Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between a financial planner and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™?

Yes.  A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® has fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP® Board, whereas, a financial planner has not.  These requirements include:

Education: CFP® professionals must complete a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by the CFP® Board.

Examination: CFP®  practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10 hour CFP® certification examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format.

Experience: CFP® professionals must have three years minimum experience in the financial planning process.

Ethics: As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics & Social Responsibility that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. The CFP® Board also runs a background check during this process.

Does Harbor Lights Financial Group, Inc. have an account minimum requirement?

Yes.   Ongoing management makes the most sense for individuals who have an investment of $100,000 and larger.  For individuals with under $100,000 of investment, through LPL Financial, Harbor Lights can provide specific recommendations on portfolio design for an additional one-time fixed fee as part of your financial plan.

Will personal information be kept confidential?

Absolutely – it’s the law.

What if I change my address?

Please notify us if you have a change of address and we will take care of the rest.

How do I change the beneficiaries on my IRA account(s)?

Please call and we will send you a new IRA Beneficiary Form for you to update, sign and return to our office.  Or you can click here and download the form from our Commonly Used Forms Page.   Now all you need to do is fill in the updated information and mail it to our office.  It’s a good idea to review your beneficiary information periodically, particularly after major family events (marriage, divorce, re-marriage, death of a family member, etc.)

I have some questions and need to talk with you.  Is there a cost to that?

Absolutely Not!  We encourage you to call us to schedule an initial conference call or meeting to “kick the tires” of Harbor Lights Financial Group, Inc. and get your questions answered with no cost or obligation.

How are we compensated?

We have fee based services where our compensation is based on a percentage of the clients’ assets.  We also have consultation fees through Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network just for plans and again, that varies based on the complexity of the plan.  However, every client is different and our plans are designed specifically for that individual or couple, so our compensation varies.

How will you communicate with me?

Initially, we will have a series of meetings to make sure that we identify and prioritize your goals and objectives.  After that we will schedule your first conference call and from there we speak on a quarterly basis.  Of course, you are welcome to contact us at any time if you have a question or concern.

Do you work with clients that are out-of-state?

Yes we do.  With technology today we are able to serve both local and out of town clients.

How do I access my account online?

Simply request online access to your account by either calling our office at (732) 528-4333 or e-mailing  Once we receive your request, we will send you a letter with the website, directions on how to register, and your temporary password.

When can I take money out of my 401(k) account without penalty?

You can take money out of your 401(k) without incurring a 10% penalty if you are older than age 59 ½ , if you take a loan from your 401(k) account, or under limited circumstances outlined in the Tax Code.  However, income taxes are due with any withdrawal (not loan) from a 401(k) account.  However you should speak with a tax professional regarding your situation.

What are some limitations typically placed on borrowing from a 401(k)?

Many 401(k) plans allow participants to borrow from their respective accounts.  Generally speaking, 401(k) plan loans cannot exceed the lesser of $50,000 or 50% of your vested account balance.  The minimum amount you can borrow depends on the plan.  However, by law, the plan cannot set a loan minimum that exceeds $1,000.

Is borrowing from your 401(k) a good idea?

That depends on your specific situation.  Generally speaking, your 401(k) account should only be considered as a source of funds after all other options have been explored.  Keep in mind, whether you withdraw or borrow from your 401(k), you may be defeating the original purpose and the benefits of such a plan – that is, saving for your retirement.
Do you have another questions?  Contact our office at (732) 528-4333 or e-mail