I am a wealth manager in Silicon Valley/San Francisco, AMA

Plancorp dlgb11
Nov 21, 2019 669 Comments

• I help tech employees/entrepreneurs manage their money
• Have worked in wealth management in SV & SF for 10+ years
• Our firm manages ~$4B and I head our San Francisco office. I'm also helping to build BrightPlan (digital wealth management solution) & teach personal finance at UC Berkeley Extension

EDIT: Thanks for the love everyone. I'll leave with one of my favorite podcasts of all time on money. Seems like many in the community would appreciate the topics discussed here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/morgan-housel-the-psychology-of-money/id1241946146?i=1000439082944

Disclaimer:
My responses are for informational purposes only and should not be used as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. All investing involves risk. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Diversification does not ensure a profit or guarantee against a loss. You should consult your own investment, tax, legal and accounting advisors.

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TOP 669 Comments
  • Amazon LqLHbL
    Any advice for people who just started their career? How should they plan their spending/saving?
    Nov 21, 2019 6
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Solid advice.

      But be balanced.

      Enjoy your 20's because you only get it once. There is no point in saving millions that you can't even spend later. If Warren Buffet gave you a chance to take his place, if he could take your place, would you do it? I've never heard a yes answer to this question.

      I've had older clients that have a lot saved and always dreamt of traveling later in life. But once they are retired, they realize they can't travel because they can't walk as much, or their body is too frail, etc.

      There are a lot of tools available now that let you automate your savings. Create a structure so that you don't have to make a decision to save each time. Be frugal but not cheap. Offer to pay for the meal next time you're out with your parents.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • is amazon being frugal but not cheap?

      edit: i really like the advice btw!
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      I guess that depends on what you're buying at amazon :)
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Facebook mminfb
      Any recommendations for good savings automation tools?
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Betterment, Wealthfront & Personal Capital are some big ones.
      Nov 22, 2019
  • What’s the median personal (not household) net worth of your clients?
    Nov 21, 2019 10
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Ha, you’re right. I gave our normal marketing answer and didn’t give it much thought. I don’t think the median is helpful because we have clients with $1M (often younger clients accumulating quickly) and clients with a net worth north of a $1B, although we don’t manage all of their assets. My guess would be that the median is somewhere in the $100M’s but that’s not our typical client. I would guess that the average net worth would be something like $5M. Gave a range because I thought that would be more helpful. Hope this clarifies.
      Nov 23, 2019
    • Dropbox pSVX53
      If the median is 100m that is your typical client. The innumeracy you’re displaying is kind of hilarious
      Nov 23, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Gosh, this is one thread I wish I could take back and start over. I fail on this one. I'll probably say something wrong again if I say anything more... and I think I answered the gist of the question so moving on.

      At least I know how to answer this question better if it comes up again in the future.
      Nov 24, 2019
    • Dropbox pSVX53
      Plancorp - financial asset management without the pesky “numbers”
      Nov 24, 2019
    • Apple oldejxdbd
      Let it die OP. We just joshin ya
      Nov 24, 2019
  • Is wealth management just a scam? It seems like all you’re saying are common sense/general things that most who managed to accumulate this level of wealth should already know..so what value do you bring and how much do you charge for your services? Do you just deal with people who inherited and don’t know anything about investing or are there self made guys that really know shit about money(surprising)?
    Nov 21, 2019 7
    • Amazon TDKU11
      I have to say this is a really great answer OP and I am happy you choose to answer this!
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Airbnb follow
      This answer makes me want to hire you. Bravo.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Indeed / Eng Bridg3s
      I wish I could save messages because this was a great one
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Thanks for the love. Appreciate it!
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Good answer, interesting insight
      Nov 21, 2019
  • Oracle OlJs40
    Why would I possibly hire you? I got an MBA. After my first finance class I fired my financial planner when I realized the fees were a ripoff. The fees people like you charge are ridiculous. 1-2% is a massive fee when compounded. Its a total waste of money. Why pay you over just getting cheap index funds that are fully diversified?
    Nov 21, 2019 4
    • Amazon / Eng Xplorer
      Was that before or after you realized that MBA is a giant waste of money and time
      Nov 21, 2019
    • AT&T MsdR32
      Some asset managers charge much lower fees, like .2 or .3% I still think it's a rip off, but not all are as bad as 1-2%.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      If you have the time and skill to do it yourself, absolutely agree that you do not need to hire an advisor. No argument there.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Symantec / Ops
      SymSnacks

