American Capital Planning
Frequently Asked Questions

Our ideal clients:

  • Want guidance, not a guru.
  • Can articulate their goals and have a saving mentality.
  • Seek professional guidance, yet keep their own counsel.
  • Have busy, productive lives and still recognize the value of the experience, ethics, and education of a professional, fee-only fiduciary advisor.

We provide traditional wealth management (comprehensive financial planning and investment account management). We also specialize in divorce planning and exit planning. 

You can expect:

  1. A boutique experience – we answer our own phones and take pride in anyone in the firm being able to assist you.
  2. To have your questions and concerns encouraged and addressed correctly and completely.
  3. A close relationship where you have high financial confidence in us and feel comfortable using our expertise for any financial decisions you face. 
  4. Transparency in everything we do.

Yes. CFP®s meet the 4 E’s: Education, Examination, Experience & Ethics. This is an Accredited certification.

As a fiduciary, we are legally required to put our clients’ best interests first. This means that you can feel confident that the advice you receive is not influenced by anything other than what we feel will benefit you the most.

We offer our services for a flat fee when there is a written scope of work and when providing traditional wealth management. This fee is deducted from your accounts at the end of each quarter for work in the previous quarter. We offer services under a retainer when the scope is undefined or very limited.  In general fees equate to a negotiated percentage of the accounts under advisement. Fees are determined after we have reviewed all of our requested documentation and we have spoken with you to clarify your needs. You will be provided a fee quote prior to signing any agreement.

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The first step to engaging with our firm is to complete our Triple-D form©. Call us at (703)771-0905 or email us at should you need assistance.

Appointments are scheduled based on availability during regular business hours of 9-5, Monday through Friday. We offer both in-person meetings in the Leesburg, VA, area and virtual meetings, should that be more convenient.

Other financial advisors offer a free first meeting, why doesn't American Capital Planning?

We get hundreds of inquiries a year and find that the best clients for our firm are those personally referred by existing clients. We do take outside clients but do not market our boutique firm to the general public. When we meet the first time, we can give you actionable advice in our working meeting. If you’re prepared to get started, we’re prepared to work with you now.

We have worked with wealth management clients – specializing in those facing divorce – since 1990. You can learn more about our professional experience by reading our bios.

When deciding on a wealth manager, you want to work with someone whose philosophy, work ethic and strategies make sense to you. When it works well for you, the client, it is an intimate exchange of information that helps you realize what matters most to you.

When facing divorce, make sure your financial expert works on divorce financial planning cases every week vs. once in a while. Make sure your divorce financial expert is an expert in post-divorce financial planning so that you are not disappointed with the results when everything is over. Someone who only does pre-divorce financial planning may not know enough about personal finance to avoid tax mistakes, account transfer mistakes, and long-term consequences of the pre-divorce only planning.

Yes. While this is not yet an accredited certification, those of us who hold this certification are specifically trained in pre-divorce financial planning.

If your divorce financial expert is not allowed to charge you for divorce financial planning and is doing so just to "help you out," chances are very good they simply hope to capture your assets post-divorce. We charge for our time in divorce financial planning and deliver exceptional work that often pays for itself after we have measured our results.

We speak at a nonprofit, licensed Second Saturday® workshop in Fairfax, VA, each month. We have a family law attorney and divorce financial expert speak at each workshop.

Support. Information. Hope.

Divorce, in addition to being a legal process, is very much a financial process of taking one household and making two. Spending time evaluating your financial future is perhaps the most important step in a divorce.

Finding the right professional for your situation is key. You need an attorney to provide legal advice, but you also need a CFP® or CDFA™ to provide financial planning during your divorce.

Your divorce financial professional works separately or in tandem with your attorney – they work with each other, not for each other. You benefit from this by getting objective guidance.

Your divorce financial professional shows you the financial impact of any potential division and, if needed, can appear as an expert witness in court. American Capital can provide expert testimony in court, although we prefer to prepare financial testimony that is so compelling the other party must consider whether their arguments are stronger.

We have a proprietary Triple D© process.

We charge hourly, flat fee (specific written scope of work) or retainer fee, much like attorneys. At American Capital, the hourly fee is $400 with a minimum of 1 hour. The average divorce financial analysis takes 10 hours.

Yours may not be average. Clients with more complicated situations or who need testimony preparation may want to go on retainer. This can all sound like a lot of money – we agree. We debrief your fee in the context of results achieved. Transparent, documented numbers used in easy to understand models stand up to intense scrutiny during negotiations.

No. American Capital is an advocate for both men and women. Many of our clients are men who also wish to understand the numbers and not create a financially stressed household post-divorce for either party. We can even work with a couple to create a fair and equitable financial settlement ready to present to an attorney to finalize the divorce.

As an agnostic financial professional, American Capital works with couples to cooperatively problem-solve financial issues. Each party’s interests are taken into consideration, with the ultimate goal being a mutually acceptable settlement.

Our services can be retained to work with one party in the divorce. In this role, we work as a problem-solver, in addition to helping educate you on the impact of various settlement options. We will never participate in intentional financial injury to either party.

American Capital has worked on many mediation cases, teaming up with the client and attorney as they moved through the mediation process to help evaluate options generated during mediation. This is one of our top strengths – solving the issues efficiently, transparently and to the satisfaction of both parties.

Divorce financial planning is not investment advice. One of the most important things that we do during the divorce process is make sure both parties can pay their bills post-divorce and have a financial foundation on which to build.

American Capital can explain things in a straightforward manner, model outcomes and help you gain financial confidence.

Absolutely. American Capital has the experience, skill set and technology needed to evaluate settlement options and provide feedback regarding the impact of the option(s). How do you know if you are receiving a fair settlement? In a nutshell, math modeling shows you if you can live with the settlement. We can help you understand the financial and tax impacts of diverse settlement proposals covering asset distribution, debt assignment and spousal/child support.

Spousal maintenance—also referred to as spousal support or alimony— is a series of payments from one spouse to the other, often for a specified timeframe after a divorce. The purpose of maintenance is to help balance the earning abilities of each spouse so that they maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce. There are many potential options available, including lump sum payments or a larger transfer of assets.

For divorce settlements concluded after 12/31/2018, spousal support or alimony is tax-neutral like child support. It is neither tax-deductible by the payor nor taxable to the recipient.

For divorce settlements concluded prior to 12/31/18, it depends on whether you are making or receiving the payment. Spousal support is tax deductible if you are making the payment, as long as it is within IRS guidelines. If you are receiving the payment, it is taxable.

The answer is yes – but these are post-divorce services under a different contract.  Every client signs a Conflict of Interest statement as part of our divorce financial planning contract. We ask the other spouse to sign a waiver of consent. This ensures fairness to both parties during the divorce process. We disclose the Conflict of Interest and if you have any trouble understanding it we will patiently explain to your satisfaction.