For Michael Loftus of Loftus Wealth Strategies, the start of the economic slump in 2008 wasn’t a reason to pack up and go home, it was an opportunity to try new things and take some risks.
After 13 years in the institutional side of the financial world, holding senior-level positions involving sales, marketing and product development for multi-billion-dollar financial institutions, and traveling 140,000 miles per year, visiting three to four states each week, he decided it was time for a change.
Loftus said he looked at the local market and felt there was a need and a great opportunity for his family. Homeowners locally for years, he and his wife and three children made the permanent move to Sussex County about two years ago.
“With a young family, it was just too much,” said Loftus. “So I got out of the corporate side of it to create my own company.”
Loftus Wealth Strategies is a financial and wealth management firm. In layman’s terms, Loftus described what he does as “taking care of those financial issues and problems that keep people up at night.”
He works with clients and acts as a “quarterback,” he said, by working with estate planning companies, accountants and mortgage companies, and helping to bring it all together.
Because 95 percent of his clients are retired, and many are transplants to the area and already have some sort of investment advisor back home, he said it is important for people to know that there are advantages to using a local advisor to keep the lines of communication open.
“People can get the same level of professional services that they can anywhere else,” he explained. “It’s the high-level money management experience that you can expect anywhere.”
Always good with numbers and with a knack for sales and marketing, Loftus said he fell into wealth management first by working with a mutual fund company. He eventually worked his way up the proverbial ladder and then broke out on his own. Although his background is in sales and marketing, Loftus said what he does now is planning and management, not sales.
“It’s important to know that we don’t sell any product,” he said. “Every individual is different, has different plans and goals, and we tailor our plans to specific individuals. That’s the fun part for me. We create plans for every single person that walks through the door.”
Because he keeps his practice at between 100 and 125 clients, Loftus said he can give the high-communication “concierge-type” services that people come to expect.
“I can’t know 400 households,” he asserted. “And if I limit myself, it allows me to give that extra attention and service to my clients.”
In addition to his business, Loftus said he likes to keep active in the community. He has held several “fine wine and finance” informational sessions over the fall and winter, and just recently started a “breakfast club,” to which he brings in people from outside the financial sector to discuss topics such as the status of the Indian River Inlet Bridge, area hospitals and Social Security.
“They are all topics that my clients were asking about,” he said, so he said he thought others in the community might be able to benefit, as well.
He also sits on the boards of the Justin Jennings Foundation and the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and works with Lower Sussex Pop Warner football.
Years ago, he said, he attended a leadership conference at Duke University, and an underlying theme of the CEOs who spoke at the conference was the importance of giving back.
“That hit a chord with me. When I was in the corporate world, I would get involved, and now that I am not traveling, I can do more. It’s important to be involved and give back, and it also sets an example for my kids.”
As for his strategy, Loftus said that, while individual plans are tailored, a general outlook of diversification is key, and “longevity risk” needs to be considered.
“People are living longer, and they need to be prepared to build their portfolio to last into retirement,” he said, adding that he has several clients in their late 80s. “You have to be prepared to live until 90. That’s almost the norm now.”
“People’s concern is that they don’t want to outlive their income,” he added. “That’s the challenge we are faced with every day, to make sure we are effectively managing that money.”
And, as for starting a business in what could, at best, be considered a shaky economy, Loftus said it was worth the risk.
“I started this in the worst economy since the Great Depression. But here I am today. We are very fortunate we have continued to grow.”
For more information, call (302) 251-8901 or visit www.loftuswealthstrategies.com.