Issue 3 » Fred Wachtel Helps Families
By Stephen K. Peeples
“I like being able to guide people on a path to greater wealth.”
As a financial advisor and Vice President – Investments with Wells Fargo Advisors, Fred Wachtel helps his Santa Clarita Valley high-net-worth clients grow their families’ wealth by learning their financial needs, then implementing strategies to help achieve those goals.
“I like money, I like making money, and most of all I like helping others make money and reach their goals,” Wachtel said. “It’s very satisfying personally and professionally to see my clients reach their goals and not have to worry about where money is going to come from in the future. I’m in a good profession. I do what I love and it helps others at the same time.”
Wachtel combines a personal passion for wealth-building with deep knowledge, extensive experience and access to Wells Fargo’s vast “Private Bank” resources to provide his clients with solutions tailored for their individual goals.
He started in the industry 12 years ago with Morgan Stanley and moved to Wells Fargo Advisors a year and a half ago. What has always set him apart from his peers is his close communication with his clients. He believes that once the accounts are open and the plans are in place, making sure they stay on track is the key to a successful financial plan.
“It’s important to meet quarterly to review strategy performance and make sure the strategy is still in line with the client’s goals,” he said. “People’s goals change and when they do we tweak the strategy and portfolio to keep them in line.”
Health of Family Wealth
As a devoted family guy himself, with his wife, Denise, and their 5-year-old daughter, Hannah, the 47-year-old SCV resident also understands the importance of a family’s long-term financial security.
“Growing up I watched my parents struggle with money, and I didn’t want to live like that,” Wachtel said.
“In my 20s I had an employer who saw I wasn’t taking advantage of the 401K plan he offered, and he called and asked me why,” he said. “I told him I needed every penny in my check. He talked me into putting 10 percent away annually and assured me I wouldn’t miss it. He was right. I had a nest egg and realized how big it could grow if I stuck to a plan. I was very lucky to have him guide me and I love returning the favor and helping others realize their goals and what it’s going to take to get there.”
Diversification the Key
In his years of following the markets, Wachtel realized early on that diversification is the key to saving for long-term goals, by reducing risk and weathering fluctuations. So he’s always looking for the best ways to diversify his clients’ portfolios.
“Every client is different and every plan should be set up to meet the client’s specific goals,” Wachtel said. “There are many asset classes, including but not limited to large-cap, small-cap, mid-cap, international, emerging markets, real estate and fixed income. There are also different insurance products that can complement a portfolio if appropriate such as an annuity or another product to help with particular goals. Nothing ever does great every day. You want to be in different investments to capture gains when they are doing well. You need to rebalance portfolios to make sure it stays in line with the goals set. Rebalancing is how you buy low and sell high. You sell what is doing well and buy what is not. It sounds crazy but this is what makes a diversified portfolio work.”
Wachtel closely manages the funds he will use for each asset class, and adjusts them as goals and market conditions change.
“I regularly meet with my clients to make sure the plan is still suitable for their goals. Goals change and adjustments to the portfolio need to change to match those goals. This is how I handle my personal funds. I want to make as much money with as little risk as I can, and that is my goal for my clients. I won’t recommend something for someone that I would not use myself. I eat my own cooking.”
Wachtel typically avoids speculative investments and follows strict guidelines. “I am never going to try to invest your money in an investment that is beyond your risk tolerance,” he said. “I recommend traditional investments that are in line with your goals.”
Access to Wells Fargo Advisors’ Vast Resources
Wachtel can quickly call on the coordinated expertise of his colleagues anytime, as needed.
“With Wells Fargo Advisors, I have access to resources/services available through the Private Bank.” he said. “For high-net-worth clients we have specialists through Wells Fargo affiliates to help manage debt, charitable planning strategies, business succession planning, cash management, lending and banking services and more.”
That’s especially helpful when it comes to managing volatility.
“I am not a stock picker,” Wachtel said. “I use quality mutual funds for specific asset classes and customize portfolios using these funds based on my client’s goals and risk tolerance. I let the fund managers with large teams of financial geniuses pick the stock for me. It’s great having a team behind me that can help with every single financial need my clients have.”
Wealth Health is a Family Affair
Wachtel expects his clients to be just as proactive as he is about the health of their families’ wealth.
“I look for people who want to invest their money properly, so they can pursue whatever they want when they retire, and leave something for their families,” he said.
Wachtel’s first step is information-gathering, to get the family’s financial Big Picture. “The more information the client gives me, the better,” he said. “Usually I just ask questions and listen. That’s my thing. When I find out their assets, goals and timeframe, I can figure out how to correlate new investments properly with their current assets and help diversify them.”
That takes extensive research, which is at Wachtel’s fingertips. “Wells Fargo Advisors has great research,” he said. “I have access to some great minds who do nothing all day except research trends, performance, earning growth, employment, everything. They give us lots of useful information that I use to make sure we are allocated in the right things at the right time.”
The clients Wachtel finds need the most help are high-earners in their late 40s, early 50s who also have some money put aside in a 401K or an IRA.
“They haven’t really been watching their account, but they’re starting to see the future and want to plan for it,” he said. “Now they need somebody to manage their money. That’s my sweet spot because it gives me 10 years plus to put a portfolio together for them and be realistic about reaching their goals. And if they’re also continuing to save, they will be on track by retirement age.”
Wachtel also said he enjoys working with folks who are retiring or are already retired. “I meet a lot of retirees and people close to retirement whose main concern is income but they are invested for growth, which is usually way too risky for what they need. They have been invested a certain way for decades and need advice on switching from an accumulation mindset to an income mindset. I call it ‘setting up a personal pension.’ We seek to find the right combination of products to get you the monthly income along with modest growth to combat inflation. We do not want you to have to take a pay cut because of a market downturn.
“Most retirees I meet are still invested in higher-risk asset classes,” he said. “I help them find the suitable investments that are consistent with their goals.”
A ‘Fairly Boring (Family) Guy’
Wachtel describes himself as a “fairly boring guy” and loves to drive around in his 2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch pickup. His wife Denise is an executive with a major studio. The couple’s financial health allows them more quality time with each other and their daughter.
“Our day starts with my wife and me getting Hannah breakfast, dressed and teeth brushed,” Wachtel said. “My wife does Hannah’s hair every day. Then I take Hannah to school. We get to walk a bit so we talk and pretend not to step in the hot lava. Then I go to work, go to the gym, pick her up, make her dinner, and play all night!
“I’m an older parent and appreciate being around my family more at this point,” he said. “I still love going out with friends but I mostly I love having my little girl cuddled up on my lap watching cartoons or reading a book. I’m very lucky.”
It all circles back to where our story began: Fred Wachtel helps families.
“In a humble way, I like that I can help families with this job,” he said. “Some people are out feeding the children in Africa, others running charities. I like being able to guide people on a path to greater wealth.
“There are lots of people in dire straits financially who don’t seek out help in time,” he said.
“So if I can help make sure that someone doesn’t turn 70 and can’t afford anything except rent because they never made a proper investment, that’s priceless.”
24180 Lyons Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
1.Wells Fargo Private Bank provides products and services through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and its various affiliates and subsidiaries. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is a bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.
2. Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
Investment and insurance products: Not FDIC insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value.
Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.