Wealth planning enables you to maintain and improve your lifestyle, increase your wealth, minimize both current and estate taxes, ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and protect your heirs. Establishing a strong working relationship with a trusted advisor can be the critical link between your wealth today and realizing your full investment potential to help you reach your goals for the future.
Selecting an adviser
There are a number of factors to consider when determining with whom to work. Perhaps most important, you want someone willing to develop a long-term fulfilling relationship who will partner with you.
Other criteria to consider when selecting an adviser may include:
* The appropriate level of education, professional qualifications, experience (typically at least five years handling investment accounts for clients) and technical competence
* Someone who makes it a priority to learn more about you and educate you before offering recommendations
* Accessibility and service level standards
* An individual who demonstrates consistent performance over longer time periods rather than just on recent historical performance
* A thorough understanding of how your investment adviser is compensated, and a feeling that you are receiving appropriate value for the fee or commission paid
* Appropriate accounting of your portfolio, with detailed reports at least quarterly
Creating a wealth plan
To create a wealth plan that reflects your current financial situation and long-term goals, as well as your personal values, attitudes and beliefs, have an in-depth, confidential discussion with your adviser to review your current financial situation and share your vision. That information can be analyzed to develop your short-term and long-term personal goals and objectives, as well as your net worth and tolerance for risk.
The outcome of these discussions and analyses is a comprehensive, customized plan to help you achieve your goals. A wide range of wealth management and planning solutions can help you implement your plan and achieve success.
Services may include, but are not limited to:
* Investment planning, including asset allocation and diversification strategies, tax-sensitive investment recommendations and liquidity and cash flow planning
* Income tax planning, including tax reduction strategies, capital gains planning and charitable giving
* Retirement planning, including targeting your retirement savings, maximizing your retirement income and minimizing taxes
* Estate planning analysis, including strategies to minimize estate tax, establish trusts as appropriate, asset protection strategies and planned giving intents
* Stock option planning, including maximizing cash flow, minimizing taxes and hedging strategies
* Insurance planning, including wealth replacement strategies, a comprehensive review of insurance coverage and charitable giving intentions
Customized for success
There is not necessarily one solution, but rather several compelling courses of action that can be implemented to achieve your goals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for individuals or businesses, but rather the need to customize solutions based on individual needs.
For that reason, it is important that your adviser listen carefully to your objectives and establish a dialogue with you to determine the solution with which you are most comfortable. Your involvement and comfort with your information and desires shared, understanding the recommendations of the adviser, your decision-making process and the execution of the plan are each important aspects of this process and its on-going results.
Your adviser will be an insightful, lifelong ally who understands your day-to-day investments as well as your long-term financial goals. This partnership will allow you to take advantage of personalized services that will benefit you and your family now and in the future. Calloway Robertson is a vice president and wealth management adviser, for Fifth Third Bank Investment Advisors in Columbus. Reach him at (614) 744-5429 or at Calloway.Robertson@53.com.
The right partner can help you preserve and build wealth, as well as successfully transfer that wealth to the next generation. However, once you select an adviser, how do you develop a long-term working relationship that is the most beneficial for you?
When establishing a relationship, the adviser should take the time to get to know you and your financial situation, your financial goals and your risk tolerance. However, the amount of personal attention expected as the relationship moves forward frequently is different for different people.
The key to a successful relationship is to establish a clear, mutual understanding about what you want and expect from each other. For the long-term benefit of the professional relationship, discuss your expectations early in the process.
The relationship must be a shared effort between adviser and client. The cornerstone of a successful relationship involves both of you participating in the decision-making process. Setting expectations at the beginning can avoid misunderstandings or dissatisfaction later.
Issues to discuss with your adviser should include:
* Account management. The process of assessing your financial situation, risk tolerance and opportunities is continuous. However, preferences vary widely regarding the degree to which an individual wants to be involved.
Agree on how your plan will be monitored and evaluated to ensure it is helping you progress toward your goals. And clarify how you want to discuss financial questions and possible investment opportunities, including assessing the risk and reward potential of those investments.
* Frequency of communication. Discuss with your adviser how frequently you expect to communicate with him or her regarding your financial situation, your portfolio and its performance. Determine the process for making adjustments to ensure your plan continues to meet your situation and goals. Update your adviser when your financial needs or situation changes. A change in life circumstances, such as the sale of a business, retirement or the birth of a child or grandchild may necessitate an adjustment to your financial plan.
* Preferred form of communication. Discuss your preference for a primary method of communication, whether by telephone, e-mail, fax, in-person meetings or some combination of these.
* Working with other professionals. Most people expect an adviser to provide expert advice about investments, retirement planning and insurance. However, you may also ask your adviser to work with other professionals, including your attorney, accountant, insurance agent or investment fund sales representative. By making your financial adviser a partner with your other counselors, you help ensure the services you receive from each will work in tandem to reach your overall plans and goals.
* Business changes. Clarify with your adviser how he or she will keep you informed of professional issues related to your relationship. Your adviser may have gained new expertise or received a new professional designation. His or her office may have implemented changes in processes, staffing or fee structure. Be confident that your adviser will inform you of changes that may modify your relationship or require you to make decisions regarding your account.
* Protecting client confidentiality and data integrity. Discuss the controls your adviser has in place to protect you. The information shared between you and your adviser should be held in strict confidence according to the law and in keeping with professional trust and ethical behavior.
* Documentation. Your adviser may provide a number of documents, including reports of daily trade activities, monthly statements and quarterly investment reviews. The amount and frequency of information provided by an adviser and expected by an individual can vary widely, so clarify your expectations.
Taking a disciplined approach to managing your relationship with your adviser is of great value. Not only can it help ensure you are informed and consistent with regard to your finances, it can also improve your financial future.
The most successful partnership is one in which you build mutual trust and understanding, and then work together to ensure that your financial adviser has the information needed to act effectively to achieve your long-term financial goals.
Calloway Robertson is a vice president and wealth management adviser for Fifth Third Bank Investment Advisers located at 21 E. State St., Columbus, and can be reached directly at (614) 744-5429 or by e-mail at Calloway.Robertson@53.com.