By Tracy Shevlin
Bennett Whitlock, a native northern Virginian and owner of Whitlock Wealth Management, has provided financial planning services to residents of the greater Prince William area for more than 20 years. Whitlock Wealth Management is an independent agency affiliated with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. and has offices in Lake Ridge and Historic Manassas. Prince William Living spoke to Whitlock to learn more about the agency’s comprehensive services and how he has achieved long-term success.
PWL: Twenty years in business is quite an achievement. What has made Whitlock Wealth Management so successful?
Whitlock: We offer a full range of financial planning services for everyone from millennials to retirees. Financial advising and wealth management cover a lifetime. It’s not a onetime consultation. We build relationships with many of our customers. We work with clients to manage new circumstances, such as planning for their children’s education, weddings, retirement and estate planning. We also help them adapt to changing markets and tax strategies that affect their finances.
One of our biggest values from a customer perspective is that we have a full team of advisors and support staff at Whitlock. Many financial service firms are very small operations with one or two people in an office. At Whitlock, we have a team of 10 advisors in Lake Ridge as well as four support staff. We are able to cross cover for each other, and clients can always talk to an advisor or staff member as needed.
PWL: What is the benefit of your affiliation with Ameriprise?
Whitlock: We operate like a franchise of Ameriprise; we are independent but affiliated. This is important to us for several reasons. First, there is name recognition with Ameriprise and a highly regarded reputation that comes with the affiliation. Ameriprise is a Fortune® 500 company and ranked number 232 in 2016 (Fortune.com). People feel more comfortable knowing there is a solid company behind us.
Ameriprise also provides marketing support, professional education and strong governance in compliance regulations. For example, due to the highly regulated nature of our business, all of our public communications are subject to corporate review and approval from the Ameriprise legal department. This benefits the public as well as our agency. It keeps us above board on all compliance issues, and the public can be assured that all information posted on our web page is factual.
PWL: You have told us about the variety of services that you provide. What is most important for potential clients to know about wealth management?
Whitlock: People often have misconceptions about wealth management. They primarily think of investments. Yes, that’s part of it, but financial planning includes much more. It includes budget and cash flow, insurance planning, income protection and much more. The biggest mistake people make follows the old adage “People don’t plan to fail, but fail to plan.”
It’s never too late to get your financial planning in order. The older the clients are when they start planning, the more challenging it can be to secure their future, but everyone can benefit from working with an advisor. If people are interested in testing their readiness for retirement, they can anonymously take a short three-minute “Confident Retirement Check” located on our web page at ameripriseadvisors.com/team/whitlockassociates.
Millennials should start working with an advisor now to set goals and plans for their future. They can benefit from understanding financial planning terms and strategies like knowing the difference between a 401(l), an IRA and a Roth IRA.
PWL: Tell us more about the new location in Manassas. What’s next for Whitlock?
Whitlock: We are excited to announce our newest location on the second floor at 9073 Center Street in Manassas, across from the Old Towne Man Cave. I am splitting my time between the two locations, and we will soon be hiring new advisors for that location. We offer a full range of financial planning services in Manassas as well as expanding in a different way.
In January 2017, we are planning to open the Center Fuse, a business incubator facility in the same building as our Manassas offices. The purpose of the incubator is to provide a collaborative shared working space for new business owners who are looking to take their next steps. Members will be able to benefit from the practical experience of their peers and having financial advisors available to help them plan.
For additional information about Whitlock Wealth Management or the Center Fuse, contact Bennett Whitlock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracy Shevlin (email@example.com) is a native Virginian and long-time Manassas area resident. She is a graduate of George Mason University where she is also an office manager. Follow her on twitter @nvalady1.
Details on Bennett Whitlock’s “Your Finances” columns can be found at princewilliamliving.com/category/your-finances/.