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Buckingham Strategic Wealth Review

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Buckingham Strategic Wealth

Buckingham Strategic Wealth is a fee-only financial advisor firm that employs a large staff of 160 financial advisors. These advisors work out of the firm’s offices located across the U.S., including in Missouri, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming, West Virginia, Colorado, Texas, Virginia, Indiana, California, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New Jersey and Arizona. The firm’s headquarters is in St. Louis.

Buckingham has just over $13.7 billion in assets under management (AUM), most of which belongs to individual investors. Buckingham’s premier service, Practice Integrated Wealth Management, provides holistic financial planning services alongside the firm’s other advisory services.

Buckingham Strategic Wealth Background

Buckingham Strategic Wealth was established in 1994. The firm is solely owned by financial services holding company, Focus Financial Partners, LLC. Focus Financial is a massive, publicly traded company that owns many advisory firms like Buckingham throughout the country. 

Buckingham’s staff of 160 financial advisors has a number of different certifications. The firm’s team includes certified financial planners (CFP), certified public accountants (CPA), chartered financial analysts (CFA) and chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIA).

What Types of Clients Does Buckingham Strategic Wealth Accept?

Buckingham Strategic Wealth works with more than 7,000 individual investors, both with and without a high net worth. The rest of the firm’s client base consists of businesses, pension plans, profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations.

Buckingham Strategic Wealth Minimum Account Size

Buckingham Strategic Wealth’s minimum account size and fee requirements vary by client type. They are as follows:

  • Wealth management clients:
    • $500,000 initial investment
    • $5,000 minimum annual fee
  • Institutional advisory clients: 
    • $26,000 minimum annual fee for accounts with $5 million or more in AUM
  • Investment management clients:
    • $250 minimum quarterly fee

Services Offered by Buckingham Strategic Wealth

Buckingham Strategic Wealth offers a complete set of advisory services for each of its client types. Check out the list below for the firm’s full offerings:

  • Practice Integrated Wealth Management/Financial planning services
    • General financial planning
    • Financial goal determination
    • Budget planning
    • Cash flow and debt review
    • Business transition planning
    • Education cost planning
      • 529 plans
    • Retirement planning
    • Investment planning
    • Divorce planning
    • Tax planning and minimization
    • Estate planning
    • Disability income analysis
  • Advisory services
    • Investment portfolio management
    • Creation of a specific investment policy statement
    • Passive and active investing
    • Asset allocation
    • Continuous oversight and rebalances
    • Client-advisor review meetings
    • Regular monitoring of client credit scores
    • Third party investment advisor
  • Employee benefit retirement plan services
    • Creation of a specific investment policy statement
    • Investment recommendations based on plan’s goals
    • Investment monitoring
    • Plan participant education
    • Fiduciary plan advice
  • Sub-advisory services for independent RIAs
    • Client portfolio analysis
    • Creation of specific investment policy statement
    • Strategy recommendation
    • Performance monitoring and quarterly reports
    • In-person meetings

Buckingham Strategic Wealth Investment Philosophy

Buckingham Strategic Wealth utilizes a long-term, evidence-based investment approach that is founded on past and current market research. It firmly believes that attempting to beat the market is difficult and costly. Therefore, Buckingham largely avoids short-term investing, which tries to take advantage of quick shifts in the market.

Buckingham primarily uses mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and bonds in client portfolios. While bonds are individual investments, mutual funds and ETFs group multiple investments into a single, inherently diversified fund. Buckingham typically selects mutual funds and ETFs that include fixed income securities, commodity futures, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and alternative investments.

Fees Under Buckingham Strategic Wealth

Unlike some financial advisor firms, Buckingham Strategic Wealth has multiple fee schedules, depending on which service you use. The firm charges fees in three distinct ways: annually, monthly and hourly. Annual fees, which are based on a percentage of assets under management, are charged in advance and are divided into four equal fees charged each quarter. Monthly fixed fees and hourly fees are charged in advance every month.

Fees at Buckingham Strategic Wealth
Service Type Fee Rate
General advisory services 0.40% - 1.25% annual fee
Practice Integrated Wealth Management/Financial planning $150 - $825 monthly fee
Employee benefit retirement plan services 0.20% - 1.00% annual fee
Tax planning and related services $200 - $350 hourly fee

You can pay the above fees either through a direct withdrawal from your account, or you can choose to receive monthly fee statements. If you want to take the direct withdrawal route, you must provide written authorization.

What to Watch Out For

All clients of Buckingham Strategic Wealth must keep their assets in either a Schwab, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade account. The firm states in its Form ADV (SEC-filed paperwork) that this is based “in part on the benefit to Buckingham of the availability of some of the foregoing products, services and economic benefits” from these companies. This does present a conflict of interest, but the firm maintains a fiduciary status that requires it to act in clients’ best interests in all situations.

Disclosures

Buckingham Strategic Wealth has no disclosures listed in its Form ADV.

Opening an Account With Buckingham Strategic Wealth

On Buckingham Strategic Wealth’s website, you’ll find an interactive map that allows you to virtually visit each branch of the firm. There you’ll get an overview of the branch’s specialties and team members, as well as the office’s contact information. If you aren’t sure where to start, though, feel free to email the firm at info@bamadvisor.com or call (800) 711-2027.

Where Is Buckingham Strategic Wealth Located?

Buckingham Strategic Wealth is headquartered in St. Louis, at 8182 Maryland Avenue, Suite 500. The firm operates an additional 25 branches in Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming, West Virginia, Colorado, Texas, Virginia, Indiana, California, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Arizona and New Jersey.

Tips to Plan for Your Retirement

  • The best way to figure out how much you’ll need to save for retirement is to determine what your income requirements may be when you reach your golden years. Our retirement calculator can help you do this.
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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