What does financial independence mean to you? Do you have a financial plan that is fashioned around the pursuit of your financial goals? Is that plan objective, or does it include financial biases, or bad advice?
Looking at your situation and developing an objective assessment of where you want to go may take time or be complex. This is where you can benefit by partnering with a fee-only, fiduciary financial advisor. These professionals can provide an unbiased perspective and advice tailored to your specific circumstances and goals, freeing you to focus on other pursuits that enrich your life.
At Cogent Strategic Wealth, our clients who have successful careers or businesses often need help evaluating their financial plans, tax situations, investment opportunities, and exposure to various financial risks. Serving as your financial guide, we help you sort through your alternatives so that you can make informed decisions that keep you on the right path toward pursuing your financial goals.
In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of the fiduciary duty, especially for individuals like you who have accumulated substantial wealth. We’ll also discuss why high achievers like you rely on goals-based financial planning. Lastly, we’ll review how to screen and vet fiduciary financial advisors so you can make an informed, objective decision about who will advise you about your financial future.
The Importance of the Fiduciary Standard
As someone with significant financial assets, you should demand wealth management services that include sophisticated planning and transparent investment advice which minimizes any conflicts of interest. This is why it’s crucial to work with a financial advisor who is a fiduciary.
As a fiduciary, we not only personally pledge to put your needs first at all times, but also embrace our legal obligation to do so. They must act with utmost integrity, disclose potential conflicts of interest, and provide transparent, unbiased advice. We’re fee-only advisors who are dedicated and even obsessed with helping our clients realize their life and wealth goals. No brokers. No commissions. Just sound advice with your best interests at heart. In essence, the fiduciary standard requires a commitment to a client-first approach.
It is important to note that not all financial advisors operate under a fiduciary standard. Advisors who aren’t fiduciaries are typically held to a less stringent “suitability standard,” which merely requires that the investments they recommend be suitable for you at the time of purchase but doesn’t obligate them to act in your best interest over the long term. It is up to you to know the difference when you interview and select financial advisors.
This can create potential conflicts of interest. For example, non-fiduciary advisors may recommend financial products that pay them higher commissions versus those that might be best for you. Perhaps you have already experienced this phenomenon.
As a high achiever, the stakes are too high to settle for anything less than a documented fiduciary relationship with your financial advisor.
Goals-Based Financial Planning: Not Just Another Buzzword
Goals-based financial planning systematically aligns your financial assets with your life’s most meaningful objectives. This strategy is particularly important for high achievers, who often juggle multiple priorities and strive for success in their personal and professional lives.
At Cogent Strategic Wealth, we employ goals-based financial planning for all our clients. At its core, our goals-based financial planning process works backward from your end goals. Whether you’re targeting early retirement, creating a spendable income to last three of four decades in retirement, reducing a lifetime of taxes paid, funding your children’s or grandchildren’s education, or making a significant charitable contribution, each goal is assessed, quantified, and mapped out in terms of financial milestones.
This enables the development of a tailored, evidence-driven investment strategy that combines risk exposure, timelines, and required rates of return into one financial plan.
The standard “one-size-fits-all” investment advice many financial advisors provide does not apply here. Your needs are too personal and complex to assume you are like everyone else.
Simply put, you wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, so why would you build your financial future without a well-structured plan? Goals-based financial planning offers a focused, purposeful method for wealth accumulation and management, optimizing the strategy for achieving your longer-term objectives.
How to Vet a Fee-Only Fiduciary Financial Advisor
When significant sums of money are at stake, choosing the right wealth management team is critical for asset accumulation, preservation, and distribution.
Your selection decision shouldn’t be based on who has the best personality or sales presentation. It should be based on selecting a real financial expert you can trust.
Two of the advisors’ most important credentials are their fiduciary status and method compensation – a fee you pay versus a third party. As you consider entrusting someone with your hard-earned money, it’s essential to ask these questions:
- What degrees, certifications, and experience qualify you as a financial expert?
- Are you a financial fiduciary?
- Can you describe your approach to personalized investment management?
- How are you compensated? With a fee, commission, or both?
- Beyond investment advice, what other types of planning and investment services do you provide?
- How accessible are you for virtual and in-person meetings?
The Cogent Strategic Wealth team might be a good fit if you’re a high achiever seeking a sophisticated planning solution for your working, transition, and retirement years.
Michael Evans, our Founder & CEO at Cogent Strategic Wealth, gained early insights into the mindsets of successful individuals adept at creating assets for their future use. He has guided hundreds of successful individuals using Cogent’s strategic approach, a solution he and all the others in his firm have adopted for their families.
When you work with Cogent Strategic Wealth, you can focus on your current endeavors while we manage your financial future for you. Our number one responsibility is the pursuit of your financial goals.
While our offices are in Chicago and St. George, Utah, we provide financial advice and services to successful entrepreneurs, business owners, professionals, and executives nationwide. Our commitment to assisting you on your financial journey knows no bounds.
You define success, and we’ll help you achieve it. Set up a time to talk with our St. George fee-only fiduciary advisors.