Are you a candidate for net worth advising? In other words, could you benefit from working with a wealth management advisor? Whether you’re presently a medium-to-high earner, a high earner who’s not rich yet (a HENRY, if you will), or you’ve already entered “ultra high net worth individual” territory, there are myriad benefits to working with a wealth management advisor.
But what, exactly, is wealth management? Is it the same as financial advising? While the average person will sometimes use the two terms interchangeably, they refer to different types of professionals. In this article, we’ll not only break down the differences between these roles—we’ll also take a deep dive into the world of wealth management advisors—their responsibilities, the services they provide, and more.
What Is the Role of a Wealth Manager?
Wealth managers work with higher net worth individuals, providing a wide variety of services tailored to their clients’ unique needs. At a high level, the most common types of wealth management services may include:
- Basic and/or full-service accounting
- Timely investment advice
- Portfolio development and monitoring
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Financial planning, including goal-setting and strategizing
- Tax services and advice
What, exactly, a wealth advisor does—and the wealth management services they provide—ultimately depends on the client’s situation and needs. They, quite literally, are there to serve you. First, they’ll work to develop an understanding of where you currently stand (financially) and what your goals are, so they can provide effective, custom-tailored strategies for managing and growing your portfolio. Sometimes—especially in the case of a HENRY—a wealth manager will also serve as an educator, building their clients’ financial literacy.
Wealth Manager vs Financial Advisor (At a Glance)
The simplest way to distinguish between a wealth manager and a financial advisor is to think of a wealth manager as a specific type of financial advisor. In fact, “financial advisor” is a general term, which encompasses basic financial advising, certified public accounting (a CPA), and wealth management services.
As mentioned before, a wealth manager is a type of financial advisor who specializes in working with high net worth individuals. You’re probably wondering, “How much money do I need to hire a wealth manager?” so we’ll go ahead and address that before going any further. A “high net worth” individual will generally have at least $1 million in liquid financial assets. And while that figure might lead you to assume that the wealth management industry is a hyper-specific niche, Credit Suisse’s 2021 Global Wealth Report indicates that the number of millionaires in the United States is steadily growing.
In the service of this growing segment of the population, wealth managers take a holistic approach to understanding, managing, and growing their clients’ portfolios. At Delta Wealth Advisors, we provide comprehensive wealth management and net worth advising services for our clients. With this approach, we keep clients’ 360 degree financial picture in view and offer dynamic advice and strategies, always ready to adapt to any major changes in our clients’ lives or priorities.
What Is the Wealth Management Process?
While strategies and processes will vary depending on a number of client-specific factors, the following wealth management process steps outline a typical framework:
- Discussing your current financial situation and assets.
- Identifying and prioritizing your financial goals.
- Creating a comprehensive, custom solution to achieve your goals.
- Implementing the solutions and strategies.
- Monitoring the plan’s results as it’s implemented.
Next, we’ll take a closer look at each of these pieces of the wealth management process.
1. What’s Your Current Financial Situation, and What Are Your Assets?
The crucial first step of any wealth management approach is to understand the client’s unique financial situation. From a numbers standpoint, they’ll work to create a full, 360-degree view of your finances, by examining items like:
- Assets currently held—and their fair market value
- Current liabilities
- Cash expenditures over a time period (e.g., monthly)
- Income tax situation
- Any active wills or trusts
- Insurance policy contracts
- Retirement plans/assets
With each of these points, accurate numbers are vital. Just as important, though, if not more important, is the context around those numbers. A wealth manager will want to understand the story behind your current financial situation. This begins with basic questions that gauge how the client feels about their current situation, including how they got to where they are, what they envision as future opportunities or objectives, and their general level of financial literacy.
2. What Are Your Goals?
With a foundational understanding of the client’s current financial situation in tow, a wealth manager is ready to start digging into the nitty gritty details and setting realistic objectives for managing and growing that wealth. This is really the stage where the wealth manager demonstrates their ability to collaborate with their clients to develop plans that reflect their highest-priority objectives.
In many cases, it’s a wealth manager’s job to ask the right questions and listen carefully to what their clients share with them. Especially for high net worth individuals, there’s simply too much hanging in the balance to risk it all with a half-baked or one-size-fits-all approach. At Delta Wealth Advisors, we know each of our clients deserves our full attention and commitment—and we’re passionate about providing it. Whether you’re looking for advice around how to create wealth in 10 years, how to build wealth in your 40s, or rules for building wealth after 50, for example, we’ll put our passion and expertise to work for you.
