Explore IPA

IPA and its TeamIPA_circular_3-color

Patrick Paxton opened the first IPA office in Cumming in 2005 with the vision of providing the residents of Northern Georgia a premier independent financial planning firm. Now, with 2 locations to serve you, our success is built from our emphasis on personalized attention, superior service and providing a comprehensive road-map to guide you through the years. We take the time to learn about your important lifetime goals and discuss all of the different components of your financial life. We explain how financial advisors are compensated and provide the pros and cons in language that you can understand. We want you to have the pertinent information so you can make the best decision for you and your family.  Our desire is to work with our clients through the years in helping them achieve their financial goals.

We have been the Endorsed Local Provider for the Dave Ramsey Show since 2003. Please view the Dave Ramsey page for further information.

Value to You – Mission Statement

Our Mission is to partner with our clients on their lifelong financial journey, providing honest and objective advice.  We dedicate ourselves to educate, guide and serve as our clients strive for financial success and peace of mind.

Our Clients Come First – Our core values are:

COMPASSION – Caring about the dreams and goals of those we serve.

INTEGRITY – Honesty, fairness and ethics are the foundation of our firm.

INDEPENDENCE – Using our years of experience to provide objective, unbiased advice – guided by faith.

COMMITMENT – We are dedicated to the success of our client’s financial journey.


Comprehensive Financial Planning

Financial Planning Process

Financial Planning begins with addressing your values, beliefs, and life goals. We want to gain a deep understanding of who you are and what issues impact your life the most. This process helps ensure that your financial life is discussed within the context of your key life goals.

Too often, investors address financial goals like retirement planning, college planning, and estate planning as separate concerns. We believe that the financial issues we face today are often interconnected and must be managed as a group. Comprehensive financial planning requires you to think through the full range of financial challenges you and your family face, and develop optimal solutions that work in a coordinated manner.

The range of services and tools involved in crafting a comprehensive financial plan might include:


We believe that all of these components must work in sync with one another in order for you to accomplish your goals. We use our expertise in coordination with tax accountants and estate attorneys to ensure all areas of planning are appropriately covered.


What can you expect?


1. Discovery Meeting

We believe the basis for effective Financial Planning is a thorough discussion of your goals and objectives. We wish to learn about you, your family, and the issues that impact and influence your decisions. Our Discovery process ensures your financial issues are discussed in conjunction with your key life goals. We also explain the scope of our services and how we are compensated.

2. Developing a strategy

After the discovery meeting, we will analyze your information to assess your current situation and determine what you must do to meet your goals. We take a comprehensive approach in developing a plan that addresses all the different components of your financial life.

3. Implementation Meeting

At this meeting, we present our recommendations based on the information uncovered in the discovery meeting. We may implement the recommendations or serve as your “coach”, coordinating the whole process with you and other professionals such as attorneys, accountants, or insurance agents. It’s important in this meeting to refine the financial plan and further develop a level of comfort with the financial planner. After you have reviewed the plan carefully, asked questions, and voiced any concerns, we move forward with implementation.

4. Regular Progress Monitoring

In these meetings, we will review the steps you have taken toward accomplishing your various goals and make any necessary adjustments. Financial circumstances can change, so we schedule on-going meetings to keep up with your evolving priorities and objectives. Our goal is to develop a strong relationship and provide you with the expertise, discipline, and perspective it takes to realize your goals.


For 15 years, our firm has partnered with Dave Ramsey to service the North Georgia area. Pat Paxton and Andrew Castleberry are the two Smartvestor Pros in or office. In order to be a SmartVestor Pro, you need to have the same philosophy as Dave. You have to have the heart of a teacher, treat every client as if they were your mom, and be honest and forthright. There is a very thorough screening process that a SmartVestor Pro has to pass to be in this program. See below for some of the most common questions we get surrounding the Dave Ramsey SmartVestor Pro program.

In order to be a SmartVestor Pro, you need to have the same philosophy as Dave. You have to have the heart of a teacher, treat every client as if they were your mom, be honest and forthright, and have the same investment mindset. There is a very thorough screening process that a SmartVestor Pro has to pass to be in this program.


What makes us different?

“I have Dave’s confidence”, states Pat Paxton. “This program is not always easy: we are held to a higher standard of customer service. I have Dave’s recommendation because of my experience in the industry and my drive to help others. Dave expects me to treat you the way he would: with the heart of a teacher, not the attitude of a salesman. I’m someone you should feel comfortable talking to and someone you can trust.” Our goal is to help you reach your retirement dream and make it a reality. We fit your investments to your life, help you understand what you’re investing in and why, and encourage you to stick with your long-term goals. Dave does not tell us how to run our business or specify what things to recommend to clients, nor are we employed by Dave. But, we do have the same philosophy. We are very proud of our endorsement and take it very seriously.

Why use a Financial Advisor within the Dave Ramsey SmartVestor Pro program?

The Dave Ramsey team works closely with customers just like you to identify the most reliable professionals in your area, so that you never waste time finding a professional you can trust. If a Financial Advisor receives low scores from the program users, they are subject to be removed from the program.

How did Pat first become endorsed by Dave Ramsey?

Pat was first introduced to Dave by listening to his radio show in the middle of the night, as he was driving thru Tennessee. This was before he acquired a National audience and had appeared on Oprah and 60 minutes. Pat identified with Dave and his philosophy since it was so similar to his own. He inquired about the ELP program and once the phone conversations began, it was a natural step to begin a partnership with Dave Ramsey. Pat first became an Endorsed local provider for Dave Ramsey when Dave was on WDUN in Gainesville GA at 1AM in the morning. Pat is the very first ELP for the Dave Ramsey Show in the North Georgia area and has been with Dave as he has grown to the national presence he is today.

Our Team and the Dave Ramsey Endorsement

At Investment Planning Advisors, all of our licensed advisors participate in this program. Pat has specifically chosen team members that are like him…passionate about helping and serving others during their lifetime. All advisors are graduates of Financial Peace University and are journeying thru the Baby Steps with their families.

Investment Planning Advisors is a Fee-Only financial planning firm. We strongly believe in the fiduciary standard and our fee options reflect that commitment. Over the past twenty years we have learned that each individual comes with different circumstances and objectives.  We always review the options during our complimentary initial consultation and make sure your questions are answered. Unfortunately, we often find investors don’t understand how their financial planner is compensated and we believe that is unacceptable.

Fee Structure


  • Asset Based Fee Agreement– The Asset-Based fee is expressed as a percentage of the clients’ assets under management. We offer a simple and transparent, competitive fee based on your portfolio’s size. It is designed to be easy to understand and put your interests first—no hidden commissions. Since our revenue is based on your portfolio’s size, our incentive to perform well is directly aligned with our clients’ investment planning objectives. Our asset based agreements include our comprehensive financial planning services without the complexity of combining additional fees.
  • Fixed Fee– A fixed or flat fee agreement is a good option for investors that want a comprehensive plan but may not necessarily want help with on-going portfolio management. The quoted flat fee will vary on a case by case basis and requires a thorough initial consultation. The investor benefits from a professionally crafted plan which can serve as the primary plan or as a reliable second opinion. This form of compensation can be structured as an on-going periodic fee or one-time flat fee.
  • Hourly Financial Consulting– An hourly agreement is best for investors with a specific need or question. Typically, the investor is looking for guidance in one particular area or for a certain event in their financial life. Examples include help with stock options, 401(k) allocations, or insurance review.  While we focus on comprehensive planning, we understand our second opinion can provide the confidence and clarity to make a decision.  The rate quoted normally depends on the services desired and does vary by advisor.