We believe that building a successful financial future can only be done by combining art with science. A successful artist knows the science behind how his or her materials are affected by the elements, and the interaction of the medium and the canvas, but then adds the creative spark to transform that science into something much more.
We believe that successful wealth management combines the science of money management and planning with the art of understanding and having empathy for our clients and their families.
We combine evidence-based strategies with a deep understanding of our clients’ goals to create individual “works of art,” tailored to meet the goals and challenges that confront us all.
It’s about asking the right questions to get to the right solutions.
The Fiduciary Standard
Our approach to money management is predicated in a simple idea—we form relationships with our clients, not the investments placed in their portfolios. Many brokers start with a product and look for people to buy it, even if it’s not the most appropriate to their circumstances.
Access believes that all investment advice should be made only with the best interest of our clients in mind. After taking the time to understand you, your situation and your goals, we tailor a portfolio designed to help you achieve your long-term financial aspirations—as well as achieve peace of mind.
It might seem simple, but having you rather than a product at the center of the relationship makes all the difference.
Our portfolio management methodology begins with the creation of an investment plan that is tailored specifically to you, not some off-the-shelf, cookie cutter standard set of recommendations.
When making recommendations, we consider carefully your personal feelings about risk, as well as the amount of risk you’re capable of taking on to meet your goals. Ultimately, it’s our job to make sure there’s as little daylight between these two measures as possible.
Naturally, your goals will change over time—and the nature of our thinking and recommendations will evolve along with it. We will evaluate progress toward your goals, and existing recommendations may be maintained, modified, or discontinued as necessary to help you achieve them.
It’s all about understanding you and building a strategy to meet your goals.
Properly preparing for retirement can be one of the most stressful times in any person’s life and, as you can likely guess, it’s also one of the primary reasons people first engage us. How much money will I need? When can I stop working? When should I start Social Security? How much will healthcare cost? All important questions that require thoughtful answers. Our ability to assist in planning for this period is one of the most important roles we play for our clients.
However, financial professionals all too often stop at just that—the financial. At Access, we firmly believe that some of the most important decisions you make concerning retirement are not merely financial decisions.
They’re decisions about how you wish to live, about what you wish to accomplish, about how you make a successful transition from the working world to the retired one. The structure afforded by work gives way to a sense of uncertainty, in more ways than financial.
A key aspect of our work is keeping as much of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket as possible. Regardless of whether future investment returns are high or low, proper tax management can help plug leaks and add significant value over the long term to you and your family.
Have you ever had an insurance agent inform you that you currently have too much insurance?
The world of insurance sales is full of conflict. As is the case with brokers working on behalf of large investment firms, there is a strong incentive on the part of insurance agents to serve the needs of their employer before their client. This conflict takes many forms— annuities sold with large surrender charges, life insurance sold as an “investment vehicle,” or recommending the wrong product for the situation, which will likely lead to the wrong outcome.
We believe that insurance is integral to any properly constructed financial plan. However, the analysis and recommendations need to be free of conflict, based on a thorough understanding of the products available and undertaking an objective analysis of your situation.
At Access, we ask the following questions to evaluate your insurance needs:
- Does insurance solve a problem?
- Is it the right type?
- Is it the correct amount?
- Are there alternatives instead of an insurance product that would offer a better solution?
Scenario Planning & Stress Testing
In our role as advisors, our clients ask us questions—a lot of questions. Maybe not surprisingly, they very often begin with “what if?”
All of our lives are filled with uncertainties. Trying to plan for these uncertainties is not only difficult, but often unpleasant. It’s coming to grips with the unpleasant unknowns where a trusted advisor adds significant value.
- “What if I get sick?”
- “What if I want to retire earlier than planned?”
- “What if I wait to claim Social Security?”
- “What if the stock market takes a tumble?”
- “What if we buy a second home?”
These uncertainties exist in both the micro and macro worlds.
The micro defines what is happening in your world—family, income needs, expenses, future plans, etc. The macro is the world around you—markets, inflation, interest rates, risk, among a host of others.
We spend time understanding your micro world and help you navigate through the effects the macro has on your present and future.
It’s about making sure you have the information necessary to make good decisions.
Some common situations in which we are asked for assistance:
- Succession planning: nearing the end of a career in a closely held business is difficult on its own. Deciding on an ownership model for the next generation and treating family not involved in the business equitably can be profoundly difficult—our experience can help.
- Divorce: painful, devastating and confusing, but unfortunately, an unavoidable fact of life that can leave you reeling when you least expected it. Perhaps you’ve been thrust into taking an active role in your finances for the first time, or are trying to provide the best possible life for you and your children.
It’s about helping you through difficult changes in your life.
- Death: few things in life are more painful than the loss of a spouse or companion. Navigating the confusing decisions of the estate, finances and life changes at a time when you are dealing with the stress of a lost loved one may seem overwhelming.
- Children: there are few events that are more joyful than welcoming a child into your life. Providing children with the needed security and support, and planning for their ultimate independence, is a goal shared by most parents. Establishing educational savings plans and preparing them for the time when they will stand on their own can offer a sense of well-being difficult to quantify.
Information Management & Retention
Paper, paper, paper. You are constantly barraged with reams of it. What to keep, and what to pitch. What is important. What is not. How to organize it. Who to share it with.
Digital media. In the event that the physical mailbox at your home is not overflowing, your digital mailbox undoubtedly is.
We help you sort out what is important in the mountain of information you have and help maintain an organized archive of critical information.
By maintaining this information, we can assist in transferring accounts upon death, locating beneficiaries, notifying those who are named as power of attorney for health care and finance when they are needed, and assisting in times where having a backup for data and communication is essential.
It’s about helping you be a bit more organized, and your life a bit less hectic.
Cash Flow Modeling
This is one of the most under-appreciated services provided by your financial advisor—that is, of course, if your advisor is performing their function properly. Providing meaningful investment advice cannot occur without understanding your needs and those of your family, now and in future.
We get an understanding of your expenses now and, importantly, how they’re going to change over time. Taking on a great deal of risk for high anticipated returns can be appropriate in some cases—but surely not every case. These risks can have profoundly negative future consequences difficult to see in the here and now. Viewing budgets over a long period of time can point out potential problems well in advance of them appearing and allow time for corrective actions.
By taking the time to understand your current and future income needs we gain a fuller understanding of the steps needed to ensure your financial security, and that of future generations.
We recognize that circumstances change. The “perfect plan” is often undone over time. Monitoring changes in your circumstances and adjusting to them is critical to adding value to our relationship with you.
It’s about ensuring that the plans you have set out for yourself are achieved.