As a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, we understand that money is not simply dollars and cents summed at the bottom of an account statement. It’s a tangible representation of our clients’ needs, wants and wishes and it reflects the hopes and dreams – spoken and unspoken – they have for themselves and those they love. In sum, money is personal – as a result, so is our planning.
Clients come to us from diverse backgrounds and life experiences; they have different goals and they view risk through a very specific lens – their own. For these reasons, we lead our clients through a comprehensive planning process, the foundation of which is a thorough cash flow analysis. By the end of our process, both we and our clients come to fully understand their current financial picture; we’re able to clarify both their personal and financial goals, and we’ve uncovered risks to their plan’s success. It is then, and only then, that we begin the process of portfolio construction.
Our approach to portfolio construction is objective, well-researched, unbiased and, most importantly, guided by the results of our clients' plans. Because of the many industry licenses we hold and because our firm adheres to a concept called “open-architecture," we have the freedom and flexibility to choose investment solutions that we believe best fit the needs of our clients, rather than the other way around.
Knowing what you own and understanding the costs is the only way to truly assess the value of an investment and, frankly, your financial advisor. Before our clients move from the planning stage to actually investing with us, we make sure that there is a clear understanding behind not only the “why” of the investment solution we ultimately propose, but also how each of the individual component parts work as part of the whole, including what to expect from those investments over the short and long-term as well as their associated costs.
We recognize that cost is an important factor to consider when engaging with an advisory team and implementing a particular investment strategy. We believe, whole-heartedly, that those costs should be weighed against the value of the services provided. We look forward to the opportunity to have a detailed conversation about how you pay for your investments, how we get paid for the work we do for you, and the “value-add” we believe we bring to our clients financial lives.
Diversification simply means not being overly exposed to any one asset class, sector, company or any singular risk – the proverbial not putting all of your eggs into one basket. Why? By carefully blending portfolios with a mix of complementary investments, clients can reduce their overall portfolio risk, which allows for potentially steadier and more consistent investment returns over time.
Over our collective 34-plus years of investment management, we’ve seen that market volatility – whether to the upside or the downside – has a tendency to entice investors into making poor investment decisions. It’s been our experience that by taking a diversified approach with clients' investments and helping them to really understand the “why” behind their particular asset allocation, we’re able to help them avoid the pitfalls of emotional investing.
Moreover, for income investors – a.k.a. most retirees seeking to recreate a paycheck in retirement – diversification and a total return approach (as opposed to strictly income investing) naturally go hand-in-hand. A total return approach – the approach followed by many institutional investors, university endowments, and pension plans – allows us to focus on targeting an overall return that includes, dividends, interest income, and price growth, rather than concentrating client money in a narrow asset class that could be negatively impacted by, for example, changes in interest rates or a change in the tax code.
The personalized nature of taxes means that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Through our holistic planning process, we get to know our clients’ complete financial picture, including their tax sensitivity and, as a result, we strategize accordingly. The old adage says that only death and taxes are certain. We would take it one step further and say taxes are certain and certain to change.
Planning for a changing tax landscape throughout the accumulation and distribution phases of your financial life can have an extraordinarily large impact over the years. Clients can feel confident knowing that as CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, we have the knowledge and the tools at hand to help them construct tax-advantaged portfolios and develop tax favorable strategies for saving and investing.
Managing your wealth is like managing your health: the principles are simple (i.e. spend less then you earn; eat less then you expend) but the execution is not always easy. We attempt to make the discipline aspect easier for our clients by identifying ways for them to “outsource” some of the self-control (automatic savings and investing plans, rebalancing to their asset allocation and dividend reinvestment, if warranted) and help ensure our clients stay on track by regularly monitoring their progress. This, in turn, keeps us disciplined and accountable to our clients. Through our regularly scheduled contact and reviews, clients can verify if their investments are, in fact, in line with their stated investment objectives and if their portfolios are performing in line with expectations.
Kate E. Eiland, First Vice President – Investment Officer and Elise L. Kausen, First Vice President – Investment Officer hold the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional designation.
Asset allocation and diversification are investment methods used to help manage risk. They do not guarantee investment returns or eliminate risk of loss including in a declining market.
Wells Fargo Advisors is not a tax or legal advisor.