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Posted: March 15, 2011

How to live your lifestyle for a lifetime: Part 1

Tips for investing wisely

Julie Stone

Build a team - create a family office

The financial components of your life, like waves in the ocean, ebb and flow over time. As your individual and family needs change so will your financial needs. When considering the best way to manage the tiers of your finances (income needs, estate planning and maintenance, a wealth accumulation and preservation plan and federal and state tax issues), one of the top priorities should be to find a wealth management advisor, often called a Financial Advisor, and a team of professionals that you trust and feel completely comfortable working with.

Your wealth management advisor can be your CFO

A well-trained wealth management advisor can be the person who coordinates this team of professionals. This wealth management advisor can be the most appropriate team leader to keep everyone in the loop; they may be the first line of knowing which issues need to be solved and the one to keep the flow of information moving between your CPA, estate attorney, and insurance professionals. This professional is also the one who can break down the complexities of the information into easy to understand language for you.

Your CFO can coordinate the other members of your team

This advisor serves as the team captain for your family's finances. That team captain should be a seasoned advisor who will bring a new level of wisdom to assist in making life management easier. A wealth management advisor should work with you to develop your investment plan to help meet your income needs, your wealth accumulation needs, take on the essential monitoring of your plan and work with individual managers and investment managers as well as support the CPA and estate attorney professionals who are involved on the team. When the members on the team are working for the best purposes of the client there is no competition between members just each professional doing the best job for the client.

How do you actually go about finding a wealth management advisor?

Consider this an interview process. When looking to hire investment professionals, ask a lot of questions and pay attention to your gut responses. Asking questions is the best way to attain the level of education needed to build this trust. As the financial issues in your life continue to ebb and flow these trusted professionals on your team will work closely with you to provide the flexibility needed to meet these changes. Make sure you are comfortable with your wealth management advisor, since ideally, this will be a long-term relationship.

Most people are referred to investment advisors by friends or financial professionals. One thing to always consider is your friend's investment goals may be very different than yours, so remember to ask a lot of questions about your specific level of wealth and lifestyle needs and always trust your gut. Other options are to search online, call branch managers at different investment firms for recommendations, or research by reading articles in magazines or your local newspaper. Different levels of wealth demand the services and experience of different wealth advisors. The priority is to identify a professional you can trust and who will meet your specific needs. The more you trust your investment professional, the more probability you will be able to work with them long-term.
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Julie Stone, CIMA is a vice president and senior investment management consultant at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver. She has been building solid portfolios for over 22 years.

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