Money means different things to different people. Each of us has different dreams. You may want to achieve financial freedom so that you never have to work again—even if you plan on working the rest of your life.
You may want to make a top-flight college education possible for your children or grandchildren.
You might want to provide the seed capital that will give your children or grandchildren a great start in life, whether that’s with a home or a business.
You may dream of a vacation home on the beach or in the mountains.
Or you may have achieved tremendous success throughout your career and want to leave behind an enduring legacy that will enable your favorite charity to continue its work.
Whatever your dreams are, you need a framework for making wise decisions about your money that will help enable you to achieve all that is important to you. Chances are good that you have a wide range of financial goals, as well as diverse financial challenges.
Common sense tells us that such a broad range of issues requires a broad, comprehensive outlook. It’s for this reason that most affluent clients want their financial advisors to help them with more than just investments. They want real wealth management—a complete approach to addressing their entire financial lives, as illustrated by the diagram below.
As you’ve probably noticed, many financial firms these days say that they offer wealth management. The trouble is that many of these firms just provide investment management and offer a couple of extra services—such as college education planning and estate planning—and call that wealth management. So the challenge for anyone who wants help addressing all his or her financial needs is finding a firm that provides true wealth management.
We define wealth management by the following formula:
WM = IC + AP + RM
Investment consulting (IC)is the astute management of investments over time to help achieve financial goals.
It requires that the financial advisor understand the client’s most important goals and challenges, and then design an investment plan that will maximize clients’ probability of achieving those goals.
It also requires that the financial advisor monitor both the clients’ portfolios and financial lives so that they can make adjustments to the investment plan as needed.
Advanced planning (AP) goes beyond investments to look at all the other aspects that are important to your financial life. We break it down into four parts: (1) wealth enhancement, (2) wealth transfer, (3) wealth protection and (4) charitable giving. In our experience, very few financial advisors offer all of these services.
Relationship management (RM)is the final element.
True wealth managers are focused on building relationships within three groups.
The first and most obvious group is their clients. To address their clients’ needs effectively, they must foster solid, trusted relationships with them.
Second, wealth managers must manage a network of financial professionals—experts they can call in to address specific client needs.
Third, wealth managers must be able to work effectively with their clients’ other professional advisors, such as their attorneys and accountants.
We believe that the most effective way to help you stay disciplined, focused and on track is to follow our Wealth Management Consultative Process. This process is designed to uncover your full range of financial needs, from wealth creation to wealth protection to preserving your legacy—and create a plan to get you there.