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Sterling 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.

Sterling Wealth Management is a fee-only, private financial advisor that’s registered with the SEC. The boutique firm is based in Champaign, Illinois. The firm provides holistic financial planning services that revolve around wealth management and asset management.

As a fee-only firm, all of the compensation Sterling Wealth receives comes straight from its clients. A fee-based firm, conversely, earns client-paid fees and third-party compensation, such as insurance or securities commissions.

Sterling Wealth Management Background 

Sharon Allen and Martin Allen founded Sterling Wealth Management in 2004. After being registered at the state level for a while, it became an SEC-registered investment advisor in 2018. Today, the firm employs several certified financial planners (CFPs), and it extends its services to more than 100 clients. Sharon Allen is the firm's CEO.

Sterling Wealth Management Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Sterling Wealth Management mostly works with individuals. About half of these are high-net-worth clients. However, the firm also offers its services to businesses, charities, profit-sharing plans, trusts and estates.

To work with Sterling Wealth Management, you generally need a minimum account balance of $1 million. However, the firm may require a lower minimum based on several factors. These include anticipated future assets, account composition and negotiations with clients. 

Services Offered by Sterling Wealth Management

Sterling Wealth Management offers several services including the following: 

  • Investment consulting
  • Financial planning
  • Relationship management
  • Concierge services

When it comes to investment consulting and asset management, the firm can help you build an investment portfolio utilizing several types of securities including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), commercial paper, municipal bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit (CD) and more. 

In addition, the firm can help you build and maintain an overall wealth management plan. This strategy may touch upon the following aspects of your financial planning: 

Sterling Wealth Management Investment Philosophy

Sterling Wealth Management primarily utilizes fundamental analysis when making investment decisions. It seeks to diversify across and within various asset classes when constructing portfolios. It also believes diversification should be global in nature. 

The firm looks at long-term historical data regarding the performance of different asset classes. Sterling generally believes risk and return are related and that the market is efficient over the long term. 

Fees Under Sterling Wealth Management

For wealth and asset management services, the firm generally charges fees based on the schedule detailed below. These fees are charged quarterly, in arrears.

Sterling Wealth Management Fee Schedule
AUM Annual Fee
$0 – $1,000,000 1.00%
$1,000,000.01 – $5,000,000 0.75%
$5,000,000.01 0.50% 

Check out the table below to see how Sterling Wealth Management's fees might look in dollar terms:

*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 Sterling Wealth Management*
Your Assets Sterling Wealth Management Fee Amounts
$500K $5,000
$1MM $10,000
$5MM $40,000
$10MM $65,000

What to Watch Out For

Sterling Wealth Management hasn’t reported any legal or regulatory disclosures, according to its latest SEC-filed Form ADV.

Opening an Account With Sterling Wealth Management

The easiest way to open an account with Sterling Wealth Management is by visiting its headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. You can also call the office at (217) 398-1900 and speak with an advisor.

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

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

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.