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Weatherly Client Series: Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners

Carolyn Taylor, President & Founding Partner | Yoshi Brownlee, Team Administrator & Marketing Specialist | November 18, 2021


As of the start of the 4th Quarter 2021, Weatherly officially entered its 27th year of serving clients. The team at Weatherly feels beyond fortunate to be able to work with clients in the way that we do. This exciting milestone, paired with the unprecedented global climate of the past 20 months, has us reflecting on the services we provide and when our team feels we are doing our best work.

When describing our approach to client service, our team favors the “dinner plate” analogy. While our core pillars of investments and planning take the largest share of the plate, there are a number of strategies that serve as side dishes to complement our two main competencies and take the overall client experience to the next level. Our team leverages the information gained through ongoing dialogue with each client and their trusted professionals and couples it with expertise of our team to maximize positive impact.

We are often asked from both current and prospective clients – how do I fit into Weatherly’s core client base?  Although we provide customized service to clients of all backgrounds, over the years our client base has organically morphed into 3 niche client groups: Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, The Working Wealthy, and Women. In this month’s blog post, we begin a 3-part series through which we will individually explore our niche client groups. We will introduce hypothetical case studies per client group that highlight the way in which we weave different solutions together to create the highest level of customized service for each individual we serve.

We begin the series with the “Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners” niche client group. Whether it be a self-employed individual, entrepreneur with several employees or family business owner, members of this niche client group are typically high net worth or ultra-high net worth individuals who are high income earners and have a majority of their assets tied up in their businesses. There are many variables in this subgroup that can contribute to the complexity of their financial life. In the below case study, we explore the fictional situation of “Business Owner Ben and Self-Employed Sarah” and how Weatherly was able to help create a financial roadmap that addressed their unique situation.

When we first met Business Owner Ben and Self-Employed Sarah, their excitement and enthusiasm about their family’s business was infectious.  They were entrepreneurs with a unique approach to working together on different aspects of the business, which nicely complemented their previous educations and backgrounds in engineering and accounting, respectively.  

Ben and Sarah’s passion for problem-solving, testing and innovating products and services was a great match for how our Weatherly team collaborates – starting with the clients’ team of 2-3 advisors offering them our core pillars of financial planning and investments, paired with our team of experienced subject matter experts.  Our first priority as a potential advisor to Ben and Sarah was to understand their current financial situation, long-term outlook and goals and where there might be risks and opportunities in their plan.  

After our initial discovery call, we understood their current focus on their business’s future growth and desire to incorporate family ownership and community philanthropy.  We initiated several dialogs with Ben and Sarah and incorporated their adult kids into relevant conversations.  We also were introduced to their estate planning attorney and CPA so we could problem-solve collectively as their advisory team.  

It was extremely apparent they were juggling a lot of responsibilities and had a passion for growing their business, creating a legacy for their family and giving back to the community, so we discussed a number of methods to help make their goals a reality.  We kept the big list in the background and prioritized a short list during our scheduled meetings to make the most of Ben and Sarah’s time based on what was most important.  The big list included:  

    • Estate Planning – The estate planning discussion started with a basic business and personal document review, ensuring consistent and up to date with current law and evolved into a discussion of how to leverage your trusted advisors. When Ben and Sarah were ready, we incorporated their adult kids, who were named as their estate trustees, into the conversation.  
    • Life Stages of a Business– Ben and Sarah were deep into what we call the “teenage” stage of a business – with a heavy emphasis on growth.  As small business owners ourselves, we offered advice on types of business structures to consider, how to establish retirement plans and what type of insurance they may need.   
    • Retirement Planning – The opportunity in the retirement space can often be overlooked by business owners.  We were able to optimize their retirement 401k plan and establish a small business plan that offered benefits to all employees and profit sharing and cash balance for the highly compensated.  For Ben and Sarah personally, we were able to solve for their retirement income equation and determine when they could start to step away from the business and transition to the next generation.  
    • Private Equity – Over our years working together, we saw the business grow into the “adult” phase where the dialog pivoted to succession planning and family dynamics.  We introduced Ben and Sarah to an Investment Banker to help ready the company for next steps and stages in their life cycle.  As their adult kids were folded into the business appropriately, we worked with next gen on their own financial and succession plans, with topics that were relevant to them.  
    • Philanthropy – Ben and Sarah had a strong desire to give back to their community, similar to our team at WAM.  They were donating cash year over year to local charities, which certainly created impact but could have been done in a tax-efficient manner as well.  We helped to create a Donor Advised Fundto help offset the sale of real estate and incorporate their adult kids in the investment and granting committees. 

Fast forward 5 years later, Ben and Sarah have enjoyed the success of many of the investment and planning strategies utilized by our team of advisors, while allowing them peace of mind, time and flexibility to focus on what really mattered to them – their business, family and community.  As their business pivots to incorporate new products and people, and their investment assets have surpassed their expectations, they are now faced with the proposed estate and tax changes and are working with our team to create additional gifting to next gen and philanthropy.  The Weatherly team continues to work with their children, friends and family they have referred over the years.   

What brought Ben and Sarah to Weatherly was an interest in our core pillars of investments and planning, or what we like to call our main entrée.  What elevated the relationship and brought additional value was our focus on the big picture, understanding their goals and needs, and focusing each dialog on their list of priorities.  Our side dish offerings have evolved over the years as their business and family continues to grow.   

We feel so fortunate to work with clients like Ben and Sarah each day and are witnesses to the ripple effect on their business, family and community. 

As we have just seen with “Business Owner Ben & Self-Employed Sarah” Weatherly works hand in hand with entrepreneurs and small business owners at every step of the way to create a strategy that maximizes a positive impact on their life, livelihoods and legacy.

If any part of Ben and Sarah’s situation sparked your interest, our advisors would be happy to schedule a planning call to discuss these strategies and more. Be sure to keep an eye out in the coming months for the next two installments of our niche client group blog series to learn more about how we implement our core competencies of investments and planning to benefit the groups of the working wealthy and women!


Case Study Disclosure

This hypothetical case study is provided for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an actual client or an actual client’s experience, but rather is meant to provide an example of the Firm’s process and methodology. An individual’s experience may vary based on his or her individual circumstances. There can be no assurance that the Firm will be able to achieve similar results in comparable situations. No portion of this article is to be interpreted as a testimonial or endorsement of the Firm’s investment advisory services and it is not known whether the hypothetical client referenced approves of the Firm or its services.

The information provided should not be interpreted as a recommendation, as no aspects of your individual financial situation were considered. Always consult a financial professional before implementing any strategies derived from the information above. Working with a highly-rated adviser does not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.