Deep Expertise + Aligned Incentives = Advice You Can Trust
What We Do
SwitchPoint Financial Planning is a fee-only retirement planning and investment management firm based in Lehi, Utah and serving clients in the greater Salt Lake City and Provo areas, as well as throughout the country.
We specialize in assisting individuals and families achieve or maintain financial independence – whether that means retiring with confidence, starting a new venture, or shifting focus to giving back.
Our flat fee business model puts us squarely on the same side of the table as our clients, which inspires a high level of trust and collaboration. Our comprehensive approach will bring clarity to your financial picture and confidence in your path forward.
Who We Serve
The defining characteristic of our clients is their desire to make more informed financial decisions that better align with their own values, goals, and lives. They are looking for a long-term partnership with a trusted expert – not a high-pressure sales pitch, hot stock tip, or get-rich-quick scheme. Most of our clients are either:
- Long-time savers approaching or in retirement who are seeking guidance on how to turn their nest-egg into income that will last the rest of their life. They understand that there are some pivotal decisions to make that could be the difference between an ideal retirement and just surviving. They want to work with someone who will look out for their best interests.
- High-income professionals looking to invest wisely, minimize taxes, and grow their wealth. They understand the value of delegating but want to get value for their dollar and don’t want conflicted advice or hidden fees.
James Sweeney, CFA, CFP®, MBA | Founder and Wealth Advisor
I’ve spent my career in the investment management industry – helping clients manage their portfolios and plan for retirement.
Early on, I saw a deep flaw in the financial “advice” industry stemming from how advisors get paid. Instead of being paid for their expertise like a doctor, attorney or accountant, most financial advisors are paid like a sales rep – commissions or a percentage of client accounts.
The lack of transparency in these compensation structures often leads to advisors extracting unreasonable fees from unsuspecting consumers. In addition, they create huge conflicts of interest between advisor and client – often resulting in advice that pays the advisor the most, rather than what’s best for the client.
Over time I became determined to change the paradigm of financial advice from sales to profession by removing these conflicts of interest. In 2016, I founded SwitchPoint Financial Planning utilizing a flat annual fee structure that compensates us for our expertise and the services we provide.
I feel incredibly blessed to be able to work every day in a career that combines my love of finance and investing with my desire to help others.
A native of Mesa, Arizona, I’ve spent the last 15 years in Utah and currently live in Lehi with my wife and four children. Between church, school, sports and just trying to keep up with the kids, there is never a dull moment at our house.
What’s in a Name?
SwitchPoint is a railroad reference. A railroad switchpoint is a small piece of steel that needs to be moved only a few inches in order to transfer a train from one track to another and set it on a completely new course, potentially drastically changing its end destination.
Likewise, our financial lives are made up of many small switchpoints that can drastically alter our futures. Small changes to things like fees, taxes, savings rates, or retirement age can amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over a typical retirement.
One of my favorite things to do with my clients is help them recognize these switchpoints, make the best decision, and enjoy the rewards that eventually follow.
Independence is a defining characteristic of SwitchPoint. That independence means we are able to deliver products and solutions that best meet our client’s needs. We aren’t limited to what our parent company offers and we aren’t incentivized to recommend proprietary products.
Maintaining that independence means that we don’t affiliate with a larger bank, mutual fund company or insurance company.
Instead, the implementation of our advice often requires the use of third-party services. SwitchPoint is in no way affiliated with any of the companies listed below, but they play an integral part in our client’s financial lives.
TD Ameritrade acts as custodian for many of our client accounts. They custody over $1 trillion in client assets and offer 100% fraud liability protection to account holders.
Founded in 1981, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) manages over $500 billion utilizing an evidence-based investment approach. DFA is one of the primary mutual fund managers we recommend in client accounts. Learn Why
LLIS provides insurance implementation for many of our clients. Their team consists of more than 20 experts with over 300 total years of experience across all types of insurance.
We seek to affiliate with groups who share our principles. These groups are committed to advancing the field of financial advice. They promote values like the fiduciary standard of care, continuing education and ethical business practices.
James Sweeney is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). NAPFA is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. Since 1983, Americans across the country have looked to NAPFA for access to financial professionals who meet the highest membership standards for professional competency, client-focused financial planning, and Fee-Only compensation. Members of NAPFA subscribe to a strict fiduciary oath and code of ethics. In addition, NAPFA members are required to fulfill significant continuing education requirements.
Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA)
James Sweeney holds the CFA designation, offered by the CFA Institute. CFA Institute is the premier global association for investment management professionals. They seek to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society.
The CFA charter provides a strong foundation in advanced investment, analysis, and real-world portfolio management skills. This globally recognized, graduate-level credential is held by over 150,000 professionals across 163 countries. To earn the CFA charter, candidates must:
- Pass three sequential, six-hour examinations which require an average of 300+ hours of study per exam
- Have at least four years of qualified professional investment experience
- Join CFA institute as members
- Commit to abide by, and annually reaffirm, their adherence to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct which requires members to:
- Place their clients’ interests ahead of their own
- Maintain independence and objectivity
- Act with integrity
- Maintain and improve their professional competence
- Disclose conflicts of interest and legal matters
Certified Financial Planner® (CFP)
James Sweeney holds the CFP® designation, offered by the CFP Board. CFP Board is a non-profit organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP® certification. Their mission is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.
The CFP® certification marks identify professionals who have met the high standards of competency and ethics established and enforced by CFP Board. CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct require CFP® professionals to act in their clients’ best interests.
The White Coat Investor
SwitchPoint Financial Planning is one of the “Best Financial Advisors” recommended on The White Coat Investor. The White Coat Investor is a financial blog created by Jim Dahle, a practicing board-certified emergency physician.
The White Coat Investor has a three-prong mission:
- To help those who wear the white coat get a “fair shake” on Wall Street (i.e. boost financial literacy among high income professionals)
- To feed my entrepreneurial spirit (build something larger than ourselves, create jobs, and make a few bucks ourselves)
- Connect our community with the “good guys” in the financial services industry (thankfully there are a few of them out there)
James Sweeney is a featured advisor on the Fee-Only Network. FeeOnlyNetwork.com is a partnership with The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.
NAPFA is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors – highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve.
FeeOnlyNetwork.com showcases the expertise of these advisors and promotes consumer awareness of the Fee-Only financial advisor model.
Utah Financial Advisor Network
James Sweeney is a member of the Utah Financial Advisor Network – a select group of independent, fee-only advisors committed to helping Utah investors get unbiased, expert advice. Advisors must meet strict membership requirements including:
- Hold the CFP® designation
- Fee-only status
- Commitment to act as a fiduciary at all times
- No insurance or broker-dealer affiliation (to minimize conflicts of interest)
- Deliver holistic advice (not just investment management)
XY Planning Network
James Sweeney is a member of the XY Planning Network – the leading organization of fee-only financial advisors who offer services to Generation X and Generation Y clients. Their mission is to connect consumers with best-in-class financial advisors who specialize in working with clients from diverse backgrounds.
What are your switchpoints?
Schedule a no-obligation introductory meeting to see how we can help you get on track to reach your goals.