Ryan Furtwangler is a principal and senior financial advisor in the Stuart, Florida, offices of HBKS®. He began his career in 2002 with a regional brokerage firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then transferred to Edward D. Jones where he was an advisor and ultimately managed its Harborcreek office. During his tenure there, he became aware for the need for comprehensive financial planning and asset allocation, which led him to move his practice to HBKS® in 2005.
Ryan enjoys working with the complexities relating to multi-generational wealth and estate planning, as well as income replacement strategies for people transitioning into retirement. He believes that to preserve and grow wealth it is necessary to stay focused on the client’s total financial picture and how all aspects of their finances interconnect. Ryan has worked with the Stuart team and firm leadership since 2005 working as a financial advisor, senior financial advisor and now as a partner in the firm. Ryan is also a key member of two of the firms steering committees – The Investment Policy Committee and the Insurance Committee.
Ryan earned his Bachelor of Science Degree (Cum Laude) in Finance with a concentration in Investment Analysis & Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. He also completed coursework in Aerospace Engineering at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and holds Life, Annuity and Health Insurance licenses.
Ryan is a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), Amara Shriners and alumni of the Martin County Leadership Program. He also sits on the board of the Martin Health Advisory Board, Martin County Estate Planning Council and Molly’s House. He is also the chairman of the Frances Langford Grant’s committee for the Martin County Community Foundation. Ryan is also a past board member of the Treasure Coast Symphony and Martin’s Crossing Home Owners Association.
Why have you stayed at HBKS® as long as you have?
It’s our culture. Our industry, in my opinion, is littered with well-meaning advisors, brokers, trust officers, insurance agents and others who are primarily salespeople. They can fall victim to promoting their firm’s products or believing they alone have all the answers. Our culture is one that embraces various opinions and comes up with a unified, well-researched strategy for each client. This approach applies, whether it’s portfolio design, wealth and retirement planning, taxes, liquidity events or something as simple as buying or leasing a car. Our independence gives us so many advantages over our peers, all to the benefit of our clients. This also attracts great thinkers to the firm, each with their own areas of expertise. Our clients might see one or two of us, but they get a team covering almost every financial aspect of their lives. That is unique in today’s world of flash and dash.
What is the most fulfilling aspect about your work?
I don’t know that there is just one thing. When I was young I used to work construction in the summers. It was a brutal, dirty, hot job, but I did it for years. I did it partly because the money was great, but really it was because nothing was more satisfying than thinking through a series of problems, deploying a plan and seeing a final product put a smile on someone’s face.
I still like to build things – I just do it now with a box of financial tools rather than hammer and nails. The best part is that the building is never finished and no two clients are the same. My ability to combine the resources of our firm with my own knowledge and that of our team to design an ever-evolving plan is incredibly fulfilling. It’s so satisfying knowing that we are helping our clients achieve their goals and aspirations, which ultimately means helping with their happiness and protecting their life’s work.
What would you look for in a wealth manager?
A few things I think are most important:
- Independence – Is the practitioner independent? Are there conflicts of interest, like being compensated for selling their own products? A good test is to look at who holds the portfolio. If the statements are issued by the same organization that sold you investment products, odds are they aren’t unbiased. They should also be a fiduciary, so ask if all your money will be handled as a fiduciary.
- Expertise – Are they qualified to solve problems, both as part of overseeing a portfolio and with your overall finances? I would want a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) on my team, and ideally, a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) working in the background.
- Team – Some providers are solo practitioners. I would be looking for a team – that is, a team that collaborates, not just a collection of solo practitioners sharing clients and a roof.
- Size matters – Generally I would want a firm that is large enough to have deep resources and talent, but small enough provide an intimate client experience.
- Fee-based – While commissions do serve a purpose in limited places (such as term life insurance), generally the practitioner should charge a fee as opposed to commissions. This structure reduces the conflicts of interest inherent in the commission world.
- Comprehensive – Is the advisor comprehensive? All parts of your finances are interconnected, so in addition to managing your investments, your advisor should know taxes; retirement and estate planning; life, disability and long-term care insurance; and even philanthropy. You also want someone who “gets” your big picture, so they can help you make your future what you want it to be.
- Family – Do you feel like they can be part of your family? A successful relationship means you’re with them for life, so the answer should be “yes.” It’s not more important than the other issues, but it’s a critical ingredient in the recipe.
“Our culture is one that embraces various opinions and comes up with a unified, well-researched strategy for each client.”
Articles from Ryan Furtwangler
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