The affluent must face a complexity to their finances that most people don’t have to. Juggling investments, multiple properties and various assets worth a significant amount of money is not for the faint of heart. It takes specialized skills to manage such a portfolio. It’s in these situations that people don’t go to just any financial advisor: They typically seek out a wealth management firm.
Defining wealth management and its clientele
“Wealth management means being able to advise folks at the very highest level of wealth,” says Dan Wagner of Wagner Wealth Management in Greenville — the firm has additional offices in Anderson and Seneca. For Wagner, that means a skill set that can assist those who may not have millions of dollars in assets, but can also assist those who are more affluent.
Firms have various approaches to who a client might be. Wealth management professionals say that their clients range from someone who may have just inherited a significant amount of money to someone who has been saving for decades.
Some firms may have minimum amounts their clients will need to have in order for the firm to take them on as a client.
Maura Copsey, partner at Nachman, Norwood and Parrott, says her firm works with almost $1.9 billion in assets from clients. NNP specializes in working with high-net-worth individuals and families.
“It’s not just asset management,” she says, explaining she works with clients to find the answers to complicated financial questions such as planning for retirement or estate planning.
Other firms have an a la carte menu of offerings from retirement planning to basic financial advice.
Jennifer Belshe, principal at Novus Advisors, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in March, says her firm doesn’t require a minimum. “Wealth is a relative term. Anyone with assets needs some assistance,” she says.
Regardless of who they take on as a client, these firms work on a wide variety of financial goals.
“I feel like almost every week, I see something new, and I encounter something new,” says Copley. “We really partner with our clients throughout the course of their lives.
“The question is: Is your spending appropriate for what you have saved? And what we tell folks is it’s not how much you saved, it’s how you choose to spend,” she says.
And some of the clients’ goals can be strange.
Wagner remembers a situation where a stepson and stepmother were arguing over a piece of art from the late father’s estate. In an estate worth millions, at the center was a piece of art worth a few hundred dollars that the stepson bought with his dad but was part of the estate left to the stepmother. Wagner says they were able to work with both parties to find a solution and eventually ended up with the two as clients.
“When people have money, they look to do all sorts of things,” says Belshe. Often her clients will bring up hot stock that they read about and they want to invest a lot of money in. Other times it’s a bit more extreme, like a husband trying remove his wife from his retirement plan without her knowing or leaving their assets to their pet, she says.
“It’s about educating clients more than anything, telling them the pros and cons of the decision that they’re looking to make, and helping them make an informed decision,” says Belshe.
When do you need a wealth management firm?
That depends on the amount of wealth and the firm.
“I think it’s never too early,” says Wagner.
Copsey agrees. “I’ve been in this business a long time. I’ve been with this firm 21 years, but I’ve been in the business for over 30,” she says. “I think that everyone can benefit from a financial plan, regardless of your age.”
She adds that a financial plan can help people by either indicating they are off track with their finances or that they are in a good position. There’s a relief in knowing where you stand, and that relief of knowing, Copsey says, can give clients confidence in their financial decisions.
“We’re all at various intersections of the road that we’re on, and some folks are just starting out and are just starting to save in their retirement plan, and some people are close to retirement and beyond,” Copsey says. “But all of us can benefit from having a big-picture plan on where it is that I want to go, and what do I need to do to achieve that plan.”
Upstate wealth management groups
Nachman, Norwood and Parrott
1116 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601
607 Pendleton Street, Suite 101-B, Greenville, SC 29601
Wagner Wealth Management
3 Legacy Park Road, Suite A, Greenville, SC 29607
Poplin Financial Strategies
35 W. Court Street, Ste. 100,
Greenville, SC 29601
Goldfinch Wealth Management
325 Rocky Slope Rd Suite 302, Greenville, SC 29607
DeHollander Financial Group
3515 Pelham Rd Unit 100, Greenville, SC 29615
Upstate Legacy Planning Group
501 E McBee Ave, Greenville, SC 29601
JEHM Wealth and Retirement
117 Woodruff Place Circle, Suite A, Simpsonville, SC 29681
1st and Main Investment Advisors
10 Aberdeen Dr, Greenville, SC 29605