ValueWalk’s interview with Samantha Garcia, the Wealth Advisor for Halbert Hargrove. In this interview, Samantha discusses her and her company’s background, gaining access to a fiduciary advisor, and the power of compounding.
Can you tell us about your background?
I’m a Wealth Advisor with Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors; I’ve worked in financial services since 2010. For me, this work is all about creating trust relationships with clients and understanding their whole financial picture to help them make better financial decisions. Prior to Halbert Hargrove, I was a financial advisor with a small RIA firm in Cypress, CA for four years, and prior to that, I worked as an accountant with a private firm while also working for a CPA firm during tax season. I think my accounting background helps me bring a different perspective to my conversations with clients. I began my post-college career as Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry for Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount, CA.
Can you tell us about your firm?
We are a fiduciary investment manager and wealth advisor. Our clients typically have many aspirations for their wealth, including preserving assets for future generations. We aim to be our clients’ guides, gurus and gladiators: Our relationships begin with an in-depth discovery process that helps us to understand what truly matters to them and enables us to advise them on a unified strategy for their wealth. We engage with our clients in an ongoing way to help them stay on track with their objectives—and we will ask tough questions when necessary.
If you could craft legislation for helping retirement assets what would you do?
I would allow industries to pool their 401k plans. This would make it easier for smaller companies to gain access to a fiduciary advisor. These plans would have auto enrollment unless the participant specifically opts out; they’d also mandate a fiduciary advisor to help participants choose the appropriate investments. I know similar programs are already in the works with programs like CalSavers and the SECURE Act, which is currently making its way through Congress. What is different here - and I think necessary - is giving retirement savers access to qualified fiduciary advisors to help them plan and to choose appropriate investments.
What advice would you give to a young person starting work today who wants to build a large nest egg when they retire?
The power of compounding is real: Start early and automate your savings. Strive to max out your 401K—if you don’t have access to one, make sure you’re funding an IRA. If you don’t have the means to max out your contribution right now, then start at the company match, if available, or 5%, and increase your contribution each time you get a raise until you are able to max it out. I would also suggest contributing money to a brokerage account each month and making it automatic. It doesn’t have to be a large amount to start, but the earlier you start, the easier it will be to continue saving.