Retirement Planning

Financial and Retirement Planning is a Team Sport

Every team sport depends on the participation and cooperation of all its members. The greatest athletes in any team sport will say that their success and achievements are due to the help they get from other players. Even athletes who compete on an individual basis depend on their support team to help them achieve their goals. Tiger Woods didn’t get to where he is today all on his own.

The same applies for financial and retirement planning. As an individual who is growing your nest egg and saving for not only retirement but your many goals along the way, you cannot do it alone. That’s why you hire a financial planner or investment advisor to help you with choosing the right investments, managing your portfolio, making decisions on when to buy or sell investments, developing tax strategies and so on. This person is a valuable member of your team, much like your accountant, bookkeeper, insurance agent, lawyer and other professionals who work with you to help you achieve your financial goals.

Nick Kolbenschlag, managing partner with Crown Wealth Group headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, believes that a registered investment advisor (RIA) can do more than provide clients with financial advice. This professional possesses significant knowledge and expertise in helping clients to build wealth and save for all of life’s goals, including retirement. To do this efficiently, one must have a deep understanding of the client’s financial needs and life goals. That’s why Nick and his team use the Personal CFO (Chief Financial Officer) model in working with clients to create a holistic total wealth assessment.

“As our client’s Personal CFO, we coordinate and implement the expert advice of each professional on the team, including the CPA, attorney, insurance agent, investment manager and so on,” said Nick. “We are responsible for executing the actions of every part of the financial plan from start to finish. Our goal is to organize our client’s financial affairs, simplify their life and save them time, all while getting better results.”

Nick has spent many years developing the Personal CFO model. This includes eight years building and executing the model as managing director of a private wealth management firm, and another two years building a corporate RIA’s Personal CFO division. Understanding the true power of working within an independent RIA structure, Nick partnered with his brother Tyler to launch Crown Wealth Group. Tyler is also a licensed broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas Realty, allowing him to represent the firm’s clients in buying and selling their primary homes, vacation properties and investment holdings.

The CFO is primarily responsible for managing a company's finances, which includes doing financial planning, managing financial risks, record-keeping and producing financial reports. It’s quite similar to what an RIA would do for clients, although on a larger scale. In this scenario, the client is the chief executive officer (CEO) of their financial life, which is the company. The CEO makes all decisions for the benefit of the company and signs contracts to execute those decisions, just as the client would with their financial life.

The CEO can only make informed decisions when the CFO does their job properly. To properly manage a company’s finances, the CFO must have a clear understanding of its goals. The same can be said for the financial advisor, who must determine the client’s financial goals. An integral part of Crown Wealth Group’s Personal CFO model is the in-depth discovery process. It endeavors to develop a deeper understanding of the client’s life path, passions, financial DNA and true life goals by utilizing a set of behavioral financed-based questions.

presentationteam300x400“Only after we have a full understanding of you, will we discuss your financial picture and available resources,” said Nick. “We dive deep on every aspect of your financial picture to create a holistic total wealth assessment. This would include detailed advice around cash flow analysis, wealth accumulation, goals-based investment management, risk management, tax planning, wealth transfer, business strategy and other lifestyle services like securing boats and cars for our clients.”

Of course, any reputable and competent financial advisor will thoroughly discuss with the client their financial goals, risk preferences, sources of income, revenue, and other key factors. It is integral to choosing the right financial solutions and strategies in building a financial plan, and part of managing the client’s financial future. It is what clients should expect from their RIA.

However, it’s the most basic requirement for any financial advisor. To provide clients with true value, an RIA who behaves like a real CFO would do more. As stated, the CFO must know more than just the company’s financial goals – they must also understand its mission and purpose. Nick believes it’s where the financial industry is lacking. Financial advisors should contribute to managing the client’s life – their whole life.

“Their current lifestyle and future lifestyle are equally important,” said Nick. “To be truly valuable and of service to clients, financial advisors must offer advice and execution in more areas than investments and insurance.”

quotecrown350x250Any company that employs a CFO will undertake a thorough vetting process to ensure that the individual is capable of fulfilling their role, and fits the company’s culture and values. Investors should also thoroughly screen potential financial advisors to determine whether they are the right fit for them and their financial goals. This involves asking in-depth questions about how they do business, as well as their advice philosophy, service model, the types of clients they work with, and the value they provide from their clients’ point of view. RIAs have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, which means that they must maintain transparency and provide advice in the client’s best interest at all times, which begins when they’re being interviewed for the role.

“Ask whether the advisor is a broker, RIA or both – and if they are independent or working for a larger corporate entity that has its own agendas. Find out how they get paid, as someone who works on commission could provide different advice from someone who gets paid a flat fee. Also determine if they are a broker or fiduciary – and if they’re both, how they will indicate which hat they’re wearing when providing advice,” said Nick, and he added, “If you would like a second opinion on your plan or to create one, we are here to help.”

For more information on Crown Wealth Group, visit:


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