6 Steps To A Winning Wealth Management Plan

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1 6 Steps To A Winning Wealth Management Plan We believe everyone should have a thoughtful and specific wealth management strategy. A sports analogy here is appropriate, as many of the same steps are required to field a winning team. First, to start competing, you should be fit. To play well you must know the rules, understand the playbook, adapt to field conditions and work as a team. An investment strategy that utilizes all of these steps is a formidable winning combination. Key Steps To Successful Wealth Management We breakdown this process into 6 easy to understand steps. Figure 1: 6 Steps Of A Winning Financial Game Plan Getting Fit We Coach Well At Sapling Wealth Management, we believe a proper role for a financial advisor to play is coach. We are trained to assess our clients strengths and weaknesses. We are experienced in all types of situations bull & bear markets. GameTime! Teammates & Coach Understand Rules Playbook Options Investors need someone who can appreciate and anticipate changing circumstances and position their portfolios to succeed. Our clients value our long term, relationship oriented consulting style. We are: High Service - Client Driven - Experienced - Field Conditions Source: Sapling Wealth Management Sapling Plays the Role of Coach Sapling Wealth Management is skilled in recognizing its clients strengths and weaknesses, and creating strategies to maximize results. We aim to put a thoughtful wealth management plan in place with a well-matched team. Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 1

2 Getting Fit Below are sample of questions that we ask every client to determine financial skills and fitness. What should you be evaluating to determine what your financial abilities are? What position should you play on the team? These are some things to consider: Understanding Values & Goals What s important to you about money? What would you like to achieve with your money? When you think about your money, what concerns, needs or feelings come to mind? What are your interests? Where would you like to be in years? Financial Picture of Fitness How do you make money today? What do you spend money on? What are does your personal balance sheet look like? What are your assets (car, home) and what are your liabilities (mortgage, student loans, obligations)? We Are An Assessment Specialist At Sapling Wealth Management, our first task is to take a broad view our client s values and goals. This is a wide survey covering topics ranging from personal interest, family dynamics and financial skills. It is our goal to come up with a strategy that is complimentary with the client. Our strengths lie in our abilities to: Investment Personality Are you comfortable taking risk? What would trigger a greater emotional feeling - seeing an investment appreciate or depreciate 20%? Do others look to you for insight and guidance? Is the topic of money something you avoid or does it interest you? Can you talk about money with family members easily? Level Of Involvement Do you want to be involved and understand the investment decision making process or would you rather have everything be taken care for you? Do you have professional advice today from a lawyer, insurance agent or accountant? Has the professional experience been a good one? Do you currently have confidence in your financial plan? Do You Understand Investment Risk? Do you find yourself gravitating towards one type of investment asset class such as cash, bonds, or stocks? Would you know how to compare the riskiness of a single blue chip stock versus a diversified mutual fund of growth stocks? Listen First step in understanding a client. Assess Careful thought on current and future priorities. Communicate Clear and effective communication. There Is No Right Answer Creating a successful financial strategy begins with understanding the client. An advisor that knows what your characteristics are can develop a better strategy to strengthen areas of deficiency and take advantage of areas of strength. From this professional assessment, we can better determine what wealth management strategies will be most effective. Clear communication and open dialogue is essential. Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 2

