Author: Emily Tierney
Before I worked in the wealth management industry, the word wealth brought to mind that 0.01% of the population with net worths in the millions and billions. Wealth meant superstars and CEOs surrounded by piles of gold bars, stacks of Benjamins, sprawling mansions with perfectly manicured lawns, traveling on private jets, and the finest jewelry money can buy. Your average person does not have this exorbitant abundance of wealth so why should the average person care about wealth management?
Wealth management is not just for the uber-wealthy
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines wealth as “an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources”. The second definition of wealth that Merriam-Webster lists is “the value of all the property, possessions, and money that someone or something has”. This latter version of the definition is something that is applicable to a much larger portion of the population. After working in the wealth management industry for over five years now, this is how I think of wealth. The average person needs help growing and protecting what they have worked so hard for and a plan for reaching for the ultimate goal: financial independence. Managing and integrating all of these moving pieces, developing a plan so that those pieces work and fit together, and regularly reviewing and course-correcting that plan is what wealth management is all about.
Someone needs to be looking at the big picture
A wealth manager essentially pops the hood and takes a long, hard look at the ins and outs of an individual or family’s entire financial world. They take a comprehensive approach and develop a plan by looking at all aspects of personal finance: investment/portfolio management, income tax planning, wealth transfer and estate planning, wealth protection and risk management, retirement planning, cash flow and budgeting, employee benefits, and more. Each of these areas overlap and work together, so it’s important that someone is taking a bird’s-eye-view at how all of the pieces fit together. If you have a wealth manager that is just managing your taxable investments but has no knowledge of your income tax situation and other income, that may be cause for some income tax surprises down the road, for example.
You can’t set and forget a long term plan
A comprehensive financial plan is a constantly moving and breathing being that needs regular care, attention and maintenance. Meeting regularly with your comprehensive wealth manager is the key to staying on top of this wide-ranging part of life. Having someone to turn to when questions come up and financial issues arise is invaluable and can help to avoid making regretful financial decisions. It’s also good to have someone to hold you accountable to do the things you said you were going to do; to hold you to the financial goals you said you wanted to achieve.
Personal finance can be a delicate topic and it can get emotional at times. It’s important to have a wealth manager who is knowledgeable in all aspects of personal finance and to have someone who you trust to help coach and walk you through complicated decisions.
If you are looking for comprehensive wealth management, consider speaking with a Windward advisor.
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