Do you work with clients outside of Michigan?
Yes, we work with clients outside of Michigan. In fact, we are primarily a virtual firm, providing you with the convenience of meeting from wherever you are. As long as there is an internet connection, you’ll only need to click on an e-mail link through your computer or any mobile device to join. Some clients choose to be on camera, and some choose not to be on camera and prefer to simply speak and see Tony and Tony’s desktop as he takes them through the necessary material. Zoom video conferencing technology is incredibly easy to use and leads to higher quality meetings and more efficient use of precious time.
Do I have to come to your office?
You do not have to come into the office, as we mainly utilize Zoom video conferencing technology to meet. Upon request, Tony is happy to make himself available for occasional in-person meetings, whether at your home or a convenient meeting place of your designation.
How are you compensated? What is your fee?
Thrive Retirement Specialists is a fee-only firm. A single, transparent flat-quarterly fee of $2,250 per quarter debited directly from your designated investment account covers our ThriveRetire™ service, which includes ongoing retirement planning and investment management services. No commissioned products to sell, no referral fees to gain, no percentage of assets under management, and never any complicated sliding scales.
What is your investment philosophy?
As likely one of your largest retirement assets, it is imperative your investment-based assets be structured and managed properly to be an effective source of retirement income. Enormous value can be gained or lost at this step. Thrive Retirement Specialists follows a passive investment philosophy that believes in investing based on probability over possibility and in building maximally diversified portfolios using low-cost index funds. Using only nine index funds, each representing one of the nine asset classes we believe a retiree should hold, we build portfolios for clients giving them exposure to over 36,000 individual securities across all investable 44 countries, and the portfolio’s weighted average expense ratio is only 0.10% or less. We then monitor each portfolio daily for opportunities to rebalance based on need rather than some calendar-based timetable to ensure the integrity of the chosen portfolio’s characteristics at all times.
What kind of investments do you use for clients? Would I have to sell everything to move to you?
Thrive Retirement Specialists uses only low-cost index funds to build client portfolios. We do have the ability to work with and around existing low-cost basis investment holdings in taxable accounts when warranted and would work with you to develop a prudent transition plan.
Do you use a custodian?
Thrive Retirement Specialists works with T.D. Ameritrade as custodian. Investment advisors, like Thrive Retirement Specialists, are required to arrange for a custodian for assets they manage for their clients. T.D. Ameritrade will hold your financial assets for safekeeping and will allow Thrive Retirement Specialists discretion to manage your assets on your behalf. At no time ever will Thrive Retirement Specialists be in direct possession of your financial assets.
What are your areas of specialty?
Thrive Retirement Specialists focuses on retirement planning and investment management for those nearing retirement and already in retirement. Our primary areas of expertise are:
- Development of authentic retirement goals and objectives
- Identification and management of retirement risks
- Evaluation and optimization of all retirement assets
- Optimization of Social Security claiming strategy
- Development and optimization of retirement spending plan
- Development and optimization of a sustainable withdrawal rate
- Tax reduction strategies
- Investor education
- Investment analysis
- Portfolio analysis
- Portfolio construction
- Portfolio management
What is your education and experience?
Anthony (Tony) has over 25 years of financial advisory and investment management experience. Prior to founding Thrive Retirement Specialists, he spent eight years serving as the Chief Investment Officer of a firm where he provided advice and investment management services to over 600 individuals representing at the time over $1.5 billion of investments. Before this, Tony served as Vice President at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where he advised high- and ultra-high net worth individuals on all matters of wealth, including investments, portfolio construction, portfolio management, and retirement planning.
Tony holds a Bachelors in Business Administration in Finance from Walsh College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. Tony also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®).
Who at your firm would I work with?
You would work directly with the founder of the firm, Tony. We intentionally limit the number of clients we take on to provide you with a high-quality, in-depth planning experience with an experienced specialist.
How do I get started?
Who is your typical client?
Thrive Retirement Specialists is best suited to those who want to make the most of their retirement situation so they can soak up every bit of what brings them joy and meaning. We add the most value to individuals nearing or in retirement with an investment portfolio of at least $500,000.
Are you a fiduciary?
Yes, we are a fiduciary. This means that we’re legally obligated to make decisions and develop solutions that are in your best interest at all times.
What does it mean to be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)?
Not every adviser is alike. Anyone can say they are a financial planner or adviser, but having the CFP® standard denotes a higher level of in-depth knowledge. To hold the CFP®, an individual must go through extensive training, pass rigorous exams, and is required to adhere to a code of ethics. Tony is a CFP® and holds the CFA designation as well.
What does it mean to hold a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation?
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is one of the most respected and recognized investment designations globally. The curriculum covers academic theory, current industry practice, and ethical and professional standards to provide a strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills. This designation is internationally recognized and given by the CFA Institute. To hold the CFA designation, an investment professional must complete a set of requirements and three levels of exams, each offered annually. The CFA is an acclaimed designation and leading credential for financial professionals. Tony Watson holds the CFA designation and is also a CFP®.