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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Clientele

What services are offered at Thayer Financial?

We help clients with comprehensive financial planning and wealth management. Our philosophy is that an ongoing financial plan coupled with our investment management services results in the best value and outcome for our clients.

Who is your ideal client at Thayer Financial?

Finding the right fit is critical to your financial goals, and for us, finding the right client is essential to fostering the best working relationship. Our services best suit clients approaching retirement age with at least $750,000 of investable assets and seeking professional guidance. Our clients understand the importance of an ongoing plan and commit to fully engaging in the process.

Do you have to live in Hickory, North Carolina to become a client?

Living in Hickory, North Carolina is not a requirement to become a Thayer Financial client. In fact, approximately one-third of our clients reside outside of North Carolina. While many of our clients are based in Hickory and the surrounding Catawba County area, we can provide our financial planning and investment services virtually, enabling us to assist clients across the nation. This enables our clients to work with the best financial advisor for them, no matter where they live.

How often will we meet?

In the first year, we will meet more frequently to develop the plan and begin implementing the necessary changes. Once we have established a plan, we will scale back and meet twice yearly to evaluate the plan and make necessary adjustments. Outside of these formal meetings, we are always available to clients and encourage them to check in with us frequently if any questions arise that may impact our plan or their investment accounts.

Do I need to let my old advisor know I have switched to you?

Once you sign the paperwork to open a new account and move your investments from your previous advisor to Charles Schwab, the new custodian initiates an account transfer that usually requires no help from your last advisor or firm. However, we recommend and believe having this tough conversation with your current advisor before initiating the process is best.

What is your data security policy?

Data security is critical to us, and we maintain and implement industry-leading principles to secure our client’s information. We use unique complex passwords for all logins, multi-factor authentication when available, and have leading malware protection on our computers. We also do not keep or store clients’ passwords for their client portals, bank accounts, etc.


Is there an account minimum to work with you?

We do not have an investment minimum, but our services are typically best suited for pre-retirees and retirees with $750,000 or more in investable assets. To ensure we can continue providing a high level of service and massive value for each client, we have a minimum annual fee of $7,500 for clients without $750,000 in investable assets.

How do you get paid?

We charge a quarterly investment management fee that covers all of our services. There are no kickbacks, referral fees, commissions, hidden fees, or sneaky other ways we get compensated. The only way we get paid is directly by our clients.

If you refer me to someone for other work, do they pay you?

No. We have vetted partners that we refer our clients to only because we trust them.

What products do you sell?

None. Not even one. We work for you. We are compensated for our advice and services, not for pushing investment or insurance products.

Our Background

What is your education?

Deaton Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in Geospatial Information Science and Engineering from West Point and designations as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), & Wealth Management Certified Professional (WMCP®).

Are you a fiduciary?

Yes, 100% of the time!

My current advisor is retiring in the middle of my retirement… how old are you?

Deaton is 40, and Kelly is 38. We love what we do and don’t plan to retire for at least 30 (plus) years.

What contingency plans do you have in place should something happen to you?

As a husband and wife business, we take a team approach to working with our clients, preventing unnecessary business interruptions for clientele. Keeping the firm small allows us to provide a higher-touch, more personalized service than you would get at larger firms. Our clients appreciate this aspect of our business.
In the unlikely event of our premature deaths, our clients are custodied with Charles Schwab, and Schwab has thousands of other independent Registered Investment Advisors in their network that can help take over planning and investment support. The strategies that we implement are built around long-term goals, so there will be no need to rush in finding a new advisor.

Has a professional or regulatory governing body cited you?

No. We take pride in our reputation and proudly report that we have a clean record with no complaints.

How do I know your recommendations are in my best interest?

As Registered Investment Advisers, we take our fiduciary duty seriously. We will always act in the client’s best interest versus just trying to sell you a product. In addition to having a legal obligation, our firm was built on the foundation of placing the client’s interest before any thoughts of our compensation. We use the same investment strategies for ourselves, our families, and our clients because we believe in the work that we do. Our commitment to honest and ethical behavior has allowed us to build a very successful firm.

Will your recommendations primarily focus on one area, or will your recommendations be comprehensive? In other words, will I need to find another advisor for advice in other areas?

We serve as a single point of contact for all their financial needs for our clients. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, this includes coordinating every aspect of their financial needs. Each of our clients has a financial plan with an action checklist detailing all the actions needed to achieve their financial goals. As needed, we coordinate these action items with accountants, attorneys, and other professionals.


What is your investment philosophy?

1. Keep investment fees low without affecting the integrity of the strategy
2. Keep investments aligned closely with personal objectives
3. Do not purchase or hold investments based on their past performance
4. Rebalance strategically with a key focus on the client’s personal goals
5. Minimize tax implications to the fullest extent possible
6. Remain broadly diversified relative to personal goals and objectives

Where is the money in my investment account held?

We utilize the Charles Schwab platform as our third-party custodians. Charles Schwab provides both record-keeping and security for your investments. The account is set up in your name, and you own it/control it. You will give Thayer Financial limited power to manage investments, debit quarterly investment management fees, and transfer money to and from your investment accounts and banking accounts. We never have possession (custody) of your money.

What if I cannot reach you and need access to my money? What if I cannot reach you and need access to my money?

We pride ourselves on being always available to our clients, and our goal is to return calls and emails immediately. Our office phones roll over to our cell phones even while away from the office and even on vacation. Clients also have full access to Charles Schwab to access funds anytime. We believe that open two-way communication is imperative to having a successful relationship.

Contact Us


Thayer Financial
439 4th Street SW
Hickory, NC 28602

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