You Need a Cohesive Wealth Management Team. Here’s Why.

Chances are, you know that you likely need to tap the expertise of multiple professionals to pursue optimal financial results in your life. That’s because finding one single professional with the full depth and breadth of knowledge required to effectively address all of your wealth management needs and wants—especially the complex ones—can feel like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Such a person probably doesn’t exist.

That’s why you may already be working with a diverse group of advisors—which might include wealth managers, accountants, attorneys and other specialists.

But it’s not enough to simply hire a bunch of highly qualified professionals. You’ve also got to make sure that they’re working together, in a coordinated manner, on your behalf.

Simply put: When it comes to managing your financial life, you don’t just need a roster of players—you need a cohesive team.

The coordinator

A cohesive wealth management team has a coordinator—a professional who has a full understanding of clients’ situations and what is important to them, and who works closely with the various appropriate experts to pursue the best results possible.

Typically, a wealth manager acts as the coordinator—although accountants, trusts and estates attorneys, and others can take on this role. The coordinator draws on the skills and expertise of a broad array of specialists to deliver various wealth management products and services. These specialists provide the specific niche expertise the coordinator does not personally possess.

Example: A wealth manager may see the need for a client to have an advanced-level asset protection plan involving complicated trusts or other tools. That wealth manager would then bring in a professional who specializes in asset protection plan design and implementation.

The other members of your cohesive wealth management team whom the coordinator is managing should have four main characteristics:

§  Specific expertise. They should be among the very best authorities in a relatively narrow area, such as estate planning.

§  Integrity. The highest ethical standards are indispensable.

§  Professionalism. In every way—from responsiveness to inquiries to ongoing learning—the specialists should embrace professionalism.

§  Personal chemistry. There should be a strong level of comfort and appreciation between everyone involved on your cohesive wealth management team.

There’s also the issue of follow-through and accountability. The coordinator of your cohesive wealth management team should stay in close contact with you to ensure the various specialists working on a plan for you are delivering as promised. 


One key attribute of cohesive wealth management teams that makes them so adept at pursuing great results is that they have state-of-the-art capabilities. Your cohesive wealth management team must be able to deliver the appropriate solutions to match your requirements, from the basic to the most sophisticated.

State-of-the-art capabilities have three dimensions (see the chart below). A cohesive wealth management team that uses these capabilities is able to deliver sophisticated and even cutting-edge solutions when appropriate. Sophisticated solutions are intricate and complex strategies with many moving parts. Cutting-edge solutions are innovative ways to get the results you request that are usually novel and even groundbreaking.

State-of-the-art capabilities

Regardless of the type of solution, a key component of state-of-the-art capabilities is exceptional implementation of any solution chosen. This means that execution is:

§  Cost-effective. While not cutting corners, the ability to choose the most appropriate solutions and implement them exceedingly well keeps costs down.

§  Error-free. Mistakes are exceedingly rare when it comes to high-performing, cohesive wealth management teams.

§  Expeditious. Doing things on time or before deadline is characteristic of cohesive wealth management teams.

Preferential arrangements

A truly cohesive wealth management team will also provide you with preferential arrangements that enable you to receive complete and rapid access to expertise at highly advantageous pricing. There are two aspects to preferential arrangements:

1.     Cost mitigation. This means that either you pay less for the expertise, products and services you receive, or you get more for your money. For example, say that implementing your proposed asset protection plan is quoted at $20,000. The coordinator of your cohesive wealth management team might work to negotiate the price down—perhaps by 20 percent or more.

In the other instance, the coordinator of your cohesive wealth management team might accept the quoted fee but negotiate additional deliverables. For example, you pay the full $20,000 to implement your asset protection plan—but as part of the package, you can also set up a trust.

The upshot: Except for instances where costs are statutory, as in the case of traditional life insurance, the cost of just about all the services and products you may use could be negotiable.

2.     Jumping the line. The other aspect of preferential agreements is the ability to jump to the head of the line—or closer to it. Getting access to leading authorities, especially when you want it, can be difficult. A cohesive wealth management team will be designed with the goal of enabling you to move way up in any queue.

