By: Andrew J. Willms
President and CEO, The Milwaukee Company
”Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” --Helen Keller
The hurdles that stand in the way of achieving financial security, peace of mind and personal fulfillment can be daunting. Asset allocation, cash-flow management, tax planning, and estate planning are just a few of the topics that require knowledgeable guidance from advisors who have considerable expertise in a variety of disciplines, including portfolio management, law, accounting, wealth preservation, business planning, and charitable giving.
The variety of skills required to manage wealth can be thought of as a three-lane highway where the left lane is for tax planning, the middle lane is for estate planning, and the right lane is for asset management.
Wealth Management requires T.E.A.M. Work
Most of us obtain legal advice from a lawyer, tax advice from an accountant, and investment and insurance advice from a financial advisor. Typically, these advisors work independently of one another, which in turn can result in conflicting advice, lost opportunities, and inefficiencies that hinder individual and family achievement.
Complicating matters is the fact that in some cases younger family members do not always have the skills or motivation to preserve inherited wealth. As a result, family wealth – absent informed counsel -- can quickly dissipate after it passes from one generation to the next.
Wealth transfers can trigger a number of issues, including the management of an investment portfolio, business succession, the disposition of an estate, the management of family trusts, the implementation of philanthropic desires, and continuity of family governance.
The wide range of advice and services required to address all these issues requires a team approach for advice. Moreover, the need for coordinated advice grows as family wealth grows. For families with assets in excess of $5 million (give or take), working with multiple independent advisors may be less than ideal. A better solution is accessing a well-coordinated, collaborative effort by a team of experienced advisors to grow, protect and preserve family wealth.
To address this need, some ultra-high net worth families establish private family offices that employ experts in several fields. However, the very high cost of operating a family office makes these organizations impractical for most individuals and families.
To overcome these challenges, The Milwaukee Company and O’Leary-Guth Law Office, S.C. have teamed up to provide a suite of professional services that we refer to as our “T.E.A.M. Work” program. By working as a team from our shared office in Thiensville, Wisconsin, we are able to provide our mutual clients with a wide range of complementary financial and legal services similar to those provided by a family office -- without the associated expense.
Several benefits accrue when your family’s professional advisors work together under one roof, including:
- Teamwork between your advisors is encouraged.
- The members of your team of advisors share a common understanding of the needs and aspirations of you and your family.
- The risk of conflicting advice is greatly reduced if not eliminated.
- Communication and collaboration between team members is facilitated.
- Meetings between you and team members can be held at their common office.
The T.E.A.M. Work Program encompasses a variety of disciplines, including personal and trust investment management, income-tax planning and return preparation, business planning, long-term care planning, charitable giving, estate planning, and trust and estate administration. Each of our clients select the services they need, and the selection can evolve over time as their needs change. We are also happy to collaborate with other trusted advisors in your life if you would like us to do so.
Working together, The Milwaukee Company and O’Leary-Guth Law Office, S.C. are able to help our clients enjoy the sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing that they and their families’ futures are secure, and that they’ve established a legacy for their loved ones and favorite charitable causes.
If you would like to learn more about our T.E.A.M. Work Program, please feel free to contact myself or Maureen O’Leary. Either of us would be happy to explore how we can work together to help build a better future for you and your family.
 The cost to operate even a small, single-family office typically starts at $1 million and goes up from there. And while participating in a multi-family office is a somewhat less-costly alternative, many restrict membership to families who have assets of $20 million or more, and charge a management fee on those assets of 1% or more.