The Advantages of Working At a Startup 3 of 3

Now that my company has been acquired, what should I do? What are some important steps to take in order to make sure that you are working toward securing your money for your future?

Talk to a Financial Advisor

Your first stop after you acquire some money is to find a financial advisor. Your advisor will serve as the financial center of your life, not only helping you plan all your goals and invest your money, but also being your central hub connecting you with your other network of professionals: CPAs, lawyers, etc. Your advisor and his plan will be your roadmap to pursuing all your financial goals.

The term financial advisor is used a lot, but many people don’t actually know what that means. A financial advisor can help a person with many different things, but the main idea is that a they can help you build a personalized financial plan. However, according to the , there were about 285,000 financial advisors practicing in 2015. So how do you choose the right one? Here are some things you definitely want to consider when picking an advisor:

1. ARE THEY INDEPENDENT? Many financial advisors work for firms with proprietary products, which inherently creates a conflict of interest between the advisor and/or the firm he works for and your best needs. For example, if your advisor works for a proprietary company, they may be incentivized or even pressured to pitch you on products that will help boost the company’s revenue, but may actually not be what is right for you. An independent advisor avoids such conflicts and will therefore be much more likely to put your needs first.

2. ARE THEY AN INVESMENT FIDUCIARY? The term “fiduciary” means that the advisor has a legal obligation to act in your best interests. Many financial advisors are actually just “brokers,” who have no obligation to act in your best interest, but actually just need to make sure that the investment they recommended is suitable for your investment objective. They charge commissions and once their recommendation has been made, they have no obligation to service you after that. In contrast, an investment fiduciary must provide you with ongoing service, review your investments, and continuously make sure he is doing what is best for you.

3. DO THEY HAVE ANY COMPLAINTS? Many advisors have negative track records. You can look up your advisor and/or his firm at to make sure that they don’t have complaints, settlements, or judgments against them

All of these things are very important because your financial advisor will serve as the cornerstone of your financial life, coordinating all of your money needs and being the hub that connects all of your professional networks (i.e. accountants, attorneys, etc.).

Talk to an Accountant/CPA

While your advisor will help you with the investments and helping you plan for all of your goals, he or she is not qualified to give you tax advice. Therefore, you should talk to your advisor, who will work in conjunction with your accountant to make sure that you are both working toward minimizing the taxes that you are paying and also potentially maximizing your investment efforts. So do you need a CPA or will a “normal” accountant suffice?

1. CPAs have more extensive training and certification.

2. They tend to be more knowledgeable (although this is not a certainty at all).

3. They tend to be more expensive.

So, do your research. Interview a few accountants and see who fits you best. Ask for a referral from your financial advisor, friends, or family, and try to find one that has experience with liquidity events and stocks/stock options.

Final Thoughts

Working at a startup definitely has its benefits. A person can quickly grow their net worth if their company is acquired. However, you must make sure that you take appropriate steps to protect your wealth, now, and that is where prudent planning is absolutely necessary. Finding the right place for your money, continuing to build your life and work toward your goals, and finding the next thing that will make you happy are of paramount important; therefore, it is essential that you do it the right way. Make sure you collaborate with those who are great at what they do so they can continue to allow you to be great at what you do.

By Ayal Shmilovich
Managing Partner

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

Gerber Kawasaki, 2716 Ocean Park Blvd. #2022 Santa Monica, CA 90405. Contact us at (310) 441-9393.