The most rewarding experience you can get from a financial advisor in Palo Alto, CA – in both service and performance – will not be found at big national publicly traded firms. As you’re about to see, this is especially true for ultra-high net worth investors. Your financial serenity and security, for you and your future generations, depends on you finding the right advisor. For investors with $10 million or more, we created a very special resource to help, the Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor. Get it here. Pillar Wealth Management exclusively serves clients who have $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets.
What should you look for as you consider different wealth managers in Palo Alto? This page will give you a good summary of the most important considerations. And if you decide Pillar might be a good fit, you can schedule a free consultation call at any time.
But first, understand that what you’re looking for is different from what you want. What you want is what we call ‘financial serenity.’ This is the feeling you experience in the absence of worry, concern, or fear about anything related to your future – even after you die – when it comes to your finances.
As a high net worth or ultra-high net worth investor in Palo Alto, this is the feeling you are after. It is the goal of performance. The reason for results. The motivation for what you’re looking for in a financial advisor. Keep reading to see how you can grasp hold of financial serenity.
Table of Contents
What to Look for in a Financial Advisor
Boiled down to its essence, you’re looking for two things from whichever Palo Alto financial advisor you work with, whether they are based in the 94304 zip code or somewhere nearby.
You’re looking for trust and results. That’s it.
If you find an advisor who is an RIA – Registered Investment Advisor – then you have found someone who is also bound to the fiduciary oath, to only act in what is in the client’s best interests and never their own. There is no better indicator of trust than this.
The fiduciary promise is particularly important, because there are so many ways for an advisor who is not acting as a fiduciary to make extra money off you, without you even knowing it. They can recommend investment options that give them higher commissions or fees. They can recommend annuities or other questionable investments that pay them more and lock your money away. Here’s one cautionary tale of what happened to an investor who didn’t use a fiduciary.
When choosing a financial advisor, it should be a non-negotiate that they act as a fiduciary. There’s much more in the Ultimate Guide mentioned earlier about choosing the right advisor. Get your free Guide.
Customized Financial Planning Process
What does it take to get results? If you want the best possible results in terms of performance and financial serenity, you need to find a wealth manager who has a customized planning process.
We’ll detail our own customized financial planning process a bit later. But powering that process for any financial planner must be asset allocation, which is the greatest factor – by far – in investment performance.
Yet, so many financial consultants, even those serving ultra-high net worth investors in Palo Alto, rely on market timing, past performance, the illusion that they are ‘good’ at picking the best investments, and other emotion-driven beliefs that ignore historical data that’s there for all to see.
Also, so many advisors focus solely on investment performance and ignore all the other ways to increase your overall net worth. One of the greatest of these is by looking for ways to save you money on taxes. Tax minimization strategies look different for everyone, because everyone’s situation is different. For instance, here are 10 ways to avoid the estate tax, if that’s a concern for you.
Taxes are another way that customized planning is essential, because you want a wealth manager who knows your situation, and is always looking for ways to bend the curve to your advantage. Find out if Pillar can reach our goal of $100,000 in savings per $10 million invested, for you. Schedule a quick call.
What to Avoid – Financial Advisor Warning Signs
Much more detail about this is found in the Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Financial Advisor, but most of all, you want to avoid working with financial advisors who don’t obsess over minimizing your costs. There are several hidden and avoidable costs – detailed in the Ultimate Guide – that needlessly waste hundreds of thousands or dollars, or millions if enough time goes by, for high net worth investors. Whichever financial advisor you choose, make sure they have a list of avoidable costs they use to save their clients big money, and a process for methodically reviewing them periodically.
Pillar’s wealth advisors are always on the hunt for needless financial losses we can help our clients avoid. This is one of the main ways we save new clients $100,000 for each $10 million invested. Meet our founders and learn our basic approach to performance and service.
Another warning sign arises from presumed expertise that may in fact not exist in the places most people look for it. We have noted frequent examples in the news of high-dollar venture capitalist types who have made colossal and catastrophic blunders. Follow the financial news for a few months and you’ll see them too. The biggest banks, the most eye-popping deals, the flashiest IPOs…and then they’re gone to the dustbin of history, like AOL-Time Warner. Remember them?
Template-Driven Financial Planning
You will also encounter many financial advisors, even independent wealth managers, who use a cookie-cutter approach to financial planning. They ask the same questions and offer the same basic choices to all their clients. They funnel them into a few plans, primarily distinguished by varying degrees of risk tolerance.
The truth is, risk tolerance is not the place you should be starting your conversations with wealth managers. So if that’s their first question to you, that’s a warning sign that you need to find someone else. It matters, but it’s not the only thing that does when deciding your asset allocation.