Getting results

Ultimately, when it comes to managing wealth, we believe that no one person can do it all at the highest levels of excellence—not even someone with extraordinary talent and drive. That’s why you need to work with top-of-the-line experts to help you address your financial agenda. Just as important, those experts need to work together—in a coordinated, comprehensive manner—on your behalf. Supported by a cohesive wealth management team, you have the potential to access state-of-the-art capabilities as you pursue the best possible outcomes for your situation.

Fidato Wealth Announces Retirement Planning Today® Virtual Interactive Course

Fidato Wealth, an independent, fee-based financial advisory firm that provides comprehensive financial planning and wealth management for successful families, individuals and professionals, is once again teaming up with Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K), a local charity who improves K-8 school attendance by eliminating lack of appropriate clothing, shoes and school supplies as barriers. Normally, the firm would serve as a drop off location for items like socks, winter hats and gloves to be distributed to local area school children this season. However, in this time of the pandemic, they’ve chosen to help support in a different way through a virtual collection drive.

Boost Your Efficiency and Effectiveness—at Work, at Home and in the World

Each day, we have limited amounts of time and energy to do what needs to be done while also trying to cultivate meaningful lives. Is it any wonder so many of us feel stressed?

The good news: It can be easier than you might think to increase your overall effectiveness and efficiency. For advice, we turned to Nick Sonnenberg*, CEO of the outsourcing platform Leverage and a foremost expert in achieving efficiency. He’s also the author of the upcoming book Come Up for Air: How Your Team Can Leverage Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning in Work.


Efficiency strategies are only as good as the attitudes you bring to them. The first step, then, is to approach efficiency efforts with the right mindset. For example:

1. Your brain is for having ideas, not holding them. This is the whole basis for the idea that you need systems in place that make it easy to access information so your brain can stay focused on what you do best—or simply having some fun.

2. Focus on your strengths, not on shoring up weaknesses. Each of us has our own particular abilities—the things we do best. But we tend to spend lots of time tackling our weaknesses. The result: We end up with “stronger weaknesses” that do little to further our success or  enjoyment.

This idea is why we should focus on eliminating, automating or outsourcing many areas of our life that aren’t part of our highest and best abilities.

3. Think about return on time. To maximize efficiency and effectiveness, consider the return on time of a task and how to best handle it. This can help you start to better see when it makes sense to delegate a task and when it’s better to tackle it yourself.

Example: It might take far longer to explain to someone how you’d like airline or dinner reservations to be handled in various circumstances than to just make them yourself. With other tasks, such as writing letters to clients or donors, you might save considerable time by letting someone else take the reins.

4. Capitalize on your daily peak times. We all have parts of our day when our productivity spikes and sustains. Understand when you are most productive, then have what you need to succeed at your fingertips and block out anything that reduces your effectiveness. If your brain is most effective from 10:00 a.m. to noon, don’t book a doctor’s appointment then – or allow co-workers or even kids to interrupt that time.


Here are just some of the many specific steps you can potentially take to make yourself more effective and efficient.

  1. Create and share agendas for your interactions. One straightforward way to combat inefficiencies in your general planning is to create formal agendas (using an agenda tool such as Navigator or others). In advance of formal meetings—with staff, co-workers and even large numbers of family members getting together to discuss an issue—create an agenda that prioritizes key talking points, and share it with the people involved. This can help keep everyone on track and focused, boosting efficiency for all.
  2. Build a knowledge base of information. A knowledge base is a one-stop shop that houses the collective knowledge and assets of a business, a group (such as a charitable organization or PTA you help run), or a family. A knowledge base makes it easy for the key players to access the information they need in order to accomplish tasks. The next time you need an answer, you’ll know where to get it without having to go on a scavenger hunt! Bonus: It also works with requests from employees, team members, and even spouses and children. (One tool to consider is Process Street.)
  3. Outsource. You probably know or have heard of the concept that just 20 percent of your actions generate 80 percent of your results. By trying to do everything, you can spend too much time on nonessential tasks—causing your productivity and enjoyment of life to suffer. Freeing up your time so you can focus on the 20 percent that really matters to the results you want can be smart. Outsourcing resources such as Leverage, Fiverr and Upwork (among many others) can potentially help you do exactly that.
  4. Control your calendar—and your access. Instead of outsourcing your scheduling tasks—which could take longer to explain to someone than doing them yourself— sharpen your skills here. One idea: Set your default meeting time to just 15 minutes. Starting with a short window can force you—and the people who want a piece of you—to think about how to use the time optimally, well before the call or meeting takes place. Also see whether “themed days” work for you—all calls with one group on Monday, another on Tuesday and so on. Grouping around themes can hone your focus. Web-based schedulers (one example is Calendly) can direct people to a page where they can book a call or meeting with you based on your  preferences and have it automatically placed in your calendar. This eliminates the annoying back-and-forth that inevitably occurs when scheduling.


