What do highly successful people have in common? Many of their shared traits have been well documented, as have their behaviors and routines. We've heard of some: waking up early, adhering to a calendar, and making sure to fit in time for exercise. However, what about the activities we don’t read about? I have had the unique luxury of working with some extremely successful individuals in my advisory business and I've observed the evolution ‘the personal finance team,’ as a relatively new and powerful planning strategy. So what is a personal finance team, and why is it so important to highly successful people?
What is a personal finance team?
A personal finance team is a small group of professionals who work in collaboration to advise on both business and personal affairs. This group consists of, at a minimum, a financial advisor, a CPA, and often an attorney. Occasionally, a personal mentor or business coach is added to the team.
So why build a personal finance team?
A personal finance team can centralize all financial decision-making and provide an efficient and effective way to tackle important issues and keep on track with achieving financial goals.
An emphasis on focus
In order to stay focused on productivity, highly successful individuals have come to rely on their personal finance teams to handle critically important financial decisions in their absence.
A comprehensive viewpoint = better decision-making
A personal finance team provides for a comprehensive and holistic understanding of financial circumstance which in turn leads to far better decision-making. Just imagine the value you could derive by having your CPA and financial advisor sit down to discuss a financial strategy for you.
An increased sense of control
Many highly successful individuals are naturally control centric. They have high conviction in their own abilities, and they find it difficult to delegate responsibly to others. By building a team of highly skilled and trusted individuals, highly successful people are able to feel more in-control of their financial affairs, and feel that they are making more informed and intelligent decisions.
So how does one go about building this all-star team?
Understand your circumstance and evaluate your needs
A good starting point is to select a CPA and financial advisor. You can always add to this core team based on your needs for, say, an insurance broker. If your starting team is strong, you can always ask them for recommendations.
Always use referrals
I've come to realize, both professionally and in my own personal capacity, that referrals are best. Ask your family and friends for good recommendations, interview the professionals, and make sure they are a good personal fit. Can you see yourself talking about every-day matters together? If you can relate to your advisors on personal matters, it's like you'll be able to discuss business matters.
Find someone who understands business and thinks like a business owner
This is a pretty important point as many advisors (especially CPAs) often fall into the trap of thinking like accountants. Make sure your advisors understand the specifics of your business and are able to discuss the continuity of your business plan and risks associated with it.
Jason M. Gilbert, CPA/PFS, CFF
Jason Gilbert is Managing Director of RGA Investment Advisors LLC. He has over 10 years of experience in investment advisory, including portfolio construction, financial strategy, and advanced planning for high-net worth and institutional clients. He maintains an extensive background in both forensic accounting and personal finance, and serves as a fiduciary and trusted partner to his long-standing clients.