Imagine this: You’re starting to get serious about saving for retirement. You want to make sure you’re prepared for this major life transition, so you decide it’s time to hire a financial advisor. On the recommendation of your brother-in-law, you begin a relationship with an advisor—let’s call him Bill—and start to map out your path to retirement.
During the first year, everything is going great. Bill puts together a portfolio of investments for you and supplies you with a bunch of fancy charts showing you your chances of success. You’re feeling good about the fact that you have a plan to follow! And so you start taking the actions that you and Bill outlined in your plan.
But after a while, you stop hearing from Bill. You’re not sure if you’re still on the right track to reach your goals. You’re wondering whether recent market events have any bearing on the performance of your portfolio. And when you call Bill to ask these questions, he doesn’t get back to you for an entire week.
If you’ve ever experienced this type of relationship with a financial advisor, you’re not alone. A shocking amount of our clients have come to our firm with stories about feeling ignored or overlooked by their financial advisors.
In our opinion, this is inexcusable. You deserve better, which is why we’ve committed to a higher level of customer service and communication in our firm. Below are five differences that set the Five Pine Wealth Management team apart:
- We approach wealth management holistically
- We are fee-only fiduciaries
- We are proactive communicators
- We believe in long-term, low-cost investment options
- We are younger than most other advisors
1. We Approach Wealth Management Holistically
There are “investment guys” a-plenty out there who can help investors manage their money and make trades on their behalf. Holistic financial planners, however, are harder to come by. We differentiate ourselves from those other “investment guys” with our holistic approach and breadth of knowledge within the financial planning realm.
In our opinion, the “other guys” focus too heavily on return rates and forget that there are real dreams, goals, fears, and needs behind the numbers. By fixating on the numbers, they miss out on creative, more effective opportunities and approaches that will help their clients achieve the real results they’re looking for.
From our point of view, investments are just one component of a healthy financial plan.
Sure, they’re certainly important, and managing your portfolio is one of our core services. But things like insurance planning, estate planning, college planning, tax planning, and strategic asset allocation are equally important areas of financial planning. We help with all of these areas, and they’re automatically included in the annual fee our clients pay for our services.
2. We Are Fee-Only Fiduciaries
Lots of “financial advisors” are willing to sell annuities and permanent life insurance policies to anyone who will sign on the dotted line. But we feel strongly about identifying ourselves as fee-only fiduciaries.
Being a fiduciary means that we are legally and ethically obligated to place our client’s best interests ahead of our own, so our clients can rest assured that we don’t make recommendations that are a poor fit for their needs.
Additionally, we pride ourselves on having built a fee-only book of business from scratch. Fee-only means that we do not sell financial products such as life insurance policies or annuities to our clients. We also do not collect referral fees or earn commissions on any investments we recommend.
Beyond being fiduciaries, the fee-only model ensures that we are actually incentivized to work in your best interest. Because when you do well, we do well.
3. We Are Proactive in Our Communication
As holistic financial advisors, we know life happens. And when life happens, your plan might need to change.
Plus, one of the main reasons we got into this business is because we like people. Developing strong relationships with our clients is one of our core values. While we always welcome calls from our clients, we understand that the phone works both ways. So we promise to stay in touch with you on a yearly basis at a minimum.
Annual and semi-annual reviews provide us with more opportunities to identify possible challenges in your plan and make the most of any favorable circumstances that come your way. You can also expect to hear from us with intermittent updates throughout the year so that you’re never in the dark about what we’re doing and how we’re responding to changes in the markets.
4. We Believe in Long-Term, Low-Cost Investment Options
We advocate passive, long-term investing strategies, and are often opposed to using actively managed and potentially tax-inefficient mutual funds. To help our clients keep more of their money, we believe in using ETFs and indexing strategies to keep costs as low as possible without sacrificing performance. (Some of our favorites include Vanguard and BlackRock funds.)
We see value in diversification and utilizing nontraditional assets to help our clients reach their goals. The portfolios we design and manage consist of a mix of publicly traded equities (i.e., stocks), publicly traded fixed-income instruments (i.e., bonds), and private equity/credit investments (i.e., alternative assets). A Five Pine Wealth client’s portfolio may have up to 15% allocated to these non traditional assets, depending on their personal goals and risk tolerance.
It’s important to note that alternative assets are not always accessible to individual investors, as they typically have a $1 million minimum purchase price. Therefore, many investors can only purchase alternative assets by working with a financial advisor. We believe our commitment to including alternative assets in our portfolios is a huge value-add to our clients.
5. We Are Younger Than Most Other Advisors
In the financial planning world, most advisors are 50 or older. And while advisors certainly need to have experience on their side, there are some serious downsides to working with an older advisor.
For one, you risk that a financial advisor who is older than you will retire before you do! Then you’re left in the dust, scrambling to develop a new relationship right before you’re about to make one of the biggest transitions of your lifetime.
Secondly, many (not all!) of these older advisors are simply behind the times. They’re missing the mark on issues that are relevant to investors today—issues like income-replacement alternative assets, the role of Bitcoin in a diversified portfolio, student loan repayment strategies, and the frequent career changes so many people are choosing to make these days.
As younger advisors, we help our clients take advantage of modern, creative strategies and technology to help them plan for the challenges they’ll need to overcome and reach the goals they’re set on achieving.
We Choose Our Clients Carefully
At Five Pine Wealth, we don’t work with just anyone. We are not the right fit for day traders or for investors with a market-timer mentality. Our clients don’t engage in frequent buying and selling of shares, and they don’t try to predict what’s going to happen in the markets.
Instead, we’re best suited to work with long-term investors who understand that markets experience natural cycles of growth and decline. These investors are committed to holding onto their investments—even when prices drop—because they understand that history tells us the markets will eventually go back up.
We prefer to work with individuals and families who recognize they have cognitive and behavioral biases that can negatively impact their investment decisions. While they may naturally experience emotional reactions to market activity, our clients do not allow their financial decisions to be driven by alarming headlines. Instead, they reach out to us first.
The individuals and families we work with are willing to delay gratification because of the opportunity costs associated with not saving for retirement. Our clients understand that to retire well, they must live below their means today—and that their savings rate is more important than their rate of return.
Ultimately, our clients value holistic financial planning. They recognize that proper insurance protection, strategic tax planning, and detailed estate planning are just as important for a healthy financial life as investment management. And finally, our clients care about being good stewards of their wealth so they can leave a lasting legacy behind to their loved ones and charities of their choice.
How to Become a Five Pine Wealth Client
At Five Pine Wealth, we’re a little picky when it comes to choosing our clients. But that’s because we want to ensure that we’re the right fit—both for ourselves and for you! If the Five Pine Wealth difference resonates with you, we invite you to schedule a complimentary meeting with us today. Give us a call at 877.333.1015, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website to learn more about what it’s like to work with us.