This month, we’re sitting down with Truepoint’s president, Steve Condon, and Brad Felix and Devon Klumb of our RhineVest team in their Over-the-Rhine offices in downtown Cincinnati. It’s been three years since Truepoint acquired RhineVest to provide a more accessible approach to financial planning.
Why did you start RhineVest?
Brad: I founded RhineVest in 2015 because I thought everyone deserved a fair shot at retirement. At the time, I was frustrated and disappointed that the financial planning industry didn’t really help people like my friends and family. It felt like everyday people couldn’t get the kind of objective, actionable, unbiased financial planning that wealthier people have access to. Instead, they were being sold financial products, disguised as financial advice. I knew there had to be a better way—a way to modernize the approach so that real financial planning is available to more people.
Devon: As we’ve grown over the past few years, it’s become clear that retirement isn’t the only thing—or even the primary thing—our clients need help with. Today, people are faced with so many competing financial decisions, all at once. They want to save for their kids’ college funds, they’re thinking about having another baby, they have to replace the roof on the house they just bought. All of these costs add up, and it makes it hard to save for longer term goals. We want to help people make progress toward that bigger picture without feeling like they’re sacrificing all of their immediate happiness.
Brad: It’s become something like financial wellness rather than just investing or retirement planning.
Who is an ideal RhineVest client?
Brad: As I mentioned, I started RhineVest with my own family members in mind. So, you also probably know someone who could benefit from good financial planning. It could be your neighbor, your friend, your son or daughter. I think some people make the mistake of thinking they should have a million dollars in assets before they contact an advisor. But people should get started a lot sooner than that! RhineVest makes that possible.
Devon: Many of our clients tend to be in their late 30s into their 50s—what we refer to as the “prime chaos” years. There’s a lot being thrown at them. Their income may be the best it’s ever been, but they’re not sure where they should put those dollars to work. Maybe they’ve met with an advisor before, but it wasn’t someone really interested in the complete picture—in their personal story, their complicated life. I think our clients appreciate that we don’t just talk about investment strategies and the financial plan; instead, we talk about the destination—what they want to accomplish in this life. And then, we help them execute on the things they need to do to achieve it.
Why did Truepoint acquire RhineVest?
Steve: Many of our clients wanted their friends and loved ones to receive the same level of service, care and reassurance that they had received working with Truepoint. But maybe they weren’t sure if the person they had in mind had sufficient assets for Truepoint—or if a less traditional approach might be a better fit.
And that’s a position that we never want to put our clients in—we don’t want them to be uncertain about whether someone “qualifies” for Truepoint. And we never want to tell someone that we can’t help.
So, we recognized that a wide group of people weren’t getting good financial guidance. And the rest of the industry wasn’t paying attention to them. That’s why we were drawn to Brad’s vision with RhineVest. It allowed us to make fee-only, fiduciary guidance accessible to more people. And, frankly, the innovative approach was something we knew some of our existing clients would love to experience.
Truepoint was a pioneer in launching as a fee-only, planning-centric firm in 1990. Our growth and evolution since has been driven by one thing: finding ways to further improve how clients are served. We thought RhineVest represented another leap forward, and the last three years have proven that to be true. We’re extremely proud of how this team is improving people’s lives, and we’re excited to have them as part of the Truepoint family.
If Truepoint and RhineVest take the same approach to serving clients, then why are there separate names?
Steve: This is something we’ve really wrestled with. It certainly would be simpler to operate only under the Truepoint name. But RhineVest has a less traditional feel than we have at Truepoint. We really valued that about RhineVest, and we didn’t want to change it. So, to help maintain that different feel, we’ve kept separate names. Even though the names are different, the philosophy—the values—they’re all the same.
Devon: Meeting with us is a bit different from meeting with a team at Truepoint’s main office. We wear jeans to work. Our offices are in an exposed brick, downtown building. You can even tell from our website that we’re a little different. But, as Steve said, it’s the same company. When you meet with us at RhineVest, you’re meeting with Truepoint. You get all those decades of expertise, that commitment to service, that holistic approach. We’ve all made the same commitment not to accept commissions and instead to always work in the best interests of our clients. That’s what you’ll get when you meet with us.