Before deciding to work with oil and gas professionals, a couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I wasn’t expecting it at all. My wife had just given birth to our third child two weeks prior. When I got the pathology report, I immediately sent it to the smartest doctor I know, a pancreatic surgeon at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. I was asking for his advice on which specialist I should see. I had been referred to an oncologist and had heard good things, but I wanted his opinion. I will never forget what he told me.
“Justin. I don’t care if this general oncologist is a genius. You have a very specific disease. You need a specialist who focuses all of their time and energy on hematology. I don’t care if it’s the smartest general practitioner in the world. I don’t care how many spelling bees they won growing up. You don’t need a generalist. You need an expert specifically focused in this field.”
He helped me get an appointment with the exact person specializing in my exact type of NH Lymphoma at MD Anderson that week. Treatment, while difficult, worked really well. I’ll always be grateful for his advice at that time.
That same idea is why I have a laser focus on professionals and retirees of Oil & Gas/Petrochemical companies. I’m not a general practitioner. I have a unique amount of experience serving families in this niche. Most of them have a complex compensation structure, stock options, defined benefit (pension) and defined contribution (401k) employer-sponsored retirement plans. We help these families organize their estate plan and navigate the tax code to dramatically lower taxes over the coming decades. We then plan for college funding and income in retirement. Finally, we establish an evidence-based portfolio tailored to the best interests of the client.
The idea behind Brownlee Wealth Management is to create the single best option for anyone in this group. It boils down to three main points.
Significant expertise and experience tailored to the Oil & Gas retiree. NUA, tax planning around your benefit structure, planning around your employer stock, and building a portfolio and retirement plan tailored to your best interests. These aren’t topics I’ve dabbled in. These are areas I’ve spent thousands of hours in.
Fee-only. If my parents are seeking retirement advice, I’m not sending them to a broker earning commissions off of what they are sold. I don’t want them going to a hybrid firm that can call themselves a fiduciary, and then receive commissions or kickbacks for the portfolio they recommend.
Net-worth based fee structure. If you have more than $1,000,000 in assets, do not hire an advisor that charges 1%+ every year. The typical Oil & Gas retiree has a lot more assets than the average American. Most of them are paying $30,000-$100,000 every year for a firm to pick their investments. We’re here to change that.
If I’m a retiree looking for financial advice and investment management, I could probably find a dozen or so advisors that fulfill #1: they have experience helping hundreds of families in these areas. But some are disqualified by point #2: A fair portion of them are not fee-only. If they do have the expertise and are fee-only, almost all of the remaining advisors are disqualified by point #3. It’s critical that you know exactly what you’re paying for investment advice and how that will affect you over the coming decades.
We serve two types of clients in this niche. The first, and largest group, is the family in or near retirement. The second is the family 10-15 years from retirement trying to make the best decisions possible with their high income. Wall Street has historically sold the first group (retirees) a long list of financial products, few of which were truly in their best interests. As for the second group-oddly enough, Wall Street has largely ignored them.
With both groups, the greater mission remains the same. We want to manage your investments in a sensical, evidence-based approach. We want to use financial planning to lower your taxes, maximize your employer benefits, and grow your wealth.
How do we do this? It typically starts with estate planning and risk management. We can’t plan for the next 40 years without shoring up the possibility of that not being a reality. Then, we can plan around your taxes both now and for the future. We want to see if we can dramatically lower your tax bill over the coming decades. Then, we’ll plan for the things in life that are most important-whether that’s providing for children, college planning, retirement planning, or anything in between. Lastly, we ensure your investments are tailored to the specific needs of the plan we’ve built. Since our lives are always changing (not to mention tax and estate law), we continue this process, with your portfolio and your financial plan, over the long haul.