New financial firm offers goal-based approach

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Alex Mauer
Adam Camacho

Of all the metrics tracking investment performance, Alex Maurer considers one outcome more important than all the others: Do clients outlive their money or does their money outlast them?

It’s part of a goal-based approach Maurer brings to investment and retirement planning as one of two managing partners of Avera Capital Wealth Management.

That approach involves developing a written plan that takes into account not only clients’ financial resources, but also the income they expect to require for their desired lifestyles and tolerance for volatility. Frequent meetings follow to monitor progress and help clients stick with the plan during market events, Maurer said.

“It’s worked very well,” he said. “It’s been refreshing for a number of clients.”

Maurer and Adam Camacho launched the boutique financial planning firm last year. Five other advisors have joined an operation with offices in Grand Junction and Hotchkiss as well as Colorado Springs, Englewood and Fort Collins.

Maurer and Camacho bring to the firm more than a dozen years of experience with AXA Advisors and still use that company’s platform, Maurer said.

Starting a boutique firm enables the advisors to work with fewer clients in a more holistic way, he said.

Avera Capital focuses on building and managing wealth and retirement and legacy planning. The firm also offers services related to executive benefit and business succession planning.

Retirement income planning starts with developing with clients written plans with specific objectives, Maurer said. Those objectives include the dates clients expect to retire and income they believe they need to lead the lifestyles they desire. The plans also cover clients’ objectives for passing on their resources and charitable giving. Investment strategies are then developed to achieve those objectives, he said.

The plan also takes into account clients’ tolerance for volatility and the effects that has on their investment portfolios. Plans include enough liquidity to provide income for two years to avoid selling equities during substantial market declines, Maurer said.

In addition to annual reviews, advisors meet frequently with clients to assess how well their plans are working, address changes in their lives and offer counsel during periods of market volatility, he said.

One of the most important variables that determines whether or not clients achieve their lifelong objectives is their behavior during market volatility, he said.

Investors who abandoned the market during the downturn in 2009, for example, either ended up purchasing the same portfolio at higher prices or missed out on what’s been one of the longest and strongest bull markets in history, he said.

While relative performance and fees constitute important metrics, Maurer said the most important metric of all is whether clients have a sustainable financial plan that enables them to meet their objectives — and not outlive their money.

Avera Capital Wealth Management operates offices at 101 S. Third St., Suite 300, in downtown Grand Junction. For more information, call 361-3874 or visit the website at www.averacap.com.