Retirement Wealth Advisors is a fee-only investment management and financial planning firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As its name suggests, Retirement Wealth Advisors primarily serves individuals focused on retirement. As the firm has a relatively low minimum investment requirement of $25,000, most clients are non-high net worth individuals.
The bottom line: Retirement Wealth Advisors is a firm focused on retirement planning, portfolio management and various other financial planning services.
|Assets under management: $2,179,419,572|
|Minimum investment: $25,000|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 85:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, hourly charges, fixed fees|
|Headquarters: 89 Ionia Ave NW, Suite 600
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 11, 2021. For more information, please consult Retirement Wealth Advisors’ website.
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Retirement Wealth Advisors, a firm offering portfolio management and financial planning, is principally owned by Jason Wenk, who founded it in 2005. The firm has close to 200 employees serving as investment advisor representatives and overseeing its more than $2 billion in assets under management (AUM). Additionally, most of Retirement Wealth Advisors’ employees are licensed agents of an insurance company or agency.
Jason Wenk, a former Morgan Stanley employee, is the founder of Retirement Wealth Advisors. Wenk was especially affected by observing the stock market crash following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. “I saw firsthand what that did to people,” he is quoted as saying on his website. “It ruined retirements. It was devastating to a lot of people.”
This inspired him to create his own portfolio models and to found Retirement Wealth Advisors. Wenk was awarded GRBJ Newsmaker of the Year in 2016 and 2017 in the finance category, and was named an EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018. He is a serial founder in the investment world, with three companies to his name: Retirement Wealth Advisors, FormulaFolios and his latest endeavor, Altruist.
The firm predominantly serves individuals who do not have a high net worth. (For reference, the SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.) Its next-largest client groups are high net worth individuals and other investment advisors.
The minimum required account balance at Retirement Wealth Advisors is generally $25,000, although the firm does state that it may waive or lower the minimum requirement at its discretion.
As a firm that aims to serve retired or soon-to-be retired individual investors, the menu of options at Retirement Wealth Advisors caters to that audience. You’ll find portfolio management services and financial planning services, such as strategic tax planning and retirement account assessment and recommendations, as well as annuity stress testing. Retirement Wealth Advisors also offers variable annuity asset allocation (variable annuities are annuities that are tied to market-based securities and fluctuate with the market).
Here’s a comprehensive list of the services the firm offers:
As a client of Retirement Wealth Advisors, your account will be managed by FormulaFolios, with an investment strategy that uses a mechanical approach to quantitative analysis. What that means is that investment decisions are recommended by algorithms most often based on mathematical modeling, statistics, market trends and other data. Think of FormulaFolios as a robo-advisor for your financial advisor, which is how Wenk, who founded and owns the company alongside Retirement Wealth Advisors, described it in an interview.
FormulaFolios offers both proprietary mutual funds and ETFs. Your investment objectives, risk tolerance and financial goals will inform how your money is invested among different tactical asset allocation strategies. Portfolio strategies used include:
As an added feature, FormulaFolios uses a software called WealthGuard™, which tracks the performance of your portfolio and helps predetermine the amount of downside you’re willing to tolerate; if you opt in to the software, you’ll receive notification of market downturns.
Asset-based fees: As a client of Retirement Wealth Advisors, you’ll negotiate how much you’ll pay with your advisor. Your rate will range between 0.50% to 2.00% of your assets under management. Factors that influence the rate you’re charged include the amount of assets under management, the range of investments in your portfolio and the complexity of your financial circumstances, to name a few.
Brokerage fees: Clients at Retirement Wealth Advisors will most often receive portfolio management service fees from either TD Ameritrade or FolioFN, the two brokerage firms Retirement Wealth Advisors most often recommends. Clients also have the option to choose an alternative brokerage firm if they wish and will pay the affiliated fees. With the FolioFN portfolio, there is an additional 0.10% wrap fee. All portfolios will have a third-party investment advisor fee of 0.10%; those with multimanager series allocations will incur an additional 0.10% fee.
Annuity asset allocation service fees: For clients who wish to use Retirement Wealth Advisor’s variable annuity asset allocation services, the fee is 1.25% for the VaR allocation series and 1.50% for Retirement Wealth Advisors multi-strategy allocation.
Additional costs: Clients who aren’t in a wrap free program are responsible for brokerage fees and other fees charged by the service provider; these fees are separate from fees charged by the firm as they come from the brokerage firm handling the trades for your portfolio, or from providers or managers of mutual funds, ETFs or other managed products.
A $50 fee is charged for accounts that have balances of less than $100,000; however, the fee can be waived at the discretion of the firm.
Financial planning fees: Financial planning services fees are calculated based on the scope and complexity of services you require. The maximum rate is $5,000. Financial planning services typically require a 50% retainer, which will not exceed $1,200. However, a retainer won’t be collected if the financial plan cannot be rendered within six months. Retirement Wealth Advisors does offer a satisfaction guarantee for its financial plans — if you’re not satisfied, the firm will not bill you for the plan.
Retirement Wealth Advisors does not have any disciplinary events to disclose in its Form ADV, paperwork all registered investment advisory firms must file with the SEC. Disciplinary disclosures include any criminal charges, regulatory actions or legal action against the firm and its advisors or affiliates in order to help prospective clients evaluate the company.
For more information on the firm, you can go to its IAPD page.
Retirement Wealth Advisors has offices in the following states:
For people planning for retirement who have at least $25,000, Retirement Wealth Advisors may be a good choice, with its retirement-focused offerings. However, because the firm uses software that amounts to robo-investing, a savvy client who doesn’t mind forgoing a relationship with an investment advisor could cut out the middleman and use a robo-investing platform themselves, potentially saving money in fees this way.
That said, if they want financial planning services as well, the firm could be a good choice.
Further, because Retirement Wealth Advisors does not publish a tiered-fee schedule, and instead leaves it up for negotiation between client and advisor, those who do not know what the industry standards are for fees may find themselves having to do their own cost comparison. Be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.
The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.