Retirement Planning

Aligning Assets with Aspirations

Financial advisors often say they are like health practitioners. While the latter specialize in fitness and health issues, the former focus on financial well-being and preparing clients for a future condition in which they can thrive.

Physical therapists align muscles, tendons and bones — to get them in shape so a patient’s body functions properly. They are similar to wealth advisors who align and tweak a client’s financial assets to put them in a place to provide for a client’s needs, desires, and aspirations.

Steven Wilkinson, Principal of Wilkinson Wealth Management, Oakland, CA, likes to talk about the concept of alignment, something he learned from his mother.

wilkinson quoteAs a young physical therapist, Wilkinson’s mother established the Physical Therapy Department at Meharry Medical College, a Historically Black College, in Nashville, Tennessee, at a time when Polio was still a serious threat to many. When it became known that this service was available in the Black community, a mom brought in her nine-year-old daughter whose legs had been ravaged by the Polio virus. The little girl had braces on, and could not run or even walk very well. Steven’s mom started a regimen of PT, working with the girl and instructing the child’s family about what to do to make progress.

That girl’s name was Wilma Rudolph, who went on to win 3 gold medals and become one of the greatest U.S. track and field stars in Olympic history.

The lesson of Rudolph’s recovery is ingrained in Wilkinson. “I know that when things are aligned, when they are in their proper place, anything can be overcome and great things can be achieved.” When your body, mind, and soul are aligned with your visions you feel clear and purposeful about your life. Happy in the moment and excited for the future. You feel fulfilled and whole. Your finances should be aligned to support this feeling.

Today, Wilkinson has instilled that inspiration and approach to his wealth management firm, which was founded in 2005, inspired by the passing of his mother that year.

He became interested in finance in junior high school when his class launched a stock market competition and visited J.C. Bradford, a powerful regional investment banking firm, where one of the Principals was the father of a classmate. That early experience cemented his interest in the financial industry and he later received a bachelor's degree in finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a registered representative and investment advisory representative with Western International Securities.

“I look for clients who want to reflect on their lives, their values and take action for their futures, who are looking for a firm of integrity, where they can trust, and value the personalized services that we can deliver,” Wilkinson said.

The firm minimum is $500,000 of investable assets, although sometimes clients can be building towards that amount, or they’re a family member of an existing client at Wilkinson Wealth Management.

As with a physical therapist, that initial assessment of one’s financial condition is critical. Wilkinson uses a discovery process that allows his firm to identify clients’ visions, values, aspirations, and goals. A risk profile is also determined and Investment return expectations are discussed and agreed upon. Post-discovery phase, Wilkinson and team will begin to educate clients, on the many variables within finance and advance planning.

wilkinson2“We assess and present the things that are controllable, that when understood and focused on can increase certainty and reduce stress.,” he noted. “This can be about risk, time, return, and understanding your personal economic model. Some things you can’t control, but it’s important to understand what you can control.”

Wilkinson boils it down to a few personalized factors that enable clients to make good decisions. The discovery process leads to a customized plan, and then to an advanced planning stage that integrates several areas of finance, such as retirement, tax, and legacy planning, wealth transfer, and more.

“For retirement planning, the key questions are around understanding the client’s cash flow,” he said. “How are you going to fund your lifestyle and have an increasing income stream without compromising the lifestyle you want? We want to help ensure that the client’s lifestyle never suffers in the future,” Wilkinson emphasized. “We discuss the idea of risk and return, and inflation to determine what risk they are comfortable with and then we present various solutions to them and recommendations that will align all the elements.”

In the coming months there will be a lot of uncertainty in the political landscaped and new economic policies during a continued health crisis. The uncertainties of the times have driven the need and desire for financial advice to all-time highs. Preparing for these uncertainties are key in considering the proper place for your financial assets. You can’t control the weather but you can be prepared for it. Wilkinson Wealth Management is the compass that helps clients navigate the financial roads ahead to set expectations for the journey.”

For more information on Wilkinson Wealth Management, please visit:

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Western International Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.  Wilkinson Wealth Management and Western International Securities Inc. are separate entities.


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