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March Top Advisor by Participant Outcomes (TAPO)—Chris Roper

A Soul Search for Successful Outcomes

FOR WELL OVER A DECADE, Chris Roper has helped people from all walks of life plan and save for retirement. But something changed in 2019. For the first time, Roper, a Partner and Plan Success Consultant with Overland Park, Kansas-based Qualified Plan Advisors, took an eye-opening trip through Southeast Asia.

Traveling alone gave him time to reflect on his true passion: the personal interactions from working with employees to improve their financial health. He concluded “doing well by doing good” mattered most, and he re-emphasized his singular vision of eventually helping over a million people improve their financial lives.

With his goal and passion aligned, he returned home and hit the ground running. Joining Qualified Plan Advisors (QPA), he benefited from Scott Colangelo, Matthew Eickman, and other high-profile QPA team members’ expertise to consistently improve participant outcomes.

His passion and excitement are palpable.

“The core of our company is to ‘inspire people to achieve their life’s ambitions,’ and we believe that communicating the right information and showing that you care helps people to make better financial decisions,” he said.

The initial keys to a participant’s successful retirement outcome are (1) getting them in the right investment; and (2) getting them to save appropriately. While auto features can be a great option, he believes that helping people make an active decision gives them ownership in their success, which will lead to better outcomes.

“They’re more likely to stay invested when the market drops,” Roper added. “This helps counteract the bad behavior of selling low. It helps remove the fear of investing and opens them up to saving at higher levels.”

Roper also utilizes Aon Hewitt’s “The Real Deal” study to help participants understand how much they should be saving. It gives them a target savings rate that, unfortunately, most have never heard of and acts as a needed wake-up call to get them back on track. Far from a 3% default or even more commonly seen 6%, it’s much higher.

“Most people are shocked when they hear that a 25-year-old retiring at age 67 needs to save 16% of their pay, including company contributions,” he explained. “My careful delivery of this message helps participants to make decisions that will ultimately improve their financial futures.”

He recently faced a difficult challenge while planning employee education sessions for a new client. Roper spent four weeks meeting with employees in office locations spread over four states.

He conducted 79 group meetings and logged over 3,000 miles of drive time. It was well worth it. With the help of his QPA team members, he was able to achieve the following results:

• 588 participants in attendance

• 574 made an active decision for their investments and deferrals

• 148 one-on-one meetings were conducted

• 360 participants elected a portion of their contribution to a Roth savings account

• 394 participants saved above the company match

As one would imagine, Roper is extremely proud of getting over 97% of participants to make

an active decision and getting 67% of participants to choose to save above the already generous company match.

 

See the article on 401(k) Specialist.

Blog Post

How Well Do You Know the Stock Market?

Today, there are more Americans investing in the stock market everyday. Those invested in the stock market include savvy veterans who have studied the market for decades, as well as beginners who are trying to learn the ropes. A survey conducted by Bankrate found that 39% of Americans have no money invested in the stock market.  Of those people, 32% stated that their main reason for not investing in stocks is their lack of understanding.

Where does your stock market knowledge stack up against the average investor? Take the quiz below to find out!

Advisory products and services offered by Investment Adviser Representatives through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC (“PCIA”), a federally registered investment adviser. PCIA: 6201 College Blvd., Suite #150, Overland Park, KS 66211. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management (“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”). 

Week in Review

The Three Alternative Investments You Should Research Right Now

 

There is a current euphoria taking place in the public markets, but if you look forward it seems as though we are borrowing from future returns. Many financial institutions and analysts are projecting lower returns for both U.S. equities and U.S. bonds moving forward, and more broadly across major asset classes. Higher inflation levels are expected in the future as well, and with those higher levels, it’s going to be difficult to find places in the public markets that provide a good return without losing purchasing power.

This is why, for the right investor, alternative investments can really add value to a portfolio today. We look at incorporating alternatives into a person’s portfolio to enhance diversification and improve the risk-reward profile. Said differently, for the same level of risk, alternative investments help us to create portfolios that have a better expected return. But just like most things in life, not all alternative investments are created equally. We like the core, foundational alternatives: private equity, private real estate and private credit. Let’s explore each a little further.

Private Equity

There is tremendous opportunity in private equity. 80 percent of the companies in the United States with sales greater than $100 million are private companies. Now compare that to the shrinking opportunity set in public markets. In the 1990s, there were about 8,000 publicly listed companies in the U.S. but that number is now just under 4,000, meaning the opportunities there have decreased dramatically.

You’ll also see the opportunity in private equity if you look at the overall market cap. The average size of private companies is smaller than public companies, meaning they have more room to grow. And if they have more room to grow, that’s a growth opportunity for the investor.

When you’re looking for returns that are larger than what public markets have offered, private equity offers a huge opportunity partly because of the liquidity premium. Simply put, if you’re going to put your money in something that is difficult to get it out of, you can expect greater returns for that inconvenience.

Now is a great time to explore an investment in private equity because there’s been an amazing evolution in the vehicles and structures that investors now have at their disposal. It used to be that your only option for investing in private equity meant your capital would be locked up for 7-8 years before you’d see a return of your capital. These days, many new investments provide quarterly liquidity opportunities, which provides far greater flexibility for investors.

Private Real Estate

Real estate is a major contributing factor to consumer net worth, which makes these hard assets a great wealth accumulation vehicle. As I look at the current environment, investments in private real estate make even more sense because they serve as a natural inflationary hedge. As interest rates go up, lease rates go up. Landlords are able to pass along rising rates, instead of suffering from them.

Many private real estate investments are also very tax efficient, between the usage of depreciation, taxed deferred growth, and even 1031 exchanges that can allow investors to roll gains from one property or offering forward to another without having to recognize the capital gain at the time of the transaction

Finally, real estate doesn’t necessarily need to be confined to one particular sector. Many people think of retail stores, office buildings, or apartments when they think of this asset class, but other segments such as data centers, industrial warehouses, and even cell phone towers also provide access to secular growth trends in the economy.

Private Credit

For investors who need income ,where can they get it in this current low interest rate environment?

With private credit, you’re also able to extend to other areas of fixed income that you can’t touch in the public markets. For example, collateralized loan obligations or CLOs offer shorter duration fixed income exposure for your portfolio, which helps to limit interest rate risk. If you can get your money returned to you quicker, you face less risk from inflation lessening your purchasing power. Private lending can also offer higher rates of income for the same level of credit risk, again due to the illiquidity premium that is typically associated with these types of products.

Implementation

As we have noted, alternative investments can provide a significant diversification benefit as well as inflationary protection for an investor’s portfolio. But they also help instill better investor behavior. This was evident in March 2020 when the market crashed at the start of the pandemic. Alternative investments are often harder to pull one’s money out of in a hurry, so instead of panic selling, investors stay in and reap the benefits of the recovery.

Today’s environment calls for outside-the-box thinking for investors hoping to achieve healthy returns while maintaining a reasonable level of risk. There is by no means a perfect solution for everyone, and there could be some additional requirements necessary to participate in these types of investments so they must be used carefully, only as a satellite option to complement, rather than replace, a traditional investment portfolio. Because reporting requirements are not as stringent as those for publicly traded securities, a thorough due-diligence process is an absolute necessity before investing, and on an ongoing basis for monitoring purposes. This is where having a research team on your side can be incredibly helpful. If you have questions about alternative investments and how they can best be incorporated into your portfolio, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Prime Capital Investment Advisors.

​Advisory products and services offered by Investment Adviser Representatives through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC (“PCIA”), a federally registered investment adviser. PCIA: 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management (“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”

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