In his own practice, Moisand describes holding "a meaningful collaborative discussion with clients," laying out a game plan for their retirement and a tentative spending plan. But he also makes sure that they are alert to the possibility that changes in the market and in their own behavior may require adjustments and he encourages them to face various specific contingencies - "If the assets drop x% in value, we will decrease withdrawals by y%, [or] if our assets grow to x, we will fund a scholarship at our alma mater." In the end, Moisand says, "Most clients choose something close to but less than 5% as a starting point."
LEARNING TO DELEGATE
Reviewing his career, Moisand believes his biggest challenge has been learning to delegate effectively. "I spent too many years as a solo practitioner," he explains. "Since I like all this financial stuff, I want to do it all." But he and other solo practitioners, at some point, eventually exhaust their personal capacity. Sole practitioners need to accept the fact that they like control and seek out people they truly trust when looking for a business team.
"Joining an ensemble practice takes a commitment analogous to marriage," he says. Solo practitioners should take time to know potential partners and work together on several cases before partnering. Another bit of advice: Look for partners who see employees as assets and beware of those who see employees as expenses.
In his current position, Moisand has been able to hand over the reins in technology, personnel, operations and management to his partners. He focuses on retirement planning and communications. "I like figuring out ways to make complex things understandable," he says, "so I now handle all the writing for the firm, including newsletters, quarterly reports and such."
His firm's motto is "a sanctuary from the noise." Moisand's experience should make him an expert at delivering on this motto, both globally and locally.
Jim Grote, a Financial Planning contributing writer, is a CFP in Louisville, Ky.
Principal, Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo, Melbourne, Fla.
Experience: A year selling insurance; part of a team practice at American Express and at an LPL Financial branch; sole proprietor. In 2003, Moisand merged with Charlie Fitzgerald and Ron Tamayo to form their firm. He also spent five years on the FPA board of directors.
AUM: $250 million
How I see it: "The problem with regulation in this country is not the quantity of regulation, but the quality of that regulation."