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Bernhardt Wealth Management Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Bernhardt Wealth Management is a well-known advisory firm in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The company, along with some individual advisors, has been widely recognized in the financial advisor community for its excellence.

This fee-only firm is a financial advisor firm located in McLean, Virginia. The firm has been in business for over 25 years and specializes in strategic investment management and wealth management. Bernhardt also has a spot on our list of the top financial advisors in McLean, Virginia

Bernhardt Wealth Management Background

Bernhardt Wealth Management was founded in 1994 by Gordon Bernhardt, the firm’s president. Gordon Bernhardt served as a certified public accountant (CPA) for PriceWaterhouseCoopers prior to creating BWM. In total, he’s worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years.

At Bernhardt Wealth Management, you’ll find advisory certifications such as certified financial planner (CFP), accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), accredited asset management specialist (AAMS), certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and CPA.

Bernhardt Wealth Management Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Individuals, high-net-worth individuals, estates, trusts, pension plans, profit-sharing plans, ERISA accounts and small businesses make up the client base at Bernhardt Wealth Management.

Prospective clients of Bernhardt Wealth Management are subject to a $1 million minimum account size. At a smaller level, the firm institutes a minimum quarterly fee of $2,500.

Services Offered by Bernhardt Wealth Management

Bernhardt Wealth Management offers wealth management and financial planning services, but investment management is its focus. Here’s a breakdown of its offerings:

  • Strategic investment management
    • Investment plan design
    • Investment implementation
    • Quarterly reporting
    • Portfolio optimization
  • Wealth management
    • Portfolio management
    • Tax planning
    • Education planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate planning
    • Philanthropic planning

Bernhardt Wealth Management Investment Philosophy

Long-term investing and financial planning is the central focus at Bernhardt Wealth Management. However, when you first become a client, your advisor will evaluate your short-term liquidity needs as well as your existing savings. Based on this and your risk tolerance, the firm will create an investment plan that’s aimed at meeting your ultimate financial goals.

BWM uses a wide range of investment types so that it can meet the needs of all of its clients. Principal among its investment recommendations are no-load mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds, index funds, variable annuities, short-term paper and mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Notably missing from this list are stocks. To work equities into your portfolio, the firm will invest in equity-centric mutual funds.

Fees Under Bernhardt Wealth Management

The investment management services at Bernhardt Wealth Management operate on a sliding, asset-based fee schedule. Although these rates are shown in annual percentages, BWM divides them up into quarterly payments. These are charged in advance either directly from your account or through a separate billing arrangement.

Strategic Investment Management Fees
Assets Under Management Annual Fee
First $1MM 1.00%
Next $2MM 0.75%
Next $2MM 0.50%
Next $5MM 0.25%
Over $10MM 0.10%

Financial planning and consulting clients abide by different fee schedules. If you want a financial plan, you’ll need to pay a fixed-fee of up to $5,000 depending on the complexity of your situation. Consulting clients receive an hourly rate of $300. According to BWM, fixed fees are split into two payments, while all hourly fees are billed in arrears.

Check out the table below to see how Bernhardt’s fees for its management services compare to those at similar financial advisor firms. Note that these fees are only estimates and actual costs may vary.

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Investment Management Fees at Bernhardt*
Your Assets Bernhardt Fee Amounts
$500K $5,000
$1MM $10,000
$5MM $35,000
$10MM $47,500

Bernhardt Wealth Management Awards and Recognition

Here's an overview of some of the industry awards Bernhardt Wealth Management has received:

  • Gordon J. Bernhardt Awarded 2020 Executive C.H.A.R.M. Award
  • Gordon J. Bernhardt Awarded 2019 Vistage Lifetime Achievement Award

What to Watch Out For

Bernhardt Wealth Management has a clean legal and regulatory record, according to its Form ADV.

Opening an Account With Bernhardt Wealth Management

To start an advisory relationship with BWM, you can call (703) 356-4380 or send an email to gordon@BernhardtWealth.com. If you’d prefer to have an advisor reach out to you, take a few minutes to fill out the firm’s online contact form.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Tips for Planning Your Retirement

  • There’s no shame in looking for help when planning for something as important as your retirement. Being that retiring is a bona fide milestone in most Americans’ lives, financial advisors often provide retirement planning services. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • When creating a roadmap to save for your retirement, don’t forget to take into account Social Security. While it would be difficult for anyone to live solely on these payments, tacking them onto your existing savings can be valuable. To figure out exactly what you can expect, visit SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator.

How Long $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 the cost of living in retirement for that location.

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

Methodology We weighed potential expenditures for a prospective retiree with a  $1 million nest egg to assess how many years that fund would cover in retirement in America’s largest cities.

We 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. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in metro areas across the U.S.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a net annual return of 2% after inflation. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.