Modern-Day Wealth Management

Wealth management is about more than stocks or annuities. For Mike Antonelli, it’s about driving your beat-up old station wagon 2,000 miles to your happy place.

I've done a fair number of public events for Baird over the past few years, and one of the things I've noticed is that there are a great many misconceptions about what a wealth management firm does.

"Don’t you just pick stocks and mutual funds?" is the most common one I hear.

Everyone feels like a genius in a bull market – “why would I need help when my investments only go up?” People open their statements, see a number that keeps getting bigger, gain supreme confidence in their Warren Buffett-like abilities and suddenly risk is just a word in the dictionary. Questionable decisions can be made with very little impact on the outcome. Clients who work with an advisor acknowledge that the gravy train of a bull market may end one day and having someone alongside them helps keep them from making rash decisions. Instead of just stacking a pile of money, they’ve framed what’s important to them and work diligently to achieve their goal regardless of external forces.

Look, the stock market is just a tool in all of this – it’s not the end-all be-all of what we do. Finding out what makes you happy and letting us help you achieve it is far more important than worrying about the Fed or the current price earnings multiple on the S&P 500. Yes, investing is an important component of reaching your life’s goals, and, yes, we put our clients’ money to work in stocks and bonds, but in the end, money isn’t what makes people happy – there are countless studies out there showing that an endless pursuit of wealth is ultimately an unsatisfying treadmill. When you realize that true happiness can’t be found in a number on a statement, you’ll have gained a special kind of wisdom about life.

There’s a small town in Oregon called Sisters, a beautiful little enclave that sits in the shadow of the majestic Cascade mountains. Next to that town is a slice of heaven called Black Butte, which is a collection of homes nestled among pine trees towering toward a bluebird sky. In my childhood, we would pile into our beaten-down station wagon and drive a few hours west, where we’d golf, fish, hike and spend countless summer days among family and friends. It’s my happy place, the place that pops into my head when I think of all my favorite things about being a kid. One of my goals in life is to save enough money to buy a home there and share it with not only my family and friends but with generations to come. I want it to be my legacy, a refuge under a starry sky that brings together everyone I love so they can share that same sense of wonderment I felt as a kid.

You know what I need to make that dream come true? A lot more hard work, savings and the right kind of help.

In the purest sense of the word, that’s what good wealth managers do – they help. They advise people on building a legacy that’s true to their core values. They find out what really matters to someone and then create a highly customized financial plan whose primary purpose is to achieve it. What do you want your legacy to be? A family? A nonprofit? Starting a business? Giving back to your community? Owning a place your family and friends can gather to share stories of love and happiness?

Our advisors help individuals like you with investing, tax planning, legacy planning, Social Security planning and charitable giving, but all of that only serves one purpose – to remove the complexities of modern life so dreams can be pursued. Let a team of incredibly talented individuals handle the complicated work so you can focus on what matters. No, we don’t just pick stocks and mutual funds. No, we aren’t here to just sell you annuities. No, technology isn’t making us obsolete. Human beings are filled with ambitions and desires, flaws and imperfections, and having experts to help along the journey not only saves you from sabotaging yourself in the market, but it frees you to focus on that which brings you deep, meaningful contentment. Find your happy place and let an advisor help the right way.