Interview with John Clark | Working With A Private Wealth Manager

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Inside Cogent        Blog        Interview with John Clark: What You Need to Know About Working With A Private Wealth Manager
Interview with John Clark: What You Need to Know About Working With A Private Wealth Manager
January 2, 2024

Interview with John Clark: What You Need to Know About Working With A Private Wealth Manager

Are you looking for help with financial planning, retirement and estate planning, managing your investments, or all of the above? Working with a private wealth advisor gives you personalized help with every aspect of your finances. For this blog, we sat down with John Clark, EVP, Private Wealth to learn more about the wealth management experience at Cogent Private Wealth.

What does a private wealth manager do?

Our role is first to understand exactly what you have in terms of assets, resources, and your short- and long-term goals. Once we have your goals and objectives in line, we can create a financial plan to serve as a roadmap for you. Along the way, we work with your CPA, estate planning attorney, and insurance. Professional.  

What are the benefits of working with a private wealth manager at Cogent Private Wealth?

The primary benefits of working with us are education, experience, and a sounding board for decision making. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into financial and investment decisions. You could read something alarming in the news and then you may not want to stay the course with long-term investments. We help take the emotion out of your decision making and act in your best interest, based on your long-term goals. It’s our job to keep you on track to reach your goals, whatever happens to be going on with the stock market on a given day. You can call for reassurance and guidance when you’re worried about inflation, stock market turmoil, or other economic issues. . We’re always looking at your long-term picture.

How is a wealth management department within a bank different from a stand-alone firm?

Legally, we are separate but owned by the same holding company. Our affiliation with Cogent Bank gives us the resources to invest in cutting-edge technology and tools you wouldn’t find in a smaller investment shop. We can also refer clients back to the bank if they need general banking services. This creates a “one-stop shop” experience for our clients.

How does wealth management differ from financial planning?

We believe that you can’t have one without the other, which is why we offer both wealth management and financial planning to our clients. We always start with financial planning so we can understand your goals and objectives. Thinking “beyond investments” helps us manage your money and keep you on track to reach those long-term plans. 

What does the retirement planning process look like?

Our approach to retirement planning involves comprehensive tools and testing with cutting-edge software to make sure you can have your desired retirement.

Some of the topics we cover with retirement planning include:

  • Tax savings: As you accumulate wealth, what are the best tax strategies?
  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): 401(k) withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income.
  • Roth Conversions: They’re popular now, but when is the right time to do it?
  • Medicare and Social Security: Estimating your monthly premium cost and looking at your Social Security benefit to determine the best time to take it.
  • Assets: What is the best way to use them in retirement?
  • Expenses: Getting a handle on your monthly expenses in retirement will help you know how much money you need.

Most financial planning tools simply tell you your chances of success, such as an 80% chance you won’t run out of money. But our tool gets more specific in projecting your cash flow over your retirement. We can recommend how much to take out each year and which investments to take it from.

Do you offer any unique or unusual services? 

We offer 401(k) solutions for business owners. We can do everything from a start-up plan to a fully customized plan, as well as review your current plan to see if it’s meeting your needs and your employees’ need. Our 401(k) offering is very competitive in price and also limits liability to business owners. We also work with a third-party to do fiduciary work and auditing on the 401(k) plan, which reduces risk for our clients.

What questions should you ask a potential wealth manager?

How are you compensated?

We are a fee-only advisor, which means our department’s only compensation is a percentage of assets under management. We are a fiduciary, which means we act with your best interest in mind.

Some advisors work on commission, which could create a conflict of interest when they recommend certain products or investments. We don’t want to have that conflict when someone sits down with us.

What is your strategy or approach to managing investments?

Active managers (stock pickers), indexing (go out and buy the S&P 500 or another index you invest money in), or something in between. We try to tilt (re-allocate) our clients’ portfolios to where they have a better chance of getting the best return.

What are the tools and products (deliverables) you might get, in addition to the investment statement?

For example, will they create a comprehensive financial plan for you?

What kinds of experience or expertise do you have?

You want to find someone with the right experience for your situation. It can also come down to personality and finding someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

What services, if any, do you offer to businesses?

401(k) solutions and, on the bank side, we offer HSAs and other products/services to businesses.

When we work with businesses, we look at the business owner and their business to understand both. There are other ways to save money beyond a 401(k).

Meet Our Private Wealth Team!

John and the rest of the Private Wealth Group are dedicated to providing the personalized attention you need and deserve. Contact us to learn more about our approach to wealth management and financial planning and how we can help move you forward.