Categorized | Featured

Marsh Wealth Management

Is Your Financial Team Playing in Harmony?

At some point in our life, we all need the advice of a professional – whether it is seeing a doctor for a health problem or hiring a lawyer to write your will.  You know you need some specialized help.  The same can be said with needing financial advice – especially when you are faced with a transition in life such as an approaching retirement, a change in marital status, or a sudden inheritance.  But it can be challenging to know who to turn to for financial advice.

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to bring you this interview with Yvonne and Mike Marsh, co-owners of Marsh Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor in the state of Tennessee.  Unique among their peers, Marsh Wealth Management has brought together a team of licensed professionals to address all areas of financial planning, including income planning, tax services, wealth management, insurance services, and estate planning. By working together under one roof, they create a holistic, complete service experience for their clients.

EK: Why is it important for people to understand that your firm is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?

Yvonne: It all comes down to one word, and that is “fiduciary.”  As an RIA, we are held to a fiduciary standard of duty, which means we are required to act in our clients’ best interest.  In comparison, a firm registered as a broker/dealer is held to a suitability standard, which means they have to recommend a suitable investment, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in their clients’ best interest.  There has been a lot of press about the DOL Fiduciary Rule that was set to take effect on April 10 but has been delayed.  This was an effort to bring all advisors providing investment advice for retirement accounts up to a fiduciary standard of duty.

EK: How can a person know if their current advisor is a fiduciary or not?

Mike: The easiest way is to simply ask them.  It’s a yes or no question.  The other way is to look at your statement and see how your advisor is being paid – if it is a flat-fee based on the size of the account, they are most likely a fiduciary. If you are invested in Class A or Class C mutual funds, for example, then the advisor is being paid by commissions and marketing fees, and that is not a fiduciary fee structure.

EK: So it sounds like it is important for consumers to understand how their advisor is getting paid.

Yvonne: It is very important.  We all need to make a living, and no one is begrudging anyone their due compensation.  But if I were a consumer, I would like to know that the investment advice I receive is free from conflicts of interest.  As an RIA, we don’t receive commissions or marketing fees from trades.  In our fiduciary, flat-fee based world, if the client’s account balances grow, we grow – it’s as simple as that.  I just read in the Wall St. Journal where Morgan Stanley is weighing whether to have its advisors stop using Vanguard funds because Vanguard will not agree to a revenue sharing arrangement with them. That’s actually one reason I love Vanguard funds – they keep their costs as low as possible and refuse to do any side deals with brokerage houses.

EK: While we are on the topic, how much does your firm charge for asset management fees?

Mike: Our fees range from 0.9% for households up to $500,000, 0.8% for households between $500,000 and $1 million, and 0.7% for households with more than $1 million in assets under management.  We use an independent custodian, TD Ameritrade, and create portfolios using diversified, low cost mutual funds tailored to fit with clients’ existing holdings.

EK: Yvonne, both you and Mike are CPAs.  How have you been able to combine your experience as a Certified Public Accountant with your skills as a Certified Financial Planner™?

Yvonne: The investment process begins with a plan – we can’t give advice on how to invest assets until we know “purpose” and “timeframe.” Being a CFP® gives me the expertise to create a solid plan, while being a CPA allows me to frame my investment advice with a tax-efficient overlay.  I like to say “It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.”  Tax efficiency is important in the investment world, and investment advisors who are not CPAs are prohibited from providing tax advice.   

EK: You spend a great deal of time asking questions of, and listening carefully to, your clients.  Why is this so important in creating a financial plan for your clients?

Mike: You have heard that saying about people having two ears and one mouth for a reason.  That is especially true in the financial world.  Understanding what is important to a client, both factually and emotionally, is paramount.  We also talk about their desires, their fears, and their personal risk tolerance for investing.  No two plans are alike, just as no two people are alike.

EK: I know that you are excited to introduce a new and totally innovative tool called Everplans™ that you provide to your wealth management clients.  Tell our readers about Everplans™.

Mike: Everplans™ are a secure, digital archive of everything your loved ones will need should something happen to you. It contains such things as legal documents, financial information, insurance policies, passwords, and information about your home (bills, vendors, etc.). It also includes health and medical information, advance directives, final wishes, and funeral preferences. We set it up, and then our clients grant access to whomever they choose – it breaks down the geographic boundaries if an executor lives in another state.

EK: For a person who loses a loved one, how can Everplans™ be of assistance to them?

Yvonne: Having an estate in good order is the last gift we give to our loved ones left behind. I have seen executors struggle through an estate closing process where no planning was done, and I have seen executors sail through the estate process when prior planning was done.  Our job is to make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed for our wealth management clients.

EK: It would seem that your introduction of Everplans™ complements the planning, tax, money management, and estate planning services offered by Marsh Wealth Management perfectly.

Mike: We had previously been using a paper copy Family Estate Organizer binder, but stepping up to Everplans™ brings a higher level of service for our firm.  And we are hearing from adult children that Everplans™ is giving them a tool to start the dialogue with their parents and make sure everything is in order.

EK: For individuals or couples that would like to take that next step to learn more about Marsh Wealth Management’s planning process and fiduciary wealth management services, what is the best way to proceed?

Yvonne: We always offer a complimentary hour meeting for us to get to know each other and learn what is on your mind.  There are several ways to set up a meeting: Through our website at www.marshwealth.com, by phone at 865-622-2162, or by email to erin@marshpros.com.

EK: In closing, is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Yvonne: We’ve built our firm by putting our clients first. We focus our efforts on serving, not selling. In fact, we begin our initial meetings by acknowledging that after the hour we spend together, one of three things will happen: You’ll be ready to move to the next step of working together, or (2) you’ll need some time to think about it, or (3) we’ll part as friends.  No pressure, no confusing talk.  Just solid financial advice.

Marsh Wealth Management

1341 Branton Blvd, Suite 105

Knoxville, TN 37922

865.622.2162

Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Marsh Wealth Management, LLC (“MWM”), an independent investment advisor registered with the state of Tennessee.  Yvonne Marsh and Mike Marsh are Investment Advisor Representatives of MWM.  Marsh Professional Group, LLC, is a TN registered public accounting firm and a separate legal entity from MWM. For a detailed discussion of MWM and their investment advisory fees, see the firm’s Form ADV on file with the SEC at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.

Leave a Reply