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When we started Nashville Fun for Families, our focus was helping families in middle Tennessee find things to do for fun and entertainment. Over the years, we started expanding and adding family focused news stories, and a Facebook group for Moms to discuss well…. Anything.

Through that group, and in conversations with our friends and families, the same topics seemed to come up so we decided to reach out and get some expert help to see if we could answer some of those questions.

While family finances are not exactly family fun, reaching your financial goals and planning for your future can help make life more fun in general. We reached out to Beyond Asset Management, one of our sponsors and a local group of financial advisors, to answer common questions from Nashville area families.

Beyond Asset Management

Beyond Asset Management is a high-energy, low-pressure firm that designs custom strategies strong enough to get you to where you want to go.

They were established to address the needs of clients today, tomorrow and in the distant future.  Together, they have more than 50 years of industry experience.  Their leadership team represents three generations to ensure that there will always be someone here to serve you when you need it most.

The services they offer are designed to:

  • Provide you with clarity of your financial truth
  • Define your goals and future direction
  • Organize your financial life
  • Increase your financial confidence
  • Ease your anxiety

At Beyond Asset Management, they are passionate about serving the needs of individuals and small businesses.  Whether you have questions regarding your income in retirement, need help growing your investments, or want to create a succession plan for your business – you can count on them to help.

Jim Plasko

Jim Plasko - Beyond Asset Management

Jim Plasko, RICP, AIF, is a Founding Partner at Beyond Asset Management. He acts as the Client Planning Strategist, designing the comprehensive strategies clients use to achieve their goals. He is in his eighteenth year in the financial services industry and enjoys knowing that his work at Beyond Asset Management is making a real difference in the lives of his clients.

Jim Plasko Family

Outside of the office, Jim enjoys spending time with his wife and their four daughters. His hobbies including watching movies, following politics and economics, and listening to music.

Jim and his daughters at a Titans game

He cites his dad as his personal hero, who taught him what it means to be a man, a father, a husband, and a community leader and servant. From a young age, Jim’s dad encouraged him to always give back to those around him and to put others first – a life lesson he carries with him to this day.

To start off our discussion with Jim, we were curious about what are the benefits of hiring a financial advisor versus investing on our own.

How can a financial advisor help you achieve your financial goals through investing and plan for your future?

A competent, comprehensive financial advisor works with his/her clients in much the same way a fantastic doctor does.  They take the time to listen to your concerns, ask probing questions, run tests to verify their findings, then prescribe a proper course of treatment to improve your situation.  Would you be comfortable seeing a doctor who only gives you a cursory overview before prescribing a medication?  What if you are allergic to it?  What if that medication is not affordable or has little evidence of its effectiveness?

Take the time to get to know your financial professional and make sure they are a good fit for you, your family, and/or your business.  Discussing financial concerns and a course of action can bring anxiety or stress.  Done properly, it results in confidence, security, and a sense of relief.  If this isn’t how you are feeling, you may not have the right fit.  A relationship with the right advisor should be long-term in nature with regular check-ups, reviews, and modifications.  As your life changes, your plans need to adapt, and your advisor’s recommendations need to adapt accordingly.

What is the difference between a fee-based advisor and commission-based advisor?

At its simplest, it is the manner in which they are compensated.  Now to be fair, commission is not a bad word.  Professionals deserve to be paid for doing good work.  For example, a realtor is paid a commission to help you navigate the complexities of helping you buy or sell a home.  That’s fair, right?

However, in the financial services industry, there can be a wrinkle.  What are the products or services that an advisor can access to help you achieve your goal?  Is there a conflict of interest in the advice the advisor is providing?  If the only way an advisor makes a living is through selling products, there is a possibility that the recommendations are influenced by a desire to be paid for the work.  Sometimes an advisor, working solely on commission, can find a way to make a client fit a product.  We like to think that in their heart, they genuinely believe it is the right fit.  Yet the question remains.

There can be a deeper level of conflict when an advisor represents just one company.  If an advisor represents a company, rather than you, and all of their recommendations are from the same company, it is harder to defend that their recommendations are consistently in the client’s best interests.

We believe being an independent fiduciary approaching the financial planning process helps to remove or address most of these potential conflicts.  So, let’s discuss fee based.

Fee based most commonly fits into one of a couple of categories.  Some people think strictly of wealth management when they discuss fee based.  This often means an advisor is paid a % based on assets under management.  Others charge a flat fee to handle a client’s assets.

The third element is fee for advice.  In this case, advisors are paid a fee to advise a client about actions they could take to help accomplish their goals.

