1. Do you act as a fiduciary?

A fiduciary means that I’m legally, ethically, and morally required to act in your best interests at all times. And yes, I am proud to be a fiduciary on behalf of my clients.

2. Does anybody else pay you to advise me and do you earn more money to recommend certain products or services?

No, I do not sell financial products, nor do I accept or pay referral fees, commissions, or incentives to favor particular vendors. In my opinion, participating in programs that pay commissions and other third-party fees tends to increase the conflicts of interest inherent in commission-based advisory relationships.

I am a fee-only advisor, so the only one who’s paying me is you. This allows me to remain independent and objective when developing and implementing investment and financial planning recommendations for you.

3. Will you itemize your fees in writing?


4. What is your investment philosophy?

My approach is straightforward, standards-based, and built around a solid and understandable investment philosophy. It’s backed up by decades of Nobel-prize winning research in the field of financial science and is rooted in timeless financial wisdom and principles.

For more detail on my investment philosophy, see this post: Key Principles: My Investing Philosophy

5. Do you focus solely on investment management, or do you also advise on financial planning topics such as insurance, taxes, estate planning, debt management, college planning, and retirement?

I believe that comprehensive financial planning is important for just about everyone. Therefore, covering all of the relevant financial planning topics is part of every client engagement. Investment management is optional, depending on each client’s needs.

6. What are your professional credentials and experience?

I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. The CFP® certification requires extensive training in financial planning, retirement planning, insurance, investments, taxes, employee benefits and estate planning. In addition, CFP® certificants are required to adhere to the CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, which are rigorously enforced.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from UC Berkeley.

I have 20+ years of experience working for Bay Area software companies, serving a majority of that time in Senior Management and Director roles.

More importantly, from a life experience perspective, I have encountered most of the myriad financial challenges that many of my clients face today.

7. Have you ever been disciplined by the SEC or FINRA?


8. How will you assist me in reaching my financial goals?

First, I begin by learning about your unique circumstances, questions, and concerns. We discuss your short-term and long-term goals (and maybe, hopefully) your lifelong dreams. Only by defining what is most important to you can we begin to map out a plan to help you get there. My advice is always tailored to the unique needs of each client.

9. Do you have clients similar to my age or stage of life?

Probably. I work with clients of varying ages and stages of life, so it’s likely that I am already working with clients facing challenges that are similar to yours.

If I don’t feel that I am best suited to addressing your particular situation, I am happy to help identify another advisor who would be a better fit.

10. Who manages your money?

I do. I use the same methods I recommend to my clients.


After a successful career in high-tech, Sheila McGinn, CFP® followed her passion and became a fee-only Financial Planner, where she helps clients navigate complex financial decisions and reach their financial goals.

Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. For advice specific to your situation, consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Brightview Financial Solutions, LLC, and all rights are reserved.