How to Choose the Right Wealth Management Firm in Kansas City
Managing your wealth is a crucial aspect of financial success and security. Whether planning for retirement, saving for your children’s education or simply looking to grow your investments, finding the right wealth management services in Kansas City can make all the difference. But with many options available, how do you choose the right one? Let’s look at key factors to consider when selecting the ideal wealth management firm in the Kansas City metro area.
Define Your Goals
Defining your financial goals is the foundational step in choosing the right wealth management firm. Your financial goals and risk tolerance are the roadmap for your entire wealth management strategy, shaping your decisions and the services you require.
Long-Term vs. Intermediate and Short-Term Goals
Begin by distinguishing between your long-term, intermediate-term and short-term financial goals. Long-term goals typically encompass retirement planning, wealth preservation and estate planning. Intermediate and short-term goals may include saving for a vacation, buying a home, paying off debts or funding your child’s education. Clarifying these distinctions will help you prioritize and allocate resources accordingly.
Quantify Your Goals
It’s not enough to say you want to retire comfortably; you should specify the amount of cash flows you’ll need and when you’d like to retire. Similarly, if you’re saving for your child’s education, you must understand the projected cost and timeline. Quantifying your goals provides clarity and allows you to measure your progress toward achievement.
Identify and consider your risk tolerance when setting your financial goals. Are you comfortable with higher-risk investments that may offer the potential for substantial returns, or do you prefer a more conservative approach with lower risk? Your risk tolerance will influence your investment strategy and asset allocation.
Incomes and Expenses
Evaluate your current financial situation. Calculate your income, including all sources such as salary, investments, social security, pensions and any other revenue streams. Simultaneously, track your expenses to understand your spending patterns and identify areas where you can potentially save or invest more. Your advisor must have the expertise to assist with this.
Be mindful of tax implications related to your goals. Certain investments or strategies may offer tax advantages, while others could result in higher tax liabilities. Consulting with an advisor can help you optimize your financial plan along with identifying the impact of potential future tax changes.
Conduct Thorough Research
The financial industry is highly regulated, and individuals and firms that provide wealth management services must meet specific qualifications and standards. When researching wealth management firms, paying attention to their credentials and qualifications is essential, including whether they have a fiduciary duty to uphold.
Financial certifications, also called financial designations, are credentials that investment and financial industry professionals use, according to Investopedia. They indicate a degree of education and specialization on the part of the individual.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
CFPs are professionals who have completed rigorous education, passed a comprehensive exam and have substantial experience in financial planning. They are well-versed in various aspects of financial planning, including investments, retirement planning, estate planning and tax management.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
CFAs are experts in investment management and analysis. They have passed a series of exams and have a deep understanding of financial markets, investment strategies and portfolio management.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
CPAs specialize in tax planning and accounting. While they may not be exclusively wealth managers, their expertise in tax matters can be invaluable in managing your taxes efficiently.
Ensure the wealth management firm is registered and compliant with relevant regulatory authorities. In the United States, this often means being registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state-level agencies. You can verify a firm’s registration status through these individual regulatory bodies.
Examine Fee Structures
Understanding the fee structure of wealth management services is crucial to choosing the right advisor. Fees directly impact the overall cost of managing your wealth and can significantly affect your investment returns over time. Let’s take a look at how Finance Strategists break these down.
Types of Fee Structures
Percentage of Assets Under Management (AUM)
This fee structure is prevalent in the wealth management industry. Advisors charge a percentage of your total assets that they manage. For example, if you have $1 million under management and the annual fee is 1%, your fee would be $10,000 annually.
Fixed or Flat Fees
Some advisors charge a fixed or flat fee based on the complexity of your financial situation and the services provided. This structure can be advantageous for individuals with significant assets but also may be more expensive for smaller portfolios.
Hourly or Project-Based Fees
In some cases, advisors charge by the hour or on a project basis. This fee structure suits clients who require specific financial planning services or have limited ongoing management needs.
