We’re all familiar with a one-stop shop. If you need a liter of soda, a TV and a set of tires, you head for the store that has everything. But did you know there’s such a thing as a financial one-stop shop? If you want a complete financial plan, a one-stop shop is for you. At Asset Preservation Wealth & Tax, we think of ourselves as a one-stop shop because we look at the entire financial picture for each of our clients, from their earnings to tax and estate planning. We even keep tabs on their investments.
There are many benefits to choosing a full-service one-stop shop instead of utilizing several firms for your financial needs, but there are also some considerations. When you're thinking about using a one-stop financial shop, ask yourself the following questions:
Do they have areas of expertise?
Think about where you go to get your car serviced. Do you have a trusted mechanic or dealership you go to? You get peace of mind when your mechanic explains their work because they have the experience and expertise to complete the job well.
Just like you would seek out the mechanic for your car, you need to seek out a professional who has experience and expertise with your financial situation. Some advisors are well versed in pensions, federal employee benefits or Medicare. Work with someone knowledgeable about your complete situation. They can provide a one-stop shop experience that meets your unique financial needs and make planning both enjoyable and convenient.
Are they holistic?
One of my favorite descriptions of the term "holistic" comes from South African General and Statesman Jan Smuts in 1926. He said holistic is when, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
This is so true in financial planning! A written income plan adds value to your financial future as well as a strategic tax plan. But when you use both plans to minimize your tax liability and maximize your retirement income, that is a holistic approach. The value that comes from tax efficiency is greater than a written income plan or tax plan on its own.
Do you trust them?
Should you choose a one-stop shop, your financial advisor will be managing all of your assets. Maintaining trust with my clients isn’t just a courtesy-I am legally required as a fiduciary, to put our clients’ best interests ahead of my own. That's why our first meetings with clients aren't about account balances. They are about getting to know clients' retirement dreams and planning fears. We want to know how we can help people achieve their financial goals.
Should you consider diversifying?
Just like it is important to diversify your assets, it can also be beneficial to diversify where you are getting your guidance. A big box firm or financial supermarket may look more appealing to a consumer as they feel they have more products and services to choose from. But the convenience factor comes at the expense of the user experience. You can work with an independent advisor who can look at your overall financial picture and give you the right guidance for your situation.
It’s important to remember the choice you have with your money. You get to decide how you will secure your assets, who you will trust with your hard-earned money and how you will leave a legacy for your family. A one-stop shop may be the best option for you and your financial future. If so, empower yourself to preserve assets and work with a one-stop-shop advisory firm.
Stewart Willis is the founder and president of Asset Preservation Wealth & Tax, a financial planning firm in Phoenix, Arizona. Investment advisory services offered through Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser.