Money Management that Produces Financial Serenity and the Fulfilling Life You Want to Live

The Complete Guide to What We Do

How to Manage Your Money – Real Examples of What Can Go Wrong

Money management begins with financial planning. You cannot separate the two, even – as you’re about to see – for ultra-high net worth clients. I you have $10 million in liquid investable assets or more you can learn about useful investment strategies in this guide. Affluent people regularly call our office to discuss their situations related to money management and investment issues, and just about every time, the root of the problem relates to financial planning.

We’ll look at a couple of these callers in a moment.

Also, if you have liquid net worth between $5 million and $500 million and want to discuss your own money management or financial planning situation, you can set up a quick introductory call with one of our founding wealth managers, Hutch Ashoo or Christopher Snyder. Both have over 30 years of experience managing money and investments for high and ultra-high net worth clients.

protecting-ultra-high-networth

Strategies For Families Worth $25 Million To $500 Million
The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates

The insights you’ll discover from our published book will help you integrate a variety of wealth management tools with financial planning, providing guidance for your future security alongside complex financial strategies, so your human and financial capital will both flourish.

Clients frequently share with us how the knowledge gained from this book helped provide them tremendous clarity, shattering industry-pitched ideologies, while offering insight and direction in making such important financial decisions.


Click Here To Qualify For Your FREE Copy

If you’re not quite ready for a call, get a clearer picture of our approach to investment performance with our free guide, Improving Portfolio Performance.

Or, check out a complimentary copy of our hardcover book on wealth protection, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios And Estates: Strategies for Families Worth $25 Million to $500 Million

You can also get help choosing a financial advisor using our free guide, The Ultimate Guide for Choosing the Best Financial Advisor for Investors with $10 Million – $500 Million Liquid Assets.

The Basics of Money Management

At its core, money management is about avoiding recklessness and being smart about your future.

There are basic tasks associated with managing your money, such as using credit and debt wisely and having a diversified array of investments and a smart asset allocation. But before you get into any specifics, understanding money management begins with three principles:

  1. Don’t overspend

No matter how much you make, don’t spent more than that. Even if you make $1 million per year, if you’re spending $1.2 million per year, you are losing money. And eventually, it will catch up with you. You must prioritize the goal of making more money than you spend. During the Covid-19 pandemic, several Airbnb investors found themselves in hot water because they had bought up tons of properties, and owed way more than they were making. When the pandemic hit and fewer people were traveling, they found themselves unable to pay all these mortgages. They were spending more than they were making.

Don’t do that.

  1. Invest smartly

Your financial plan should dictate your investment plan. Budgeting is a basic skillset of money management. Investing is an advanced skillset. Who you listen to, and what you do in good times and in bad times determines your long term financial security. Here are 5 critical shifts for maximizing portfolio growth for ultra-high net worth investors.

  1. Build for the future

Why should you make more than you spend? Because the future is uncertain. Saving and investing are the only way to take control of your own destiny and build for the future life you want, for you and for whoever comes after you. Good money management depends upon a commitment to save money, for future purposes that will be outlined in your financial plan.

money management

An Ultra-High Net Worth Money Management Failure

We had someone call our office after finding our website. She is a CEO who, with her husband, had about $30 million in liquid assets. They had chosen to work with a particular money management firm after interviewing three of them, because they liked the advisor there.

Things were going well. But when her company got bought out in a merger, she found herself with a $50 million windfall that would soon be coming her way.

She realized that her current advisor wasn’t going to be able to deliver what she needed. Why?

Because she and her husband had big plans, but they didn’t know if they had enough money to pursue them. They wanted to launch a film production company with $10 million up front, and support it with $2 million more annually. They were only in their mid-40s. If they never worked again other than at their production company, was their net worth of $80 million enough to fulfill their dream of producing movies?

This is REAL money management. Can you live comfortably for possibly 50 years, with $80 million, if you want to start a company for $10 million and support it with $2 million annually?

Their advisor couldn’t answer this question.

They came to us, and we ran a Wealth Management Analysis (WMA). It takes their goals and dreams, incorporates their liquid assets, and creates a money management plan that includes investments with different levels of risk.

To their great surprise, their plan failed.

