Retirement Planning

Meet people Where They are Zeroing in on Their Needs


Just 30 percent of Americans have a long-term financial plan, according to Gallup, and even more have little or nothing saved for retirement.

Wherever someone may fall on the financial spectrum, Emma Foulkes, CFP®, CRPC®, managing partner and compliance officer at Greenwood Wealth Management, is ready to meet their needs.

“We don’t have a firm minimum investment”, she told Advisors Magazine in a recent interview, “We can’t realistically expect everyone to have half a million dollars to roll over to us.”
Some clients may have children that they’re putting through college, or they’re facing rising healthcare costs, or have no pension – whatever their unique case may be.

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The philosophy even applies to the millennial generation, which is more apt to use online investing platforms. Greenwood Wealth Management has found a means to coexist with such platforms.

“People would not turn to robo-advisors if real advisors treated them with respect,” Foulkes noted, throwing some shade on one of the things she feels should change in the industry.
She compared the growth of such platforms to transportation disruptors Uber and Lyft. She sees the investing apps as mostly a millennial thing. Such platforms are fine when first starting out on the road to investing. But later, if a person inherits some money, or receives a huge bonus, they may need a real advisor.

18119601 1449878388367019 6475105579826560425 n“We’re not threatened by such apps,” Foulkes said. “We’ll take an hourly consulting fee to assess what they’re doing on Acorn or Robinhood to say, ‘okay you’re doing a good job, or you can do better.’ We’ve learned to adapt to the needs of this generation.”

Yet for every generation, there are stresses resulting from financial matters.

“We need to know what are those conversations around the dinner table,” Foulkes said. “We need to know what we are up against. People can get stressed and then that leads to destructive behaviors. So, we take it to another level – really getting at the core of it – determining what are our clients’ money values.”

Such talks, however, can be difficult conversations. Remarkably, 75 percent of college graduates are financially illiterate, according to the nonprofit foundation DoughMain. Foulkes sympathizes that people are usually overwhelmed because they don’t understand things.

“We want our clients to feel empowered,” she said. “Before we do any investments with them, we give them an Investment 101 course.”

Clients are taught the differences between stocks and bonds, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds, the range of annuities and more. Then there’s the cocktail napkin rule.
“Things need to be explained as though you’re writing on the back of a cocktail napkin,” Foulkes said. “And if they can’t understand it, if it’s too complicated, we just won’t do it.”

For more information visit: Greenwood Wealth Management


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