Wealth Advisor (Part 2 of 4)
Jesse Niederbaumer, Managing Partner & Senior Wealth Advisor
Our role as wealth advisors is unique. No two meetings or clients are the same. I think people outside of our “Vantage world” perceive us as money/investment managers. While this is a part of what we do, it doesn’t fully capture the scope of our job.
The roles I’ve played in the last 60 days include: mortgage broker, accountant, marriage counselor, college planner, banker, estate planner, real estate consultant, benefit coordinator, business consultant, financial concierge, charitable giving expert & yes, money manager.
The truth is, I love them all. This is the foundation of our financial planning practice and process. We dive deep. We ask questions. We uncover goals and concerns.
We’ve committed real time to our clients and expect the same in return. This is how we help people help themselves (thanks, Jerry Maguire). As I said earlier, no two clients are the same.
Two examples for you:
Step back 3 months to March 18. At this point, the Dow was down 31%. We were in quarantine. Unsettling times would be a nice way of saying it. I’m on a Zoom call (the new norm) with a client who I have known for 7-8 years. We have been preparing him for retirement in May of 2020. Great timing, right? Our phone call started with one question, “Jesse, I have my contract for next year. I could sign it and work another year if I shouldn’t retire due to everything that is going on. Tell me what to do.” Now, think about that. Talk about gravity in the middle of all the worry about everything that is going on in the world. As heavy as the question is, the answer is very simple: “We have planned for this.”
We’ve spent the last five years getting him ready. We have talked about spending and Social Security. Over the years, we have become more conservative in his portfolio. Long ago, we borrowed a concept from Warren Buffett that says anything you are going to spend in the next 10 years should be conservatively invested. We have been smart enough to comply. It has been 12 years since our last serious market pullback. Inevitably, there was going to be another recession. I would never have guessed, the next one would be caused by a virus, but here we are. It didn’t matter what the cause, we are ready. Anything this client is going to spend in the coming years has already been conservative and therefore, not subject to the 31% pullback. Money invested in the market is money he will not use for more than 10 years. We have time on our side, even as he is approaching retirement.
Our discussion assured him that he is prepared for the next chapter. His last day of work was May 22. Congrats Sir, you are going to love retirement.
Let’s switch gears to clients who are years away from retirement. At this point, they are not financially sound. We frequently get the question, “Do we need to work with someone like yourself as we are years away from retiring?” Simply put, start working with someone as soon as possible. Very few financially successful people get there in one fell swoop. It takes a series of good decisions over time that has compounded, making a huge difference.
We’ve been fortunate, but not by accident, that our practice works with families over multiple generations. I have clients who have children ranging in age from freshman in high school to junior in college. This family is awesome. Real salt of the earth people. You hope your son/daughter could marry into a family like this. On the financial side of things, over the years, we have gone through the widest range of topics together. They love to keep me on my toes! As we met for the first time, there was significant credit card debt that was strangling them. We worked through a plan that included refinancing their home and wiping out their credit card debt. Just as we were settling into the new plan, they relocated for work. This meant we now needed to figure out how to make the sale and purchase of their home, new job, salary and benefits all work. No problem. We got this!
On top of it, their son, who is just out of college is involved with a start-up and needs advice on his taxes and investments… bring it on!
I see story after story like this. If your story is straightforward, don’t worry, you still need us, too. If your situation is more unique, find someone like us: fee transparent, client forward, advice driven.
Our passion is helping clients make sound decisions while navigating their story. They are the reason we love what we do.