“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Henry Ford
As your financial life matures, you reach certain milestones – buying a house, having children, starting a business, sending your children to college, retiring – the list goes on. Each of these milestones can add a layer of complexity to your financial life, which often necessitates the use of experienced advisors to assist in making financial decisions. You may need an accountant, financial advisor, estate attorney or insurance specialist. If you are a client of those types of professionals, your needs are best met if those advisors can work as a team on your behalf. Collaboration among advisors provides you, the client, with a greater depth of service and a more efficient process. The advisors also can benefit from working together for their client.
No single individual can be an expert in all areas. A team of advisors creates synergy for you as their client. Because the financial advisor has exposure to your entire financial situation, this advisor can serve as a coordinator among the more specialized advisors. The financial advisor can examine your information and determine when to utilize a more specialized advisor. Advisors who work together bring a host of individual expertise, varying perspectives and niche specialties to a client’s situation. For example, your financial advisor may recommend you work with an insurance specialist to obtain additional life insurance; the financial advisor, aware of your financial position and net worth, may then assist the insurance specialist in recommending the appropriate amount of coverage. Your financial advisor might also recommend you consider using an estate attorney to employ an irrevocable life insurance trust to avoid estate tax. Three advisors, working as a team, can share pertinent client information and consider multiple planning perspectives to determine the best strategy for you, as their client.
Collaboration among professional advisors allows for a more effective and efficient process, saving both time and money. With the client’s permission, advisors can share relevant information and documents without requiring additional administrative effort from the client. As a client, you may meet with both your financial advisor and accountant separately each year to discuss tax planning. However, if these advisors are working as a team, a joint meeting can take place. You, the accountant and financial planner can discuss investment strategies, charitable giving and other tax issues in one setting, sparing any extra meetings and allowing the advisors to discuss the tax situation together.
By employing a team approach, both client and advisors can benefit. When serving as part of a team, advisors are more likely to inform one another of changes in their client’s financial situation that may affect their work. Advisors who view themselves as one member of a multi-person team tend to better communicate with the other advisors on the team, simplifying the work process for everyone. Additionally, having advisors work together on a client’s behalf provides an added layer of protection from possible oversights and errors. Coordination also increases familiarity and comfort among advisors, increasing the likelihood for referral opportunities and streamlining the process of working together.
Collaborative professional relationships are beneficial to clients and advisors alike, creating optimal strategies and situations for all parties involved in truly “a Winning Team.”
Bethany J. McKinney, CFP, is a 2010 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a double major in finance and economics. She was awarded the CFP designation in January 2012. Bethany began her Abacus career in 2007 while a student at USC and continued working part-time until graduation in May 2010. She joined Abacus as a full-time employee in August 2010, as a paraplanner on both the investment team and the financial planning team with a focus on project management. Abacus, located at 2500 Devine St. in Columbia, is a fee only financial planning and investment counsel firm managing more than $700 million on behalf of its clients and can be contacted via the website: www.abacusplanninggroup.com or by phone at (803) 933 0054.