Helping clients achieve a quality lifestyle in retirement
Helping clients achieve a quality lifestyle in retirement
On the professional side, working in the finance field required understanding sophisticated financial concepts and all sides of the consumer and business finance equation. I have hands-on experience in areas such as risk management, cash-flow analysis and planning, analysis of balance sheets, and many other financial tools. So that was a strong fundamental background for becoming an advisor.
The other important aspect of how we operate is that our firm is independent. We do not have vested interests in shaping a plan or an investment recommendation. We like to conduct what I call “future casting”—looking at “what-if” big-picture scenarios and developing a comprehensive financial plan for an individual, couple, or family. For example, with my background in real estate, we will take a close look at the mortgage and housing planning for a family. That is something that is not always done by an advisor. We put plans together that can cover everything from college planning to mortgage planning to estate planning to wealth management. If we do not have the specific expertise that is required in-house, such as the specialized services of an estate attorney, we work with clients collaboratively to pull in that resource. While our firm offers long-term-care options, we also might occasionally consult with a specialist in that area.
I like to use a real estate calculator, spreadsheets, and discounted cash-flow analysis based off future inflation estimates. If we are talking about a client who is close to or already retired, this type of analysis will identify the gaps in their future income streams. Then we can go about building a sound recommendation for addressing those gaps.
Clients have responded well to this type of approach. Essentially, I can capture all of their relevant financial data on one page. I do not charge for the initial planning required to create a financial strategy tailored to a client’s goals and needs, and I work with clients of all types and ages. My attitude is that I will work with anyone who is open to being educated and is willing to share their concerns and fears about retirement and investing. This allows me to present a financial strategy that best suits them.
It is very difficult to generalize, since we are living in an investment environment of extremely low interest rates, low inflation, uncertain growth, periodic volatility, and an equity bull market that will eventually end. I believe in making prudent assumptions about the future, especially inflation and the markets, and building an investment plan accordingly. I think it is somewhat dangerous to throw new money into passive buy-and-hold equity funds, unless a client has a very long time frame before they will need to touch that money. It is far more prudent at this time, especially for clients thinking about retirement, to use the services of outside money managers who are adept at managing the downside in the markets.
Second, we then examine the fees that are directly tied to the managed money portion. That percentage will naturally be somewhat higher than the total portfolio average. If the client is interested in having some part of their investment plan managed by outside professionals, there is a cost associated with that. The managers invest their time and staff in strategy development and a commitment to managing strategies on a continual basis.
But there are also the very real benefits from actively managed strategies. These strategies serve clients well both in performance over the long run and the concept of trying to reduce emotion around one’s investments. I use an example of how the NASDAQ Index had performed over the past 10 years. Though its average annual return has been over 7%, it has suffered a drawdown over 50% and many lesser but significant corrections. If an actively managed strategy can deliver roughly equal returns to an unmanaged index fund, but without the kind of volatility found in passive equity funds, is that type of smoother performance worth the additional fees being charged? Most of my clients see the benefit of that approach, and managed accounts represent a significant portion of the assets our firm has under management.
Using financial education to attract & retain clients
Janice Hammond hosts many educational events throughout the year to attract new clients and build relationships with current clients. She gives a short presentation about her firm and then moves on to financial issues that most concern people, including the following:
- How to optimize Social Security benefits.
- How to design income streams for retirement.
- How to transfer assets to beneficiaries in a tax-advantaged way.
- How the current market environment may affect your retirement.
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Janice Hammond, founder and CEO of Sunrise Financial Services, brings over 15 years of financial industry expertise to her clients. She provides comprehensive, broad-scope planning covering all aspects of strategic portfolio management. Ms. Hammond says she has “a deep respect for clients’ money matters” and believes that clients should always feel knowledgeable and comfortable with the financial decisions they are making.
Born and raised around Seattle, Washington, Ms. Hammond has traveled abroad extensively. She says this has provided “a worldly perspective and unique insights on finance and investing.” After working two jobs while attending a local college, Ms. Hammond decided to “jump right into the financial world after seeing a great opportunity.” She rapidly assumed positions of increasing responsibility in the banking and mortgage lending field, primarily in wholesaling to mortgage brokers.
Ms. Hammond later transitioned into financial and investment planning and opened her own firm in 2009. She says her experience in real estate and banking provided an excellent springboard for financial planning, as she has an appreciation for risk management and a deep understanding of the interrelationship of a client’s assets, income sources, and debt.
Ms. Hammond and her husband are the proud parents of two young daughters, one a very recent addition to their family. She is active in community service and organizes an annual “Pay it Forward” charity drive in her hometown. Ms. Hammond supports the Alzheimer’s Association and participates in American Cancer Society events and fundraisers. She enjoys speaking on financial education and makes guest appearances on a local radio talk show that focuses on personal finance.
Disclosure: Securities offered through First Heartland Capital, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through First Heartland Consultants, Inc. Sunrise Financial Services is not affiliated with First Heartland Capital, Inc.
Post-publication note: As of this update (Feb. 11, 2020), Ms. Hammond is registered with Madison Avenue Securities LLC.
Photography by Steve Mason