*This blog is written by my “company” hat because my “Jake” hat would never write this 🙃.
I’m very fortunate to have been named to the InvestmentNews 2020 40 Under 40 National List! I was selected from a pool of about 1,000 nominees by a panel of reporters, editors and other representatives of InvestmentNews to highlight the best of the future of the financial advice community.
I wanted to use this opportunity to share the 6 ways that Experience Your Wealth is helping to progress the financial planning industry forward by creating a proactive, high-touch experience for our clients.
1. We focus on your life first
Have you ever gone to the doctor and felt like they were in a rush to diagnose you? It’s not a great feeling. Your medical history contains so much important family history, stories and risks that your doctor needs to fully understand. The same concept applies to your financial life.
Many financial planners miss the mark by rushing to make recommendations before fully understanding your life. They may give you a risk tolerance questionnaire, talk to you about when you want to retire and then recommend an investment allocation. That’s it, right? Wrong.
Before we ever talk about your finances, we spend substantial time getting to know you – your stories, your successes/failures, your hopes and dreams, your fears, etc. We have you take the Financial DNA questionnaire to help you understand how you’re hardwired to act around money and discuss what that means for your financial behaviors. We then guide you through a values and goals discovery exercise to help you paint the picture of what your life would look like if money wasn’t an obstacle. We help you get crystal clear on what is most important to you so that we can best align your money with your life.
If you don’t have an inspiring, personal vision for what you want your money to accomplish for you, you’re not going to feel motivated to improve your financial situation.
The ability to listen, empathize and ask the right questions to help you create your money vision is arguably the most important skill of a financial planner and it’s not something that technology will never be able to replace.
2. We help you define what wealth means to you
We’ve learned a lot guiding clients through these life planning conversations and there is an overarching concept that everyone has desired. The ability to control their time.
Time is finite, whereas money is infinite. We can get trapped sacrificing our valuable time in the endless pursuit of earning more money when we don’t know how much money is “enough”. I saw it firsthand when I worked with clients that had $5 million+ net worth. It’s not about how much money you have, but rather, how much time you have to spend doing the things that are most valuable to you. In other words, the true measure of wealth is time.
The ability and freedom to control our time should be what we all aspire to achieve. That means we aren’t missing our kids’ soccer games, we aren’t tied to a job we hate and we aren’t saying no to meaningful experiences because we don’t have the time.
This mindset means “retirement” won’t ever be a goal for you. If you are maximizing your time wealth, why would you ever want to stop what you’re doing? The idea to stop all purposeful work is literally unhealthy – we need the mental stimulation, sense of purpose and social interaction that comes from working. The key is doing work you love when you want, where you want and how you want in a way that financially supports your ideal lifestyle.
This will result in you generating income longer, which decreases the amount of money that you need to have saved up to support your living expenses. This is why “traditional” financial decisions change when you never plan to retire.
Money allows you to do more of what you love and less of what you don’t love. It’s that simple.
3. We focus our time and value on financial planning, not investment management
Think of your journey to financial freedom like sailing. It requires patience and meticulous skill to successfully navigate variables like the wind and weather which are entirely out of your control.
A financial planner is the captain and an investment manager is a crew member. Our time is far more valuable as the captain making sure the boat is being sailed in the right direction and the appropriate shifts are being made to successfully navigate the various variables of your life.
Investment management means your investments are being properly traded, rebalanced and invested in a way to best meet your longer-term goals. This is a crucial part of your financial journey, but it’s something that has been largely commoditized in our industry. With the rise of passive investments (tracking an index instead of trying to outperform the index), the costs of investing have gone down significantly (and even free at Fidelity with their zero cost mutual funds!). Now, there are some investment managers who can outperform the index, but it is very difficult to do consistently on a long-term basis.
So rather than trying to spend countless time, energy and money trying to earn a few percentage points over an index (with the overwhelming odds against us of doing it!), we’d rather spend more time with you helping you figure out how you should be investing, where you should be investing and how much you should be investing (in addition to advising on all other aspects of your financial life).
This also means we are completely indifferent on where your assets are held. If you want to use a Roboadvisor, great – we will help you figure out how to best utilize their services and monitor the accounts. If you want to keep all of your money in a 401(k), great – we will help you pick the funds and monitor the account. If you’d like to have all of your investments taken care of for you, great – you can use our established relationship with First Ascent, coupled with our overarching supervision.