      Symantec Ops

      BIO
      Executive serving the Technical Operations industry for almost two decades out of the Bay Area. My passion is growing people into their fullest potential.
      SymSnacksmore
      Real talk ☝️
      Nov 21, 2019
  • Google swinglyf
    What returns does your firm produce annually? Say 3, 5 and 10 years?

    What is that number after accounting for your cut?
    Nov 21, 2019 14
    • Salesforce kuttekidum
      Exactly... my lolz was for that 1% fees too...
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Agree on the lolz. I get that a lot :)

      That being said, I think this community in particular will appreciate understanding the value of your self worth. I am going to ask to be paid what I feel my services are worth. Some people will agree and happily pay it, while others will go find someone cheaper or do it themselves.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Salesforce kuttekidum
      How about you value yourself on your results? If you make me 15%, I don’t have any problems in giving you a 1.5% but if u make me 0 you should probably owe me money...
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Google swinglyf
      @salesforce: that’ll work if the market demands that from him. If enough people will just pay him 1% because they don’t track this stuff and he takes care of it, he has no reason to take on a higher volatility offer like yours.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Again, if you have the time and skill to do it yourself, absolutely agree that you do not need to hire an advisor.

      If you find an advisor that guarantees 15% without any loss at 1.5% fee, please share - I'd love to learn from them! It could very well likely be a scam... so be careful.
      Nov 22, 2019
  • Amazon dssa2
    Are there any significant pearls of wisdom you want to share that are not commonly known? It would be fascinating to know how your clients got wealthy and if they are doing some unconventional things.
    Nov 21, 2019 4
    • Google rbtrnndsnw
      I talked to a financial advisor today, also in the Bay Area. He had said that it’s not necessarily the amount of money you make, but the financial decisions you make along the way. And to try to not be like those people who go 90mph in a 65mph freeway - yeah they might get there faster but if they do it again and again they are bound to make a mistake, maybe get pulled over, hurt. You’ll get there faster going 65. He said he loves this story as this is what he sees with becoming wealthy. He knows lots of people who were government workers who are much better off than people making very high salaries
      Nov 21, 2019
    • State Farm sweeeeee
      Financial decisions as in not buying a $80k car when a $40k one will do?
      Nov 22, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      I think a common misconception about the wealthy is that they got there through some secret sauce. From my experience and in general, the wealthy got that way by working hard, saving consistently, and avoiding any major financial mistakes over time.

      Like physical wellness, financial wellness is often more about discipline than anything else.

      They make good judgement by being very thoughtful about each decision, and thinking long-term. They understand what they know and what they don't know.

      They value their time and are careful how they use it, and who they use it with.
      Nov 22, 2019
    • Netflix wheresthe$
      ^ Rinse and repeat over several generations
      Nov 22, 2019
  • CDW VQqN03
    How can y’all Californians in good conscience tell your customers “Bring me your money and I’ll make you wealthy”, then turn around and vote for candidates that tell you “Bring me your wealthy and I’ll take their money”?

