Who Are Our Clients?
A number of our clients do not have large portfolios, nor a desire to seek the highest returns and the risk that entails.
Reliable income, preservation of principal and maintenance of purchasing power are their priorities. “Peace of mind” might be their number one goal. Our services may range from basic budget and cash flow planning to a consultation on an employer 401k plan to the design of a relatively sophisticated pre- or post retirement financial plan. We may help manage a moderately sized portfolio for a fair fee. One need not have a high net worth to access competent financial planning. We do not always need to manage the portfolio in order to provide value for our clients.
A number of our clients do have sizable portfolios. Taxes, inflation, and investment expense are key considerations, as is respectable performance.
The majority of our clients range in age from their mid forties to their mid seventies. A significant number are business owners or medical professionals with significant incomes and assets. Many are married two-career earners, often well versed in investment matters, and wary of an industry that doesn’t always put the client’s needs first. Busy, smart and well-informed, these clients retain us at a competitive fee to do what they don't have time for. We take care of their portfolios and help watch their financial backs. Planning consults are often done in concert with the client's attorney and CPA.
Here are examples of clients we have worked with over the last few years:
The owner of a medical practice.
He has few financial concerns except for being taking advantage of by financial advisors.
Our firm manages a sizable personal portfolio for him and his actively involved spouse. Competent investment management, fair and transparent compensation, and straight talk are what these middle-aged clients have told us they value. It is what we have sought to deliver over almost a decade long working arrangement. Tax-free municipals form the major component of the accounts at Willink Asset Management.
A semi retired business owner dealing with huge losses suffered at another firm.
On the brink of his retirement, coinciding with the technology crash in 2002, his seven-figure nest egg was cut nearly in half. After interviewing several advisors referred to him by his CPA, he retained our firm. We helped him to weigh his planning and investment options, and went on to manage his investments for growth and then income. He has recovered his losses and more with a globally diversified move back into equities, buffered by significant component of investment grade bonds and cash. He has also enjoyed some stock picking with us, using a small portion of his monies that aren't slated for the production of near-term income.
A professional nearing retirement with concerns about a savings shortfall.
He and his spouse enjoyed a successful career but now had to make important choices or run a substantial risk in retirement of running short of funding. Key to their financial success were some unusual strategies for accessing their social security benefits and for tapping their IRAs, a decision to earn part-time income, and some reasoned trade-offs among conflicting financial goals. A chronic health problem for one spouses made planning all the more urgent, and risk management all the more important.
A client with a terminal illness.
This middle-aged computer consultant and family man called us soon after he returned from a visit with his oncologist. His prognosis was grim. He wanted a meeting in order to introduce his stay-at home spouse and mother of two boys to our firm, and to the world of finances. He passed away just six months later. We subsequently assisted our new client, his widow, with assorted tasks. These included work with an estate attorney, the processing of life insurance claims, the creation of portfolios with differing objectives for current income, for retirement, and for the children’s needs. We also provided a crash course on everything from home budgeting, tax and and cash flow planning to evaluating investment performance reports.
A retired professional woman in her 70’s.
Like the source of much of our business, this client was referred from another who had been the friend of her late husband. The husband’s advisory firm didn’t seem to be in tune with her interests and needs. We later learned that, despite a more than respectably sized portfolio, her funds were placed in a cookie-cutter investment program. She did not receive any meaningful financial planning advice. She rarely heard from the firm. We made sure to always stay in touch, of course. And we enjoyed the meaningful give and take during reviews with this vibrant and interesting lady, until her death in 2008.
A nearby resident who walked into our office one day.
This semi-retired small business owner and his working wife, solidly middle class and reasonably affluent, hadn’t heard from their financial advisor during much of the most recent market downturn. For this couple, no investment or planning decision would be trivial. Coordination of government benefits, earned income, investment income, and tax planning will be the key to a successful retirement. What makes these clients special and appreciated is their frank dealings with us, both when we do things right, and for those unfortunate times when our service fell a bit short.
A daughter brought her elderly mother to meet with us.
Mom would soon enter an assisted living facility. We introduced the family to an elder law attorney. A trust was created. It would help provide sufficient funding on a tax advantaged basis to pay for mom's care. Other accounts were organized to make for simpler record keeping, and to efficiently meet Mom's multiple goals to help her children with a new home, provide for the grandchildren's education, build a legacy for future generations. We were able to slash investment expenses and portfolio tax liabilities. We re-ordered the placement of assets with different tax and market characteristics, thus creating increased income and more favorable opportunities for growth.