This strategic business decision allows us to spend more time with you and keep our prices lower so you have the peace of mind that your money is invested the right way, while taking advantage of the price compression in the investment management industry.
4. We specialize in helping travel-loving young families
When working with a financial planner, you ideally want to work with one that specializes in your situation. It’s impossible to be an expert in everything – a heart surgeon is probably not the best fit to diagnose a broken bone, right?
Our specialty is helping travel-loving young families find the responsible balance between paying down debt and investing for the future, while also experiencing life now. Your priorities are things like student loans, mortgage debt, prioritizing your cash flow, acquiring life insurance, creating an estate plan, saving for college, etc. You are not thinking about Social Security strategies, Medicare, assisted living, etc. Neither are we.
We also share common values with you – we love to travel, we prefer experiences over things and we don’t buy into the traditional “9-5, work-until-you’re-65” concept. This creates a stronger bond with you so we truly understand you.
5. We are transparent and always have your best interest at heart
The financial services industry suffers from a lack of trust for good reason. There are many bad actors out there who call themselves financial planners, but do not put your best interest first. They may encourage you to buy insurance, annuities, investment products, etc. which puts more money in their pocket, but may not be the right recommendation for you. Your money is too important to ever question “what’s in it for my financial planner?” whenever you receive a recommendation.
We pride ourselves on being completely independent (no affiliations with any company), fee-only (we are only paid by our client) and fixed-fee (your fee is not constantly changing). This provides you with the peace of mind that we always have your best interest at heart and you always know what you are paying.
The majority of the industry charges their fee based upon the amount of investments they manage – 1% is the industry norm. This means your fee goes up as your investments go up. But is it really fair for your fee to go up just because the investment markets went up? We’d argue no.
We believe your fee should always be tied to the value you are receiving, not what the investment markets are doing (which is out of anyone’s control!). In our experience, as your income and net worth go up, your complexity goes up and our value/time spent goes up. Therefore, we have a tiered fixed-fee schedule using 1% of your earned income and 0.5% of your net worth which puts you into a pre-specified fixed-fee level. Your fee will not change unless you move up/down a fee level which requires a significant change in your income and/or net worth.
This a) provides complete transparency, b) aligns our interest with yours and c) allows us to work with clients who historically haven’t been able to receive financial planning advice because they didn’t have a certain amount of investments.
6. We are completely virtual and tech savvy
We are a highly efficient, virtual financial planning firm with a heavy emphasis on using technology to enhance the client experience. You don’t have to uproot your day and fight traffic to come meet with us in an office. We meet with all clients virtually so you can choose the time and place that is most convenient for you.
This means we keep our overhead costs low (in fact we are totally paperless!) so we don’t need to charge outrageous fees to cover the cost of an office that nobody is really using.
Our heavy use of technology provides a more personal, organized and proactive experience for our clients. Here is some of the technology that we use to enhance the experience.
eMoney client portal
This provides the organization and structure to aggregate all of your accounts in one place and track your income, expenses and net worth.
This provides insights into how you and your partner are hardwired to act around money and what that means for your communication and goal setting.
This plots your entire financial life on one page so you see all of the key parts in a nice, visual format.
Shared action items list
This living, breathing software provides a clear overview of all of our outstanding to dos so we can record and track our progress together.
We are very humbled, honored and thankful for being named to the Investment News 2020 40 Under 40 class. We are so grateful to our clients, mentors, colleagues, coaches and friends/family for their endless support during our company’s growth.
We are excited to continue growing, but doing so in a very intentional way so that our clients continue to receive the proactive, high-touch guidance that they deserve.
You should not assume that the award Experience Your Wealth, LLC has received provides any guarantee or assurance that you will experience the results you desire to achieve by engaging us.
This award was selected by the Investment News team based upon the nominee’s accomplishment, contribution, leadership and promise.
None of the information provided is intended as investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as an endorsement, of any company, security, fund, or other securities or non-securities offering. The information should not be relied upon for purposes of transacting securities or other investments. Your use of the information is at your sole risk. The content is provided ‘as is’ and without warranties, either expressed or implied. Experience Your Wealth, LLC does not promise or guarantee any income or particular result from your use of the information contained herein.