A very important strategic planning article was just published in Morningstar Magazine. It is worth reading. The paper’s author—Hal Ratner—lays out what he and Morningstar are calling Total Wealth, which is a move to quantify a household’s total assets and liabilities. With this information, Morningstar hopes to develop strategies that will provide financial planners (and consumers) with tools to help clients maximize the “probability of meeting a set of consumption goals at some level of risk preference and futurity preference” (p. 52).
Essentially, Morningstar is advocating a position long held by faculty teaching financial planning at the University of Georgia; namely, financial planners add value by helping clients manage their entire “portfolio” rather than a single aspect of wealth. Total wealth—using Morningstar’s definition—includes financial capital, human capital, housing wealth, and pension wealth.
Those working in the Financial Planning Performance Lab would add other forms of wealth to the equation, including business wealth, collectibles, hobby assets, and use assets. All of this may sound familiar to those following the development of zeta. Zeta is a measurement of financial planner value. Zeta can be used to assess how well a financial planner helps his or her clients manage the volatility of total household wealth.
It is quite exciting to see how quickly the financial planning landscape is changing and evolving. If you get a chance, read: “A New Chapter in Investing: The Total Wealth Framework Considers an Investor’s Financial Life” in Morningstar Magazine, February/March 2015, pp. 52-54.