Here’s what that means: With $80 million in their mid-40s, they could not confidently fund the lifestyle they desired along with their film production ambitions. Something would have to give. So we helped them adjust their plan, re-evaluate their goals and desires, and re-run the Wealth Management Analysis. The second time, it passed.

Now, generally, people with $80 million in liquid assets don’t tend to think of themselves as needing financial planning. But as you can see – they did. It was essential. And we have clients where situations like this come up all the time.

We feel our main job is to help our clients make educated and smart decisions that feel right to them; which actually includes not doing anything if that’s what feels right. We help our clients figure out what they really want to do with their money, show them options on how to accomplish those goals, and then let them pick the approach that feels right to them.

Money management isn’t about an abstract level of performance. “I want to earn 9%.” Why? Based on what? Who cares? Money management is about implementing and monitoring an investment plan so that you can securely live the life you want and achieve all your most cherished goals, dreams, hopes, and plans.

Another Example of Poor Money Management from an Affluent Household

Here’s another story of an ultra-high net worth person who called us after reading our website. He was 60 and nearing retirement, and had about $60 million in liquid assets, along with several hundred million in property investments.

His current financial advisor, accountant, and lawyers were happily taking their fees to manage all this money. His property managers were happily being paid to manage his network of real estate rentals.

But no one – NO ONE – was telling him about the terrible future that awaited him:

If he continued on this course, when he dies, his heirs would owe more money in estate taxes than he had in liquid assets. His entire $60 million fortune would not be enough to cover the federal and state estate taxes that will come due. They would have to sell some of his property just to pay the tax.

If they wanted any actual money to come to them after his passing, his heirs would have to sell even more property, thus eliminating this as a source of income for themselves.

Do you see how outrageous this situation is?

How could you have this army of advisors and tax experts, and none of them are telling you about this enormous black cloud that will turn into a violent thunderstorm the day you die?

So, all the amazing “money management” his advisor is doing with this $60 million is utterly worthless. All that money – all of it – will be gone in an instant, to pay the estate tax.

This sort of thing gets under our skin. Why? Because there are ways to protect those assets from the estate tax. But you have to take those steps while you’re still alive. This is a core component of the hardcover book mentioned earlier, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios And Estates: Strategies for Families Worth $25 Million to $500 Million.

You would do well to read it.

The Basics of Money Management

In case you need a little help getting up to speed on money management, this is about avoiding recklessness and being smart about your future.

There are basic tasks associated with managing your money, such as using credit and debt wisely and having a diversified array of investments and a smart asset allocation. But before you get into any specifics, understanding money management begins with three principles:

  1. Don’t overspend

No matter how much you make, don’t spent more than that. Even if you make $1 million per year, if you’re spending $1.2 million per year, you are losing money. And eventually, it will catch up with you. You must prioritize the goal of making more money than you spend. During the Covid-19 pandemic, several Airbnb investors found themselves in hot water because they had bought up tons of properties, and owed way more than they were making. When the pandemic hit and fewer people were traveling, they found themselves unable to pay all these mortgages. They were spending more than they were making.

Don’t do that.

  1. Invest smartly

Your financial plan should dictate your investment plan. Budgeting is a basic skillset of money management. Investing is an advanced skillset. Who you listen to, and what you do in good times and in bad times determines your long term financial security. Here are 5 critical shifts for maximizing portfolio growth for ultra-high net worth investors.

  1. Build for the future

Why should you make more than you spend? Because the future is uncertain. Saving and investing are the only way to take control of your own destiny and build for the future life you want, for you and for whoever comes after you. Good money management depends upon a commitment to save money, for future purposes that will be outlined in your financial plan.

5 Fundamental Steps to Help Manage Your Money

What can you do differently from the people you read about earlier? Here are five steps to better money management.

  1. Know your goals – financial and lifestyle

We’ve seen people with over $100 million still living like average people, even in their 80s. Why? What is all that money for if you’re not going to use it? And if you want to pass it on, why haven’t you built an estate plan? Money management without a purpose is a waste of time.

  1. Have a plan

With your goals clarified and specified, the next step is to build a plan that ensures you will achieve them. A goal without a plan is just a wish.

