Differentiated Approach

How is Contour Financial different from its competitors? 

Many famous financial titans from years past such as Astor, Morgan, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Edison and Mellon made their money in key fields such as real estate, banking, insurance, oil and industry. There is a second act to their stories that is often overlooked. How did these families keep their great wealth over multiple generations? The successful families embraced a concept called Private Wealth Management.

What is Private Wealth Management? It is a fancy name for making sure all of the bases in the financial game of life are covered. While very few individuals will build a multigenerational dynasty, planning for several decades is still critical. Perhaps the Private Wealth Management concept can be distilled into answering this one simple question, "Can I retire when I want and still maintain my current lifestyle until mortality?" If retired, the question becomes, "Can I stay retired and still maintain my current lifestyle until mortality?" If not, what changes need to be made? To answer this, a comprehensive approach is required. Being concerned strictly about portfolio performance alone will not answer this question. Perhaps there is a risk of inadequate insurance, resulting in financial distress should a spouse become disabled or pass away. A Private Wealth Management approach is a tool that gives a complete picture of financial standing, risks and opportunities.

This all sounds logical, but alas there is a catch. Historically, this service has been very time intensive and therefore costly for financial advisors. This is why Private Wealth Management has been offered by the industry exclusively to high-net-worth individuals, as large fees need to be generated to cover the higher ongoing expenses.

Contour Financial offers a solution. The firm continuously implements the most modern retirement planning and portfolio management technologies available and practices tight cost control. The increase in operational efficiency allows for lower operating expenses, and for the cost savings to be passed on to the customer. The results are twofold. First, wealthy customers still get the Private Wealth Management services they expect, but with more favorable pricing. Second, upper-middle and middle class clients can now for the first time have Private Wealth Management services.

With a few exceptions, as private wealth managers, Contour Financial includes all services needed by the client in the assets under management fee. There is no additional charge for telephone or face-to-face meetings throughout the year. Refer to the compensation section for more detail. The following is a list of services included with the fee:

  • Building the client's portfolio, implementing trades, monitoring, rebalancing reporting and rebalancing implementation for accounts held at Charles Schwab.
  • Quarterly account reporting.
  • Providing the annual Retirement Update Letter. If employed, this letter determines whether or not a client is on track to have a successful retirement. If retired, this letter determines whether or not a client is set to have sufficient funds through projected mortality. If there is a shortfall, multiple options will be presented to show what needs to be done. Insurance scenarios will also be presented.
  • Taking the time to understand the client's tolerance to market volatility.
  • Assistance in addressing insurance, estate, mortgage refinancing and other financial needs.
  • An analysis of the client's cash flow.
  • Modeling to show how buying a business, property, new home or funding an education is expected to impact the Retirement Update Letter.
  • Developing strategies for the complex topics of Social Security and pensions.
  • Individual federal & state tax-return preparation if certain fee minimums are met.
  • Understanding how to keep good credit and remain safe from identity theft.