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High-net-worth investors in Houston, Texas and around the country often have many complex financial needs beyond just investment management – at Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors, we offer total wealth management services on a fee-only, fiduciary basis.
Wealth Management Defined
Wealth management is the complete integration of comprehensive financial planning and investment management – two inseparable components of a successful financial life. Generally speaking, those seeking a wealth manager are considered high-net-worth (or high income) and may have more complex financial services needs than the average investor.
Wealth management is the highest level of financial planning services. It generally includes comprehensive investment management alongside financial advice, tax guidance, estate planning, insurance planning, and even legal assistance where necessary. In fact, many private wealth managers will collaborate directly with other financial experts — such as accountants or estate planning specialists — on behalf of clients to offer comprehensive financial advice.
Think of a wealth manager as your “financial quarterback.”
Wealth management offers the most advanced form of investment advisor services as well. A wealth advisor typically creates a specially tailored, customized investment strategy and financial plan for their clients to help them manage their assets.
The type of service offered by a wealth management firm may be best suited to affluent or high-net-worth clients. However, while you may not require wealth management now, your needs are likely to change over time. At some point, it may be time to investigate wealth management firms in Houston, or wherever you are located.
What Does a Wealth Manager Do?
The greater your wealth, the more complex your financial planning needs may be. An investor with a $10 million estate in Houston, TX will likely require more tailored services than someone with $500,000. Wealth management is the area of financial planning designed for high net-worth individuals, pulling together many areas of financial planning, such as investment management, retirement planning, tax guidance, insurance planning and estate planning, to develop a holistic plan that incorporates all these complexities.
Rather than having to go to an expert in each of these areas, high net-worth individuals in Houston and all over the country often benefit from having a single wealth management advisory team that can be their “go-to” resource for financial matters.
For instance, a wealth management client of ours in Houston who has been married and divorced, has dependent children, owns multiple properties, and has a plethora of investments and accounts to manage, may need expertise in legal matters, property taxes, and investments. A wealth manager could create a holistic financial plan that takes each of those needs into consideration, either on their own or with outside counsel.
Wealth management is our specialty here at Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors and has been for over 35 years. Let’s take a look at some other important factors to consider before selecting a wealth management firm in Houston, or from your area of the country.
How Do Wealth Management Firms Get Paid?
The vast majority of wealth managers charge a percentage of assets under management. This percentage fee can cover the entire scope of the services provided, although some firms may charge additional fees for certain financial planning areas.
At Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors, we charge a simple percentage of assets under management that covers all the services we provide. No additional fees are assessed.
The range of wealth management fees can vary widely from firm to firm, but the national average hovers around 1% of assets under management.
The Fiduciary Standard of Care
Regardless of how your wealth manager’s fees are structured, you want to make sure you are working with a “Fiduciary.” In the field of finance, this translates to an advisor or wealth management firm that has the fiduciary duty, or legal obligation, to act in your (the client’s) best interest when it comes to financial planning and investment management.
This is important: Most financial advisors and wealth managers are not fiduciaries. So, thoroughly do your homework and due diligence before hiring a wealth management firm.
Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors is a Houston-based wealth management firm that is held to the fiduciary standard of care, meaning that when you partner with us, you can trust that you are getting the best (and unbiased) advice for your unique financial situation.
As a fiduciary, we are legally responsible for acting solely in your best interest. Our team never sells products or receives commissions, so you only receive our best advice, free from the conflicts of interest that are so prevalent in the financial advisory industry.
Is There a Difference Between a Wealth Manager and a Financial Advisor?
The short answer is – it depends. “Financial advisor” is a general term for various financial professionals and has no regulation or certification requirement. A wealth manager typically refers to a specific kind of financial advisor whose work focuses on complex topics that concern wealthy individuals.
Wealth managers also tend to offer more services than financial advisors. These services can include estate planning, tax planning, trust services, family legacy planning, charitable giving planning and legal planning.
However, keep in mind that the job title, “wealth manager” is also a generic term that can be used by anyone and does not indicate any specific credential (more on that in a minute). At Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors, our advisors carry the title of “financial advisor,” even though we are a full-service wealth management firm in Houston, TX.
The bottom line – both terms can be used interchangeably. So, do your homework and ask questions.
And always be sure to vet whatever types of financial advisors you use. You can look up an advisor on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck tool.
Wealth Manager Credentials
When looking for a wealth manager, it’s important to figure out how they are paid and what credentials or designations they have. As we discussed above, it’s a good rule of thumb to work with a fee-only fiduciary, which means that they are paid directly by you for their services, and they can’t receive compensation for pushing you into certain products. Having a fiduciary duty means that they are legally obligated to put your needs first.
While many wealth managers will be registered investment advisors, you’ll want to strongly consider working with a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®). CFPs possess the most rigorous certification for financial planning and are held to a fiduciary standard. At Financial Synergies, all our senior financial advisors in Houston are Certified Financial PlannerTM professionals.
Wealth Management Strategies
There are many different investment strategies financial advisors use to help increase their clients’ wealth, from value investing to growth investing, active vs. passive, etc. Some may focus more on individual securities while some favor funds. Some strategies may have a more diversified philosophy while some run a very concentrated approach.
In addition, wealth management firms may give their clients access to a wider range of investment options than regular financial advisors, like hedge funds, private equity, private credit, and private real estate offerings.
Wealth managers also tend to use strategies that are more holistic, meaning that any financial plan a wealth manager puts together should incorporate all aspects of a wealthy individual’s life, including things like estate and tax planning – not just their investments.
The strategy a wealth manager employs should match the individual investor’s risk tolerance and financial goals. For example, if a client is nearing retirement, a wealth manager might start shifting the focus from riskier growth investments to safer investments that can help a retiree maintain their wealth in their post-working years.
Is Hiring a Wealth Manager Worth It?
Well, that depends on your level of personal knowledge and willingness to delegate parts of your financial management to a professional wealth management firm. In our experience, most clients do not possess all the expertise needed to manage high-net-worth estates and portfolios on their own. And even if you do have the technical knowledge to manage your own wealth, it’s worth it to have an objective, unemotional financial professional providing you with guidance along the way. By “unemotional,” we simply mean devoid of the personal biases, emotions, and attachments people may have when managing their own wealth.
You want a quality wealth manager in your corner to help you manage, grow, and protect the wealth you’ve worked hard to build. A wealth management firm can be invaluable to your financial life.
We hope this information has helped to “demystify” the wealth management profession. At least somewhat!
Wealth Management in Houston, TX at Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors
Our wealth management services in Houston allow us to take a holistic approach to personal finance. Our financial advisors understand where you are and where you want to go, before making any investment recommendations. The plan we construct together will become your financial blueprint and will form the basis of the relationship with our firm. This combination of comprehensive financial planning and investment management enables us to deliver total wealth management to our clients in Houston and around the country.
Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors is a fee-only, fiduciary wealth management firm in Houston, Texas. Our financial advisors specialize in wealth management services, including comprehensive financial planning and investment management.
For more than thirty-five years we’ve been serving the financial needs of individuals, families, and businesses in Houston, Texas and around the country.
Wealth Management Services include holistic financial planning, retirement planning, investment management, tax planning, insurance planning, estate planning, and company retirement plans.