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This chapter is from the book

The Four Cornerstones of Wealth

In the space provided below list the four critical cornerstones or disciplines of wealth:

1.

2.

3.

4.

This one shouldn’t be too hard, but I’m surprised at how few of your clients understand that you can assist them in all of these areas. Perhaps that’s because they have long perceived you as being concerned about and providing service in only one of these cornerstones.

For many of you, your clients look to you for assistance in managing their investments. They think of you as their investment advisor, or their stock guy (or gal), or their “broker.” [Heaven forbid, and please if you call yourself a broker, stop, and if others call you that, stop them, too.] But do they realize—and what have you said or done to make them realize—that comprehensive wealth management is more than just investments?

Comprehensive wealth management also includes banking, credit, lending, and liability management.

But that’s just half of the critical wealth management cornerstones. Another is risk management, which can be addressed through insurance and other asset protection strategies.

And you help your clients leave their legacies by providing guidance and assistance related to trusts, estates, and fiduciary services.

The four critical cornerstones of wealth are

1. Investments

2. Banking, credit, lending, and liability management

3. Risk management

4. Trust, estate, and fiduciary services

I begin defining wealth by describing the investment of a client’s assets, not because of its paramount importance, but rather to make the point that while clients may think wealth and investments are synonymous, wealth includes much more. If financial professionals—especially those whose primary activities are focused on investments—fail to help their clients understand this, they will naturally gravitate to other financial professionals and other firms to receive the advice, services, and products they need related to the other three components of wealth.

See the bull’s eye next to Investments in the following box?

1. Investments 01icon.jpg

2. Banking, credit, lending, and liability management

3. Risk management

4. Trust, estate, and fiduciary services

That’s there to remind financial professionals who think they only need to focus on their clients’ investments that by sheer want and need at some time (and it usually comes sooner rather than later) their clients will seek out other financial professionals and firms to satisfy their needs in the other areas of wealth. And once they do so and relationships are established and cemented away from you, those other financial professionals and their firms will be aiming directly at the bull’s eye on your back—at your relationship with your client—which you have placed in grave jeopardy with your singular focus.

In fairness to financial professionals who concentrate on investments, that bull’s eye shifts to any of the other cornerstones of wealth when financial professionals specializing in those disciplines neglect to provide guidance and counsel on the other cornerstones.

To recap:

The first element of the core/universal value proposition is “build, manage, protect, and transition wealth.”

The second element is to define wealth as comprehensive wealth management encompassing more than just investments. Comprehensive wealth management encompasses all aspects of investing, but also banking, credit, lending, and liability management; risk management through insurance and other asset protection strategies; and trust, estate, and fiduciary services.

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