Simplifying the Advisor Relationship
Financial advice and the financial advisory relationship should not be so complex that the essential elements of how you are doing and where you are going financially are either elusive or unapproachable. Our money and our finances are far too important to leave doubt and misunderstanding creep into this area. The working relationship you maintain with your advisor and the advisory firm you select should have clear and understandable processes and measurables for you to know at any and all times. You must be able to point to the elements that indicate you are receiving your money’s worth. We each need to know that we are making progress towards the goals and objectives and with finances it is especially crucial to track progress and mile markers that should be set for yourself and where appropriate, for your family.
The critical elements that the truly comprehensive financial advisor and the affiliated advisory firm should be providing to you as their client. Critical elements of the planning service must incorporate a wide breadth and scope of deliverables and services for the work to be considered comprehensive. With this outline below you will be armed to understand best how to evaluate the services offered by an advisory firm and the specific advisor to determine if all the bases are being covered or if the firm is more about its own revenue centric issues rather than your planning elements.
Comprehensive advice and advisory services must include:
- Financial Design Capabilities—the financial planning software or financial simulator software to evaluate cash flow, tax flow and net worth projections and implications so that modeling can be generated by which to assess current trajectory and alternative pathways as new concepts and solutions are introduced to the planning process.
- Financial Action Checklists—a programmatic method must be in place to track the timing and assigned responsibilities of who is going to be responsible for doing what, by when. Is it the advisor (his or her firm’s staff members, allied professional service providers such as the CPA, the trust & estates attorney, the mortgage broker, the insurance agent, or even the client that needs to get the next step completed?
- Personal Financial Organizer—a collective vault whether hardcopy or digital where the full client situation is captured and encapsulated.
- Financial Dashboard—a secure and safe place (usually digital/electronic) where all assets and liabilities can be viewed on demand.
- Wide Menu of Services and Service Areas—there are critical components or vital pillars to wealth management services that are inextricably connected to the financial advisory process. There are no less than 7 or even 8 of these areas, depending on how the firm is defining the scope of their offering. You must see reference to:
- portfolio composition/construction
- tax (awareness) planning
- risk management
- retirement income planning
- estate & wealth transfer planning
- philanthropic planning
- business planning that includes partnership/shareholder planning arrangements as well as employer/employee benefits planning
- family legacy planning—the notion of encouraging best practices for passing on value systems and not just valuables to a next generation.
- Committed Integration with Allied Professions and Professionals—there must exist a commitment or receptivity to collaborating with other important professionals in the client’s life or that should be in the client’s financial life. No advisory firm can escape the integration of tax awareness issues, trust and & estate issues, lending/borrowing elements, risk management concerns, etc. and as a result must be able to integrate a coordinated approach with the CPA, attorney(s), insurance and lending agents/brokers.
- Clear Understanding of What Makes a Good Client—resources are finite in even the largest of firms. For best results it is imperative that firms and advisors invest their best work with an appropriate, even ideal set of clients that do not put exhausting burdens on the firm. The advisor and the advisory firm must be clear about the initial client selection in the first place to ensure a right fit so that resources are in fact enough and more importantly, complementary to the client-base needs. No worse thing than a firm burdened by improper fit with some clients that distort the entire planning process by requiring services and time commitments that pull at the fabric of the core clients’ needs getting met.
With this information in hand, you will be equipped to spot and know what comprehensive wealth management means and what it should be doing for you and your family. But first, let’s explore where wealth comes from; essentially, how is wealth created or generated. According to Professor and Author, Thomas Stanley, Ph.D. (The Millionaire Next Door) most millionaires are self-employed as either small business owners or professionals such as doctors, attorneys, architects, etc. Working for oneself is a real edge in the game of generating wealth for all the reasons of scaling and replication. With the knowledge of where and how wealth can be more predictably generated we have more and more folks leaving the corporate payrolls each year in search of not just wealth, but the independence and freedom that can follow as one pursues and blazes their own life path professionally (and I would suggest, personally). As a result of understanding the essence of delegation in the workplace, most entrepreneurs and professionals also see the power of delegation in their personal lives and the realm of financial advisory is no exception to this objective. In fact, for those that find a trusted advisor relationship the notion is empowering and freeing. To be able to manage one’s household financial affairs with critical reports and financial organizing tools like digital dashboards, personal financial organizers and financial action checklists can quickly expedite the overall process, which for some can be not just daunting, but downright unappealing.
Ken Chrenow and Ray Valencia are registered with, and securities are offered through Kovack Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. 6451 N. Federal Hwy. Suite 1201, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 (954) 782-4771. Ralph Adamo, Ken Chrenow and Ray Valencia offers Investment Advisory Services through Kovack Advisors, Inc. Integrity Wealth Management is not affiliated with Kovack Securities, Inc. or Kovack Advisors, Inc. California Insurance Licenses: Ralph Adamo #0804010 / Ken Chrenow #ODO9152/ Ray Valencia #0G57332