What Matters Most – Wealth Planning Isn’t Just For The Wealthy – with Jennifer Jones

We talk today with Jennifer Jones, Vice President and Senior Wealth Advisor and Team Leader in the First United Wealth Management department regarding Wealth Planning, what it is, what to expect, what to look for, and why Wealth planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy!


Announcer: Welcome to the “What Matters Most” podcast, presented by First United Bank and Trust. That’s my bank. Visit us today at mybank.com.

Eric: Hello and welcome to “What Matters Most,” the podcast all about finances, community, savings, and security for you, your family, and your business. This podcast is brought to you by the helpful folks at my bank, First United Bank and Trust. I’m your host, Eric Nutter, and in today’s episode, what matters most is wealth planning. And it’s not just for the wealthy. And for this helpful discussion I’m thankful to be joined remotely today by Jen Jones, Vice President and senior wealth advisor and team leader at First United in several counties throughout Maryland and West Virginia. Hey Jen, how are you today?

Jennifer: Hi, Eric. Good, thanks for having me.

Eric: Yeah, happy to have you on. And so, are you…with everything going on and COVID is kind of still a presence in our lives, are you working remotely and dealing with customers remotely now?

Jennifer: Yes, we are working remotely. We are talking to customers, we’re still working away on a daily basis, but just trying to make sure that we stay safe at the same time.

Eric: Yeah. Yeah. Have you found that to be…How have you found that to be working with…I mean, is everybody pretty open to just phone calls and Skype meetings or whatever you’ve had to do to work with customers?

Jennifer: Yeah, everybody’s really open and they’re very understanding, but we also know too, that they’d like to see us in person again soon. So, we’re trying to work that in a little bit as things open up. So, trying to do a little bit of everything.

Eric: Yeah, it’s a challenging time. But I think this topic is one that is hopefully gonna be helpful to our listeners and something that everyone should be very interested in. And oftentimes you hear about wealth and our wealth department. And I think a common misconception is that you must be wealthy to work with the wealth department. So, I think that let’s start off by just kind of leveling the playing field. And can you describe to our listeners what is wealth planning? And why is it not just for the wealthy? How does that work?

Jennifer: Well, you’re exactly right, Eric, you know, people hear that word wealth and it just, you know, they are just turned off to that. That’s not me, oh, no, they’re, you know, they’re talking about, you know, the billionaires and all that kind of stuff. And that’s not necessarily the case. I mean, wealth means different things to different people. And everyone has wealth in their life of some value to them. It just varies from person to person. So, you know, when you hear the word wealth planning, it really applies to everybody. It’s really not just for people that are just super-wealthy. And planning looks different for everybody too. So, you know, that’s the one thing I wanted to kind of get right off the bat is, you know, it’s not…it’s definitely not just for the wealthy. If you hear that word wealth, wealth planning, that doesn’t mean you need to have millions.

But, you know, what wealth planning really does is it really…everyone wants to build up their wealth, everybody wants to protect their wealth, and everybody wants to transition their wealth in their lifetime. So, that’s really what we’re trying to help people accomplish is, and that’s, again, different for everyone. Everybody’s build, and protect, and transition looks different and so you have to write a plan that meets your goal.

Eric: Got you. So, it’s a process that you’re working through with each client.

Jennifer: That’s right. Yeah. And it’s not a one and done type of process. You know, we’re really lucky that we’ve had employees that have been here a really long time and help kind of really harness that process that we can kind of help our clients through, not only the start in the middle, and then towards the end of the transition if needed. So, then that takes years.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. So, talk a little bit about the value and the importance of wealth planning and kind of break that down in those different sections that you talked about.

Jennifer: Well, sure. Everybody needs to have some kind of plan, right? You know, if we go through life, whether, you know, you can really kind of interchange the word wealth planning with financial planning. And whether you have a simple plan or like I said, a complex plan, you have to have some kind of plan of, you know, what are your ideas for the next year or the next two years or even the next five years? And it doesn’t have to be pinpoint, very specific, but you just have to have a general idea of how to get from point A to point B to point C. And starting out with where you are in life, it’s really to build up that wealth, right? And so, that starts with you need to have something. And again, that can be whatever it is for you. It may not be millions of billions of dollars, but what you have and what you’ve worked for is important to you. So, we can talk and we do plan on those building strategies to help, you know, how do we get more in and that kind of breaks down into, you know, how people are saving and how people invest their assets. And then how to protect it.

You know, as you go from working and having income coming in on many levels and you get into later years of, maybe you’re not working and talking about retirement and how you’re gonna protect what you have built up. And then we also, you know, obviously the transitioning part is, you know, what, maybe some folks wanna leave money to their family or they wanna help build different things in their communities and how they can transition some of those assets. And whether it be while they’re still alive or maybe, you know, after they’ve passed away, those assets will transition on to where they wanna go. And it’s kind of just walking through those steps and focusing more on what’s happening now. And then also looking a little towards the future to be able to make sure we’re able to take care of the planning now and then into the future.

Eric: So, it sounds like depending on where you are in your life, there are a lot of different people that can benefit from this, not only the person meeting with you but also the people that they affect in their lives as they move from one step to the next.

