Wealth Management: So Much More Than Just Investment Consulting

By Allen Giese, ChFC®, CLU®

So there’s a lot of advisors out there these days calling themselves “wealth managers.” What is a wealth manager, and how is it any different than a financial advisor or a broker? I think if you asked most people, even most financial advisors, they’d be hard-pressed to tell you what the real difference is.

Hi, I’m Allen Giese with Northstar Financial Planners in Plantation, Florida, and we really are wealth managers, so let me explain what that means.

I think of wealth management as a formula where:

Wealth Management = Investment Consulting + Advanced Planning + Relationship Management


Pretty simple formula when you look at it. I wish my math back in my schooldays was this easy. But let’s go a little deeper.

Investment consulting tends to be the No. 1 concern of affluent people, so that’s where we start, since most of the people who work with wealth managers are affluent, meaning they have $1 million or more available to invest toward their most important goals.

Investment consulting is about making smart decisions with your money, but here’s the thing: Every advisor out there offers investment consulting, and some are better than others. But there’s so much more to offering wealth management services than just investment consulting.

So in addition to investment consulting, we have to consider advanced planning. Now, when we’re talking about advanced planning, we find there are four components.

First is wealth enhancement, and this is the second biggest concern among affluent folks. One of the things that we all want is to pay no more than we have to in taxes, so we’re talking here about mitigating taxes, increasing cash flows, lowering debt costs—those kinds of things.

Next on the advanced-planning spectrum is wealth transfer, which is the third biggest concern. Here we’re talking about taking care of heirs.

Our fourth concern, and third element to advanced planning, is wealth protection. You’ve accumulated all this wealth and you want to protect it, so it’s like putting your arms around all your stuff and protecting it from being unjustly taken.

The final advanced-planning component is charitable giving—and that’s No. 5. Many affluent clients want to make charitable contributions, and you can use your contributions as an opportunity to further some of your goals in the other areas.

Now, relationship management consists of two parts—first, client relationship management, which is guiding you through the process and the experience that you, as a client, go through. But one of the things that we find often differentiate us is professional network relationship management, which is the process of working with your other advisors—CPAs, insurance professionals, and attorneys—making sure you have quality advisors in each of these areas who understand not just their area of expertise but can see the big picture as well.

So that’s what a wealth manager really does. It’s so much more than just investment consulting. If you’d like to know if working with a true wealth manager would make a positive difference in your life and help you achieve all that’s important to you, give us a call and we can talk about it.

Have a great rest of your day, and thanks for watching!