Leading RIA Adds Array of Life-Enrichment Services

As appeared in Rethinking65.

When The Colony Group, a Boston-based national financial advisory, wealth and business management firm with more than $13 billion in regulatory assets under management recently announced upcoming merger plans with Calabasas, Calif.-based Legacy Wealth Partners, we asked Colony CEO and Chairman Michael Nathanson how this will benefit clients age 50-plus. We also learned the many ways The Colony Group strives to make the second half of life “exceedingly meaningful and joyful” for clients.

Jerilyn Klein: How long had Colony Group been looking for a wealth management team in Southern California, and what synergies do you expect to see from your merger with Legacy Wealth Partners that can benefit retirees and other clients who are age 50 and up?

Michael Nathanson: While The Colony Group has long served clients in California, we established our first office there in 2019 when the venerable, L.A.-based business-management firm of Glass Malek merged with us.  Not long after that merger, through which we entered what we considered the highly synergistic business-management space, we observed that our merger thesis was borne out: We began to provide wealth management services to select business-management clients, and we began to provide business-management services to select wealth management clients.  At that point, we began searching for additional wealth-management (and business-management) talent in Southern California.

We expect that our merger with Legacy Wealth Partners will offer many synergies for clients, including for retirees and clients who are 50 or older. To be clear, we believe that the Legacy Wealth team already offers robust, high-caliber services to its clients.  Our national service platform, however, is even broader and deeper. We can offer a wider array of taxable and tax-free investment solutions, multi-family-office solutions, tax-compliance and planning services, estate planning advice, philanthropic and legacy planning, and, of course, retirement-planning strategies.  And we can also offer a larger, more diverse team of professionals to assist our new colleagues in delivering those services.

Klein: What type of comprehensive offering do you and Legacy provide to retirees that helps them live well not only financially but also physically, emotionally and intellectually as they age?

Nathanson: At The Colony Group, we believe that while asset management and financial planning are foundational, our clients need and deserve far more than that. We believe this because we’ve asked them! As we seek to deliver on our mission of providing peace of mind to our clients and empowering their visions of tomorrow, we created a platform called Curated by Colony. Through this platform, we now offer our clients a growing suite of life-enrichment solutions delivered by third-party experts in areas such as concierge medicine, acute and memory care, psychological counseling, physical and emotional wellness, travel and life experiences, educational and second-career consulting, and even cybersecurity.

Klein: One of the topics you address in your updated edition of “Financial Planning for Executives and Entrepreneurs” is business transition planning. What are the most important things business owners and execs need to think about to try to achieve desired financial outcomes when transitioning their businesses?

Nathanson: Thank you for reading our book! In this second edition, we now have an entire chapter dedicated to planning for business transitions. We address the need to begin planning long before a transition occurs or is even expected to occur. We also delve into how best to construct a team of advisors — not only financial advisors but also legal, accounting, investment-banking, family governance, and other professionals, often including ones who can work with business owners and their families on some of the psychological, behavioral, and emotional aspects of making a transition. You see, planning for a transition must include but also transcend financial planning.  Of course, we also speak to some of the core financial considerations, such as tax planning, estate-plan implications, portfolio implications, cash-flow planning, and retirement-plan compatibility.

Klein: You have also written about bringing lifelong learning to organizations. On an individual level, how can lifelong learning help pre-retirees and retirees who are looking to find more purpose in the second half of life, and how can advisors encourage this for their clients?

Nathanson: Again, thank you for reading that article. It was a joy to write, as lifelong learning is a core value of The Colony Group. While our physical growth ceases early in life, our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth need never stop! I read recently that the human soul craves growth and transformation. If that is so, then lifelong learning is the key to that growth and transformation.  Especially for those who already have achieved financial independence, a concept described in our book, the second half of our lives can be devoted to learning that transcends traditional learning centered on our professional pursuits.

“We can grow as human beings and nurture our instinctive curiosity by identifying our passions and pursuing them in earnest — a goal that can and should be facilitated by advisors who are able to see their clients as complete human beings and not just account numbers.”

We can grow as human beings and nurture our instinctive curiosity by identifying our passions and pursuing them in earnest — a goal that can and should be facilitated by advisors who are able to see their clients as complete human beings and not just account numbers. Our Curated by Colony platform is designed to help us facilitate these pursuits for clients who want the second halves of their lives to be as exciting — or even more exciting — than the first halves.

Klein: What motivated you and how did you get involved in hosting your “Seeking the Extraordinary” podcast, and are there any takeaways here for advisors who are working with clients in the second half of life?

We started Seeking the Extraordinary to align with our own goals as a company and the people who comprise our company.  We sometimes lament that our industry has so many people saying essentially the same things and having little awareness of the “sea of sameness” in which they swim.  We like to say that we see ourselves as sailing on a ship in a sea of the ordinary seeking the extraordinary.

In our podcast, we utilize an interview format to speak with people who have achieved extraordinary things in their lives, not so much to celebrate their accomplishments but to understand how and why they were achieved. Frankly, the world probably doesn’t need yet another podcast about the financial markets, the latest investment fad, or even the latest trends in financial planning. That would be ordinary.

Through our podcast, on which we have interviewed a diverse set of businesspeople, leaders, professional athletes, broadcasters, authors, Olympians, philanthropists, and other extraordinary people, we seek to understand our potential as humans. We appreciate the ordinary in us, but we seek the bounds of the extraordinary.

I’ve written about some of the commonalities I’ve observed in my many extraordinary guests, but one of those commonalities may be of special interest to your readers: Most of my guests have transformed themselves — dramatically — over the course of their lives. They are multidimensional because they either were forced, or decided, to change themselves over time. In doing so, they all have retained what they were, but they have become so much more — some metaphorically living two lives within the duration of one.

Might that be the key to living our most extraordinary lives?  Whether or not it is, it can sure make the second half of life exceedingly meaningful and joyful.