Some advisors may earn commissions on financial products, such as insurance or certain investments. Understanding the potential conflicts of interest with commission-based advisors is vital, as their income can be tied to the recommended products.
Transparency is paramount when it comes to fees. Ensure that the wealth management firm provides a clear breakdown of all costs, including any potential hidden charges. A transparent advisor should be willing to explain their fee structure in plain language, making it easy for you to understand the cost of their services. Be sure to ask questions and carefully evaluate how fees align with your financial goals and the value you expect to receive from the services provided by your chosen wealth management advisor.
Review Wealth Management Services Offered
The services offered by wealth management firms should align with your financial goals and unique circumstances. When selecting a firm, it’s essential to clearly define your financial needs and objectives and seek advisors who can provide a comprehensive suite of services tailored to meet those goals.
Financial planning is at the core of wealth management. A reputable firm should offer comprehensive financial planning services. This includes assessing your current financial situation, helping you with setting clear financial goals and creating a customized plan to achieve those objectives. It may encompass budgeting, debt management and developing strategies for saving and investing.
Investment management is a critical aspect of wealth management. An advisor should have the expertise to build and manage an investment portfolio tailored to your risk tolerance, time horizon and financial goals, along with access to a vast array of investments and investment managers. They should also offer ongoing portfolio monitoring and adjustments as needed.
Retirement planning is a primary focus for many clients. Wealth management services should include retirement income projections, strategies to maximize retirement account contributions and guidance on when and how to start drawing down retirement assets in the most tax-efficient manner.
Effective tax planning can significantly impact your overall financial well-being. A good wealth management firm should offer and clearly explain tax-efficient investment strategies, help you optimize deductions and provide guidance on tax-advantaged accounts.
Estate planning ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes and can minimize tax liabilities, leaving additional resources to heirs. Services may include assisting with wills and trusts and developing a plan to transfer wealth to heirs or charitable organizations to create a legacy.
Assessing and managing financial risks is vital. Wealth management firms should evaluate your insurance needs, including life, disability and long-term care insurance, to ensure you have adequate coverage to protect your assets and loved ones. Our complimentary risk score assessment determines how much investment risk you are comfortable with over the short term to hit long-term goals. This risk assessment is generally updated on a semi-annual basis.
If you have children, education funding is a significant consideration. Advisors should help you plan for education expenses, whether it’s saving for college or other educational and career pursuits. In addition, your Advisor should provide options if limited funds are available for higher education. Our video series surrounding 529 plans explains how these accounts work, rollover options and how to maximize your savings.
Cash Flow Management
Efficient cash flow management is crucial for meeting your financial goals. Services may involve optimizing your cash flow to maximize savings and investments while managing day-to-day expenses.
For business owners, wealth management should extend to business planning, including succession planning, exit strategies and other financial aspects of owning and running a business. Our guide on choosing the right 401(k) plan for your employees will help you learn more about the options and advantages of offering retirement plans to employees, how to get started and how to administer the plan on an ongoing basis to maximize the benefits for both the owners and employees.
The Fortune Financial Difference
At Fortune Financial, we are dedicated to empowering your financial future with tailored strategies and expert guidance. With our comprehensive range of services, we ensure that you have the knowledge and tools to make fully informed decisions.
As your trusted advisors, we prioritize clear and transparent communication. We provide regular updates on your plan’s performance, conduct informative financial workshops and offer personalized guidance to plan participants. With our guidance, you can confidently navigate the intricacies of wealth management and retirement planning.
Experience the Fortune Financial Advisors difference and unlock the full potential of your financial future. Contact us today at email@example.com to embark on this journey toward financial peace of mind. Also, follow our YouTube channel or other social media accounts for more financial planning tips. Scan the QR code below to connect with us.
This material is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. The information contained herein is based on current tax laws, which may change in the future. Fortune Financial Advisors cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided in this publication or from any other source mentioned. The information provided in these materials does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice. The information provided above is obtained from publicly available sources and is reliable. However, no representation or warranty is made as to its accuracy or completeness.