Jennifer: Oh, absolutely, yeah. It really benefits everyone, just depending on where you are in the stage. So, I really want to emphasize too that we don’t help you starting out with the building wealth, and you’ve already moved into the next, you know, maybe the next stage, that’s okay. Planning can start at any time and it’s just again, it’s just we customize it to where you are but everybody needs some kind of planning on some level. So yes, really for everyone and yeah, you do have to get your family involved because they’re part of the planning process.

Eric: Yeah. Well, and I can imagine that could be scary for a lot of individuals who if they think they’ve gotten too far along in their lives, and they didn’t put enough thought or planning or effort into saving or preparing for retirement, for example, and they feel like they’re too far advanced for that, that could be a terrifying place to be. And so, what you’re saying is, it’s never too late and you can always benefit from meeting with someone and kind of talking through your options.

Jennifer: Absolutely, yeah. Absolutely.

Eric: So what should a person be looking for when they’re, you know, people are listening to this and depending on what stage they’re at, no matter what stage they’re at, they’re like, “You know what, that sounds great, I need to meet with a wealth advisor, I need to create a financial plan. What should I be looking for?”

Jennifer: Well, you really want somebody that listens and you want someone that is going to kind of be there for you through the whole process. Like I said before, it’s not really a one and done. One meeting your whole life, your whole financial plan is planned out and you’re done. Because things do happen and like I said, we transition through these stages over time. So you wanna really have somebody that’s gonna be your ally, that’s gonna be in your corner, that listens to what your needs are and really focuses on the relationship and focuses on what those needs are. To me, if you go in and sit down with somebody, and they don’t listen to your thoughts, and they’re just automatically saying, “Okay, you should have, you know, this product and that product,” that’s not where you wanna be. Because really, you know, to me…especially the first meeting is to just sit down and make sure everybody’s on the same page, and listen to what the needs are and take those needs and build those goals. And what people want to accomplish around their plan and then kind of work backwards. You take those needs and those goals and figure out how they can fit into products that are gonna work for them.

Eric: I mean, can we talk about some of the goals that people come to you with? I mean, is it all around retirement? I mean, it feels like you’re always planning for that. But is it more short term? Like I need to buy a car or that kind of thing?

Jennifer: Yeah, well, no. We do planning both short term and long term. And really, you know, that’s the other thing too, Eric, is you wanna somebody that’s going to make sure that they have a full plan and not just focus on one aspect. Like, “Hey, I need a car,” and then that’s it. Because you still have the rest of your life after one car. Most people don’t have just one car during their lifetime either, right? So, that’s the initial need, maybe, but then what happens after that? And that’s, you know, that’s kind of our thing is it’s not just a need, but it’s also, you know, things happen as far as tax planning. There’s legal documents that may need to get involved to take care of different needs. There’s life insurance, there’s maybe you have a business, there’s making sure that the business aspect of things. You know, like I said, before, you get to a point where you want money to go to either certain places in the community or nonprofits or your family, you know, that planning that out may take a little bit of planning and making sure that things are the way you want them.

So, you know, it’s not just retirement or it’s not just that short term, but we wanna, you know, start with the short term, like I said, the things that you need in a year, and then the things that you maybe need in two years or five years and then, you know, your goal, long term goals of what you’re trying to do and taking all that and making a complex plan. And sometimes, you know, on our end that we make the plan and we put those things together, but we may need to also bring in other folks too to help us whether it be an attorney or tax advisor or any of those other kind of aspects. We work and we partner with folks that that can help us do that. So, you wanna make sure that you have somebody that’s willing to partner and do that and work with others that are taking care of you in a holistic way.

Eric: Yeah, well, I was actually gonna ask that because that…when you describe all of those things and thinking out not only my short term, but my midterm and long term goals. And thinking through all of those things, it could be overwhelming. It’s a lot to consider and there are a lot of other parties that potentially need pulled in. So, does a wealth advisor act as the conduit for all that, pull all those people together for you?

Jennifer: Absolutely, yeah. If you’re sitting down with somebody, they should be able to do that for you and help pull all that together to bring, like I said, your plan into a holistic view for you. And it is overwhelming and things change too, right? So again, back to you want somebody that’s gonna be there for you through the long haul. Because while we, certainly while we plan, you’ve got to have some cushion there for things that pop up that are unexpected, too. And you wanna have not only a plan but then like I’m saying flexibility as well, too. And that’s why you definitely need somebody there to make to not only help you build that plan but then reassure you as the steps start occurring and bring all those folks together too as well to make it happen.

Eric: So, is this done in like an annual meeting or semi-annual meet? Like, how often are you conversing with your wealth advisor to kind of ensure that your plan is progressing?

Jennifer: Well, we’ll talk to you however often you wanna talk to us. But certainly, you know, those first couple meetings, it might take a few meetings over the course of a month or two months or so, to kind of get everything set up and kind of that planning process underway and moving along. I always say if you have a life-changing event, you always wanna let us know because we may need to go back and do some planning when somebody is born or somebody passes away. There’s a retirement, and a graduation, any kind of thing like that, like a new job, something’s happening in your life, you want to let your advisor know, and make sure that…again, you have that flexibility in the plan to make sure that you’re still on course.

