Your financial co-pilot | Company

If something happens to you, your family has someone to consult.

If you weren’t there, what would happen to your investments? In many families, only one person handles investment decisions, and spouses or children have little understanding of what happens each week, month, or year with a portfolio.

In an emergency, this lack of knowledge can become financially crippling. Just as small business owners risk trouble by “keeping it all in their head,” families risk trouble when only one person understands investments.

A relationship of trust with a finance professional can be vital. If the main person responsible for investments and portfolio management in a family dies, the family has a professional to consult – not a stranger to whom they must explain their priorities at length, but someone who has bonded with Mom or dad and maybe their adult children.

You want a professional who must meet a fiduciary standard. Look for a finance professional who adheres to a fiduciary standard. Professionals who base their business on a fiduciary standard tend to work on a fee basis or entirely for compensation. Other professionals in the financial services industry may derive a large portion of their compensation from commissions related to transactions or product sales.

Financial professionals working on commission are not necessarily held to a fiduciary standard. Sometimes only one standard of fitness needs to be met. The difference may seem minor, but it really isn’t. The Suitability Standard, which dates back to the days of stockbrokers, dictates that you should recommend investments that are suitable for a client. In contrast, a finance professional working to a fiduciary standard still has an ethical obligation to act in a client’s best interest and to recommend investments or products that clearly align with that best interest. The customer comes first.

You want a professional who listens to you. Financial professionals earn trust through their character, abilities, and candor. By managing portfolios for a myriad of clients, they learn to watch out for certain concerns and be aware of certain issues that can get in the way of building or preserving wealth.

Many investors have built impressive and varied portfolios, but lack long-term wealth management strategies. Money was made, but perhaps little attention was paid to tax efficiency or risk exposure.

As you approach retirement age, playing defense becomes increasingly important. A trusted financial professional could help you determine a risk and tax management approach that can preserve your portfolio assets and your estate.

Your family will want nothing less. With a knowledgeable financial professional acting as a “co-pilot” for your portfolio, your loved ones will have someone to contact should the unexpected happen. When you have a professional who can step in for you, today and tomorrow, you have a financial professional whose services and advice can potentially add value to your financial life.

If you’re the family member responsible for investments and critical financial matters, don’t let that knowledge disappear when you die. A will or trust can transfer assets, but not the insight with which they were accumulated. A relationship with a trusted financial professional can help pass it on to others.

Ken Weise, an LPL financial adviser, provided this article. He can be reached at 707-584-6690. Ken Weise is a Registered Representative with and offers securities through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice provided through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group, LLC., a registered investment adviser. Sonoma County Wealth Advisors and Strategic Wealth Advisors Group are separate entities from LPL Financial. The opinions expressed in the material are for informational purposes only.

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