Jim Kruzan has come a long way since 1981, when he started out as a young management training associate for the National Bank of Detroit. Within two years, he was a financial advisor with the company that became Ameriprise, which was then called Investors Diversified Services. In another four years, Kruzan had started his own firm, Kaydan Wealth Management, Inc.
“The firm is named after my daughter, Kaylee, and son, Brendan,” Kruzan says. “It might not register with everyone, but it is meaningful and important to me. Having a tight family tie makes you take each and every interaction you have with the public very seriously.”
Kaydan Wealth Management (KWM) is affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services, which provides the firm with access to an extensive array of knowledge and expertise in the financial industry. “It’s comforting to know I have that resource available to me,” he says. “It becomes a valuable supplement to my extensive Rolodex of 35 years.” The Raymond James headquarters is home to 3,500 employees with the experience to handle the most complex financial situations and has received numerous awards for its work.
From the beginning, KWM focused on employees of Michigan’s automotive industry, helping them invest over the course of their careers and retire comfortably. Classic cars being a lifelong passion for Kruzan made this niche a perfect fit for KWM, and the services the firm offered grew along with the industry.
“By the mid-90s, several of the big car companies were offering their employees a Fidelity-based 401(k),” Kruzan says. “Along with it came the added complexity of now having more than 50 choices for investments. This was a stark difference to the five or six choices available previously.”
KWM became one of the first firms in the country to help individual employees create 401(k) portfolios based on their specific goals. By 1996, the firm was offering several model portfolios and investment strategies tailored to a Fidelity-based portfolio framework. This was a new business model of financial management.
“We were not the advisor who simply sold an employer a 401(k) plan, and we were not the Fidelity employee answering questions about the 401(k),” Kruzan says. “In both cases, the allegiance of the advisor may be with someone besides the employee. Our focus was on the individual, not the corporation. We became a staunch advocate for the employee and this remains true to this day.”
This concept is embedded in KWM’s mission statement: “Our singular focus is to make an impactful difference in the lives of our clients and their families. As advocates, we work closely with our clients to clarify the financial landscape and navigate life’s most important events. We achieve this through thoughtful, unbiased advice, meaningful portfolio management and impeccable service.”
Since its inception 30 years ago, KWM has grown to include 13 financial planning professionals, each with a unique skill set in every aspect of financial management to bring to the table. The firm’s five key functions are client wealth advice, client service, portfolio and analytics, communications and operations and marketing branding.
“I wanted to create a financial-planning firm that focused on the client’s needs and goals, and less on product sales and investment quotas,” he says. “Providing sound advice and counsel is different from simply providing investment solutions.”
“Providing sound advice and counsel is different from simply providing investment solutions.” —Jim Kruzan
The crucial difference, he explains, is that an investment solution is a short-term fix, whereas sound advice, regular follow-up and persistence – all part of a game plan tailored to individual client goals – make up a long-term strategy. That, he notes, is what separates his approach from that of most other financial planners, who have more of a sales approach and less knowledge of the big picture of lifetime financial planning.
KWM serves clients from all walks of life. “We have never set a firm minimum,” he says. He describes clients who are just starting out on their wealth management journey as “foundation builders.” A specialized team at KWM is there to serve them, focusing on the basics of an emergency fund, life and disability coverage and consistent investing.
Another team, the one Kruzan heads, works with clients who already have sizable assets – executives, professionals and small business owners. He calls these clients “family stewards,” and the focus for them is to preserve wealth and be tax efficient regarding retirement and wealth transfer. Often, the next generation of the family will be involved in the planning process.
Not everyone is going to fall into one of these categories, of course. Other categories KWM defines include wealth accumulators, wealth creators and wealth enhancers. All denote a particular type of client with a unique set of assets and concerns or a location on the journey to financial independence. Each step along the way involves new challenges and a new set of decisions needed to advance. Despite the numerous uses of the word wealth, Kruzan wants readers to know that it’s not just the rich who should use a financial advisor.
Why Everyone Needs a Financial Advisor
“Think of it this way,” Kruzan says. “Throughout life, we are faced with a number of key financial decisions:
- Should I take a retirement buyout offered me?
- At what age should I retire?
- Should I take a pension or a lump-sum distribution?
- When should I take Social Security?
- How best do I fund post-retirement health care?
- What Medicare supplement is best for my situation?
- How do I deal with the required minimum distribution?
The decisions you make about these issues will affect your future.”
While the rich can absorb the cost of a financial mistake or two, the rest of us can cause serious damage to our financial future if we stumble along the way. That is why, according to Kruzan, everyone needs a trusted advisor and advocate to help them manage their money.
Kruzan’s ethical mind-set can be seen in the community and charity work that he performs outside of his profession. He is a longtime trustee for the Fenton Education Foundation. He created the Fenton Touchdown Program and has donated more than $15,000 to it since 2006. Each year, he collects toys for Genesee County Toys for Tots and coats to donate to Flint’s Carriage Town Ministries.
All this reveals that when clients walk through the door of KWM, they can rest assured that both their wealth and their trust will be invested wisely.
P: 810-593-1624 | F: 810-593-1643
329 West Silver Lake Road
Fenton, MI 48430
2701 Cambridge Court, Suite 412
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Kaydan Wealth Management, Inc. is not a registered broker/dealer, and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. and Kaydan Wealth Management, Inc.
Any opinions are those of Jim Kruzan and not necessarily those of Raymond James.