No ONE solution in fee-based planning fits all clients, just as no one product fits all clients who work with an advisor on a commission basis.  Each client’s story is unique and requires a different approach.

Why should you pick a financial advisor vs. fiduciary advisor?  What’s the difference?

This is a very hot topic right now.  A simplified clarification would be the standard to which they are held.

A fiduciary must have an undivided loyalty to the client, address all potential conflicts of interest, approach their process in a comprehensive manner and present recommendations that are based specifically on the individual client needs.  The fiduciary will consider all information provided by the client, and the universe of solutions available.

A financial advisor who is not a fiduciary is often called a registered representative.  They are held to a “suitability standard.” They are held accountable to ensure that a recommendation they provide is generally suitable to a client with a given need.  It is a far lower standard of care and accountability.

For some investors, a suitability standard may seem sufficient. However, if possible, starting a relationship with an advisor who is held to a higher standard is hardly a bad thing, unless that person’s services are not affordable to the client.

What are the signs of a bad or inexperienced financial advisor?

A sign that you may be working with an inexperienced advisor can be found in the dialogue they have with you.  Are they asking questions to understand you deeply, to truly get to know your priorities, values, goals and fears?  If they don’t explore those areas, they might be more of a salesperson than an advisor.

This is a common trait of someone who hasn’t built their practice on serving the needs of their clients and helping them reach their goals.  An inexperienced advisor often doesn’t know how to navigate the complexities of human relationships and their relevance to financial matters.

Another question to think about is not just what the experience level of the advisor, but what are the resources they have around them to support you.  Potentially, even more important, who will be there for you if something happens to the advisor.

This business can be transient.  Some advisors are constantly moving between companies.  Occasionally, a client is left behind and reassigned to another advisor who has a completely different level of experience.  Sometimes, no one is there to pick up the reins at all, and the client is left without support or direction.

Advisors are human beings.  They may move, they may change careers.  They may retire.  They may pass away.  Be sure your advisor has a succession plan in place, so you know you will always have an advisor who knows you and your story and can provide continuity of care.

We see this a lot with clients planning for retirement.  If your advisor is going to retire before you, or very close to when you do, who will be there to help you through potentially decades of retirement?

This can be a weak space in the environment.  Many advisors are focused on growing wealth.  Far fewer are educated and dedicated to helping you through retirement.  This is the most concerning area that many retirees face.

After all, the number one fear of retirees is outliving their money.  Be sure your advisors not only are highly competent in this area, but that there is an active plan to ensure you have support for your entire life.

Can you discuss the differences of working with someone who is solely focused on investing versus an advisor that can help with all aspects of your family’s financial planning?

This question really seems to address wealth management versus comprehensive financial planning.  The ultimate distinction revolves around intent and the scope of work a client wants an advisor to undertake.

Specific wealth management revolves around growing or preserving a client’s assets in accordance with their investment objectives and experience, time horizon, risk tolerance, and tax status.

Comprehensive financial planning considers wealth management and so much more.  It looks more deeply into the drivers in a client’s life.  It encompasses an examination of risk and protection needs.

If someone has a major unforeseen life event, such as a health event, loss of a job, or the loss of a loved one, the impact on wealth management could be significant.  Here is where the story becomes very personal.  Are you raising children?  What are your priorities regarding their education?  When would you like to retire, and what does that look like?  How will you address health care needs?  Are you wanting to move?  Is there an impending marriage, divorce, or inheritance? Is there a chance you will be caring for an aging parent or family member?

A comprehensive financial advisor will be asking more questions than you might imagine in order to understand you, your values, and your priorities.  Their process will explore all of your financial goals, insurance needs, retirement, legacy wishes, potential estate issues, and could even involve your business if you own one.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in having a conversation about financial planning for your family’s future, the team at Beyond Asset Management would love to help. You can contact them for a complimentary, no obligation consultation to determine if they are a good fit for your family.

To get in touch with the team, you can send them an email at info@GoBeyondAM.com , or call their Director of Client Services, Renee Hitchcock at 615-724-5961. You can learn more about their services on their website: www.GoBeyondAM.com.

In the coming months we will discuss more topics including ways to save for college, how to buy a home, estate planning strategies, and ways to meet your financial goals.

Thanks to Beyond Asset management for sponsoring this article.  Their financial compensation allows us to continue reporting on fun for Nashville Families for free. SMAR # 167-20180914-473501

About Lauren Breeze

Lauren BreezeLauren is a transplant from Texas and has become a local tourist exploring the area with her two children. She loves to discover new places in Nashville to share with others.