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Willingdon Wealth Management Review

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Willingdon Wealth Management

Willingdon Wealth Management, LLC is a fee-only financial advisor firm that currently has more than $562 million in assets under management. The firm is based in Huntersville, North Carolina. Its 12-person advisory staff includes four chartered financial analysts (CFA), two certified financial planners (CFP), one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) and one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC).

The firm primarily serves individual investors who don’t have a high net worth, though it also works with high-net-worth individuals and numerous types of institutional clients. It offers investment portfolio management and financial planning, among other services.

Willingdon Wealth Management Background

Willingdon Wealth Management has been in business in Huntersville, North Carolina, since 2003. Since its founding, Willingdon Wealth Management’s founder and president Mike Kayes has principally owned the firm. He technically owns the firm through his holding company, Willingdon Holdings, Inc., which holds his shares.

Kayes has been in the financial services industry for close to 40 years, and he previously worked at other major firms in the area before establishing Willingdon. The rest of the firm’s upper management team also has ample experience, boasting an average of 25 years in the financial industry.

What Types of Clients Does Willingdon Wealth Management Accept?

More than 80% of the client base at Willingdon Wealth Management is made up of non-high-net-worth individuals. However, high-net-worth individuals are a close second in terms of assets under management. The firm also can advise estates, trusts, businesses, banks, pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations.

Willingdon Wealth Management Minimum Account Size

In most situations, Willingdon Wealth Management adheres to a $500,000 minimum account size. It does, however, reserve the right to waive or alter that requirement for certain clients.

Services Offered By Willingdon Wealth Management

Willingdon Wealth Management primarily focuses on providing investment portfolio management and financial planning services. More specifically, the firm offers:

  • Financial planning
  • Investment portfolio management
    • Discretionary and non-discretionary management
    • Regular rebalances
    • Multiple pre-built investment strategies
  • Fiduciary management
    • Investment recommendations and model portfolios
    • Investment plan monitoring
    • Investment performance reviews
  • Retirement plan advisory
    • Consulting for plan sponsors and participants
    • Also can be a stand-alone service

Willingdon Wealth Management Investment Philosophy

Willingdon Wealth Management is unlike the majority of financial advisor firms that have begun favoring investments like exchange-traded funds (ETFs), index funds and mutual funds. Instead, most of its clients’ assets are invested in individual stocks and bonds, though it may also include the above investment types as well as real estate investment trusts (REITs), preferred stocks and option strategies in client portfolios.

Because the overall market and economy are constantly in flux, Willingdon prioritizes staying on its toes to avoid becoming stagnant. To accomplish this, the firm is constantly reviewing its stated strategy by running models to determine how its particular investments could perform in the future.

Fees Under Willingdon Wealth Management

Willingdon’s fees are based on a percentage of the assets you’ve placed under the firm’s management. The more assets you have, the lower your annual rate will be. The firm adheres to the following fee schedule:

Assets Under Management Annual Fee
First $1MM 1.20%
Next $1MM 1.00%
Next $3MM 0.80%
Over $5MM 0.60%

Although the above fees are listed as annual rates, Willingdon charges clients quarterly. This means that at the beginning of every quarter, you’ll have to pay one-fourth of your rate. The firm typically debits these payments directly from your account, but there are other ways to pay if you’d prefer an alternative.

The table below shows how Willingdon’s rates compare. Note that these fees are only estimates. Actual costs may vary based on a variety of factors.

*Fee estimates only consider the maximum base fees for the services each firm provides. You may also pay manager fees and other fees, which can vary in amount.  **All figures are based on median fee levels according to Bob Veres' 2017 Planning Profession Fee Survey. The above estimates solely take into account AUM-only fees. Total costs will likely be higher due to additional expenses.
Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Willingdon Wealth Management National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K $6,000 $5,000
$1MM $12,000 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $46,000 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $76,000 $50,000

What to Watch Out For

Although Willingdon Wealth Management has over $500 million in assets under management, it’s not one of the larger firms in the grand scheme of the financial advisor industry. In turn, it does not have as many partnerships with other financial institutions around the country as some of its contemporaries. While this may not be a huge issue for some prospective clients, if you’re looking to have the entirety of your finances taken care of through your advisor and their affiliates (such as banking and mortgage needs), Willingdon cannot oblige.


Willingdon Wealth Management has a clean record.

Opening an Account With Willingdon Wealth Management

If you live in the Huntersville, North Carolina area, you can stop by Willingdon Wealth Management’s office to learn more about the firm and meet with an advisor. You can set up an appointment or ask questions about the firm by calling (704) 659-7817.

Where Is Willingdon Wealth Management Located?

Willingdon Wealth Management is located Huntersville, North Carolina. Its sole office is situated in western Huntersville, off of the Bill Lee Freeway, at 13801 Reese Boulevard, Suite 155.

Tips to Get Your Retirement Savings Off the Ground

  • Even if you’re knowledgeable when it comes to saving for retirement, working with a financial advisor can ensure you stay on track. 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.
  • The sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be. SmartAsset’s 401(k) calculator can give you  a glimpse of the value of your 401(k) account as you earn interest over time.

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 the cost of living in retirement for that location.

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

Methodology To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. 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. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. 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.

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