ARE YOU FEELING LIKE JUST ANOTHER STATISTIC?

"If your savings account balance is looking sad, you're not alone.

According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts.

What's more, 34% have no savings at all:

While the numbers seem staggering, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise, consideringabout half of US families have zero retirement account savings .

GOBankingRates also broke down savings by age, so you can see how you stack up against your peers:

How much should you have in the bank?

Most financial advisors recommend having three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund to pay for unexpected costs.

In addition to establishing a rainy day fund, it's smart to set savings goals for major purchases that you hope will be in your future, like a home, car or vacation. It may be helpful to set up multiple savings accounts in order to save for specific expenses."  

-YAHOO FINANCE

 

Does this all hit close to home? 

There's a darn good chance the answer is yes...but that doesn't mean you can't make a change.

You just need to find a roadmap that works for you...

1. 5 STEPS TO BUILDING A SOLID FINANCIAL FOUNDATION
2. TOP 5 WAYS TECHNOLOGY CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
3.  THE BASICS OF INCOME INVESTING

AND

Don't forget that we are always here to provide feedback and solutions to reach whatever goal you have. 

WELA REACHES $100 MILLION IN ASSETS UNDER MANAGEMENT

$100 MILLION DOLLARS! 100. MILLION. DOLLARS.

Last month, we were running our monthly reports and identified that our firm accomplished something…something big within the world of financial advising. 

We had hit the milestone of having $100 million in assets under management. Why is this important? Well, first off… it’s hard as heck to accomplish in the world of financial advice these days. But secondly, it shows the trust that we have been able to build with our users and customers. We are managing over $100 million in investable assets for these families. These are assets that they have saved for their entire lives or that they intend to use in their retirement or for their kids’ college tuitions or for that new house. These are big life milestones for individuals and that’s why this number is taken so seriously… because people are entrusting us to help them manage those monies for them. 

The goal that we have set out to accomplish from day one has always been to combine technology and a human to provide both accessibility and holistic planning to the family that was being neglected by traditional wealth management, while needing more than algorithm only firms could provide. 

But the only way that we would ever be able to accomplish the goal and vision of the company is if we had the trust of our users and customers along with the necessary execution by everyone on our team. This year, we have put a strong focus on each of these and reaching this milestone is an initial step in bettering the way young families get financial advice. 

This is only the beginning, but it is a monumental moment for our company which is necessary to enjoy with those who helped us get here. First and foremost, it starts with a huge thank you to the users and customers who have entrusted us to help manage their financial situation and align their investment philosophy with their more holistic financial goals and objectives. And secondly, it’s about the team that commits day in and day out towards building a technology solution that delivers value to both users and customers alike. This team has a commitment to the vision and executes on it every day. They are the ones who allow for our users to build trust in our brand and our company. 

The financial services industry is evolving every single day. We believe that the next step in the evolution is just beginning and it should be exciting for all consumers of financial advice because every firm’s focus is finding a solution that can better serve the end user in a more elegant and efficient way. 

We believe that Wela is skating to where the puck is going to be. Over the past five years, we have seen a huge pendulum swing in the industry with regards to financial advice. In the past in order to get customized and personal financial advice, you had to have millions of dollars. Over the past five years or so, there has been this trend towards algorithmically driven investment solutions that utilize technology only. This made access to investment advice accessible and elegant but left the personalization on the wayside. We believe the true solution stands in building a solution that leverages technology to deliver holistic financial insights, not just investment management, while also providing access to a dedicated human for each of our users and customers. 

Ultimately, our lives become complex. We decide to buy a home, we get married, we have kids and we change jobs. We have multiple financial goals that we have to focus on while also living our lives in the moment. We believe that the hybrid of technology and a human provides the accessibility and ease of use necessary to change the perception of the financial advice space, while dedicating to the focus of a holistic solution that can be executed on efficiently and effectively by a human being. 

This is only the first step in our journey, but it’s a giant step towards the goal we have of being the most trusted digital financial advice solution for young families. And we want our followers, users and customers to participate in the excitement that comes during this journey. We are open about the challenges we face along with the accomplishments we make… because we feel that is what it takes to gain the trust in an industry that has a history of being stodgy and non-transparent. 

So… cheers to you and thank you for helping in this accomplishment. Let it be the first major milestone of many more to come and we can’t wait to celebrate each one with you! 

