Investor Highlight: Oak Road Wealth Management

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Dan Shepard

Dan Shepard always knew he wanted to own his own business. So, after living and working in New York City and Nashville, the University of Missouri alumni was excited when he had the opportunity to relocate his family to Lee’s Summit.

His company, Oak Road Wealth Management, specializes in retirement planning for individuals and businesses.

“I like giving people confidence that they can accomplish their goals,” said Shepard. “Within the realm of retirement plans, some of them are so egregiously priced and complicated that it’s pretty satisfying to help a company take a plan that’s not functioning very well and make that plan a whole lot more effective at making their participants ready for retirement.”

Shepard said unlike many financial advisors, the team at Oak Road Wealth Management are fee-only fiduciaries. As fiduciaries, they do not receive commissions, or any other compensation, based on the selection of investment products or service providers.  In other words, their compensation is between them and their client. They are free to select investment products and service providers that are best for their client because they are not paid any differently based on that choice.

“It’s our opinion that working with a fiduciary is the best option because we are completely and totally independent,” said Shepard.

One common misconception, Shepard said, is that switching your 401k plan’s advisor means going through a labor-intensive effort to change, but Shepard said that is not always the case. His team examines the existing plan and analyses other options to ensure they are in the best possible plan to suit their needs.  Sometimes they recommend a service provider change and sometimes not.

“When it comes to 401ks, it is very common to find plans that are not running very efficiently and most of the time, the people that are in charge of them don’t realize that they aren’t. In some cases, they don’t realize how costly they are and they don’t realize what they’re opening themselves up to by not going through the process to make sure they’re competitive,” said Shepard.

In some instances, Shepard said, employers could be opening themselves up to the potential for litigation by not benchmarking their plan costs. Other times, they are simply paying too much for poor service. Shepard said his team works with employers to help them understand their fiduciary obligations and figure out how to save money without compromising their goals.

“401k plan costs are, by nature, extraordinarily non-transparent. Not only that, sometimes it is very complicated to figure out who you’re actually paying and for what services.”

For corporate-sponsored plans, Shepard and his team offer an added benefit. Oak Road Wealth Management designs a micro-site for each company that offers information on the company’s plan. Employees also have access to a live calendar where they can connect with and schedule an appointment with a local advisor to talk about their goals and make sure they are on the right track.

“The micro-site is designed to provide participants with better and easier access to their advisor than most 401k plans offer.” said Shepard.

Oak Road Wealth Management is accepting new individual clients and company-sponsored retirement plans. Those interested in learning more can contact Dan Shepard at dan@oakroadwealth.com.