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Financial management moves up a few notches on ‘to-do’ list

Xavier A. Aguayo-Díaz and William Serrallés

The economic downturn of the past six years has affected all income levels and has pushed the need for financial planning up a couple of notches on many people’s “to-do” list.

But, because strategizing to protect and build assets can be somewhat of an overwhelming task, working with a financial planning or wealth management expert has increasingly become the rule, rather than the exception.

“Our vocation is to help people organize and keep their financial lives in order. We know about and have access to the tools available today to help people manage their assets the best way possible,” said Xavier A. Aguayo-Díaz, vice president of investments and wealth advisor for the Aguayo & Serrallés Wealth Advisor Group, a unit of UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico.

Financial planning encompasses many aspects of a person’s life, but boils down to working with an expert to figure out their real long-term needs. Such a strategy should be incorporated at some point in life to meet personal and professional goals — building a business; paying for college for children or grandchildren; caring for a parent or extended family; living out retirement years in style; supporting philanthropic interests; and, passing wealth to chosen heirs.

Since 2009, at the height of the protracted recession that has been affecting the island, Aguayo said the firm has received a steady stream of professionals who have felt the effects of corporate downsizings, especially in the pharmaceutical sector.

“We’ve seen an influx of engineers and other executives who have been cut from a pharmaceutical, whether as a result of a downsizing or a closing, who suddenly find themselves with a significant severance on their hands and need help figuring out how to manage and make it work for them,” said William Serrallés, vice president of investments, wealth advisor–partner.

Essentially, a financial expert works with a client’s “needs, wants and wishes” so they can construct deliverable financial solutions that will make sense. In the case of Aguayo & Serrallés, resources from within UBS whose business is to explore opportunities to grow and protect a person’s wealth back the strategy.

After those first few meetings, the Aguayo & Serrallés team maps out an investment policy revolving around balanced portfolio that is reviewed periodically to keep it current and efficient.

That way “we can update strategies as appropriate to respond to ever-changing markets and a client’s evolving needs,” said Aguayo.

While there are several options when it comes to managing money and making enough of it to maintain a certain lifestyle, one of the go-to investment tools is stocks and bonds, which should be balanced enough to maintain risk and losses at bay.

“To take smart risks, a client does well in getting advice, unless they want to speculate. Aside from applying an exact science when it comes to money management and decision-making, we make sure to be very proactive in terms of sitting down with our clients to discuss their circumstances,” Serrallés added. “Financial planning has a ‘spa effect’ because it takes a weight off a person’s shoulders and helps them find peace of mind.”

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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