It is vital to maximize the efficiency of all aspects of your life? Probably not – and trying to do so might just drive you crazy. That said, there are some fairly basic steps you can take to free up time and energy, reduce errors, and give yourself some extra space that you can then devote to pursuing your best life—at work, at home and out in the world.

*Nick Sonnenberg is not associated with Fidato Wealth, LLC.

Fidato Wealth LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. This brochure is solely for informational purposes. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Fidato Wealth LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Fidato Wealth LLC unless a client service agreement is in place. Copyright 2018 by AES Nation, LLC. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any review, copying, distribution or use of this transmission is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please (i) notify the sender immediately by e-mail or by telephone and (ii) destroy all copies of this message. Please note that trading instructions through email, fax or voicemail will not be taken, as your identity and timely retrieval of instructions cannot be guaranteed.  If you do not wish to receive marketing emails from this sender, please send an email to


Fidato Wealth Asks Cleveland-Area Residents and Interested Others to Support Shoes and Clothes for Kids Charity Donations

Fidato Wealth, an independent, fee-based financial advisory firm that provides comprehensive financial planning and wealth management for successful families, individuals and professionals, is once again teaming up with Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K), a local charity who improves K-8 school attendance by eliminating lack of appropriate clothing, shoes and school supplies as barriers. Normally, the firm would serve as a drop off location for items like socks, winter hats and gloves to be distributed to local area school children this season. However, in this time of the pandemic, they’ve chosen to help support in a different way through a virtual collection drive.

Four Types of Advisors





We find that, by and large, people seeking financial advice know to look for a financial advisor who has high levels of integrity and who wants to do what is in their clients’ best interest at all times.

But it seems that fewer people pay attention to the orientation of their financial advisor candidates. As a result, they may risk choosing an advisor who isn’t a great fit.

Here’s a look at four different types of advisors you are likely to encounter and how they stack up against each other in some key areas. Armed with this information, you should be able to better assess which type is best suited for you based on factors such as your goals, the complexity of your financial situation and your net worth.

The Wealth Management Hierarchy

The wealth management hierarchy below illustrates the range, depth and breadth of the financial solutions you can get from different types of advisors.

Let’s Examine Each Group.

  1. Investment advisor. A good way to think about the wealth management hierarchy is that it’s progressive, or additive. We start with the base. Investment advisors are excellent financial professionals who do a very good job managing money—but that’s all they do.

While investment advisors provide a single solution—money management—that one solution can have multiple variations (from securities to investments in private companies, real estate, artwork and so forth).

If all you want is someone who manages your money well—positions your investment capital, reallocates it as needed and so on—you can stop at this level. If you want or need expertise beyond money management, you’ll need to move up the wealth management hierarchy.

  1. Financial advisor. When you move to the next level of the wealth management hierarchy, more types of expertise are available to you. Like investment advisors, financial advisors are primarily focused on delivering money management services and products. However, they also provide some wealth planning services.

The wealth planning capabilities of financial advisors tend to be relatively basic and fall within a fairly narrow range of expertise. This typically makes them appropriate for individuals and families with lower levels of complexity in their financial lives. Again, if your financial situation is not complicated, an expert financial advisor may be what you need to pursue the types of outcomes you want.

Next, let’s look at the two highest levels of the hierarchy and the value they bring.


