Trying to decide how to invest for your future?
Understanding and managing the bewildering array of investment types and opportunities available is a major project. In today’s complex marketplace, even sophisticated investors are challenged to stay current, monitor their investments, and respond appropriately to rapidly changing conditions.
What Is Investment Management Versus Wealth Management?
These two terms are widely used in the financial advisor field. Here's how they are generally explained:
- Investment management tends to focus only on investing assets. This can be handled by a broker or an advisor focused solely on managing your portfolio. That person may perform an assessment to determine your risk tolerance before choosing an appropriate portfolio. The investments become a means of achieving specific goals.
- Wealth management takes a broader approach which looks beyond assets to incorporate taxes, insurance, and your estate into the planning process. These holistic planners will probe to discover all factors: income, expenses, assets and their projected annual growth, retirement goals, college savings goals, and more. A wealth manager can help you weigh all these factors alongside your goals and timelines to form a comprehensive plan.
How Does Waterstone Handle Them?
As always, this discussion begins with learning your needs and what has already been done to get and keep your financial house in order. Here's how we see the connections among those building blocks.
During your initial complimentary conversation with us, if we learn that you haven't yet pulled together a financial plan, we will strongly recommend that we start there. That's because your circumstances and goals must drive all investment decisions. We would not be able to properly carry out our fiduciary responsibility to put your interests first in everything we do if we don't know what those interests are. (See "What We Ask of Our Clients" on our WFS Experience page.)
Investment (ASSET) Management
If you already have a financial plan, we'll ask you to share the relevant parts with us. If you haven't yet set up a collection of investment assets (portfolio), we will work with our investment partners to create and manage yours. If you already have one that was established via another financial advisor, we will handle all the paperwork to transfer it to our systems.
Similarly, if retirement is part of the reason you need to discuss investments with us, we'll ask you to share details about your plans for that. If you don't have a retirement plan in place, then creating one can be incorporated into our work of designing, building, and managing your investments.
This usually encompasses other financial needs that need to be dealt with such as college planning, taxes, insurance, and estate planning. WFS has the ability to help you with those through:
- Carefully selected products in those areas in which we are licensed and choose to offer them. (See our Fees page.)
- Referring you to others whom we trust and know to be competent in those areas.
- Coordinating and working with your trusted advisors who handle those issues such as attorneys.
It's our intention to help you have a team of professional, trusted advisors who work together as seamlessly as possible on your behalf.
Why Is Investment Management Important?
Although cash is perceived to be safer than shares, it is unable to grow very much in the long run without investment. (Anyone else remember the fabulous 5% savings account you may have had as a child? Those have long since disappeared from banks.)
Many people build and manage their own investment portfolios. If you were to do the same to accomplish your goals, you must do the following:
- Build and maintain a solid knowledge of investments.
- Read about wealth management and financial topics and research specific assets.
- Develop some level of expertise in financial instruments.
- Invest the time needed to monitor, evaluate them, and make periodic changes to your portfolio.
The only option left is to live below your means and invest some of the surplus to have it available in the future. And most people need help with that.
What Opportunities Can Investment Management Provide?
- The potential for higher returns than other options (e.g., savings accounts)
- Meet financial goals
- Outperform inflation
- Provide regular income
- Replenish an emergency fund
What Is the Outcome of Investment Management?
On your behalf, we work with our investment partners to set up a portfolio designed to support your goals. You have online access to your account any time, and it allows you to run a variety of reports to check on your progress. We also help you set up beneficiary information on your accounts.
WFS also monitors your account and investments; meets with you as needed to discuss results, concerns, changes; and provides helpful information both individually as well as in the company monthly email and its webinars.
When it's time to start withdrawing funds from your investments, we work with you to minimize tax impact, avoid penalties, and cooperate with Required Minimum Distribution law.
Visit the Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA) web site to learn more about investment advisers.
As with our other services, we implement the plan we developed in earlier steps. If parts of it need to be addressed by other specialties, we bring in the appropriate resources to handle them and/or work with your other advisors as needed.
Depending on your needs, the plan may be implemented all at once or in stages.
The key to successful investing is ongoing monitoring and adjustment. We review the plan together on a regular basis. We are always available to you in-between those reviews as well.