Why You Should Use a Wealth Management Advisor

Adults of all ages should always have an eye on their financial well-being, especially during the retirement years. If you are just 30 years old, the last thing you may be thinking about is retirement: but you had better! Most of us have only a fleeting knowledge about investment and other options to help increase our wealth; but a wealth management wealth management advisor can help you make more educated and smarter decisions. Here are some reasons why you should look into hiring one no matter what stage of life you are in.

If You Are 35 or Younger: Did you know that if you sock away just 100 dollars a month into a good IRA for the rest of your working life, you could easily end up with a comfortable nest egg valued at one million dollars or more? It really does pay to start saving and investing wisely from as young an age as possible. A wealth management advisor can help you strategize for the future so that you won’t end up having to work any longer than you need to.

If You Are 35-50: These are your peak earning years. Now is really the time to start kicking your financial planning into high gear if you haven’t already. An advisor can show you how to diversify your investments to maximum benefit.

If You Are Retired: This is the time when you can start cashing in on your IRAs, take advantage of an annuity and start living off the interest on the money you have accumulated during your lifetime. It’s an especially important time to get wealth management help since you no longer have the option of a working income to fall back on and need to make money last. If you plan on passing on money to your heirs, an advisor can also help you to arrange your estate in such a way as to keep as much of your money out of the tax man’s hands and put more into your heirs’ pockets.

Like most financial matters, making the most of your money is a task best left to professionals: no matter what stage of life you are in.

Wealth Management – Interviewing an Advisor

If you’ve made the decision to work with an advisor, you’re going to want to ask them some questions prior to turning over your finances to them. Here’s a list of some of the basics-determine what is relevant for your situation, and work with an advisor whose answers and whose methodology seem to fit with your own thinking. The answers listed here are just for some guidance.

Q: Are you registered with a state agency and the SEC?

A: Should be yes…working with an advisor who is properly licensed means that someone is ensuring that the advisor meets continuing education requirements and follows a mandated list of rules.

Q: What licenses, certificates and registrations do you have?

A: Depending upon the answer, you can do a quick internet search to determine the relevancy-for instance, the CFP is a fairly well-recognized credential, “Certified Financial Planner”. There are insurance credentials, financial planning credentials, and more. To sell insurance in a particular state the provider must be licensed in that state. Ask about educational credentials, continuing education and how he/she keeps up to date with peers and with the industry. Figure out how tech-savvy the advisor is, if that is important to you (if you do everything online, and the advisor is pen-and-paper, that’s not a good match-or vice versa).

Q: What services do you provide?

A: There’s no universal right answer here, but make sure the wealth management advisor you’re speaking to does work in the area you’re looking for-ie, education planning or wealth transfer.

Q: What kind of clients do you serve and how many do you have?

A: The answer here should let you see if you fit within the advisor’s target-if you are still in the mode of growing your portfolio, and only have $25,000 to invest-but the advisor tells you he/she works with million dollar clients-you may not be a priority for him. If the advisor has many clients, you many not get the time you need-which may be fine, if you are looking for a limited amount of advice on a single area of focus.

Q: How long have you been in the business?

A: This is a good question to draw out some personal information about your advisor, to see if he/she is the type of person you’d like to work with. If the answer is “1 year”, you may be initially frightened away-but if that one year has been with a solid mentor whom your advisor still works with, hand-in-hand, that may be just fine.

Q: What is your philosophy of money management? This question can be followed by:

o What types of investments do you recommend?
o What is your area of expertise?

A: Make sure the philosophy of your advisor matches your own (conservative, for example, if indeed you are). Make sure he or she knows what he or she is talking about when referencing types of investments.

Q: What references can you give?

A: If you’ve asked for a referral from a friend you trust, this is less important; if the advisor is new to you, there’s nothing amiss in asking for a reference.

Responsibilities of the Investment Manager For Pension Boards, Custody Issues, and Rebalancing

A person is an “Investment Manager” with respect to a retirement system or pension fund under the Illinois Pension Code if such person:

1. is a fiduciary appointed by the board of trustees of a retirement system or pension fund in accordance with Section 1-109.1;
2. has the power to manage, acquire or dispose of any asset of the retirement system or pension fund;
3. is either –
a. registered as an Investment Advisor under the Investment Advisors Act of 1940;
b. a bank, as defined by that Act, or
c. an insurance company; and
4. has acknowledged in writing that he is a fiduciary with respect to the retirement system or pension fund.
5. the terms “Investment Manager” and “Investment Advisor” are used interchangeably.

The Investment Manager/Advisor/Broker with discretion over buying or selling securities for the fund may not be the custodian of the investment instruments.

Pension boards should review percentages quarterly for compliance with the Investment Policy. Funds with assets under $2.5 million are allowed 10% in separate accounts and/or mutual funds, which may not grow in excess of 10% provided that the contract has not been changed.

If market values do not exceed the allowable percentage then no rebalancing is required. Investment Policies of each fund should stipulate the percentage allowable in the various types of authorized investments.

Pension funds invested in separate accounts, mutual funds and/or individual stocks should calculate the market value of those funds to determine the percentage held vs. the allowable percentage under the law. Use the expertise of the Investment Manager to assist with this task. If the percentage exceeds the allowable amount, the fund must reduce the allowable percentage and document the reduction. The reduction as to which investments are sold is at the discretion of the pension board and applies only to the aggregate percentage. Documentation of the percentage calculations should be maintained at the pension fund.