How We Can Help

Who is Ritter Daniher Financial Advisory?

RDFA is a fee-only, financial planning and investment management firm located in Cincinnati, OH.  We serve clients nationwide, and currently work with clients residing in 20 different states.

RDFA has expanded further through the acquisition of two other fee-only financial planning firms - the first one in 2010 and a second one in 2012.  Not only did these acquisitions bring additional clients for the firm to serve, but it also brought additional professional talent to serve the clients.  Currently, the total amount of employees in the firm stands at 9, with four Certified Financial Planner professionals.

In its 24 years, RDFA has gone from an idea on a business plan, to a successful, nationally recognized firm serving more than 320 clients, and managing nearly $520,000,000 (as of 7/31/2023).  How have they done this?  It has happened through a passionate belief in the benefits of a Fee-Only compensation method, and upholding a Fiduciary standard in all dealings with a client.

What is the Change We Create?

We often work with people who have struggled to fi nd the help they need to map out their future.  If we can help you articulate your goals and dreams, we can help you create a financial plan that focuses your efforts to achieve them.  We can enable you to make informed choices about the lifestyle you choose to live and how to help your loved ones find success and happiness.  And if you, like many people, have more goals than resources, we’ll help you prioritize them and strive to reach as many as possible.  Our ultimate objective is to enable you to achieve your dreams and leave a legacy that can last for generations.

We start by getting to know you on a personal level -- and earning your trust so we can be an effective advocate for you and your family.  We gather information about your current financial situation, your priorities, and your goals.  Our goal is to reach a point where we understand your finances better than you do, so we can think proactively on your behalf.

If you feel intimidated by financial planning, we will simplify things and speak in terms you can understand.  We also can address your issues of top concern first and move gradually to develop a comprehensive plan.  Regardless how you choose to work with us, you will find us to be friendly, approachable, responsive to your needs – and always on your side.

Why should I hire RDFA rather than manage my own money?

Few people have the time, expertise and discipline to consistently direct their investments and other financial affairs effectively.  We use the latest research and technology to evaluate a full range of options that might be right for you.  We also bring an objective viewpoint to an area where decision-making should not be governed by emotion.

Tell me about the financial planning process.

Financial planning is a multi-step process.  It starts with an in-depth look at your current situation, your goals, and your concerns. Then, based on where you are and where you want to go, it creates a kind of road map to guide you toward your desired future.  It is important to remember that financial planning is a process, not a one-time event.  As things change over time – and they most certainly will – we must be prepared to adjust the plan in order to stay on course.

What is the profile of a typical RDFA client?

Ages typically range from 30 to 90; investment portfolios run the gamut from under $500,000 to more than $5 million.  Clients include educators, engineers, corporate executives, physicians, attorneys, inheritors and more.  We work with traditional and non-traditional families, as well as single clients.  Our clients share a common interest in conducting their financial affairs in a coordinated, integrated fashion.

Who will be my contacts at RDFA?

Behind the scenes, we collaborate closely to ensure that clients benefit from the insight and experience of multiple planners.  This structure provides clients with an advisory team to serve them.  While it is likely that one of our advisors will take a more primary role, you benefit from the expertise of multiple professionals at RDFA.

What are your professional credentials?

At Ritter Daniher, four of our advisors are Certified Financial Planners, and four CFP®'s are also registered financial advisors with NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.  In addition, John Ritter holds the CFS designation, and Jeff Daniher’s studies have earned him the Accredited Estate Planner (AEP®), Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designations.

How are you compensated?

We are Fee-Only.  Our compensation only comes from fees you pay.  We DO NOT receive commission from the sale of products.

What does “Fee-Only” mean?

In the realm of financial planning, “fee-only” means that you hire a financial advisor and directly pay him or her a fee for services rendered.  With respect to you the client, the fee-only financial advisor wears a single hat, that of a trusted advisor.

Does “Fee-Only” and “fee based” mean the same thing?