  1. Wealth manager. If you work with a wealth manager, you also can get excellent money management services along with planning services. However, the level of services you will receive will be elevated because wealth managers and their teams can address truly complex situations requiring multiple specialties.

The biggest difference we see between financial advisors and wealth managers is that the latter can typically deliver a more extensive and in-depth range of wealth planning expertise. That expertise might include income tax planning, cross-border planning and financial life management planning. 

Wealth managers also tend to offer greater coordination of solutions to address their clients’ financial issues and concerns. For example, a client’s tax-mitigation plan might be informed by his or her charitable giving strategy along with his or her eventual wealth transfer desires. As a result, none of the strategies work against or conflict with the others.

Working with a wealth manager will indeed get you most of the best solutions that will enable you to achieve a well-structured financial world.

  1. Virtual family office. The pinnacle of the wealth management hierarchy is the high-performing virtual family office, or VFO. A VFO incorporates exceptional wealth management with robust attentiveness to administrative and lifestyle matters. High-performing virtual family offices are also able to deal with the important one-off special projects that might arise.

By providing extensive and coordinated solutions that address clients’ financial situation and many aspects of their family’s well-being, a VFO can build and protect personal wealth while also making clients’ daily lives much easier.

Not surprisingly, a high-performing virtual family office is not the right choice for everyone—especially if your needs and challenges are not sufficiently complex. But if you need a level of support and capabilities that goes beyond the other three categories, a VFO could be a good fit.

To see how each category measures up, consider the needs of a hypothetical successful entrepreneur seeking to sell his or her company. The amount a business owner ends up with can depend to a great degree on the expertise received through the sale process (see the chart below).

What Each Type of Financial Professional Can Do When You Sell Your Company

The upshot: The “perfect” financial professional for you and your family depends both on your situation and the level of expertise you need to address your needs, goals, concerns and wants. Keep this hierarchy of wealth management in mind as you meet and assess potential advisors. It could help guide you to the right advisor for you.

The Importance of Stress Testing Your Wealth Strategies



When making decisions about your money, it can be smart to know the steps that extremely affluent individuals and families take to grow and protect their significant wealth.

Take stress testing, for example. Stress testing is a process that carefully examines your current wealth planning strategies to assess the likelihood that they’ll deliver the results you expect them to in various environments and situations.

The Super Rich (people with a net worth of $500 million or more) often have stress tests conducted because the tests enable them to make smart decisions, to verify that they likely will get what they want and to confirm they are dealing with the right professionals. They can also be effective at identifying potential big problems—or possible huge mistakes—so changes can be made proactively.

The good news: You don’t have to be outrageously wealthy to benefit from a stress test. In fact, we believe it should be part of most people’s due process when vetting financial plans, products and services. In addition to identifying potential missteps in an existing plan or service, it may be able to deliver some peace of mind to the client when the test confirms that a plan is indeed on track.


Because of the power of stress testing, leading professionals are increasingly making it a cornerstone of the way they work with individuals and families.

Consider that a sizable majority—76.8 percent—of 181 senior executives at multifamily offices (organizations that serve wealthy families) call stress tests an important deliverable for their clients.*

By and large, we see those stress tests being focused primarily on investment management solutions, with other areas like life insurance and wealth planning getting attention to varying degrees.

In our view, this intensive focus on investment management may be too limiting. For example, while just around 40 percent of the executives have stress tested clients’ life insurance, a full 64.4 percent of those execs uncovered problems that required corrective actions.

This doesn’t surprise us. Many affluent families purchase life insurance to address estate tax concerns. Sometimes, life insurance is obtained to create a larger estate or to make a charitable gift at death. Other times, the intent is to benefit from the tax-free internal buildup. But it’s common that some of these affluent families end up with amounts of life insurance that exceed their wants and needs. Additionally, their life insurance may be poorly structured. When life insurance portfolios are not in sync with wealth planning strategies, trouble can occur down the road.

This suggests that stress tests should be widely applied to other areas of clients’ financial lives.