    Asking for a friend..
    Nov 23, 2019 28
    • Microsoft iamletired
      LOL no. This is why non-tech people hate techies. Techies are idiots.
      Nov 26, 2019
    • Microsoft isitlinux?
      socialists and commies are idiots. useful ones. google the term
      Nov 26, 2019
    • Microsoft iamletired
      Do you think "useful idiots" is some obscure reference?
      Nov 26, 2019
    • Microsoft isitlinux?
      look it up
      Nov 27, 2019
    • Microsoft iamletired
      Oh, despite my comment you still think I need to look it up...
      Nov 27, 2019
  • Microsoft skankhunt1
    What do you guys do when the wealth declines due to bad investments
    Nov 21, 2019 8
    • Microsoft l33tH4x
      How do you tell if something is down due to volatility vs due to bad investment?
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Microsoft 🥜ela2
      @l33tH4x isn’t their trait secret? I mean otherwise what else differentiates a good advisor from a bad one?
      Nov 21, 2019
    • IBM yxUI56
      I hear financial advisor are shady b/c they are commission based. If they manage $100M & it drops to $80M, it’s not like they owe you anything. Only work with financial fiduciaries.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Agreed. Advisors that cant give a straight answer that they are a fiduciary is no good. It’s basically asking “will you give me advice that is really in my best interest and not in the interest of you making a big commission or your company making a profit?”, and the advisor saying, “well.... maybe sometimes I don’t know”.
      Nov 23, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      TBH there is nothing super secret about how I invest for my clients. It’s information that is available for anyone to read and follow. You can do it yourself as well! Keep costs low, manage taxes, and be broadly diversified.

      I think I am good at managing and recognizing risk. Sometimes it’s not about how much you can get in returns annually, but what mistakes you can avoid. This applies not just to investments, but things like estate planning and liability insurance etc.

      The S&P500 index went down almost 20% at the end of last year. It’s at record highs this year, up almost 25% YTD.

      People tend to bail out when the market drops, and then get back in once it’s back up. A lot of times all I do for investments is tell people to stay disciplined and to stick to the overall plan.

      Slow and steady wins the race.
      Nov 23, 2019
  • Google rbtrnndsnw
    I am a young person in my 20s and am newish to investing. I’ve saved around $500k. Should I get an advisor to manage my $$ at a 1.5% rate or should I just invest in the 3 fund portfolio strategy and an REIT and skip this option?? What would you tell your son or daughter to do?
    Nov 21, 2019 8
    • T-Mobile / Finance tk3m6w
      Seriously insane, great job. There are people all over America who will never understand that feeling. I still have 100k of student loans to pay off with only my meager 401k in my early 40s...
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Iterable rAGJ17
      500k in 20s. Good for you, mind if I ask if you’re in early 20s or late. And what’s your yoe and TC?
      Nov 21, 2019
    • T-Mobile / Finance tk3m6w
      The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures from 2017 show median weekly wages progressively increasing with educational attainment:

      Professional degree: $1,836

      Doctoral degree: $1,743

      Master's degree: $1,401

      Bachelor's degree: $1,173

      Associate's degree: $836

      Some college, no degree: $774

      High school diploma, no college: $712

      Less than a high school diploma: $520
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Google rbtrnndsnw
      Thanks guys :). I’m in my late 20s. My tc is around $260k but only that high just recently. I have around 5 YOE.
      Nov 21, 2019
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      ☝🏼 this is how you become wealthy.
      Nov 22, 2019
  • Google / Eng yogi bear
    any wise words regarding money&happiness? what do you think about us rat racers on blind?
    Nov 21, 2019 1
    • Plancorp dlgb11
      OP
      Studies have shown that once you have your basic needs covered, which is about $70k in income, but probably more like $120k or so in the Bay Area, more income doesn't necessarily make you more happy.

      I've seen families with $10M+ that are super unhappy and feel poor, and families with $1M that are happy and feel rich enough to give back time and money to their community every year.

      I think if you are dependent on money to be happy, you will find it since there is always someone wealthier, something more and better to buy.

      I would really spend some time on what makes you happy - a lot of people don't have an answer to this seemingly easy question.
      Nov 22, 2019

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