Q & A with Ian Welham

As Ian Welham, RFC® points out, managing risk is often more important than chasing growth – especially as we get closer to retirement.

Q: Ian, what’s the benefit of having an investment advisor?

IAN: Many men and women don’t have the time or the desire to manage their money, or feel they don’t have the expertise. They realize that the stakes go up as retirement approaches. It’s one thing to manage your finances when you’re working and regular paychecks are coming in versus when the paychecks stop and you start dipping into your savings.

Q: What is an investment advisor’s #1 job?

IAN: Some people would say to grow the account value. And certainly, growth is important. But I believe my first responsibility is to manage risk. We’re looking to exchange investments that have a poor outlook or excessive risk in favor of investments that are less risky and offer more opportunity.

Q: What’s a common mistake you see average investors make?

IAN: Most people don’t understand how much risk they’re taking in their portfolio. There’s a big difference between an investment portfolio and a retirement portfolio. The message from Wall Street (and too many advisors, frankly) is that investors should keep the majority of their assets “at work” in the stock market at all times. That might be OK for folks in their 30’s or 40’s, but not in their 60’s and above.

Q: Why are you so concerned about risk?

IAN: Being trained as an accountant I’m conservative by nature. In addition, because our clients are either approaching or already in retirement,  it’s important to minimize drawdowns. There are 4 sharks that can take a bite out of your nest egg:

  • market volatility
  • taxes
  • inflation
  • health issues

It’s our mission to protect you from all four.

Q: What kind of fees do you charge?

IAN: We charge a “wrap fee” that includes all trading costs and custodian costs. The investor has peace of mind that there are no additional costs to receive active management of their portfolio. And by paying an advisor a fee based on the total amount of investable assets, the investor and the advisor are on the same team. When the investor’s portfolio grows, the advisor’s paycheck grows as well.

Q: What is the percentage?

IAN: I’m happy to share that in an in-person meeting. We believe that for any collaboration to work, there must be full transparency, so we welcome that conversation. New clients tell us that our fees are extremely competitive compared to other advisors. I invite people to make an appointment so we can have an open discussion.

Q: Any other thoughts?

IAN: Just that we all only have one chance to get retirement right. So whether it’s us or someone else, it’s important to find someone who can help you build a plan you can rely on.