Perhaps the most reliable method to accumulate wealth involves creating a realistic investment plan, sticking with it and educating your heirs so they are prepared to assume the responsibilities when the time comes to pass those assets on to the next generation. Unfortunately, investment planning within the African American community of Milwaukee is underused and its importance often misunderstood.
There are more than 85,000 Certified Financial Planners (CFP®) in the United States, according to the CFP Board says Blaine Gibson, vice president and financial advisor with WE Wealth Management Group (WEWMG), a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC. Gibson said that less than 2 percent of the current US Certified Financial Planners are African American, only a handful are located in Wisconsin, and he is one of them.
Many people learning this fact and shrug it off as yet another example of an entrenched ‘old white male’ industry unworthy of either their trust or business. Instead, Gibson’s Senior Partner, Paul E. Westphal, senior vice president and senior portfolio manager said he saw an underserved customer base and in 2010 he began assembling what he claims is the most diverse financial investment group within Wisconsin.
“We’re really trying to help people plan for retirement or those who are nearing retirement,” Westphal said. “We have several clients who have never had a large household income (less than $100,000 annually), but they have worked consistently for many years.”
“We love working with people who consider themselves family stewards – people who want to leave this world in a better situation than they found it,” Westphal said. “Our parent company. RBC, has a mindset of inclusion and diversity. Those are not just words. We can back it up with data and other metrics.”
“Many African American families may not realize it, but they have an investment portfolio, even if they do not have a financial planner,” Gibson said. “Management of assets includes property, housing, works of art, family heirlooms, collectible automobiles and even wine collections may qualify as an asset,” Gibson said, adding that according to CEG Worldwide only 6 percent of all financial advisors offer clients wealth management strategies, something in which The WE Wealth Management Group specializes.
For a number of years, The WE Wealth Management Group has offered a four week adult education class that typically meets once a week for about two-and-a half hours. “We have worked with churches and other civic organizations,” Gibson said. “Churches are a significantly underserved market in Milwaukee for financial planning and asset management.”
Gibson said that community service is an important part of the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Gibson said he also works with the Milwaukee Fellows organization (MKE Fellows) to help provide training and mentorship opportunities for young African American males to help them become the next generation of Milwaukee’s leaders. Other WE Wealth Management staff contribute as well.
“Our professional wealth managers deliver the customized strategies and attentive service you deserve,” states RBC Literature provided by Gibson.