3 Understand the Rules You cannot compete unless you understand the basic rules of the game. The following is a list of concepts that one must understand to come up with a strategy that preserves and enhances wealth. At Sapling Wealth Management, we strongly recommend that you codify this strategy in an Investment Policy Statement (IPS), which serves as a template for implementation and monitoring wealth management decisions. Following a well thought out strategy will avoid costly rookie mistakes. Master the Basic Skills Any athlete needs to have mastery of the basic skills. In investments, we consider certain concepts critical for an individual to understand their financial plan. Those concepts are: Time Value of Money, Tax Deferral, and Opportunity Cost. Reflect on Major Drivers of Financial Health Simply put, how do you earn and spend your money? On the revenue side, analyze your sources of revenue (such as job, investments) and contemplate the potential for change. On the spending side, examine your top spending categories and anticipate your future needs. Be realistic on how much it will take to achieve your goals and be mindful of the opportunity cost of spending today. Define IPS Strategies For Preservation & Enhancement The centerpiece of a wealth management investment strategy is an Investment Policy Statement (IPS), which clearly states the clients objectives and priorities. From there a skilled advisor can assess asset class exposure, risk appetite and the probabilities of future portfolio performance. We believe the most important consideration for an investment strategy is the client s ability and willingness to take measured investment risks. We believe in an investment philosophy that takes prudent risks and focuses on the long term investing. We are mindful of tactical advantages of reducing investment risk when market conditions merit. IPS A Key Tool An Investment Policy Statement (IPS) is an essential tool in wealth management. It serves as an objective benchmark for setting and tracking your goals and priorities. Sequencing savings plans (and withdrawals), emphasizing important values and reprioritizing objectives are just part of our comprehensive process. We believe our key skills in this area are: Customization Investment strategies are client specific Cost Effectiveness Selection of the best vendors and highest value products Education Strong support of participant education and investor tools Access Direct access to decision makers Small Firm Advantage in Customization, Cost & Access Sapling Wealth Management is a boutique investment advisor and our service is customized to our clients and is not off-the-shelf analysis. We strongly believe that cost effective financial services can be delivered without sacrificing either service or performance. The key is selecting investments and efficient strategies that are appropriate for a specific risk profile. Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 3

4 Field Conditions The core of most wealth management plans is Investment Consulting. Before any athlete steps on the playing field, what are the conditions like? Capital markets can be wet and slippery, and injuries often occur. How in shape are you to play in all types of conditions? A few thoughts: Prepare for All Types of Weather Part of preparing a solid financial strategy is being able to play in all conditions. That is, if the economy dips, do you own investments that perform well (both relatively and absolutely) in that environment? If the investment environment improves, are you well positioned to take advantage of this? Diversify Thoughtfully The financial supermarket is vast, take advantage of it. Don t confuse a large number of investments with a diversified portfolio. For many investors, lackluster results are caused by making investments in products and not fully understanding the risks. Stay In Condition Make sure you are in solid financial shape. Losing the discipline of saving for goals or constantly breaking budget is just like going on the field without stretching. If Facts Change, So Should Your Strategy An economist famously quipped: If the facts change, I change my mind. We recommend doing likewise. Having a defensive financial strategy when your financial situation is looking better (promotion, achieving savings goals, etc) may not be maximizing your goals. Golden Age For Investors We believe investors have never had as many choices efficiently delivered as today. Access to information and research resources are significantly improved from just five years ago. Sapling Wealth Management publishes its annual outlook (available online) which sets the basis for individual financial strategies for that year. Our services feature Capital Market Focus We stay attuned to the markets and anticipate outcomes. Institutional Insight We offer high caliber, research driven recommendations. Security Research Investments are reviewed according to multiple criteria to ensure alignment with the client s investment strategy. Nationally Recognized For Investment Acumen The founder of Sapling Wealth Management, Will Hicks, is a nationally recognized research analyst and was awarded the Wall Street Journal All-Star Analyst for his published financial insights. He earned this acknowledgement in an area where analysts are held to exacting standards and judged on their ability to listen thoughtfully, produce differentiated investment opinions and communicate effectively. We bring those same skills to our clients by first understanding their needs and creating strategies that help achieve their objectives. While predicting future economic conditions is difficult, and the facts frequently change, be assured you will be prepared. Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 4

