Ever since the financial collapse in 2008, it has become apparent that it’s always important to be planning for your future. It has become very difficult and sometimes overwhelming to begin or continue planning for your retirement. With the changes in technology the retirement planning options have seemed to become almost limitless. The types of financial products, the different types of retirement accounts and the ever increasing complexity of the tax law has made it very challenging to properly plan for your retirement on your own. In many cases, you may not even feel comfortable trying to select and manage investments on your own behalf because you may not have the time, interest or expertise to properly evaluate investment options and determine what the best fit for you is.
That’s why at Wilson Financial we’ve chosen to become a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). An RIA is an independent investment advisor that is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if they manage over $100 million in assets or by the State’s securities agency if they manage less (Wilson Financial is registered with the State of Wisconsin currently).
One of the core principles of the RIA profession is that we must adhere to what is known as the “Fiduciary Standard”. What does that mean exactly? Well, at its core is the Investment Advisor (IA) must act and serve in a client’s best interests at all times. Now that seems pretty obvious, but believe it or not, not all advisors are subject to this “fiduciary standard”. For example, if you choose to work with a large brokerage firm (Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, etc.) you may end up paying your advisor on a commission basis. For an advisor, working on a commission creates a dilemma as certain products may pay a larger commission, which benefits the advisor, but that product may not be the absolute best fit for you as the client.
Another example is in recent years, Independent Broker-Dealers have become very popular, an example of these are the Edward Jones offices that you see. These are advisors that operate independently, but with assistance from a “home office” that provides investment options or selected products. In many cases these advisors may receive commissions on products that are pushed and sold to you as an investor. Even if the product that is sold to you at these Independent Broker-Dealers is suitable for you at the time of purchase, the Advisor is not responsible for following up in the future and making sure those products are continuously suitable for you. However, as an RIA, Wilson Financial is held to the fiduciary duty where we not only make sure any investment we select for your portfolio is suitable at the time of purchase, we will continuously monitor your portfolio to make sure those investments are still suitable for you as the months and years go on.
As an RIA we operate completely independent of any large bank or brokerage firm. This provides us with the opportunity to select only investments that are ideally suited for your unique situation. In addition, we aren’t paid on commissions or trades made within your account, we are strictly a fee-only advisor. Meaning we only charge a percentage fee of the total assets that we manage for you. Our fees typically range between .75% and 2% of your total assets under management. In most cases these fees end up being lower than if you were to purchase investments with an advisor who charges commissions which could range up to 8% depending on the individual investment.
In addition, our services extend much further than just determining what investments you should purchase. We are consistently monitoring your investments on a daily basis and we are constantly adjusting those investments based on movements in the market to make sure your money is always being properly invested to minimize as much risk as possible, so you can sleep well at night knowing that your future is always being looked after for.
As Wilson Financial opens up this exciting new service for our clients we welcome any questions about the RIA investment process, what services we can provide and if it would be a proper fit for you. We look forward to meeting with clients and doing everything that we can to help plan for your future and retirement!
Please check back for upcoming blog posts about more details and advantages of using Wilson Financial as your Investment Advisor!