There’s a common misconception about financial planning: You need a lot of money before you can work with an advisor. Simply put, financial planning is for nearly everyone, because most people can benefit from working with a financial advisor to create and implement a financial plan — regardless of how much wealth you have or make. And in many cases, you can work with a financial advisor with no out-of-pocket cost.
Wealth management, however, often refers to a higher level of service that’s needed as your income and assets grow. Usually, when someone asks the question, “How much money do you need for wealth management services?” it’s because they’re unsure if they have enough money to either justify the expense or to qualify for the service.
The exact amount of money you need before it makes sense for wealth management services can depend on a number of different factors, including your age, the complexity of your financial picture, and the requirements of the firm that you are considering.
That being said, it typically begins to make sense to add wealth management services once you have at least several hundred thousand dollars in investable assets — one easy guideline is if you’ve hit $250,000.
With that in mind, here’s how financial planning often evolves into wealth management services over time.
Starting Out With Financial Planning
Many people tend to believe that financial planning is only focused on managing your investments. While it’s true that investments are often included as a part of your financial plan, investments are only one part of the plan.
Other crucial pieces include ensuring that you have the right types and amount of life insurance, A plan in case a disability keeps you from working, basic estate planning, a well-funded emergency savings account, and that you have a budget that dedicates your money to what’s most important to you today and for the future.
A financial plan brings all these elements together so you know you’re on track to reach your goals, or to help you make some adjustments to get to where you want to go. With this in mind, you can think of your financial plan as the blueprint you’ll build your wealth upon. Even if you don’t have the level of assets required for wealth management, you will likely benefit from working with a financial planner to help you begin laying this foundation.
Growing Into Wealth Management Services
As mentioned above, once the foundation of your financial plan is laid and you reach a certain level of investable assets, it may make sense to begin adding additional services that are typically included in wealth management.
This is because wealth management builds upon a basic financial plan by incorporating additional layers, such as more individualized investment management and advice, advanced tax management, integration with complex compensation plans, more advanced estate planning, a charitable donation strategy, and even legal considerations, which typically isn’t necessary until you hit a certain level of assets.
Finding the Right Advisor for Your Situation
At the end of the day, regardless of your net worth, it’s important to realize that you can find a financial planner or advisor to work with you. When you are just starting out, financial planning can help you lay the foundation upon which you can begin to work toward your financial goals. But as your portfolio grows and your financial picture becomes more complex, there will likely come a time when the additional services offered by wealth management begin to make more sense.
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