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Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Dearden Financial Services Different From Other Financial Planning Firms?

There are three primary differentiators that separate Dearden Financial Services LLC from other planning firms:

  1. In-Depth Tax Advice: We started as a family CPA firm in 1996 to help families ensure their taxes were in order for their goals. We added financial planning after too many clients or their "financial advisors" did not understand how to integrate BOTH your family's finances and taxes for your financial goals. 
  2. Financial Life Planning: Your investments are tools to accomplish your family's financial goals. We blend your family's core values into your investments, savings, and spendings to highlight what truly brings you purpose. Let our multigenerational family team serve your multigenerational family.
  3. Experienced, Fiduciary Values: Our founder and Director of Wealth Management has been in the personal finance profession since 1983. She has seen how the financial advising and tax preparation space has changed dramatically, but has always committed to the fiduciary values of service to clients. 

How long does a typical engagement last?

We believe that financial planning is a process, not a product. Thus, we strive to work with our clients on a long-term basis. However, we understand that our clients' needs change over time. At a minimum, we would like you to commit to a one-year engagement so that you can see the results of our work together over time. 

We strive for our family to be your family's steward of wealth for generations to come. 

Who are your typical clients?

Our typical clients are high income professionals in their field who need guidance in understanding how to integrate their compensation to maximize their wealth through their investments and taxes. You may be able to manage your own finances effectively if you put the time and effort into it. But because of the inherent emotional aspects of managing your finances, specifically the fear of making a mistake, and the time commitment required, you prefer to delegate the financial stressors in your life to a professional.

Our best clients are collaborators who appreciate an independent third-party opinion. They also do their homework (yes, there will be homework assigned to you) on time, are responsive, and are engaged in the process.

Do I Have To Come Into Your Office?

No. We can meet virtually through Zoom or you can come to our office. Most of our clients prefer a mixture of both in person or virtual appointments based off their schedule and needs.

Do I have To Pay For The First Meeting?

No. We believe that everyone should have access to a qualified independent financial advisor. Thus, the first meeting will be free and have no obligations. So bring your financial questions with you. If we aren't a good fit to work together, we will point you in the right direction.

How Do You Get Paid?

We are a Fee-Based independent financial planning and Tax preparation firm, which means our compensation comes from the services we provide to you. Namely tax preparation fees, financial planning fees, and assets under management fees depending on what services you want to engage with us.

We are also independently insurance licensed and receive commissions from recommended products for your financial planning needs. We do NOT have or sell any propriety products and we value our independence to find you to the best product or service to meet your families financial needs. We strongly believe that your time is valuable so you should be able to receive your investments, taxes, and insurance needs from one person instead of three separate entities/individuals. 

What is a fiduciary?

A fiduciary has the highest ethical obligation to put your interests ahead of their own. We are fiduciaries – this is a fundamental value of ours and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Additionally, Laurette and Garrett have committed to fiduciary values through their CFP® certification. 

What's an independent firm?

Being independent means that we are free to choose from almost any investment company, product type, market sector, cost structure, and tactical outlook. We do this with a mind for transparency, liquidity, and simplicity.

Independence allows us to operate primarily on a fee basis which simplifies the cost of services for the client and allows us to move forward with the goal of scaling down the cost as assets may grow. Additionally, fee-based investing encourages us to include cost-effective investment vehicles like ETFs and institutional-share mutual funds.


Most consumers believe that all financial planners are "certified," but this isn't true. Anyone can call themselves a financial planner, wealth manager, financial advisor, etc. However, only those who have fulfilled the certification requirements of the CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks, which represent a high level of competency, ethics, and professionalism.

It is recognized across the world for its (1) high standard of professional education; (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice; and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. – See more at theCFP Board's Website.

Laurette has been a CFP® professional since 1991. Check her certification out on theCFP Board's website

Garrett is a CFP® professional since 2024. Check out his certification on the CFP Board's website

Do You Work With People Outside of The Mid-Atlantic Region?

Yes. We work with clients who live across the country. No matter where you live in the USA, we can work together.

What is your investment Philosophy?

Discover the cornerstone of our client-centric investment strategy at Dearden Financial Services, LLC: diversification. We prioritize investing across various asset classes, a fundamental principle that mitigates concentration risks while ensuring exposure to high-performing segments. Our diversified approach encompasses US stocks, international stocks, emerging market stocks, real estate, commodities, and various bond types.

Our pragmatic investment philosophy begins with meticulous asset allocation, emphasizing risk control. We meticulously select the best investment vehicles, focusing on achieving a superior balance of performance, risk, and cost.

At Dearden Financial Services, LLC, we continuously monitor and periodically reevaluate investments at different levels: asset allocation, investment strategy, and individual client portfolios. Investment management is a key component of our comprehensive financial planning approach. We are dedicated to a diligent and patient investment strategy that lays the foundation for client success. Trust us to navigate the complexities of financial planning and guide you toward your financial goals.

Is My Money Safe?

Yes, read about further information regarding your investment accountshere.  

Who is Avantax?

Avantax is our Broker Dealer who is rooted in our ability to service our clients. Avantax was founded by CPA professionals in 1983 and has grown to over 3100 professionals managing over $80 Billion in assets across all 50 states. 

Disclaimer: Diversification does not assure or guarantee better performance/profit and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses in declining markets.