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No matter what you own, how much money you make or how well you understand financial planning, it is almost never a bad idea to listen to financial advice from experts who know the territory and have seen it all. The most financially sophisticated among us should think of it as seeking a second opinion. For those of us who are less well versed in financial matters, the right wealth management advice could be the difference between living the life we want and settling for a lesser version of it. Whatever your financial situation happens to be, there are people in Madison who can help walk you through it.Summit Credit Union
Wealth management is not just for the select few. Summit Credit Union's goal is to help all of its members through the different stages of their financial lives to accumulate the wealth and assets they need to reach their personal goals and milestones with peace of mind. Those milestones could include buying a home, paying for a wedding, helping a child or grandchild pay for college, battling an illness, retiring or leaving an inheritance, among many other things.
"Wealth means different things to different people," says Jody Brown, a financial advisor for Summit Financial Advisors at Summit Credit Union. "We work to position members to get to those milestones and help them through their life events. And the best time to start is now."
While for some people the term "wealth" implies something that only applies to the very rich, the truth is that everyone has wealth and a need to manage it. And just about everyone could benefit from some professional advice from time to time to ensure they're making the most of their money.
Summit Credit Union makes the services of Brown and other financial advisors available to members, with no fees and no obligation to buy other products.
"One of the things that is great about working for Summit is that we work with everybody. If you are a member, it doesn't matter what you have or how much money you make," Brown says.
When Brown meets with members she encourages them to ask questions and share as much information with her as they can.
"I have learned to be a really good listener," Brown says. "The key word is trust. People have to trust me with their personal information and their future in order to be honest and open with me. Once we have that trust, I am able to show them how they can get where they want to go."
First Business Bank
First Business Bank in Madison is known for working with businesses in all stages of their life cycle — from startups to multigenerational businesses — but it also helps individuals and their families grow and preserve their wealth for retirement.
"There is a heavy focus on business here, but our group has grown as an extension of our commercial bank and the personal aspect is a big piece of it," says Brendan Freeman, president of First Business Trust & Investments. "Across the whole spectrum for individuals and their families, our goal is to provide anything our clients need. We get it right for them, the way we would for our own families."
For Freeman, this intense focus on individuals and families has helped him understand that it is impossible to know how to best manage clients' wealth without first getting to know them. Understanding someone's financial future requires knowing his or her life plan, goals and priorities.
First Business works with clients across a broad spectrum of age and life station.
"Wealth is very personal, and for our clients it's often the embodiment of years of hard work," Freeman says. "It's nothing short of our clients' financial freedom, so we work diligently to help them protect it and support their personal plans for the future."
Sometimes people want a future that is much different than their current lifestyle, which could require much more money or much less. Some people want to start taking the vacations they have never taken, and others prioritize putting every grandchild through college. Others care most deeply about the legacy they leave through philanthropy and inheritance.
"What might work for you might not be right for me," says Freeman. "We need to understand you and ask you questions so we can leverage our experience to address whatever your priorities might be."UW Credit Union
Budget planning for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or for the renovations that will turn your home into your dream house are examples of the wealth management services available through UW Credit Union — just as retirement planning and developing investment strategies are.
Wealth management can mean different things to different people. Essentially, it is a strategy that includes financial planning and portfolio management around any life goal or set of goals, which might or might not include retirement. And UW Credit Union offers wealth management assistance to all its members.
"With Investment Services at UW Credit Union you will find that everyone is welcome and treated with respect, regardless of their portfolio size," says Matthew Ruppe, program manager of Investment Services at UW Credit Union. "We truly believe everyone can be helped with some financial planning and that everyone we help has their own unique financial needs. We make sure we are equipped to help those just starting with their investing journey as well as those whose needs might be more sophisticated."
The UW Credit Union Investment Services staff asks key questions in order to start to understand each member's needs and goals. They have no quotas to meet, so the team can take the time to understand members' needs and build recommendations specific to them. They pride themselves on spending time in each meeting with members, educating them on investments and financial planning. They also offer many free educational seminars throughout the year and believe helping members understand the "why" behind their wealth management recommendations is important.
"For us to give our membership the best recommendations, we need to earn their trust," Ruppe says. "This gives our membership the confidence to be honest with us about their financial situation. Over time, for us to be the best financial coaches we can be, we need to have a well-established relationship, because the more we understand about our clients' lives, the better the advice we can give."
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