Message From Our Founder
Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC®, AIF®

Firm Founder, Principal & Syndicated Economic Columnist

Message From Our Founder

Many potential clients who are considering Arbor Wealth as their Destin money manager ask two questions: “Are you Fee-Only?” and “Are you a Fiduciary?” The answer is “Yes” to both questions. I began my career in Destin financial services 22 years ago. In 2000,  I started the first Destin area Fee-Only investment advisory firm. Folks looking for a Destin investment advisor or Destin financial planner were very rarely familiar with Fee-Only RIA’s then. Now, Fee-Only is the preferred model for many investors. Like all true Fee-Only firms, we sell no products, accept no commissions from any source and maintain no interest in any proprietary funds. We work solely for our clients.

As a fiduciary, we maintain a responsibility to act in our clients’ best interests at all times. We are required to reveal any conflict of interest that impacts our decision-making process when serving our clients. There are a myriad number of Destin wealth advisors and Destin financial planners, but few serve as a fiduciary 100% of the time to their clients. Some are fee-based advisors, a term which has confused many investors. Fee-based advisors can sell products, like insurance and annuities, and still manage client assets. Wire houses and broker dealers, for instance, are not fiduciaries 100% of the time.

Managing assets and performing financial planning services in our area has provided our firm with an opportunity to serve a varied and unique clientele.  Some of our clients have sand in both shoes (local language meaning that they have been Florida residents for a while). Others are new to the area and desire to establish a relationship with a local investment advisor. But regardless of how our clients come to us, our goal is to assist in transitioning their hard-earned nest egg dollars to tax-sensitive investments that meet the client’s financial goals.

Our clients are current and former business owners, physicians, attorneys, professional athletes, educators, realtors, engineers, veterinarians, dentists, municipal and state employees, housewives, widows and widowers, couples, individuals, those still working and those who are retired. Some have military pensions and/or corporate pensions. Some do not. Some need income generated from their investments. Some don’t. Some of our clients possess a higher risk tolerance; some are more conservative. We learned long ago that every client is different. One’s age, risk tolerance, financial goals and overall financial situation are unique. So we custom-create each and every portfolio. And we consider it a privilege to establish a personal relationship with and serve the investment and financial planning needs of each client.

To maintain this level of personal service, and also because we enjoy assisting clients with financial challenges unique to their income level and net worth, a $500,000 minimum asset level for new clients is most appropriate. We serve a particular market niche.  Our primary focus is helping clients who are high net worth or high income earning investors. Our investment, income generation, financial planning and retirement strategies are best suited for these type of investors.

As a Destin area investment advisory firm, we maintain a passion for studying and learning about markets, both global and domestic, economic trends, and financial and geo-political occurrences likely to influence investments. We manage every dime of our clients’ assets ourselves, and use no third-party managers. You will seldom find us out “glad handing” on weekdays when markets are open; instead, we are here in the office, managing client accounts, creating financial plans, and running retirement scenarios. I am fortunate to head an investment team that shares my passion for investing and client service.