It’s reasonable to expect stress testing to garner more interest and attention among clients and their advisors, as evidenced by the fact that more than 80 percent of the executives said these tests will become more important going forward (see the chart at right).

Consider one way that stress testing can add value: evaluating income tax mitigation strategies. Today, there are a number of ways to lower corporate and personal incomes (and thereby pay less in taxes). The wealthy may look to stress test these strategies in order to ensure they are not running afoul of revenue services in any way with their approaches.


Stress testing, once a feature available mainly to the wealthiest among us, is increasingly being offered to a broader range of individuals and families. As a result, you may have an opportunity to put your financial and legal strategies and plans through their paces and determine if they’re set up to deliver the results you want.

Next step: Reach out to your financial and/or legal professional to see if a stress test would be a good idea.

*Family Office Association, 2018.

Savvy Negotiating: To get the Moon, Ask for the Stars



One key way to build serious wealth—whether in a business or your everyday life—is to effectively and consistently negotiate deals that are good for you and your bottom line. Ideally, everyone walks away from a negotiation feeling good about the outcome—a win-win scenario. But ultimately, to be successful you must achieve your minimum goals and preferably a whole lot more.

Trouble is, it’s common for people to end up failing to get what they want due to how they approach negotiations right from the start—from the first declarations of their terms. Here’s how you can avoid that negative outcome and get the results you truly want when hashing out a deal or arrangement with another party.


Clarity about goals is job one. In any negotiation, you will be well-served by being quite clear about what you want to walk away with. Most people in negotiations have a range of goals, and it’s important you specify the top and bottom of the range. For example:

  • High-end goals. These are the results you would achieve if the negotiations went extraordinarily well for you. Achieving these goals would make you exceptionally satisfied.
  • Minimally acceptable goals. These goals will close the deal if you achieve them, but you’ll walk away from the bargaining table feeling far from thrilled. If you don’t achieve these goals, there is no deal.

By spelling out your range of goals, you are more likely to not get caught up in the negotiations themselves and make a deal that doesn’t work for you.


When bargaining, self-made billionaires commonly make demands they do not expect the people they are negotiating with to accept. Often these are terms and conditions that many would consider extreme or even outrageous. They are, in effect, asking for the stars—a whole lot more than just about anyone would give them.

These billionaires recognize that they will give a little or even a lot along the way, which is both expected and perfectly acceptable. However, they are using the anchoring effect to better their bargaining position and come away with a deal that works well for them.

The anchoring effect is a type of cognitive bias that occurs when people make decisions and act on the initial information they receive—the anchor. Once the anchor is set, people tend to be biased toward interpreting other information around the anchor.

There are a number of ways to create an anchor. The easiest is to ask for an outsize outcome at the start of the negotiation. This will usually influence the perception of value for the other party throughout the negotiations.

The anchoring effect also sets the stage for you to implement your concession strategies. This is how you methodically go from asking for the stars to getting the moon—your acceptable result.


Haggling is an integral part of good negotiation, and most people go into negotiations expecting some back-and-forth around numbers and terms. When both sides make concessions, both will more likely walk away satisfied.

By using the anchoring effect, your goal is to give yourself as much room as possible to make concessions and walk away with at least the minimum results you are looking for.

In every negotiation, the concessions you make are based on a combination of art and science. You can’t concede too much or act too quickly, nor can you be inflexible.

To optimize results, there is a delicate balance of give and take that you can strike by keeping these ideas top of mind:

  • Know what you can give up easily and what is very hard to give up. In business negotiations, there are regularly multiple issues, values and conditions. Some will be more important to you, and some less. You will be well-served if you know what really matters and what does not before going into a negotiation.
  • When you give, make sure you get. Concessions should be reciprocal. If you make a concession, you should be looking to get a concession you see as equally valuable. If you make a unilateral concession, you are negotiating with yourself—and are absolutely losing.
  • Incremental concessions are best. If you ask for the stars at the start and too quickly give up a great deal of ground, you will likely lose all credibility and power. Making a large concession willingly tells the other party that there is a lot more you will give up.
  • Make concessions slowly. You want to communicate that these concessions are tough decisions. Tough decisions are ones you usually have to think long and hard about. Therefore, take your time and pace out making concessions.
  • Have a final concession ready to close the deal. Many negotiations—especially complex business deals—are just about there after a lot of back-and-forth, but still do not close. You want something in your back pocket to push negotiations to an acceptable conclusion. It’s therefore often helpful to have a “final” concession you can offer to close the deal you like.