They truly DO NOT!  Fee-Only advisors receive compensation only directly from their clients to minimize conflicts of interest and Fee-Only advisors have a Fiduciary responsibility to their clients.  “Fee based” advisors provide investment advice for a fee paid by the client but then will strongly desire to sell you investment and insurance products and will receive a commission and/or 12b-1 fees from the product providers for doing so.  “Fee based” advisors may or may not assume a fiduciary responsibility for your financial well-being.  Make sure you know which type of advisor you are working with!

Why should I prefer Fee-Only financial planning to the alternatives?

There are several reasons why seeking the services of a fee-only financial planner may be better suited to your needs and interests:

  • There is an inherent conflict-of-interest in the commission and 12b-1 fee compensation models that is not present in the fee-only model.  Specifically, in the commission and 12b-1 fee models the investment advisor stands to gain monetarily if you follow his or her investment advice.  On the other hand, the fee-only model fosters objectivity on the part of the advisor because he or she will have no other reason to recommend an investment to you except a desire to counsel you wisely.
  • Commissioned and 12b-1 fee planners will only be willing to advise you regarding that subset of your assets you can invest in the products they sell.  Typically, they will not be willing to advise you regarding assets that are locked into 401K’s, 403b’s, and other employer sponsored savings plans.  This is key: only a fee-only advisor will help with diversification, asset allocation, tax optimization and rebalancing across your entire investment portfolio not just a subset.
  • Fee-Only planners stand ready to help you with a much broader spectrum of financial challenges than commissioned advisors because they don’t restrict their services to those revolving around the sale of investment products.  For example, you wouldn’t call your commissioned advisor to get advice about a mortgage refinance, a tax problem, an insurance needs analysis or an estate planning idea.  A Fee-Only advisor can be your single source of advice for all your personal financial challenges.

Tell me how all this relates to the notion of Fiduciary responsibility.

It is ideal to work with a financial advisor who is obligated to put your best interests above all else when advising you.  This obligation is referred to in the financial services profession as the fiduciary standard.  If the person you would like to work with is a Registered Investment Advisor then she or he is governed by the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and has a fiduciary responsibility to you.  When considering who to trust for financial guidance you should ask candidate advisors if they are a Registered Investment Advisor.  You will find that very few employees of the big name broker-dealers like Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, Ameriprise Financial and the like are Registered Investment Advisors.  Any candidate advisor who is not registered is not obligated to put your interests first when counseling you.  Note that all Ritter Daniher advisors are Investment Advisor Representatives.  As such, we must comply with a host of regulations designed to protect the consumer.  One important question you should always ask when considering a financial planner’s services:  “May I please have a copy of your ADV Part II?”  This document contains important information about the planner’s qualifications, fiduciary duties, history of any past violations, etc.  We would be happy to send you a copy of our ADV Part II.  Please contact us to request your copy.

What is NAPFA?

NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement of fee-only comprehensive financial planning.  Professionals who become NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors are committed to the three primary ideas of NAPFA:

  • The belief that clients are best served by a comprehensive approach to financial planning.
  • The highest levels of competency must be achieved and maintained.
  • Fee-only compensation and a fiduciary relationship are vital to placing the interests of the client above all others.

If you don’t sell any investment or insurance products, how will I implement your advice?

We will provide you with all the direction and support you need to implement our advice with respect to the specific no-load, low expense investment products we recommend to you (assuming your portfolio needs any changes at all).  We provide the technical know-how and you provide the labor.  Once clients see the process in action, they realize they needn’t have been concerned about either the difficulty or the amount of time that would be required.  We believe this is the most cost effective way for people to invest. With respect to any insurance advice we provide, we will refer you to reputable insurance options that are specifically designed to keep the costs of coverage to a minimum.

Tell me about your investment philosophy.

