One of the newest financial services buzz words is “personal CFO.” What exactly is a personal chief financial officer and why do you need one?
As client’s lives continue to evolve, get more complex, and grow increasingly time compressed, the financial services industry has worked to evolve right alongside you.
In the past when you needed advice, you sought out an expert who was able to provide you the education, recommendations, and in certain cases, a product that fit your specific need. As clients starting requiring advice from many different areas, wealth management firms were created to bring multiple experts under one roof. You had the ability to go to one firm for investments, insurance, retirement planning and estate planning.
While the standard wealth management model works for most, it does not provide the level of service today’s most time-compressed individuals, families and business owners need. To take financial advice and execution to the next level, the personal CFO model was created.
Most successful people have an investment advisor who manages their portfolio, an insurance provider for life and disability, an attorney to draft wills and powers of attorney, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to file their taxes, a property and casualty insurance agent for homeowner’s and auto, and a banker who provides checking, savings and lending.
If you’re a business owner, you might also have a commercial insurance agent, a business attorney, a commercial banker, and a bookkeeper. You have between five and 10 experts providing advice.
This seems like a good thing, but the reality is you don’t have enough time to coordinate these experts, have the specified knowledge to fully understand and implement their recommendations, and in most cases, you’re overpaying for overlapping advice.
A personal CFO’s first goal is to fully understand who you are, your goals, and what resources you have available. From there, they will build a comprehensive financial plan considering all aspects of your financial picture including tax strategy, debt management, budgeting, investing, risk management, wealth transfer strategies, cost reduction, business strategy, etc.
The difference between some financial planners and a personal CFO model is how the above advice gets executed.
With some financial planners, you pay the advisor a one-time fee for the comprehensive plan. It is then the client’s responsibility to coordinate the execution of the advice and various strategies. This is a broken model.
If you’ve already identified that the client is time compressed and not a financial expert, the chances of all the advice being acted upon are slim to none. In most cases, the client will tackle a few of the easier actions, generally the least impactful ones, and the rest will always be something they will “get to later.” Later never comes.
When you hire a personal CFO, it becomes their job to coordinate the execution of the recommendations made by all the experts. You act as the CEO of your finances, understanding what and why, making final decisions, and signing dotted lines.
To make this clearer, let’s use an example. If you were to tell your personal CFO that one of your goals was to have a beach house in the next year, your job would be to determine what beach and what type of house.
It is the personal CFO’s job to analyze your cash flow to determine what you can afford, work with your investment team to determine where the down payment will come from, shop the financing to multiple lenders to get the best rate and terms, shop and add the new homeowner’s policy to your property and casualty insurance package, apply for the loan, submit the required documentation, and coordinate the closing.
You get to enjoy the addition of a vacation home without any of the headache that comes from the major purchase.
This is one of many examples that show when working with a personal CFO, you will save time, get better, more holistic answers, and in the long run potentially save money. It is their job to ensure you always coordinate with the proper expert, and get the best value possible for all the products and services you are consuming.
This expert gets paid a flat annual fee to continuously evolve your plan as your life changes, to coordinate all of your experts in the execution of that advice, and to remove the burden of solving life’s financial problems from your shoulders and onto theirs.
If you find yourself stressing about not having enough time to get all the things you know you should get done; if you are looking to ensure someone is always watching your plan when you aren’t; and you want a team you can turn to with any situation life throws at you; you need to seek out the services of a personal CFO. The time you get back to spend on the things that are truly important to you is priceless.