These are industry norms that you need to shift away from, and there are others. Here’s a quick guide with 5 shifts you need to make before working with a financial advisor.
The Basics – What a Financial Consultant Does
Wealth management is about performance and protection. Many focus only on the performance aspect. But for high net worth investors, protection is just as important. If you have $30 million, what’s more important to you – doubling it to $60 million or avoiding the loss of $20 million in the next recession? Both have happened in real life to people we know.
And the truth is, both are equally important. You want to protect and solidify your gains, and continue to build for the future. For an in-depth look at how Pillar protects your wealth, get a free complimentary copy of our book, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates: Strategies for Families Worth $25 Million to $500 Million.
There are at least seven ways to protect your wealth from loss, and seven ways to grow it at a level that ensures you the financial serenity and the desired lifestyle outcomes you seek. See all 14 in this revealing article.
Customized Financial Planning Revisited
This brings us back to the need for customized financial planning and what that really means. It simply can’t be overstated how important it is to create each client’s plan around their specific needs, their financial situation, and their short and long term goals.
Pillar’s process is so different from nearly every other wealth manager you will speak to. It relies on a combination of historical data, mathematical projection of how your portfolio will perform in 1000 simulations, quarterly rebalancing, and ongoing adjustments as your life situation changes.It’s really an amazing experience. Want to see what our process projects for your portfolio?Get a free wealth management analysis.
What Pillar understands, and what any financial advisor you work with should too, is that every plan will fail if left alone for too long. What matters to you now will be different in ten years, if not five. New children are born. Couples divorce. People pass away unexpectedly. Businesses fail. Businesses merge and prosper. Inheritances happen. Unexpected medical complications arise.
Life happens. And when it does, it will affect your financial realities, and therefore also your financial plans. You need an advisor who not only understands this, but has baked this truth into their planning process.
Anything less will leave you short-served at the most critical moments. For an in-depth look at our innovative planning process and how it delivers optimized performance and financial serenity, read this short ebook, Improving Portfolio Performance: The Shifts Multi-Millionaires Must Make to Achieve Financial Security and Serenity.
Wealth Management – Financial Planning with Your Advisor
This is where wealth management starts to differentiate itself from run of the mill financial advisors. A financial advisor crafts a plan, advises you on what to do, and then they might just leave it alone to run on autopilot.
But a wealth manager manages your portfolio, continually, perpetually, and actively. How might this look? Let’s look at a couple quick examples.
Retirement Financial Planning
In the years leading up to and after retirement, you will have to make an abundance of decisions. Many of them have great impact on your short and long term finances. And as stated earlier, those plans will change, sometimes quickly, depending on what life throws at you.
Still other decisions are time-sensitive. When you reach certain ages, you must decide how much money you want from Social Security, for example. You’ll have to take required minimum distributions. You may want to cash our stock options you’ve held onto for a while.
All of these decisions and many others have tax ramifications. And for high net worth investors, those can be very costly if managed incorrectly. A customized plan will factor all of this into its timeline, and a proactive wealth manager who is paying attention to your specific portfolio’s progress will not miss any important deadlines.
You won’t have to worry about it, because we are on it.
At some point there’s a good chance you’ll receive a large inheritance. Or, you might also get a windfall from a business sale or exit package. What should you do with this huge cash infusion? Again, the tax consequences alone will require a lot of work if you want to keep as much as possible of what was meant for you.
Life will continue changing. Your financial plan should evolve with it, not stay stuck in a drawer and forgotten, only to hope that years later, it turns out okay. It won’t. A neglected plant never grows.
Financial Advisor Palo Alto – Finding the Best One for You
Your best choice for a financial advisor or wealth manager depends on many factors. The Ultimate Guide is the perfect tool for investors with $10 million or more. You are strongly encouraged to use it!
For additional help, here are 10 tips for finding the best financial advisor in Palo Alto near you. While working with a local advisor isn’t always necessary, if it matters to you, then it matters. Whether you’re in the 94301 or 94304 zip codes of Palo Alto, our financial planning and wealth management services are right around the corner.
One thing you can be sure of – if you want the sort of help that only an independent wealth manager is capable of providing – is that you should avoid the big banks and large brokerage firms. They seem better, because they have slick branding, TV commercials, and amazing websites. But those companies frankly were built to appeal to the masses. They serve millions of customers, because most of their customers have less than $20,000 to invest. Their customers need it easy, automated, and self-serve.
You need something much more.
If you think Pillar Wealth Management might be the right fit for you, don’t miss this chance, while it’s on your mind. This is possibly the most important decision – and moment – in the rest of your life. See what we’re about if you want some basic questions answered. Then click the button below and schedule a free phone or Zoom call.
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