As financial planners and investment consultants, we believe in the following fundamental principals with regard to designing an investment portfolio and making specific recommendations:  The purpose of a client’s investment portfolio is to fund current and/or future financial objectives.  The design of the portfolio must take into account the client’s financial objectives, tolerance for risk, needs for current income or liquidity, and special considerations such as income and estate taxes.  The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future. It is difference of opinion that makes a market. Investment and economic ''experts'' provided with the same information often come to different conclusions.  We do not suggest that we can, or that any of the money or mutual fund managers that we recommend, will make the correct decision every time.  We do believe, however, that studying the historic trends and relationships of investment classes and the philosophies and approaches of successful investment managers can provide valuable insight.  The appropriate allocation of investment assets for your goals and risk tolerance is the most important component in developing an investment portfolio.  We believe that having a diversified, well-balanced portfolio, following long-term buy-and-hold strategies, and having patience, will increase the likelihood that one will achieve their long-term financial objectives.

How do you select investments for a client?

Before we recommend any investment, we consider the current economic conditions, the outlook for that asset class or type of security and how this investment fits within your portfolio given your objectives and tolerance for risk.  For equity investments, we focus primarily on the philosophies, experience and track record of the management team.  With fixed income investments, we look for the best yield available for a given quality of security.  As fiduciaries for our clients, we strive to obtain the most appropriate investment vehicles to meet your objectives, while being very conscious of total expenses and risk exposure.

What are RDFA’s safeguards? Where would my money be “kept?”

An important - and indelicate (so we'll ask it for you) - question is "how secure are my accounts?  Who would have access to them?"  We want you to know that Ritter Daniher takes the security of client funds very seriously, and has adopted a number of "check and balance" systems to protect you.  For instance, all client accounts are held - "custodied" - at major, independent, third-party financial institutions, such as Charles Schwab Institutional, not at Ritter Daniher.  Transfers go directly to the custodial institution, and, when you want money, checks are sent directly to you from the institution (after they verify your identity, if needed, such as when you request a check be sent to an address other than the address of record).  All checks are to be made out directly from you to the custodian institution, and from it to you - not to Ritter Daniher or its personnel.  Likewise, we take the security of your personal, confidential information very seriously, and have a host of procedures to protect it, both in paper and electronic form.

How well will Ritter Daniher communicate with me?

At Ritter Daniher, we don't tell you how much we care - we show you.  That’s not just lip service, but a deeply-driven company obligation that you can feel.  We provide in-depth statements that tell you exactly how your portfolio is performing.  We provide an informative newsletter and blog with timely topics.  We offer seminars and our “Client Appreciation” events.  And we touch base regularly to give you portfolio updates, and invite you to call whenever you need help or have a question.  Our advisors speak to their clients personally to review performance, and conduct personalized discussions with each of them at least annually.  We believe trust is earned, not advertised.  Our objective is not just to satisfy, but to delight you as well.

Do you offer a free initial meeting?

Yes!  Our complimentary initial meeting allows you the opportunity to interview us while we get to know you and your situation.  By the end of the meeting, we can determine together whether working together makes sense.

What should I bring to the initial meeting?

The meeting time is predominantly spent discussing the “big picture” issues such as your family situation, work, and overall goals.  At the end of the initial meeting you will get a questionnaire that will gather all of the relevant financial details that are needed.  However, it will be helpful to bring the following:

  • Tax Returns (Previous 2 Years)
  • Pension Statements from employers and/or Social Security Benefit Statements
  • All Life, Disability and Property/Casualty insurance policies
  • Current investment statements from trust companies, brokers, investment companies, banks, etc.
  • Budget of personal living expenses
  • Employee Manual or Handbook
  • Current mortgage information, and any other loan or debt statements
  • Latest estate planning documents (Wills, Living Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, etc.)
  • Any other relevant documents that you would like us to review

How can I get started?

Give us a call at (513) 233-0715 or send an e-mail to [email protected] and let us know what questions and concerns we may be able to help you with.  Appointments are scheduled based on availability during regular business hours of 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  There is no fee for the initial get-acquainted meeting.

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