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“It is natural to feel insecure about managing your wealth, especially if you don’t have a finance background. Charlotte’s book clearly outlines the responsibility you have to your wealth and equips you with the tools to manage it. This book simplifies what many people find complex about wealth management, helps readers understand what kind of investor they are, and clearly breaks down the different aspects of the wealth management business. It is a masterpiece that every investor should read and own.”

—Lloyd Hascoe, Hascoe Associates

“At last a book that unwraps the mysteries of investing. Charlotte Beyer helps readers to deal with the practical problems of managing wealth wisely. She shows them how to assess their own strengths as investors, provides a checklist for interviewing advisors, and shares keen insights to make the reader savvier about the pitfalls of investing. A must‐read for both sophisticated investors and those who want to better navigate the investment process.”

—Richard Marston, James R.F. Guy Professor of Finance, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

“Wealth Management Unwrapped insightfully explores investor and industry (mis‐) behavior and the challenges of crafting and sustaining a robust wealth management strategy. Individuals and families would do well to read this before selecting a financial advisor.”

—Ashvin B. Chhabra, President, Euclidean Capital LLC and author of The Aspirational Investor

“Einstein said, ‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.’ In Wealth Management Unwrapped, calling on her unrivaled experience, Charlotte Beyer has done just that with regard to the financial advice everyone needs.”

—Howard Marks, Co‐Chairman, Oaktree Capital Management

“Charlotte Beyer has dedicated her professional career to improving the wealth management business and this book is one of her greatest contributions to the industry. It’s a smart, fun and creative snapshot of what investors should look for in their financial advisors and an important call for an improved client relationship.”

—Sallie Krawcheck, Founder & CEO, Ellevest

“Charlotte’s incredible experience in wealth management – from both sides of the table – makes this book indispensable for wealthy families AND the advisors who wish to serve them. The new chapters on digital advice and ‘women with wallets’ brings this already excellent book right up to date on the disruptions affecting the wealth management industry. There is no one besides Charlotte who could have written this book – and we can all be thankful that she did.”

—Scott Welch, Chief Investment Officer, Dynasty Financial Partners

“Charlotte Beyer is a gifted ‘translator.’ She understood the investment world, but also the high net worth individual and family. She used her instincts, sensing the unique personal and emotional needs of that world. Her book beautifully translates her thoughts, insights and instincts, helping families and investment managers with an understandable, and pragmatic, path to helping both.”

—Ginny Corsi, Consultant, Corsi Associates

“As I read Wealth Management Unwrapped, unique and amazing were the words that came to mind. In this most readable book, Charlotte integrates her extensive experience, common sense and humor to masterfully write for two audiences concurrently – the client and the advisor. She writes ‘This book attempts to pull their [investors] stories together into practical lessons you can learn from. . .’ Charlotte is wrong, she doesn’t ‘attempt’, she succeeds magnificently. This is not only a book I will own, it is one I will share widely with my clients. Investors and other advisors will be well rewarded by joining me.”

—Harold Evensky, Chairman, Evensky & Katz; Foldes Financial Wealth Management I Professor of Practice, Texas Tech University

“In her newly revised manual, Wealth Management Unwrapped, Charlotte Beyer uses plain talk, common sense, wit and wisdom, and a knack for choosing just the right analogies to coax even the wariest investor into becoming a wise and confident CEO of his or her own wealth. She offers helpful lists, charts, and scripts to help investors find, evaluate, hire and fire advisors, and, as important, really get to know themselves as investors and investment decision makers.”

—Marilyn Mohrman‐Gillis, Executive Director, CFP Center for Financial Planning

“As always, Charlotte demystifies the complex by speaking plainly and directly. It is not only her deep expertise that comes through in this book, but that she truly cares about guiding people to confidently make the best decisions financial decisions from a place of knowledge and comfort.”

—Nan J. Morrison, CEO, Council for Economic Education

Copyright © 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.

Published simultaneously in Canada.

All interior graphics and illustrations: Bud Lavery Design.

