Financial advisor Stephen Chappell encourages clients to focus on their time horizon
By JUDY ROYAL » Photos by KELLY STARBUCK PHOTOGRAPHY
Stephen Chappell, a Raymond James financial advisor, has been serving the Wilmington area since 1990. He currently assists about 100 local clients with tailored financial advice for a “Life Well Planned,” with emphasis on the tailored aspect.
“No two people have the exact same goals,” Chappell said. “That’s why it takes an individually tailored plan to help make them a reality. Raymond James advisors work with many different clients at many different stages of life, so no matter where you are or where you’re trying to go, your advisor can create a customized plan to help you get there.”
Raymond James Financial (NYSE: RJF) is a leading diversified financial services company providing private client group, capital markets, asset management, banking, and other services to individuals, corporations, and municipalities. The company has approximately 8,200 financial advisors, and total client assets are $877 billion.
Chappell, whose clients are mostly retired individuals and business owners, said he enjoys being part of Raymond James due to freedom of choice with research, investment selections, and independent, unbiased financial advice. He strives to offer the breadth of resources and capabilities of a large corporation along with the attentive service of a small firm.
“In my opinion, the financial advisor whom an investor chooses to work with must be totally objective, unbiased, educated, have more than 10 years of experience in the industry, and have some talent,” Chappell said. “The investor needs to think about the financial plan time horizon and not get sidetracked based on short-term thinking. Financial planning can be like playing golf. Make sure you have a full set of golf clubs that you can hit, and don’t give up if you have a bad hole or one or two bad swings. Remember it’s 18 holes, so don’t focus on each hole score. Don’t focus on monthly or yearly performance; focus on your time horizon.”
While there are lots of financial advisors out there, Chappell said he stands out for several reasons.
“I believe some areas that set me apart are my 30 years in the financial planning business, I have a master’s degree in financial planning, and I am a Certified Fund Specialist,” Chappell said. “Also, my compensation is based on performance. My income increases when the investor’s portfolio grows.”
“The industry is always evolving, so it’s important for financial advisors to stay informed. For instance, over the years trends have moved toward more holistic financial planning, creating value well beyond just investment management,” Chappell added.
A more recent development in the industry involves changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “This has resulted in increased adoption of virtual and digital communication tools, and the future will require continued comfort with technology and working and communicating virtually as an option,” he said.
"There are some challenges, however, that will always be present in guiding people along their financial journeys, including keeping clients focused on long-term financial planning goals,” Chappell said.
“The day-to-day financial news and the economy always keep investors wanting to change something in their plan based on the short-term noise from the media,” he said. “With new prospective clients, sometimes they need to get a second opinion about their financial plan and investments. I may see lots of great investments in their portfolio. However, it’s the wrong investments for what the investor is trying to accomplish. It’s like Tylenol might cure a headache, but it’s the wrong treatment for the current illness.”
“The difference of being 1 percent off in the financial plan could be like being off 500 miles for a final destination of a cruise ship journey,” Chappell added. “Make sure your investments are viewed from the total financial plan. Investors sometimes don’t realize if they focus on one part of the financial plan, for example, viewing your investments only, this could have some impact on other areas of the plan, such as taxes, estate planning, etc.”
“Different stages of life also require special considerations,” he said.
“I see some retirees wanting to be so conservative on their portfolio, and this can leave them running out of money,” Chappell said. “Some people don’t understand longevity risk and other types of risk, such as sequence of return risk.”
“The key is understanding each client’s lifestyle, goals, and values to deliver a plan designed specific to the future that client has envisioned,” he said. “After all, planning is a much more powerful tool than luck or coincidence to help bring financial independence within reach.”
106 N. Water St., Suite 202, Wilmington, NC, 910-763-7526, raymondjames.com/stephenchappell