Eric: Got you, that’s cool. So, maybe our listeners are, you know, that now they’re deeply, you know, into this idea, they wanna take the next steps. Are there things they should consider and things they should avoid in this process?

Jennifer: Absolutely. So, as I said before, you know, you wanna make sure that you consider somebody that’s really gonna be listening to what your needs are, and help you customize your plan, and has an array of products and services that can help you. If you just seem to be pinpointed into one or two different products, and then kind of you don’t feel comfortable with maybe that’s not the exact avenue to take. While certainly you can have one place that provides many products and services, you wanna make sure that you have the right ones and feel comfortable and you have that open discussion and relationship with your advisor to do that. If you go in and things to avoid, you know, if you go in and you sit down with somebody and they immediately wanna, “Oh, yeah, here, here’s the product that’s gonna answer everything in your life and take care of you. Boom, you just have to sign here and that’s it.” Probably not what you wanna do. You really want somebody that wants to build that relationship with you, be there over time, and help customize and watch that plan grow and continue on with you.

Eric: Right. And when you’re talking about these products that…do you have, I mean, are you just talking about savings accounts, IRAs, what kind of products would you typically see someone just trying to plop a person into?

Jennifer: A lot of times you see, it would be some kind of annuity, which again, annuities are good in certain situations for certain people. But a lot of times you’ll just see that kind of happen where you just get…put into some kind of insurance product or something that may work or may not. Or just a fund or something that isn’t helpful as far as how that fund is working within the market, within the stock market towards what…based on what the needs of the client are.

Eric: So, it’s like there’s no one size fits all, there’s no silver bullet for wealth planning. It is…it needs to be custom to you.

Jennifer: Yes, if they’re spitting out some kind of a plan for you that maybe it might even look fancy but if it doesn’t, you know, help you with your needs and it kind of really isn’t realistic for you, then it’s not gonna work over time. And if they’re not listening to you saying, “I don’t know about this,” you might wanna take a step back.

Eric: Got it. Well, actually, Jen, I have a listener question…

Jennifer: Oh, okay, great.

Eric: …wanted to get your thoughts on. So, they’re asking about putting all their eggs in one basket. So, they’re a little nervous about putting all their eggs in one basket with one advisor. Is that something they should concerned about?

Jennifer: Not necessarily, I don’t think that should be a concern. You know, I don’t think you should have all of your eggs in one product. But maybe you have all of your eggs in one place in different baskets, which is something that we do here at First United. But, you know, there may, like I said, there may be places like us that provide a lot of different options for services and products, that we’re really able to customize a nice plan for you. But when you get into that one product situation, that gets a little scary. So, I’d say you’re okay to have all of your eggs in one basket or one location, as long as they’re not in one product.

Eric: Right, okay. That makes sense. That makes sense. Well, Jen, I wanna sincerely thank you for joining me today in providing such helpful insights. If any of our listeners have any questions or wanna learn more, what’s the best way they can get the support they need?

Jennifer: Well visiting us on our website is probably the fastest and easiest way, so, www.mybank.com/wealth is where you can find all of us.

Eric: Great. Well, that brings us to the end of our show. You can always find more episodes by visiting mybank.com/slashpodcast or on your favorite podcast app. You can always leave us feedback, ask questions, or request a topic for us to discuss by sending an email to podcast@mybank.com. Thanks again for listening. We’ll be back next week with more helpful content but until then, we wish you the best in focusing on what matters most to you.

Woman 1: Do I have enough money to retire?

Man: Is my family protected if something happens to me?

Woman 2: Is my plan getting me where I’m going?

Child: Are you ready if I wanna be a doctor?

Announcer: When it comes to money, we all have questions. That’s why First United Wealth Management has a team of experts ready to listen and provide solutions. First United Wealth Management. First United, my for bank life.

Woman 3: This document is a general communication being provided for informational purposes only. It is educational in nature and not designed to be taken as advice or a recommendation for any specific investment product, strategy, plan, feature, or other purpose in any jurisdiction, nor is it a commitment from First United Bank and Trust or any of its subsidiaries to participate in any of the transactions mentioned herein. Any examples are generic, hypothetical, and for illustration purposes only. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision, and should not be relied upon in evaluating the merits of investing in any securities or products. In addition, users should make independent assessment of the legal, regulatory, credit, and accounting implications and determine together with their own professional advisors if any investment mentioned herein is believed to be suitable to their personal goals.

Investors should ensure that they obtain all available relevant information before making any investment. Any forecasts, figures, opinions, or investment techniques and strategies set out are for information purposes only, based on certain assumptions and current market conditions, and are subject to change without prior notice. All information presented herein is considered to be accurate at the time of production, but no warranty of accuracy is given and no liability in respect of any error or omission is accepted. It should be noted that investment involves risks. The value of investments and the income from them may fluctuate in accordance with market conditions and taxation agreements and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Both past performance and yields are not reliable indicators of current and future results.

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