If Your Employer Pays for an Advisor, Jump at the Chance
By Larry Light, Editor-in-Chief
Oct. 15, 2013
Some employers pay all or part of your financial advisor fees. If you work for one of these companies, by all means take advantage of this service.
Here at AdviceIQ, where gathering data about advisors is our business, we subsidize yearly financial plans to the tune of $1,000. “That is a terrific benefit,” says James Rush, our senior vice president for key accounts. “It makes me feel better to have a plan.”
Throughout Corporate America, employer-provided financial counseling is a fairly standard benefit, mainly for management. The biggest provider of this service is Ayco, a Goldman Sachs unit, which has 400 corporate clients and advises 10,000 executives. “They often don’t have the time to mess with forming a financial plan all by themselves,” says Dennis Aarons, Ayco’s director of marketing research, of the clients. “We help them out with everything.”
Other providers of this service are such firms as Hynes Himmelreich Glennon in Darien, Conn.; MDE Group in Morristown, N.J.; myCIO Wealth Partners in Philadelphia; and the Mason Companies in Reston, Va. In addition to counseling managers, many companies also provide basic financial planning courses for all employees.
Getting a good financial plan is an enormous boon. Our Jim Rush hired advisor John Orlando of Financial Security Advisory in Virginia Beach, Va. “John takes the emotions out of it,” says Rush, who is in his early 40s. He and his wife have two boys, 11 and 7. Orlando gave solid advice on how to pay for the kids’ college as well as the couple’s own retirement, and even how much car insurance they should carry.
Orlando constructed a plan based upon what Rush calls “a truckload of documents” he provided detailing the family’s financial life, and also on actuarial estimates of the parents’ likely lifespans. Mostly, Orlando was pleased with what the Rushes already had done and made some adjustments. “He told us,” Rush says, “that slow and steady wins the race.”
But financial advisors are not only for established folks with families. Erin Lamey, a key account executive for us, is in her 20s. She doesn’t have an investment portfolio or property, but she does have sizable student debt. Lamey engaged Craig Poeppelman of Harper Associates in Upper Arlington, Ohio, “to get a handle on my situation.”
Poeppelman told her to write down all her spending so she could track where the money went. The goal: “He said everyone should have six months cash in case they lose a job or the car breaks down,” she says.
For Craig Katz, our senior vice president for institutional sales, financial advice opened his eyes to deficiencies in his plan. Katz, in his late 30s, has two children from a previous marriage (12 and 9) and a baby boy from his current one. His new advisor, J.T. Trombetta of Lincoln Financial in Rye Brook, N.Y., pointed out that Katz didn’t have a will and required a lot more life insurance to protect his family.
“I needed a true pro to change our path to the future,” Katz says.
That’s what good advisors are for, and why you should get such a person, whether your employer provides one or not.