process includes the following:

1. Initial Client Consultation

Your financial advisor will take the time to learn about your financial concerns and objectives during your initial consultation, which can take place either in person or by phone.

2. Financial Plan Proposal

A proposal is carefully crafted that’s centered around your goals and requirements and includes all costs and recommended services.

3. Base Financial Plan Review

A collaborative review happens next, in which your core plan is reviewed and fine-tuned as needed depending on where you’re at currently and where you strive to end up.

4. Final Financial Plan Review

Your financial plan is finalized to perfectly fit your needs and related value-added strategies like insurance and estate planning are discussed.

5. Financial Portfolio Review

Your target portfolio is discussed including account-by-account recommendations, founded in Minerva’s expert market analysis capability.

6. Periodic Check-Ins

To keep your financial plan on track and updated for any life changes, you’ll meet with your financial advisor quarterly during the first year and then every six months after that.


Coordinated Services for a Holistic Approach

When it comes to financial strategies for your secure future, there are several moving parts, including investments, insurance, tax strategies, and retirement plans. Not all financial advisors will connect all those parts into one comprehensive plan.

Minerva Planning Group does. They believe in taking a holistic approach to wealth management and they provide multiple extra services to ensure all are working together for you.

They also do not believe in “one size fits all” templates, they take the time to learn about each client and to fine-tune a financial strategy with a laser focus on their client’s situation, future goals, and any unexpected life events along the way.

Their wide range of wealth management services include:

  • Financial Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Investment Management
  • Retirement Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Tax Planning

Photo courtesy of: Minerva Planning Group


Clientele Specialties

Minerva Planning Group works with all types of clients at varying wealth levels, which makes them an excellent financial advisor for any stage of life and one that is welcoming no matter what your financial bracket.

Of note are their clientele specialties, and especially their experience working with federal government employees and employees of Emory, who can have more complicated retirement and benefits packages.

If you happen to be in one of the groups below, Minerva will be especially interesting to you due to their financial planning expertise in these areas.

  • Nearing Retirement: They’ll help you develop an accurate budget, see where you stand, and guide you on where you need to be for retirement.
  • Retirees: Minerva Planning Group helps you keep your portfolio in line with your income needs, creates cash flow and budgeting plan and helps with transitional plans.
  • Aging Parents: Adult children can rely on Minerva’s advisors to help them consolidate assets, reposition portfolios, and plan for their aging parent’s needs in the future.
  • Inheritance: There are multiple financial impacts to receiving an inheritance, and they’ll guide you through those and help you with a plan to make the most of your new assets.
  • Federal Government Employees: Understanding pension options under both CSRS and FERS, as well as help with early retirement, insurance, and thrift savings plans.
  • Emory Employees: Helping make sense of the complex benefits packages for employees of Emory University and Emory Clinic.

Straight-Forward Fee Structure

As a fee-only financial advisor, Minerva Planning Group does not accept any commissions for sales of financial products, so you know that their advice is completely unbiased.

MPG’s fee structure is straight-forward and can be found detail in the firm’s ADV. Following is an overview of their client fees.

  • Financial Consultation: $200 per hour
  • Comprehensive Financial Planning: $200 per hour
  • Portfolio Design Fees/Annual Fee (%):
    • First $500,000/0.25%
    • Next $500,000/0.20%
    • Next $2 million/0.1625%
    • $3 million and up/0.10%
  • Portfolio Management Fees/Annual Fee (%)
    • First $500,000/1.00%
    • Next $500,000/0.80%
    • Next $2 million/0.65%
    • $3 million and up/0.40%

Examples of Plan Success

What types of benefits can you expect when working with a financial advisor? This is a common question and one that Minerva Planning Group aims to answer for potential clients through hypothetical sample financial plans.

This is one of the most helpful resources we’ve found and it includes several different situations to help you understand how financial planning can impact your future life and also how much each example plan costs.

Additionally, Minerva Planning Group offers a free 90-minute workshop to help you create your own financial plan.

Their attention to detail when explaining the costs and benefits of wealth management in a comprehensive way illustrate the firm’s deep commitment to helping their clients live the lives they want.


Commitment to Client Education

Throughout their website, you’ll find multiple blog entries and news articles related to different areas of finance designed to assist clients with helpful information to educate and inform.

Their client commitment is evident through their wide-ranging choice of helpful topics, which include:

  • “Attribution Analysis – Assessing Investment Decisions”
  • “What Investment Diversification Really Means”
  • “Retirement Income Planning”
  • “What Really Impacts Financial Success – A Reading List”

Additionally, the firm’s FAQ section is quite extensive with answers to many common investor questions.


Conclusion: Future Outlook for Minerva Planning Group

You won’t find many Financial Advisors that work so hard to make things easy for their clients. With a fee-only, fiduciary foundation of trust, transparent fees, and example financial plans, those seeking financial guidance will have all their questions answered up front.

Their uncomplicated process that creates a tailored portfolio for each client, without using a cookie-cutter approach, is also refreshing and one that makes them a stand out in their industry.

Though their team may be smaller than other firms’, they have a carefully chosen staff with complementary skillsets that allow them to offer additional financial services, like tax planning, insurance planning, but also building a robust, holistic portfolio.

Due to their wide expertise and use of technology to virtually assist clients anywhere in the country, we anticipate their expert investment services and concierge approach will continue to attract more clients not only locally in the Decatur and Atlanta, but also throughout the U.S.



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