Here, it’s also crucial for the wealth manager to learn about each client’s expectations—and to set reasonable expectations moving forward. This might begin with simple questions about the type of growth they’d like to see or what types of investments or strategies they are most interested in, but should always drill down into the how’s and why’s. This provides a foundation of trust and true collaboration, which helps clients rest more easily, knowing their wealth is being managed effectively.
3. What Are the Best Wealth Management Solutions for Your Situation?
A high net worth individual stands to benefit most from a comprehensive solution set that puts their needs first, includes a unique mix of tools and strategies for managing and growing wealth, and can be easily monitored and adjusted as needed.
At Delta Wealth Advisors, we firmly believe that wealth management is not one-size-fits-all. That being said, here are a few components that tend to define an effective wealth management solution:
- It provides sound advice based on the client’s financial situation and their stated objectives.
- It includes a mix of immediate recommendations and long-term strategies.
- It keeps the client’s retirement goals in mind, optimizing strategies to maximize funds.
4. What Will Implementation Look Like?
As the wealth management plan is put into action, the manager’s job is far from done. That’s because a wealth management strategy should never be considered “set in stone,” meaning it can (and should) be monitored at every stage. That way, timely adjustments can be recommended and implemented as appropriate. The truth is, there are simply too many variables and factors outside of an individual investor or wealth manager’s control for wealth management to be put on auto-pilot.
As certain assets grow their value as the strategy is implemented, the results can be compared with the strategy’s expected performance and outcomes. The client and their advisor can dig into the results, which may or may not be a learning curve for the client (depending on their level of experience and financial literacy).
Ultimately, wealth managers wear a number of different hats throughout the implementation process, all in the furtherance of the client’s objectives. They ask the right questions, and listen carefully to the answers—what a client says, as well as what they don’t say. They provide education and advice, encouraging the right moves and making sure the client knows exactly why certain decisions are being advised and what to expect as a result.
5. How Will the Advisor Monitor and Follow Up?
A well-developed wealth management plan comes with a dedicated wealth manager (or team of professionals), that is available and easy to contact—so a client never feels like they’re in the dark or unsure where to turn.
At any stage, clients can count on their wealth management advisor to be their dedicated point of contact for any questions or concerns they have. In response to changing circumstances—or the client’s goals or priorities changing—they can reach out to their advisor rather than letting confusion or anxiety grow and fester.
At the end of the day, wealth managers earn their clients’ trust by providing accessible expertise in response to their needs. In the early stages of their relationship, a wealth management advisor will work with their client to develop expectations around how and when they’ll communicate. Generally, there will at least be an annual check-in type meeting, but the rest largely depends on what the advisor and their client agree to. A client should never, ever feel shy about reaching out whenever they have questions or concerns, large or small!
How Do I Know I Can Trust My Wealth Management Advisor?
Before wrapping up our discussion of the wealth management process, we want to again underscore the vital importance of building two-way trust between a client and their advisor. Trust is a two-way street, and effective wealth management is only possible when a level of trust enables honest, straightforward communication and a desire to understand and collaborate.
What does a wealth manager do, day to day? You can read article after article about the wealth management process online, and you’ll see that they’re largely all saying the same types of things and making the same types of promises. As you read these, you might be wondering: What’s in it for the advisor? Without knowing this, it can be difficult to fully trust that your advisor has your best interests in mind. So, in the interest of full transparency, we thought we’d briefly address this question.
How Does a Wealth Manager Make Their Money?
In short, a wealth management advisor charges their clients for the services and advice they provide. That’s only the most basic answer, though. If a wealth advisor charges for services but then fails to deliver value to their clients, then, simply put, they endanger their own income by burning through their clients’ trust. When a client loses trust in their wealth management advisor, they’ll go looking for a new one.
In many ways, then, a wealth management advisor ultimately makes their money by helping their clients to optimize their investments and other assets and grow their portfolios.
Delta Wealth Advisors: A Better Wealth Management Process
We’ve covered a lot in this article, but hopefully we’ve answered many of your most pressing questions about net worth advising and what you can expect from the process.
Ready to learn more about how we help our clients define and achieve their short- and long-term financial goals, building strong portfolios for sustainable success? Here’s what we prioritize for our clients:
- Using an evidence-based investing approach, so you can make better, more informed decisions.
- Building successful, strategic investment portfolios around proven, risk-based investments.
- Monitoring investments continuously, so adjustments can be made when needed.
- Applying analytical capabilities to develop an appropriate balance of investments, minimizing risk and optimizing returns.
- Developing and implementing strategies for minimizing taxes.