July 11, 2020

Wealth Matters: Money Advice for People in Boom-or-Bust Fields

Advisers can, of course, organize their practices in other ways. Many focus on a dollar amount. They promise to give good advice to any client with more than $1 million, $5 million or more, regardless of where that money came from. By taking this tack, they are also eliminating the need to have more, less wealthy clients.

And some advisers organize a practice around a life event, like retirement or divorce. But what does a divorced woman with three young children and a deadbeat former husband have in common with Elaine Wynn, who received nearly $1 billion when she divorced Steve Wynn, the casino mogul?

Still, is managing money for a group of lawyers, say, any different from managing money for another high earner? A dollar is a dollar, after all. Or is it just a way for advisers to market themselves?

“To the adviser, the benefit is he is not having to continue to reinvent himself,” said Mindy Diamond, president and chief executive of Diamond Consultants, a firm that recruits advisers. “It creates economies of scale and a more effective deployment of resources when the adviser is focused. It also creates a steady stream of clients.”

Ms. Diamond said clients benefited as well. “You’re not paying for him to figure out a situation because he’s done it before,” she said. “He has insights into your fears and challenges. It creates an atmosphere of customized service. Typically, they’ll have superior knowledge versus the generalist because they speak the language.”

While being comfortable with an adviser is important, what ultimately matters is the quality of advice. Is it true that different professions have certain tendencies as a group, both good and bad, that could benefit from being managed? It turns out that they do.

This week, I’m going to look at some highfliers whose income can rise to unbelievable levels one year and all but disappear up the next — in this case, people in the oil and gas business and professional athletes. Next week, I’m planning to look at executives in Silicon Valley and in real estate whose wealth is predicated on a volatile asset: the company they are building and hope to sell before interest dries up. And last, I’ll look at the slow but steady earners: doctors and lawyers.

In all of them, I have found behavioral tendencies that may frustrate their advisers but that the rest of us can use to make better decisions.

RIDING OUT BOOMS AND BUSTS To say wealth in West Texas and other oil and gas regions is cyclical is putting it mildly. Booms and busts go with the business.

Jay Reynolds, president and chief executive of Rod Ric Drilling in Midland, Tex., followed his father into the oil and gas business. But when he struck out on his own, he got a lesson in the fickleness of the business. He borrowed heavily to buy Rod Ric Drilling in 1980 and then watched for nearly two decades as demand for drilling equipment for oil and gas fields fell or remained below what it had been. Over that time, the bank he borrowed from failed, and he worried that his loan would be called.

“We were able to get through those years by being very careful with what we did and how we did it,” Mr. Reynolds, 56, said. “These recent years have been a surprise. Hydraulic fracturing has brought these fields to life.”

What he learned from the experience was the need to manage cash and the benefit of diversifying sources of income as well as investments. He said he has been buying real estate recently with an eye toward mineral rights and royalties, which could be a source of income.

Mr. Reynolds said he had balanced the high risk in this business by taking less risk in his investment portfolio — an approach anyone with a volatile or lumpy income could benefit from.

“Our clients’ businesses are so capital-intensive that they could easily sink all their net worth into their business,” said Dane E. Crunk, co-founder and managing director of Syntal Capital Partners, which works primarily with oil and gas clients like Mr. Reynolds. “When they’re bringing capital to us, it’s not for rates of return. It’s seeking diversification away from their core business and preservation of capital.”

Mr. Crunk said his firm worked to keep some money safe, creating a modern rainy day fund. That idea is often overlooked in the oil and gas business and beyond.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/your-money/money-advice-for-people-in-boom-or-bust-fields.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Speak Your Mind