The Silicon Review
“The families and individuals we serve are very important to us.”
Jodi Vleck, the founder and CEO of Beta Wealth Group, has long been somewhat of a trailblazer and thought leader in the financial planning and wealth accumulation communities. Being included in the Silicon Review’s list of Top 30 Innovators is a fitting honor for Vleck.
Vleck is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a breadth of financial and wealth management experience, Vleck has been named one of Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors and Barron’s Top Independent Advisors, in addition to being named one of the best wealth managers by readers of San Diego Magazine for 15 consecutive years. She has consistently been near the top on the San Diego Business Journal’s Wealth Management list. Last year, she was the only woman named as a top-10 finalist for the nationwide WealthManagement.Com CEO of the Year Award.
For several years, Vleck has served as a resource for financial publications and conferences, including the Charles Schwab Impact Conference, where she was interviewed about her expertise working with clients that are engineers.
Q. How is it that some tech executives and engineers are so much better at building wealth?
Successful accumulation of wealth for the most affluent doesn’t happen overnight. It comes with strategic planning, goal setting and initiating investments that will generate income despite the economic trends. Technology and engineering professionals work in some of the best sectors for wealth accumulation, especially if they are strategic and plan for the economic ups and downs, changes and successes that occur within these industries.
For some tech and engineering professionals, the types of wealth building opportunities that can arise may only happen once in a lifetime. So, when all the stars align to get in on the ground floor of a start-up with equity ownership, stock options and possibly an initial public offering (IPO), it is vital to be working with a wealth manager that understands your industry and has solid investment and tax strategies for building and protecting your wealth.
Q. How can technology and engineering professionals find additional opportunities for generating income and ultimately wealth?
Compared to the general workforce, tech industry entrepreneurs, C-level executives and engineers often have unique opportunities and avenues for building wealth. These may be linked to corporate startup equity structures, initial public offerings (IPOs), restricted stock units (RSUs), non-qualified stock options (NSOs), stock grants, incentive stock options (ISOs) and employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs). As a result, tech and engineering professionals can be faced with complex choices regarding how to best leverage these options or take advantage of these alternative income sources while minimizing income tax liability. Tracking tax changes and knowing when to execute strategies and investment incentives based on your overall tax situation can make a huge difference in the dollars a person retains.
Having a clear understanding of your employer’s corporate structure and business plan is also important and may reveal future opportunities to increase income streams at different stages of growth.
Q. How can you create a consistent routine for investing with an income that varies from year to year?
Many tech and engineering professionals find it difficult to set up consistent savings and investment habits because their incomes can vary dramatically from year to year. This is often due to tiered stock and equity compensation schedules and fluctuating bonuses linked to a company’s financial performance, which can turn on a dime.
Q. Why should financial planning include a tax strategy?
It’s really not as much about what you make, as it is about what you keep. Having concerns about taxes – that’s actually a good problem to have – as it means that you have achieved a high level of income. Beta Wealth Group clients can count on unbiased advice with a focus on individual risk tolerance and goals—stocks, mutual funds, foreign, real estate investing, and retirement planning— while considering the tax implications of every decision we make.
Q. What’s one of your top innovative strategies for generating wealth for those in technology and engineering?
While Beta Wealth Group implements many investment approaches, one of its most advanced strategies it uses with keen professionals is the Beta Enhanced Income Strategy™, a proprietary options overlay strategy. Options overlay strategies, when implemented successfully, can enhance income while reducing risk in an existing diversified investment portfolio. The strategy involves writing out of the money options on equities that are viewed as undervalued, fundamentally sound and lightly levered.
This approach is appropriate for investors looking for enhanced income, and reduced risk levels compared to a long-only portfolio of securities. Historical data from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) on the Put Write Index (BXM) has illustrated that a portfolio employing a Put Write strategy has the potential to mitigate overall portfolio volatility while capturing incremental yield.
Q. So, what are the advantages and trade-offs of options strategies?
In down markets, the premiums (think insurance) earned in the options trades can cushion stock price declines in the existing investment portfolio. The trade-off is that in strong equity markets, the upside potential of the stocks in the options overlay portion of the portfolio is limited. Many investors using options overlays, however, find that for every dollar invested, they can generate a higher yield on their existing portfolio thanks to the option premiums. This source of enhanced income is especially attractive in a low-interest environment, like the one we’ve been living in for several years.
Options trading can be very complex, which is why most investors, including tech executives and engineering wizards, are unable to consistently capitalize on the benefits. The Beta Wealth Group team presents full-service options trading strategies and solutions to clients when appropriate, including idea generation, trade execution, risk analytics and direct access to the firm’s principals for guidance.
Q. In a numbers driven industry, how do you incorporate the human element?
The work we do is technical, requiring a high degree of skill and a considerable amount of knowledge. At the same time, it’s also a very human business that requires that we truly understand the people behind the numbers. The families and individuals we serve are very important to us. We take great care of them, treating their goals as our own and providing investment guidance and wealth management they can trust.
Q. How long have you been focused on serving tech executives and engineers?
Beta Wealth Group advisors have more than two decades of financial consulting experience geared towards professionals in IT, biotech and engineering. This deep expertise makes Beta Wealth Group a highly-effective conduit and knowledge resource for this niche of clients.
Beta Wealth Group distills a universe of choices down to the most suitable and pragmatic opportunities. These opportunities are then compared, evaluated, and pursued with intelligence, energy, and a healthy amount of caution.
Beta Wealth Group combines traditional financial planning services with innovative strategies to empower sophisticated clients to enhance investment portfolio returns and accumulate wealth.
The Leader Upfront
Jodi Vleck, CFP®, Founder and CEO
Prior to establishing Beta Wealth Group, Jodi served as a financial consultant to Hewlett Packard in the investment division of Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union and as a qualified plans specialist with Western Capital. As a registered investment advisor, Jodi uses a methodical and research-based approach, centering her advice on the merits of each individual investment opportunity and the specific goals and needs of her clients.
Jodi is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. She holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both political science and communications from Western Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from Eastern Michigan University.
Beta Wealth Group serves clients all over the world, offering tech professionals and their families a one-stop solution to personalized financial planning, investment management, risk management, and tax-smart asset management. Her firm provides initial consultations to tech executives and engineers who have questions or concerns about their financial planning, investing and asset management needs.