Understanding Family Wealth Management

Melanie photo

Melanie has decided to follow in her dad’s footsteps (and Nathan’s!) and will attend James Madison in the fall to start her journey towards becoming a physical therapist.

As our newest partner, Sarah Irving, pointed out in her blog a few weeks ago, it’s Maycember—a month with all the craziness of December but without the holiday cheer…or cookies.  And part of what makes May so busy are all of the graduations…which we are personally swept up in with our oldest daughter graduating from high school in two weeks.

With graduation comes a whole new set of educational experiences—like struggling through housing or meal plan choices, or figuring out how to register for classes.  One of the most stressful things for Melanie has been talking about paying for college, budgeting when at school, and what life looks like when she graduates and has to pay her own bills (and generally be an adult).




And so, it’s been interesting as a financial planner to teach my daughter about healthy financial habits!  Things like putting $2,000 of her summer earnings into a Roth IRA—I had to pry the check out of her hand, as it scared her to give up that much money with college around the corner.  But we talked through investing and tax free growth-most of which she didn’t care about until I showed her this chart:

Total savings chart

Source: www.investor.gov
Past performance is not indicative of future results.

When she saw that a $2,000 deposit today could equal $29,000 when she is 58 (if she invests and earns an average rate of 7%), she realized that a Roth IRA investment today was actually a pretty good idea.

And these conversations are really what family wealth management is all about. Often, “family wealth management” sounds like something only for the ultra-wealthy, conjuring up images of the Vanderbilt or Rockefeller families and their multi-generational wealth. However, the core of family waelth management is simply a strategy for passing wealth to future generations, and it goes beyond basic family financial planning or having a will. While the goal is simple, the execution involves comprehensive financial services, including investment management, estate planning, tax strategies, and more.

What is Family Wealth Management?

Family wealth management is a holistic approach to managing a family’s financial affairs. This includes:

  • Investment Management: Building and managing a diversified portfolio to grow and protect family wealth.
  • Estate Planning: Creating wills, trusts, and other legal arrangements to ensure a smooth transfer of wealth to future generations.
  • Tax Planning: Strategizing to minimize tax liabilities and maximize tax efficiency.
  • Philanthropy: Structuring charitable giving in a way that aligns with the family’s values and financial goals.
  • Financial Education: Educating family members about financial literacy and the responsibilities that come with managing significant assets.

The family education piece is a part of the family wealth management strategy that is often overlooked, but often the most critical piece of the plan. At Meridian, we talk to many of our client’s children on basic financial principles…and more recently, to our client’s parents as well! Helping the full family protect and grow their wealth prudently, avoiding potentially financially devastating decisions, is part of the full family wealth plan!

Our Approach: the Fee-Only Fiduciary Difference in Family Wealth Management

At Meridian, we are a fee-only fiduciary, meaning that we are financial advisors legally obligated to act in the best interests of their clients. This is what it means in terms of managing family wealth:

  • Transparency and trust: as a fee-only fiduciary, we don’t earn commissions from selling financial products. Instead, we charge a flat fee or a percentage of assets under management. This eliminates conflicts of interest and ensures that advice is unbiased.
  • Fiduciary duty: As fiduciaries, Meridian Financial Partners is bound by law to put our clients’ interests first.
  • Comprehensive, personalized approach: Unlike traditional financial advisors who can focus on selling products, we take the time to understand your family’s unique goals, values, and financial situation.
  • Tailored solutions: we created customized financial strategies that encompass all aspects of your financial life, from investments and taxes to estate planning and philanthropy.
  • Ongoing advice and flexibility: we work to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing continuous advice and support and adjusting strategies as your family’s needs and circumstances evolve.
  • Education and Empowerment: we’re here to help you learn more, navigate complex financial situations, and make informed decisions.

Family Wealth Management and Legacy

Family wealth management is about more than just growing and protecting assets; it’s about creating a legacy, ensuring financial security for future generations, and aligning your wealth with your values. As an independent, fee-only fiduciary, we are committed to providing transparent, unbiased, and comprehensive wealth management services. If you’re ready to take a strategic, values-driven approach to managing your family’s wealth, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

And happy graduation to all of those walking down the aisle this May!!


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Categories : Financial Planning

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