While financial planning has become more popular, it’s still not center stage for most advisors. I’ve got Zack Hubbard, the director of financial planning and participant engagement at Greenspring Advisors, a fee only RIA. He’s going to talk about how his firm is providing access to financial planning for small accounts through their 401(k) platform. And that is certainly a welcome innovation, whoo hoo!
For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and financial advisor marketing consultant. I have a newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.”
And now let’s get onto the blog!
Financial planning for smaller accounts: is it really possible?
Zack’s main interest at his firm is financial wellness program called Clarity at Work. They provide not only financial planning for the company itself, but also for their employees. As many corporate employees tend to have smaller account sizes, this entire group would be shunned by the typical financial advisor who usually has high account minimums of $1MM or above.
By the way, if you happen to be a small investor looking for financial advice, I have a list of advisors who are open to serving such clients. But before you read it, please understand that this is not an endorsement of any particular company or person. Please conduct your own due diligence and come to your own decision. Also, I am under no obligation to update this list and the conditions of service offered by these firms may change over time without being reflected here. I have no formalized business relationship with any of the firms listed on this list at the present time.
And now back to the main story…
Zack’s program doesn’t just doll out financial planning tips for small investors. The mission is much greater than that. The mission is duofold: embracing the employer’s responsibility to provide some form of financial education to their employees in areas not specifically related to their own 401k plans, and also helping employees to maintain a budget for their families for future events such as college for their children.
How do they pull it off?
The firm helps provide one-on-one advice to the company’s employees to help them understand how to be better equipped for their futures. Zack describes how they help the average $15 per hour employee on a shop floor manage their budget, people who feel as though they are living paycheck to paycheck, while they also talk with million-dollar earners in positions of leadership. His goal is to provide professional financial advice for clients small and big, to everyone involved in the company at every level so they can have a more confident financial future.
Serving 401(k) plans on a flat fee financial basis
Sounds great – but is this scalable?
Doable for an RIA firm like mine?
Zack discusses what’s involved in providing financial planning to the smaller investors who are participants in 401(k) plans. His RIA firms provides this service on a flat fee basis, so it’s a bit less profitable than a percentage based service AUM fee type of business. He says his firm typically meets yearly with between 2-5% of the people participating in their service, and there are roughly 60,000 people enrolled in their 401(k) service overall. This keeps the cost lower since they are basically meeting with people on an “as needed” basis, and not making an attempt to meet with everyone each year.
Zack offers common objections to this type of service, most notably that it’s a major cost to meet with all those people individually and that the pricing and fee structuring is not viable. Zack’s response to these claims is that the healthier psychology of the employee and their feelings of financial stability only helps the company to be more successful.
They’ve got a special career development program for financial planners
Zack ends this interview by discussing ways of getting into financial planning, and helping to provide financial planner career paths for people straight out of college, where they can learn the ropes of the financial planning industry instead of starting at a major financial firm. It is a type a mentoring program where people can learn in a lower stress environment instead of the cut-throat environment of most big firms. His main goal is to have a positive impact on not only his company and the companies that he works with, but the financial planning field in general.
But that’s not all! There’s way more to the story…
Did you listen to the full interview yet?
You can watch the YouTube interview with Zack Hubbard, or listen to the podcast – they’re at the tippy top of this page.
Sara’s upshot on financial planning for small accounts
Did you enjoy my blog on financial planning for small accounts?
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See you in the next one!
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