It Takes a Team

by Jeff C. Johnson

Michael Jordan, the Manning brothers, Roy Keane, and a long list of other icons revered for their standout accomplishments in sports, business, and even government have also had strong teams behind them. If we are to believe the stories, these leaders nudged everyone in their organization to their maximum best in pursuit of the best possible results.

Successful investors, I’ve found, also benefit from the support of a team as they take the steps necessary to reach their financial life goals. In addition to your wealth adviser, do you have a solid team of legal, tax, and insurance professionals that work with you? Do the members of this larger financial team collaborate for your benefit or do they operate in isolation without input from the other professionals you engage?

Hopefully the answer is yes, your team does work well together: Your wealth adviser and your tax professionals connect to discuss your situation, bringing you in when they have discovered a way to advance your progress toward short-term and long-term goals. Your legal team is in sync with your wealth adviser to ensure that titling is correct and that your estate documents and accounts are all aligned to best realize your wealth transfer wishes. Your wealth adviser knows your life insurance is held in the right name with the tax-wise beneficiary. Your team proactively comes to you with a solution or suggestion.

As you may by now have guessed, your wealth adviser, who understands the values and goals behind your financial life plan and sees your full financial picture, is in an ideal position to help coordinate your team’s efforts. As a coach to you and the captain of your financial team, your adviser can help guide you through interactions with attorneys, tax professionals, and insurance brokers as implementing your comprehensive plan touches upon their respective areas of specialization and contribution.

Creating these open lines of communication not only helps make planning more efficient, it can prevent something important from getting missed and possibly setting you back. A financial team that effectively shares proper and pertinent information can solve for problems even before they arise, eliminating headaches for you. Plus, because your wealth advisory team likely has the most frequent contact with you, we can engage the technical knowledge and experience of other professionals on your financial team in circumstances where you may not even be aware that you need advice until after it would have been advantageous to you.

If, however, you feel that something is lacking when it comes to communication across your financial team, consider one or more of the following:

  • Tell your wealth adviser about it so they can help get your entire financial team better connected and working in unison for you.
  • Invite your financial team to sit down together (or Zoom, initially) to get on the same page. Make sure everyone understands your goals and intentions, and cover any planned or possible upcoming financial and/or life decisions. This is also a great opportunity to inform your financial team of any recent changes, especially unexpected ones. Decide if you think getting together regularly would be a helpful and worthwhile exercise. That way, each member of your financial team will be equipped to take into account your entire financial situation rather than just thinking about their responsibility to you in their individual area.
  • Give your wealth adviser, attorney, tax professional, and insurance professional written permission to work together. Weigh the advantages of signing a confidentiality waiver so that they can freely discuss your personal and financial matters without having to seek your permission every time.

Getting everyone to pull on the same rope and in the same direction may help enhance your results, so don’t be shy about asking for more from your team. Unfortunately, if there is a problem getting the cooperation that is in your best interest, maybe you should consider interviewing someone new.

We readily embrace the team concept and are delighted to be professional partners with your legal, tax, and insurance specialists, so if the time is right and we haven’t already, let’s discuss this type of team approach and how it ultimately may increase your confidence in your financial life plan.

The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of Buckingham Strategic Wealth. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting, or tax advice. IRN-20-1222