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Dedicated to the hundreds of private investors I came to know over four decades in this industry. I was fortunate to form abiding friendships with many of you, and to learn extraordinary lessons from many, many more. I could not have written this book without your support, loyalty, and wisdom.


Do not lend this book to your friends—or even your family!

Buy a copy and give it. Better, buy several copies and give them to those you love. Or, best of all, get them to buy their own copies. Then, they’ll feel more committed to reading, enjoying, and savoring the insights, wisdom, and confident good humor with which my friend Charlotte Beyer has gathered together valuable investing insights from her years of experience, particularly as the founder and doyenne of the Institute for Private Investors.

Meanwhile, keep your copy where you can easily reach for it to refresh your own best thinking on the particular ideas and explanations that mean the most to you. NB: Keeping your copy handy is not being selfish, it’s setting a good example for your friends and family.

“Phooey on Phees!” could have been yet one more chapter title with attitude. All the titles send a clear signal: candor is coming! Candor with an edge—and a sense of humor—is coming from a writer who “knows the score” and “tells it like it is.”

Being realistic about investment prospects is the first half of every investor’s challenge—and opportunity. The second half is being realistic about our particular objectives and priorities. All this and more is illuminated in a breezy, easy way – but with evidence behind every point and sources cited in the extensive endnotes.

Charlotte Beyer’s readers will enjoy receiving treasured insights into the world of investing and how each individual can best navigate to catch the favorable winds and tides—and avoid the rocks and shoals—to reach the chosen destination safely. Along the way, her companions will enjoy having an engaging story‐teller who knows what’s important and how best to share her understanding. Charlotte has been my friend for many years and, over a few interesting and enjoyable hours of reading, she will be your friend, too.

Charles D. Ellis
New Haven, CT
June 2017


For those families and entrepreneurs interested in preserving their wealth and fortunes, this is a must‐read book—not a prescriptive manual, more a dramatised documentary. Here is the proper distillation of experience that Charlotte Beyer has gleaned over 40 years of working with private investors. Staying rich and growing financial wealth successfully over an extended period of time is no easy task. The skills needed to manage and oversee a diverse pool of financial assets are different from those required to manage or sell a family business or other significant concentrated asset—a job for which most individuals have received little or no training.

Following the extraordinary transition of wealth over the past fifty years from one generation to the next, the marked changes in the financial services landscape and the events of 2008 in the financial markets, private investors have been forced to address numerous concerns within their portfolios. The past five years have challenged traditional thinking about investing and asset allocation, diversification and correlation. For individual investors, risk tolerances have been tested, investment assumptions have been overturned, and fundamental truisms have been questioned. For this reason wealth managers must be prepared to respond to a greater need by clients to understand, access, and communicate with advisors regarding their current relationship as well as the products and services that may satisfy future needs. Moreover, advisors must have sufficient information, from objective sources, regarding all products and services owned by their clients to answer enquiries relating to performance and degree of risk—at the client, portfolio and individual‐security levels. This state of affairs poses a dilemma for wealth managers who, for a generation, have adhered to the core principles of asset allocation and earned their keep by preaching the mantras of “Buy and hold,” “Invest for the long term,” and when things get tough, “Stay the course.”

The key to following best practices starts with having a formal process. Now more than ever the value and importance of education for investors and advisors has increased immeasurably. A pioneer in recognising these challenges and setting out to deliver answers for both communities was the Institute for Private Investors, the membership organisation that Charlotte Beyer founded 27 years ago. Along with the Investor Education Collaborative, which has been providing experiential investment education since 2004, enabling investors and advisors to benefit from the learnings of their peers, these two organisations have continuously set the benchmark for others to follow.

The importance and contribution of private investors to our society and economy is increasingly being recognised, so Charlotte’s insights and sound recommendations appear at a prescient time. My hope is that private investors and advisors alike take note and act on them.

Dominic Samuelson
CEO, Campden Wealth


What a journey! Many of the ideas you will find inside this expanded version of my book were first tried out during Institute for Private Investors programs. My colleagues were incredibly helpful in recording much of what you will read.