By shrewdly asking for outsize terms that the people you’re negotiating with cannot (or should not) take seriously, you arrange the pieces on the chessboard to your advantage. Then, by skillfully making concessions and getting concessions in return, you meaningfully increase the probability of getting the results you really desire.

These are a few possible outcomes of “asking for the stars”:

  • You get the stars. While you might think your requests are outrageous, that does not necessarily mean the people you are negotiating with won’t give them to you. Your counterparties might, for reasons you are unaware of, be so motivated to make the deal that they will accept your over-the-top numbers, terms and conditions. While this outcome generally has a low probability, it is a possibility.
  • You induce the other person to discontinue negotiations. Your requests might be so extreme that the counterparty does not believe you can ever come to an understanding. Consequently, the counterparty might end the negotiations. Like the previous outcome, this one has a low probability of occurring.
  • You get the moon. The moon is your high-end negotiating goal, and you end up making smart concessions and getting good concessions that result in you getting it.

Buy Experiences, Not Stuff. Here’s Why.



When we spend money, we’re doing more than simply buying things. We want to create feelings of happiness, satisfaction and well-being.

But are we really spending our money in ways that achieve those results? The answer, unfortunately, is probably not. As one world-famous Japanese “tidying expert” might say, our spending habits don’t spark joy.

The good news:  We can shift our spending so our purchases deepen our happiness and help us create more meaningful lives.

The key:  Focus more on experiences and less on physical stuff. Here’s why that makes sense—and how to do it.



Our culture tells us that buying lots of stuff will make us happy. And that is often true—but only up to a point. Ever notice how quickly that rush from having a new gadget, appliance or even car fades?

That’s because acquiring more and more items doesn’t really do the trick. Research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology reveals that people who spent money on experiences rather than material goods were happier and felt the money was better spent.

One major reason:  The excitement we often get from purchasing things tends to diminish quickly because we get used to seeing the items every day. In contrast, experiences—and the joy and memories they bring—can give us stronger feelings of satisfaction. That can be true even if the experience is fleeting.

Importantly, the good feelings we derive from our experiences tend to last well beyond when the experience happened—giving us a longer-lasting sense of satisfaction than we might get from an object that quickly blends in with our environment.

Example:  Watching an elephant in an African safari park for 10 minutes just might stick with you longer than the feeling you get from upgrading your smartphone.

Other reasons researchers think our brains respond better to experiences, according to research from Cornell University and elsewhere, include:

  1. A better sense of self. Experiences are more a part of who you are as a person, so they can become a bigger driver of how you self-identify (as a person, a parent, a spouse and so on).
  2. Stronger social relationships. Because we often participate in experiences with other people, experiences tend to foster and enhance social bonding that may strengthen our mental and physical health.
  3. Greater surprise value. When we buy a product, we generally know what we’re getting. But experiences may be more likely to present surprises—a herd of bighorn sheep suddenly crossing your path in a national park, for example—that stick with you. Such novel experiences can change your perspective in many ways.




None of this is to say you need to stop buying physical goods that you can hold in your hands. Objects can and do make us happy, too.

That said, one key to getting the most pleasure and happiness from buying stuff may be to focus more on acquiring goods that help facilitate meaningful experiences than on buying goods that don’t.

Example: Buying high-end mountain bikes for the family can lead to more outdoor, endorphin-stimulating biking experiences in fun, interesting locations. Even buying a tricked-out television can be rewarding—if, for example, it causes you to binge-watch shows or movies that you end up talking about with friends.

In short, goods that help create happy social experiences can be money very well spent.


You can spend your money in a huge number of ways. But if you truly want to live your best life, consider focusing your spending on the types of purchases that can potentially maximize your happiness—and the happiness of those around you.