The Key Members of a Wealth Management Team
Insights | by Sharon Winsmith
Assembling a good wealth management team is a critical component to building wealth. One key aspect of making money is the relationships you have and the people with whom you surround yourself. If you are constantly shopping around for the best bargain, there is a good chance you will get exactly what you pay for.
Lining up your wealth management team members takes time and effort. You have to educate yourself on the matters in order to assess if the person you are choosing to advise you is the right fit for the role. This article provides a good overview for finding the right team members for your wealth management team.
The 5 Key Members of Your Wealth Management Team
The sad reality is that almost everything you do exposes you to potential legal liability. From driving your car to the grocery store to owning a rental property, everything we do carries legal risks. There are also endless regulations and laws governing any industry, regardless of the nature of your business. Passive investments also expose you to risks and it is important to have an attorney on board before signing any large contracts or agreements.
A good lawyer can help you plan against future lawsuits with strong asset protection strategies. They will also save you the countless hours it would take to set up a new LLC or draft contracts or policies yourself.
We all have to file tax returns every year. However, a big mistake many people make is not recognizing the need for a good tax professional on your team beyond just filing annual returns. Without proper planning, your single largest expense will be taxes. Therefore, it is crucial that you work with a tax advisor who can proactively bring you solutions to reduce your taxes. Otherwise, you risk forking over half your profits to the government each year.
As a business owner or high net worth individual, there are a number of different insurance policies you will need. Finding a good insurance agent can be a difficult task but is necessary to make sure there are no gaps in your coverage.
Make sure you work with someone who can explain the relevant risks and which policies you need and don’t need. Remember that insurance agents are commonly paid a percentage of your premiums by the insurance company. Therefore, they are always incentivized to sell you more than you need. With this in mind, it is always a good idea to ask for a full explanation of each policy and why you might need it.
A good banker is also a necessary member of your wealth management team. From setting up and maintaining business accounts to wiring and transferring money to make investments, you will consistently need a point of contact who can help you. Investing will also require you to set up many different types of accounts other than checking accounts, and having a knowledgeable resource you can trust will be invaluable.
If you are a business owner, you should always have a business coach. The last thing you want to do is try to go it alone. Your coach can either be one person who is able to continuously help you grow and expand or multiple coaches who specialize in different areas.
Why not a financial advisor?
You may have been surprised to see that this list did not contain a financial advisor. Most of my clients are well aware of the fact that I am not a fan of using financial advisors for a number of reasons.
There are 3 key reasons why I do not recommend having a financial advisor as a member of your wealth management team.
1. When you hire a financial advisor, you are essentially handing over all your financial investment decisions to a third party. I am a strong believer that everyone should educate themselves on financial investment strategies, and that you should be the one making all key decisions about how you invest your money. In my opinion, your financial success is too important to simply leave in someone else’s hands.
2. The main issue I have with financial advisors is that they get paid a percentage of your assets, and those assets generally have to be invested in the stock market. Because of this, financial advisors are always incentivized to tell their clients to invest most of their money in the stock market, which is one of the least efficient investment strategies.
3. Historically, financial advisors very rarely outperform the market. Therefore, you are generally better off investing your money in low-cost index funds. Remember that in order to really pay off, your financial advisor not only has to outperform the S&P 500, they have to outperform the S&P 500 plus their fees charged for managing your account.
Tips for Finding the Right Professionals
1. Always interview at least 3 candidates so that you have options to choose from.
2. Ask how they will provide value and if they can demonstrate clear ways their fees will pay for themselves.
3. Never go with the cheapest option. There is a reason their fees are the lowest.
4. Never work with someone who isn’t responsive. This is a good indication they are disorganized or too involved in the day-to-day operations of their own business to really be a valuable advisor to you.
5. Make sure they aren’t going to immediately hand you off to a junior staff member to meet with you and handle the relationship.
Also, it helps to remember that a good advisor should always:
- Have access to networks – Part of what you pay for when you work with an advisor is the access to their resources. A good example is that while I advise my clients on good investment strategies from a tax perspective, I can also help make introductions to team members who can help them implement those strategies. These include investment opportunities you would either be unlikely to ever hear about or would take you hours and hours of research to find on your own
- Be business owners and investors themselves – I always caution my clients against using professionals who work at large companies because they cannot understand the day-to-day issues you face. The same is true for self-employed professionals. We all have a friend who is a CPA and goes MIA during the months of March and April because they are working 7 days a week preparing tax returns. Here it is important to recognize the difference between business owners who run a business and self-employed individuals who do all the work themselves.
- Have achieved success in their respective careers – I never use service providers who are not independently wealthy themselves. In my mind, you should be able to achieve financial success in any industry if you are good at what you do.
- Pay their own fees – A good advisor should provide you value in such a way that they pay for themselves. A good example is that when we do tax strategy plans, I always make the guarantee that if I cannot identify tax savings in excess of our fees, we will not charge for the work. This may be a bit more of an abstract concept in some cases; for example, while attorneys don’t necessarily save you money, they do protect you from potential lawsuits and fines. They also save you immensely by taking the burden of research off your shoulders. Another example is that insurance agents generally get paid by the insurance company. If they do charge you a fee for their consulting services, they should be able to clearly demonstrate how working with them saved you money.