A profound source of insight has been the Private Wealth Management program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. For the past 18 years I have had the privilege of learning from the most amazing professors and equally amazing investors—all 1,000 of them! I am especially indebted to Professor Dick Marston, whose leadership of the program has been inspiring and inspired.

Many friends and industry colleagues have also given generously of their time. I want to single out three: Charley Ellis, who shared his insights at many a breakfast over the years; Susan Remmer Ryzewic, who read an early draft and offered such terrific suggestions; and Niall Gannon, who highlighted mathematical omissions and nuances in return calculations. Also, Rosamond Ivey, Lloyd Hascoe, Joan Siegel, Tony Schneider, Bette Morris, and the late Mark Morris each played a key role in this book’s creation. Those courageous women, all 100 of you who have attended a Principle Quest retreat, were my inspiration for the chapter addressed to women investors,

I want to give a special mention to my editors at Wiley, Bill Falloon and Julie Kerr; also Christina Ho and Barbara Thompson, who helped in the book’s production, as well as an extraordinary graphic designer, Bud Lavery.

Finally, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my family. My sister, Allen Beyer, helped me formulate my thoughts and patiently listened to me read chapters aloud.

My husband, Keith Fiveson, deserves the most profound thanks because he sustains me with incredible love—not to mention a sense of humor and adventure!


Charlotte B. Beyer founded the Institute for Private Investors (IPI) in 1991, after 20 years on Wall Street, to help improve the relationship between wealthy investors and their financial advisors. Then in 1999 she collaborated with the Wharton School to create the first‐of‐its‐kind private wealth management curriculum for families with substantial assets. Named an Aresty Fellow in 2016, Beyer continues to teach in this program twice a year.

Beyer also launched the Investor Education Collaborative in 2004 to continue to spread the message of IPI, where she served as CEO for 21 years until her retirement in 2012. In 2015, Family Wealth Report awarded Beyer a Lifetime Achievement citation for her “tangible legacy” that “championed the interests of private investors.”

Beyer was recognized by IMCA® for key innovations and thought leadership in 2016 with the J. Richard Joyner Wealth Management Impact award. A graduate of Hunter College, Beyer also attended the University of Pennsylvania and the Stern/NYU Graduate School of Business Administration. A lifetime trustee of the Westover School, an all‐girls’ school, in 2012 Beyer founded the Principle Quest Foundation, a private foundation whose mission is to support innovative education and creative mentoring programs for girls and women.

She currently serves on the global association board of 100 Women in Finance and the Ambassador Board of Institutional Investor’s Journal of Wealth Management.


In 1991, after 20 years on Wall Street selling to high-net-worth individuals, I founded a very different company. My entrepreneurial venture offered no product and sold no advice. I wanted to provide a safe harbor—an educational community for investors. The goal was to create a more informed consumer of financial services.

What I’ve learned—my unfinished business

Over the course of my career, I have watched many investors make mistakes—and witnessed advisors hurting their businesses unwittingly by their own errors. I’ve also witnessed investors learning how to become more confident and make decisions that helped themselves and their families sleep better at night. Countless investors and advisors have confided1 in me, revealing how disappointed—or how thrilled—they were with one another.

This book attempts to pull their stories together into practical lessons you can learn from, whether you are an investor or an advisor. That’s why there are two parts to this book: first, 14 chapters for the investor, and then the Appendix, which can be read from either the investor’s or advisor’s perspective.

I’ve sat on both sides of the conference room table, both as an advisor and alongside an investor. To understand the thinking of both sides is important, and this book intends to show investors and advisors how to approach their relationships. The history of such relationships is littered with scandals like Bernie Madoff and Wall Street’s own focus on short-term profits. If we are ever going to change the way investors work with advisors and advisors work with investors, for the benefit of both, we need to expose myths, speak candidly about what goes wrong, and provide real solutions.

That is my intention, and I hope you benefit from reading this book. Partnering is the ultimate goal, and the rewards are tangible.2