  1. Stick to your plan

Making a plan is great, but when life throws you a curveball, how will you respond? You must continue to avoid overspending. You may need to make a few adjustments to ensure your lifestyle and financial goals remain achievable. So don’t set your plan on autopilot and just assume it will all turn out fine 20 or 40 years later.

  1. Track your data

It’s hard to know how to respond to life’s changes if you aren’t paying attention to the data. The Wealth Management Analysis tool we use can be re-used, over and over. For our clients, we re-run the Wealth Management Analysis every quarter to ensure their long term goals and desires are still on track to be fully provided for.

  1. Work with a professional

Whether it’s Pillar Wealth Management or someone else, you’ll do much better by working with an expert who can deliver the financial peace of mind – what we call financial serenity – that you want.

You can get help finding the best possible financial advisor for you by getting The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor, for Investors With $10 Million to $500 Million in Liquid Assets.

Reasons to Use a Money Manager

When most people talk about money management, they refer to the tasks mentioned earlier, like managing debt, saving money, investing, diversifying, having bank accounts. Those sorts of things. And that is part of it. But as you’ve seen by now, achieving the financial serenity you want requires much more than that. Whether you work with just a money manager, or a wealth manager who offers the additional services you’ve been reading about, here are a few reasons to work with a professional:

-You don’t have time

-You don’t have the expertise

-You want maximum performance

-You want financial serenity – lifelong peace of mind

Put all those together, and the reasons to work with a professional are clear. Gaining the expertise it would take to truly secure your future requires even more time, and you don’t have time just to manage what you have now.

Ascertaining if you are positioned to achieve all your goals and desires requires much more than simply shooting for an arbitrary percentage of annual growth. If you hit that percentage two years in a row, then miss badly in a third year because of a recession, what does that mean? Does it matter? Has it jeopardized your long term goals and plans?

How do you know?

And what is ‘maximum performance’ in this context?

Answering these questions on your own, and then solving them again on your own, is a prohibitively challenging task for most.

How a Money Manager Works

At a basic level, here’s what you can expect when you engage with a firm like ours:

You’ll begin with a 15-minute introductory call where we get to know basic information about each other. If either party sees something they don’t like, this is where it will end. The next step would be a longer call, what we call a Discovery Call. That’s where we talk about your goals, desires, and dreams.

From there, we are able to run a Wealth Management Analysis for you. This is the defining document that Pillar’s team can produce. It is unlike anything you will get from any other firm. Go ahead and test us on that if you think we’re exaggerating. It’s smart to consult with more than one firm.

Once we get to work, we’ll create a plan that is built to manage your money and investments so that your desires and goals all get achieved. ALL of them.

That’s the mark of a good money management plan. The goals determine the plan. The plan does not get created based on abstract ideas about annual growth without context.

From there, we balance your performance against risk to maintain optimal long term performance. We create the ideal asset allocation that will facilitate that performance, spreading your assets among equities, bonds, cash, and other investment securities.

With money management like this, you are not betting your future on the stock market. Putting your long term hopes and dreams, as well as your retirement, on the line like that is not sound money management, and it’s not what we do.

Sounds great! Sign me up for an introductory call

How Is a Money Manager Paid?

Money managers usually get paid a percentage of the money you hire them to invest for you. A typical starting percentage is 1% of assets under management. For higher net worth clients, often this percentage will be lowered.

Fees can be simple, such as that described above. That’s how Pillar Wealth Management sets up our fees. A single fee that is all-inclusive and covers everything.

Fees can also be complex, as well as devious.

Remember the couple with $80 million who wanted to start a film production company? When we looked into their numbers, we found something quite disturbing.

Their advisors had said they were charging 0.75%. But as we looked closer, we noted that $5 million of their investments had been put into proprietary mutual funds and hedge funds. (see the risks of proprietary funds – click and scroll down to the ‘issues’ section).

For this $6+ million, they were paying an extra 2.45% in fees! And then, we found they were also paying an additional 0.5% to other fund managers working with different segments of their assets. So that initial 0.75% sounded great. But as it turned out, they were paying much more.

This is devious, and you should not tolerate it because you almost never get anywhere close to the higher performance that these higher fees would require to justify their existence.

Want something better than that?

Set up an Introductory Call with a Wealth Manager

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