Wealthfront and other robos learn the value of human advisors...the hard way

A recent piece in the Financial Times addressed how “Robo-Advisors” have had to do some hand-holding during the recent volatility which, is the opposite of their algorithm-only design. The article points out that behemoth, Charles Schwab, had calls to their service center increase more than 30%. Other platforms had to determine the best way to deal with incoming calls and emails from worried clients. They don’t have the people to chat with them. So, they had to communicate via the platform itself. Some companies didn’t even bother handling calls. Financial Times wrote, “instead of talking through their fears, Wealthfront ... is directing worried customers to online essays by the firm’s chief investment officer.”

The stock market is looking more like a yo-yo these past eight months than it does like the desired upwards shooting arrow.

Over the past couple of years we have been spoiled. Double digit returns became commonplace. In 2012, the S&P 500 rose 16%, 2013 a whopping 32.39%, and another 13.69% in 2014.

Yet, we saw markets drop more than 10% this past summer and we have already experienced a greater than 10% correction in 2016; all one month of it.

During those fortuitous years, a disruption occurred in the financial industry. New companies deemed “Robo-Advisors” were born. By leveraging the power of technology and thoughtful algorithms they slashed the cost of investing and made it more accessible to the mass-affluent.

In my mind they are a digital mutual fund with an app. However, they woke up the financial world in a much needed way by basically saying, “you better adopt technology or we will take all your business, because this is what your customers want.”

I couldn’t agree more.

But here’s the rub: there was a piece missing…humans. You read that right. Humans.

These companies created technology in order to replace human advisors to help minimize costs. These “Robo-Advisors” focused so much on cutting costs, they forgot what investors really need which is a human. A human to keep them committed to a plan in bad times and someone to prevent impulsive decisions driven by greed in good times.

That’s why we created Wela. Because the opportunity lies in leveraging technology to deliver financial advice efficiently and economically while continuing to provide the human touch.

Investors are emotional and thus, during times of volatility like we are experiencing today, they need someone to hold their hand; to help them stay committed to the longer term strategy and it needs to be from someone they trust. Someone that has helped them get set up, helped them in good times and understands their situation.

The recent volatility is only going to continue and talking to a different person every time you call into your robo-advisor’s call center isn’t going to ease your fears. Or even worse, not having an actual human to speak with at all.

From the summer of 2011 to the summer of 2015 we went 48 months without experiencing a drop in the stock market of 10% or more. That doesn’t happen. That’s why we are spoiled. In being spoiled by these good times investors felt a high level of confidence and thus felt comfortable with a hands off, robo-driven service.

This volatility causes fear. Fear that all your hard work, all the money you saved, and all the years you spent growing your retirement accounts will disappear.

So, without guidance from a professional, you sell. You go to cash. The exact opposite of what you should probably do.

This is why the average investor has only seen returns in the stock market of 2.5% per year over the past 20 years versus the stock market which has seen nearly 10% per year.

That’s where the addition of a human advisor truly pays off. Vanguard recently came out with a study which showed that human advisors can actually add 3% to investors returns. The reason? Not simply because of investment selection or effective rebalancing but, because of behavioral coaching; encouraging their investors during times of worry to stay committed to a strategy and squashing greediness in times of positivity.

“Robo-Advisors” transformed an industry that has always been too stodgy, too intimidating and only for the “wealthy” and for that, we are thankful. However what Wela is doing is taking that transformation even further. We are leveraging the elegance and efficiency of technology and combining it with human financial advisors. Not simply to provide easier access to investing but easier access to a necessary driver of successful investing; a human on your side.

References: S&P 500 returns https://ycharts.com/indicators/sandp_500_total_return_annual Average number of days between 10% drops - Ned Davis Research Average Investor returns - Blackrock (have the chart if necessary) Vanguard stud - http://www.vanguard.com/pdf/ISGQVAA.pdf

Disclosure: This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.

[Infographic] Valentine's Day By The Numbers

Valentine's Day can be a bit polarizing. Some accept and look forward to a day of romance and alone time with their loved ones, while others think it's a pointless day manufactured by greeting card companies. Regardless of on which side of the fence you fall, one thing is true: the money spent on Valentine's day is staggering. Our infographic shows you who is spending what on Valentine's day and all the money it's raking in.

Wela-Valentine's-Infographik