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Retirement Wealth Advisors Review

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Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc.

Retirement Wealth Advisors is a fee-only financial advisor firm that ranks second on our list of the top firms in Grand Rapids. Although the firm is headquartered in Michigan, it also employs advisors in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

With just under $2 billion in assets under management (AUM) and 189 financial advisors on staff, this a large advisory firm. Despite what its name might suggest, Retirement Wealth Advisors offers much more than just retirement planning. It also provides a number of other advisory and financial planning services to its client, who are primarily individual investors with and without a high net worth.

Retirement Wealth Advisors Background

President and CEO Jason Wenk founded Retirement Wealth Advisors in 2005. Wenk still principally owns the firm. No other partner owns more than a quarter of its shares.

Wenk is also the founder of FormulaFolio Investments, another firm that ranks on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This web-based firm has over $3 billion in AUM, showcasing Wenk’s ability to build massive advisory businesses.

What Types of Clients Does Retirement Wealth Advisors Accept?

Retirement Wealth Advisors has almost 15,700 client accounts, almost all of which belong to individuals with and without a high net worth. However, its client base extends beyond individual investors, as it also works with trusts, estates, businesses, charitable organizations, pension plans, profit-sharing plans and investment advisors.

Retirement Wealth Advisors Minimum Account Size

You must have at least $25,000 in investable assets to work with Retirement Wealth Advisors. In some cases, though, the firm may waive this requirement.

Services Offered by Retirement Wealth Advisors

Although retirement planning and account review are Retirement Wealth Advisors’ main focuses, it offers services beyond those. This includes:

  • Investment and asset management
    • Discretionary and non-discretionary continuous portfolio management
    • In-depth evaluation of clients’ personal financial plans
    • Regular rebalances and ongoing account supervision
    • Asset allocation recommendations
    • Constant assessments of the market 
  • Financial planning
    • Net worth statements
    • Cash flow analysis
    • Investment account review
    • Asset allocation planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate planning
    • 401(k) optimization
    • Annuity stress tests
    • Strategic tax planning and minimization
    • Insurance policy review and recommendations
    • Education fund planning
    • Mutual fund analysis
    • Hold/sell recommendations for individual securities
  • Variable annuity asset allocation
    • Multi-strategy allocation planning

Retirement Wealth Advisors Investment Philosophy

Retirement Wealth Advisors creates fully customized investment portfolios for each of its clients. This involves tailoring investment choices to each client’s personal risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity needs. To refine each of these details, the advisor will have an in-depth discussion with the client about his or her current financial situation and future goals.

Even with this level of personalization, the firm does have a number of investments that it tends to use in client portfolios. First and foremost are mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), but it also uses account equities, warrants, corporate debt securities, CDs, commercial paper, municipal securities, investment company securities, U.S. government securities, options contracts, futures contracts and interests in partnerships.

Fees Under Retirement Wealth Advisors

Retirement Wealth Advisors doesn’t utilize a uniform fee schedule, but rather has specific rates and maximum fees for each of the services it offers. For financial planning, the firm’s most commonly used service, clients are charged based on how much money they’re investing and the complexity of their needs. The firm’s financial planning fees will never exceed $5,000. You may need to pay a 50% retainer at the time you sign an agreement with the firm.

Retirement Wealth Advisors does not make its fee schedule for its investment management services publicly available. However, it does indicate that rates are determined individually based on the nature of each client’s advisory needs. The firm divides its annual fee into 12 monthly charges that are based on the average daily balance of a client’s account over the prior month. If a client’s portfolio is worth $100,000 or less, the firm also charges a $50 administrative service fee.

What to Watch Out For

As Retirement Wealth Advisors has well over 15,000 client accounts and fewer than 200 advisors, a reasonable concern could be how much personal attention your portfolio will receive. Although the firm is built to run on a relatively automated basis, some clients may not feel comfortable with such an approach.

Some of the advisors at this firm are independently registered to sell insurance policies or securities through outside insurance agencies and broker-dealers, respectively. This is done under the pretense of additional compensation, such as commissions. RWA is a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though, legally binding its advisors to act in your best interest at all times.

Disclosures

The Form ADV that Retirement Wealth Advisors has filed with the SEC shows that the firm has a clean legal and disciplinary record.

Opening an Account With Retirement Wealth Advisors

Retirement Wealth Advisors has a very strong web presence, so its website is a great place to start if you’re looking to become a client. Since its advisors are scattered across the country, the firm has built an online advisor directory that will allow you to easily find advisors in your area. You can also call the firm at (800) 903-2562 if you’d prefer to talk to a representative directly.

Where Is Retirement Wealth Advisors Located?

Retirement Wealth Advisors’ three main offices are in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Spring Lake, Michigan and Costa Mesa, California. However, it employs advisors across the country, including in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Tips to Increase Your Retirement Income

  • Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Instead of searching for ways to accrue more assets for your retirement, perhaps consider moving to a more affordable locale. This can be a great way to save some money, especially for those who are nearing retirement and don’t have the time or means to increase their income. SmartAsset has taken the time to figure out which states are the most cost-friendly for retirees.

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