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Aspiriant Review

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Aspiriant, LLC

Aspiriant, LLC is a fee-only financial advisor firm that’s headquartered in Los Angeles. The firm has additional locations in California, as well as in Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. The sizeable firm has nearly $12 billion in assets under management (AUM) and 86 advisors on staff. Aspiriant has placed on two of SmartAsset’s lists of the top financial advisor firms: the top firms in Los Angeles and the top firms in California.

Aspiriant Background

Aspiriant was formed in 2008. As it exists today, the firm is actually a combination of a few financial advisor businesses that Aspiriant has purchased since its founding. Although Aspiriant is principally owned by holding companies, a large chunk of the firm’s employees hold a stake in its ownership.

Aspiriant employs an impressive 35 certified financial planners (CFPs). Additionally, its team includes 15 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), 13 certified public accountants (CPAs), six certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), five chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), one certified divorce financial analysts (CDFA), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and one accredited estate planner (AEP).

What Types of Clients Does Aspiriant Accept?

By far the most common clients at Aspiriant are high-net-worth individuals, namely business owners, corporate executives and other affluent investors. The firm also has a demonstrated history of working with non-high-net-worth individuals, family partnerships, limited partnerships, businesses, pension plans, profit-sharing plans, pooled investment vehicles, investment companies, foundations and charitable organizations.

Aspiriant Minimum Account Size

Although Aspiriant does not require a specific account minimum, it says that it usually works with clients who have at least $1.5 million in investable assets.

Services Offered by Aspiriant

Aspiriant primarily offers wealth management and financial planning services. Investment management is woven into most of the firm’s services as well. Here is the complete list of the firm’s offerings:

  • Wealth planning
    • Long-term focus
    • Trust planning
    • Estate planning
    • Private foundation planning
    • Investment personalization
    • Stock option consulting
    • Divorce financial consulting with firm’s CDFAs
  • Financial planning
    • Family office
    • Retirement planning
    • Risk management and life/health insurance planning
    • Tax planning
    • Cash and debt management
    • Compensation planning
    • Philanthropic gift planning
    • Bill pay
    • Investment reporting
    • Education funding
  • Investment management
    • In-house investment research
    • Customized investment strategies and portfolios
    • Investment policy statement creation
    • Asset allocation selection
    • Discretionary and non-discretionary services
    • Evaluation of current investments
    • Regular rebalances
    • Sub-advisor selection
    • Tax considerations
    • Investment education

Aspiriant Investment Philosophy

Aspiriant relies on a customizable process to build clients’ investment portfolios. The firm bases clients’ asset allocations on its proprietary capital market expectations (CMEs), or multi-year market projections. Although the firm prefers a long-term investment approach, it will consider short-term investment opportunities.

To find a balance between short-term and long-term strategies, your advisor will generate CMEs for each of these strategies. Aspiriant’s lower-risk investment choices tend to center around bonds and other fixed-income securities, as well as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Its higher-risk investments are usually anchored in stocks, private equities, natural resources and commodities, among other investment types.

Fees Under Aspiriant

Aspiriant determines its fee rates on a client-by-client basis. However, its rates typically fall within the ranges listed in the table below. For investment management, the firm charges clients an annual rate based on a percentage of assets under management. Aspiriant charges clients quarterly in arrears, meaning at the conclusion of each quarter. Clients’ rates are based on the average daily value of their portfolio during the last quarter.

Wealth and financial planning rates are also determined at the discretion of Aspiriant, though the fee schedule for these services is a bit less straightforward. The firm may charge as many as three separate fees, including retainer fees, administrative fees and ongoing consulting fees. Rates are determined based on the complexity of the services needed for a client’s financial situation. Clients are expected to make payments upon receiving the firm’s invoice.

Fees at Aspiriant
Service Type Fee Rates
Investment management
  • 0.20% - 1.00% annual fee
  • $14,000 minimum
Wealth/financial planning
  • Retainer fees: $5,000 - $50,000
  • Ongoing consulting fees: $185 - $675/hour
  • Administrative fees: $95 - $385/hour

What to Watch Out For

Current and prospective clients should note the variety of fees that Aspiriant may charge for its wealth/financial planning services. While many firms charge only an asset-based or fixed fee for these  services, Aspiriant may charge three different fee types: retainer fees, ongoing consulting fees and administrative fees. On top of these fees, if you engage in some form of investment management, you could be subject to costs associated with those services as well.

Additionally, while Aspiriant does not require its clients to use Charles Schwab, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade as a custodian/broker-dealer, the firm does consider the trio as its recommended custodians. Should one of these custodians be used for your account, it could be due in part to the “benefit to Aspiriant of the availability of some products and services” afforded by these companies. Aspiriant and its advisors are fiduciaries, though, meaning the firm is bound to act in clients’ best interests under all circumstances.

Disclosures

Aspiriant has a clean legal and regulatory record according to its SEC-filed Form ADV.

Opening an Account With Aspiriant

To find out more about Aspiriant, prospective clients should call the firm at (310) 806-4000. If you’d prefer that an advisor reach out to you, fill out an email form on Aspiriant’s website. Simply enter your full first and last name, phone number, email address and a clear description of the purpose of your inquiry.

Where Is Aspiriant Located?

Aspiriant’s headquarters is in Los Angeles, at 11100 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 600. Across California, the firm also has branches in Solana Beach, San Francisco, Irvine and Mountain View. Outside of the Golden State, Aspiriant has offices in New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

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How Many Years $1 Million Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about cost of living in retirement there.

Least
Most
Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities. Using that calculation, we determined how many years $1 million would last in retirement in each major city.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors throughout the country. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Finally, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would last in each of the cities in our study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research