Second Half Strategies opened its doors in Charlotte, NC in 2009 to serve the needs of families in the second half of their lives. We decided to focus on this group because financial issues are very different for families once they reach their mid-40s and beyond. As family, careers and wealth grow, so does financial complexity. Couple this with more time demands and a reduced timeline to address and achieve goals, and the decisions made, or not made, can suddenly have a huge impact. In short, we thought then and we know now that families in their second half can benefit from working with advisors who are well versed in the complex issues that they face and can do so while being efficient with their time.
Our work with families in their second half revealed some common threads: many had made financial mistakes and most lacked a plan that would help them realize their financial goals. So, we did something that was uncommon several years ago – we added comprehensive financial planning as a core service. We adopted the planning process advocated while training as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner. And, here’s what we discovered: having a written, actionable financial plan had a significant impact on clients’ ability to make progress toward their goals!
In the ensuing years, we observed more problems with traditional wealth management: financial incentives for advisors and their companies often are not aligned with those of their clients; advisors are often required to offer proprietary products even though they may not be the best product for the client; and many firms aren’t set up to give advisors the opportunity to deliver true guidance and advice to help increase the probability of achieving goals – they are simply too oriented toward generating more new sales.
So, we realigned our firm with LPL Financial, the nation’s largest home to independent financial advisors.* LPL Financial doesn’t manufacture any financial products, has an independent investment research team and provides resources to advisors who want to build a business model that they feel will best serve the needs of their clients. Making this change allows us to do business in a way that gives our clients the confidence that they won’t be subject to the problems alluded to in the previous paragraph. We act as a fiduciary for our clients – putting their best interests first.
In 2017, we realized that traditional wealth management had other failings. By the time families reach their second half, they typically have collected many different financial products along with many different advisors. All of this during a time when their finances are getting more complex and the demands on their time are at a peak. Here are the problems with this: It’s inefficient. Often, no one advisor knows all of the details about a family’s financial situation; therefore, no one is managing the big picture. Most advisors operate only in their own area of expertise and are unfamiliar with other areas and the impact of their advice on other areas. Many products and investment strategies may no longer be appropriate. And the most important problem, most advisors don’t have a process to help you get on track and stay on track.
So, we have set out to truly change the face of wealth management, and in the process, reinvent our firm to address what we see are our industry’s failings. Recently, we introduced Integrated Wealth Management (IWM), which is now the cornerstone of our practice. IWM is executed with a proprietary process designed to help clients in their second half establish goals, stay on track and make sound decisions. It includes three components, Planning, Guidance and Advice all wrapped around a disciplined strategic investment management process. IWM can address most areas in your financial world: retirement accumulation and distribution, higher education funding, estate planning, long term tax planning, charitable giving, investments, corporate benefits, risk management, multigenerational planning, 401k investments, social security optimization, Medicare selection, cash flow planning and even debt management.
We have no idea what the future holds, but we do know that we will continue to innovate with an eye on serving you better, more personally and with more efficiency – so that you can focus on the things that are most important to you. We can’t compete with the huge advertising budgets of the big companies. But, we can do our best to provide a high level of service along with customized planning, guidance and advice. It’s our hope that you will be able to look back and see a true impact that we had on your lives.
Thank you for helping us make it to our tenth birthday!
*As reported in Financial Planning Magazine, June 1996-2018, based on total revenue.