TRUE Wealth Management - A Case Study


We believe that TRUE Wealth Management is the combination of three main factors – protecting wealth, accumulating wealth and transferring wealth. This is achieved by utilizing four types of services – tax/accounting, financial planning, investment advisory and professional relationship management.  The following is an excellent example of how ALL facets of our organization came together to showcase what our definition of TRUE Wealth Management looks like…..

Most people have a vision of where their life will take them. Many rely on the fact that, as they get older, SOMEONE will look after them – but not many people think that the “someone” would be their financial planner… but that is exactly how our relationship with one particular client developed.

“Samuel” was in his mid-to-late 40’s, a bachelor, with no kids, and an only child whose parents were deceased.   He was a broker for a prominent Wall Street firm who was a bit old-fashioned, traditional, and set in his ways.  He was limited with technology, but had a passion for Hollywood.  He was an avid collector of movie related items – scripts, movie posters, etc. – and could rattle off cinema facts as easily as he could stock quotes.

“Samuel” became our client through an introduction by a mutual friend. We provided a second-opinion regarding his wealth management and “Samuel” soon developed a trusting professional relationship with one of our team members.  As this team member looked further into his financial needs, he realized that “Samuel” could greatly benefit from all of our services – tax, financial planning, and investment – and introduced “Samuel” to our entire team. We noticed that there were a few places where “Samuel” had left his growing wealth vulnerable through inadequate insurance coverage – namely disability coverage.   “Samuel” never expected that he would ever need disability coverage, but he trusted our advice and added a disability policy to his existing insurance coverage.  As time progressed, the stress and strain of the Wall Street environment, coupled with a chronic health situation, placed a heavy burden on “Samuel” that prevented him from continuing in his profession.  Thankfully, our teams’ foresight allowed “Samuel” to utilize his disability insurance, allowing him to preserve his wealth while continuing to receive a sizeable monthly benefit, tax-free from his policy.

“Samuel” retired out of state, where he became socially active in political and educational interests, generously donating to local schools and making significant contributions to Veterans affairs. As time went on, he became a bit isolated and lonely.  Outside of normal business correspondence, he would periodically call for assistance with his developing computer skills, or just to discuss politics.  He was a somewhat challenging man to get along with, but extremely generous with the people he trusted and relied on.  Through these many phone calls, one of our financial planners noticed that “Samuel” began showing signs of forgetfulness.  He had difficulty recalling names of actors, he began to repeat himself, and he eventually developed difficulties performing everyday tasks, such as driving and writing checks.

Our team began the proactive steps necessary to allow “Samuel” to protect, save and grow his current wealth regardless of his declining health. We put him in touch with an outside team of trusted professionals from our personal network to help with items outside of our expertise.  We had the difficult conversation with “Samuel” that perhaps he needed to consult with his doctor regarding his forgetfulness and began to look into possible continuing-care retirement facilities. “Samuel” was diagnosed with dementia and his decline was quite rapid.  Thankfully, our thoughtful, proactive insight allowed his successor trustee to take over and manage his affairs.  Our Wealth Management client portal allowed us to bring the trustee up-to-date with all of “Samuel’s” legal, tax and financial documents, as well as alert him to all of “Samuel’s” anticipated cash flow needs through our cash flow tracking software.  This was an integral step to the ease of this seamless process.

We were there every step of the way – with financial planning items such as: filing his taxes, adjusting investment strategies, updating legal documents, establishing a trust, helping him with selecting a Health Care proxy, and working with his attorney to establish us, along with his trustee, to take care of his day-to-day bills.  But, we provided so much more, we were there to assist with the sale of his home, finding long-term nursing facilities, flying out to him with his Health Care Proxy to settle him into an assisted living facility, explaining his temperament to the staff so that they could provide care that was understanding of his challenging personality, locating round-the-clock care that could help him with all of his needs.  “Samuel” died at the age of 70, but our relationship with him continued beyond death.  Since most of his end-of-life directives were proactively in place, we were able to fulfill his wishes.  We contacted his friends and extended family to alert them of his death.   We worked with a funeral home in NY to transport his body back for burial and organized wakes in both states.   We are continuing to work with his trustees to ensure that his wishes for the distribution of his estate are followed by assisting with the asset transfers and beneficiary claims.

“Samuel” started out as a challenging client, but through our 30 years together, we became the family that he didn’t have. It was a privilege to know him and to work with him, not only with his financial needs, but through ALL of his personal needs.  He will be missed.