5 What Are My Playbook Options? A wealth management strategy should not stop at investment consulting. In fact, many people who following certain Advanced Planning steps can add significant wealth with little risk. The areas we examine carefully are: Tax Advantaged Strategies Numerous investment options are available to those to spend time to take advantage of them. We carefully assess prior year tax filings to identify areas to consider, which can include HSA accounts, education plans, executive compensation programs, and specialized benefit plans. Transferring Wealth We believe most everyone should take basic estate planning steps, such as titling property correctly, establishing surrogate decision makers and drafting clear estate documents. Simple gifting strategies over the long term can be a powerful tool. For higher net worth individuals there are well established options to thoughtfully avoid overpaying taxes in the future. Wealth Protection A wealth management plan should have a full review of liability exposure in all core areas. Additional insurance in many cases is warranted. We guide clients to adopt behaviors and strategies that avoid, prevent, reduce and transfer risk. A great deal of innovation has occurred in life insurance, which can offer a stable financial reserve for difficult times. Advanced Planning Part of Our Playbook We find that advanced planning strategies are some of the least risky ways to increase, transfer and protect personal wealth. In our eyes, the most powerful techniques are well established and tested. However, all of these areas change rapidly and many new products and services can offer significant advantages. Where we add value: Pick Low Hanging Fruit Take advantage of easy to access options Help Choose Partners Get to the right fit quickly Streamline Process Create efficiency to lower costs. Charitable Giving Charitable giving can bring significant meaning to the lives of those who receive, and give, the donations. These should be thoughtfully considered and funded. We Work With Best In Class Providers In addition to the financial advisor, we believe the key vendors in a wealth management team are the accountant, trusts & estates lawyer, and insurance agent. Each of these areas is complex and warrants specialization to deliver bestin-class service. Sapling Wealth Management often plays a valuable role in educating our clients on these the opportunities and we help in the selection of strategic partners to ensure the right fit. We believe this preparatory time benefits the effectiveness and efficiency of the professional service partner interaction. Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 5

6 Teammates & Coach In order to compete effectively, you need to have excellent teammates and a coach. Our suggestions: Be A Good Teammate Contribute. Select Your Teammates Wisely Our clients often have strategic relationships in place in the fields of accounting, estate planning, business planning and insurance. In the professional service world, there are lots of individuals to choose from, but a few really match up well. All of these vendors differ in terms of style, expertise, products and outlooks. If our clients don t have a current satisfactory relationship in place, we have vetted many providers in the market and can recommend several that may be a good fit. In addition, we believe our well informed clients have interactions that are effective and efficient. Find A Coach That Fits Your Style Coach is the role that Sapling Wealth Management plays on its clients team. Characteristics that you should look for in any wealth manager are: Overall Expertise Our Characteristics Are Well Defined Sapling Wealth Management is an independent financial advisory firm. We work with best-in-class strategic partners. Licensed as an RIA, we are legally held to a Fiduciary Standard the highest in financial service industry. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We take time to build trust through a disciplined and thoughtful analytical process. We enjoy what we do immensely. As a Wealth Management coach we have: Character In Place We embody the characteristics most valued by clients Ability to Listen & Assess Needs Attention to Detail Quality of Advice Client First Standard of Care Consistency Approachable Best In Class Partners Navigate to the best providers Client First Culture - We Enjoy What We Do Immensely At Sapling Wealth Management, we have devoted ourselves to this business because we look forward to learning about our clients needs, crafting thoughtful long term wealth management plans and helping navigate tricky capital markets. We work with best-in-class strategic partners to deliver an outstanding level of service that is institutional-caliber, customized and cost effective. We believe our combination of personal touch and expertise is unique in the market. Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 6

7 Game Time! After giving consideration to the prior steps, you should be in a position to play. The next step may be to engage a wealth manager to work on your behalf. All wealth managers have their own approach in getting started. The diagram below illustrates our process. Discovery Meeting Sharing of information, goals and objectives Introductory Phase Getting to know an advisor should be a deliberate & substantive process. We help potential clients form their decision with a preliminary wealth management plan formed from information received in the first discovery meeting. Investment Plan Meeting Presentation of preliminary plan Mutual Commitment Confirmation of commitment and signed engagement Two Weeks One Week Investment Plan: This is a substantive client specific document that takes several hours to prepare and present. In consists of a business objective analysis, employee characteristics and survey of plan options. Mutual Commitment: After reviewing the retirement plan, clients have time to decide if they would like to go forward with Sapling as an advisor. 45 Days Implementation Stage Implementation plan created for wealth management strategy Maintenance Stage Review of progress of implementation plan 90 Days Engagement Phase After a formal engagement letter has been signed, Sapling Wealth Management will write a detailed Investment Policy Statement & Implementation Plan for the client. This plan becomes the basis for tracking progress and growth. Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 7

8 Sapling Wealth Management Individual Wealth Management p 8

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