Why We Created Washington Wealth Advisors & Our Investment Philosophy

Maura Schauss |

By Todd Youngdahl, CFP® and Maura C. Schauss, CFP®

When it comes to something as personal as your finances, we believe it’s important to have a close relationship and a connection with your financial advisor. After all, the more you know about a person, the more you can feel comfortable discussing personal details of your life, from your greatest financial goals to the fears that keep you up at night.

With the goal of greater transparency and a stronger relationship with our clients, we’d like to share some insight into why we formed Washington Wealth Advisors and the investment philosophy we follow.

What Led Us to Where We Are Today

Both of us have always been fascinated with finance and investments. Growing up, Maura was a natural saver and loved watching money grow and when she learned it had the opportunity to grow faster in the stock market, she was hooked. Todd grew passionate about investments while studying finance in college. He envisioned a career combining this passion with people. We both knew we wanted to use our knowledge to work with clients to develop strategies to impact their situation. We know that the decisions our clients make today impact them long term.  

Each of us spent several years with large financial firms before realizing we wanted to work as an independent financial advisor and build stronger and closer relationships with clients. In 2011, Maura founded Washington Wealth Advisors with the goal of serving clients as in a fiduciary capacity, providing unbiased advice, complete control over client service, and transparent fees. In 2012, Todd joined the team as a managing partner and financial planner.

What Makes Us Different

We are committed to setting ourselves apart from the sea of wealth management firms by putting our clients first in all that we do. While the intricacies of investing and finance may be fascinating to financial advisors like us, many people have busy enough lives. They seek simplicity.

Our process was created to do just that: provide straightforward systems to help our clients with their financial needs and goals. We aim to make the subject simple and clear so our clients can make educated decisions. We want our clients to be able to ask us questions and receive clear answers that make sense to their specific situation.

Additionally, many of our clients are families with children and, as parents ourselves, we understand what our clients are going through. We truly care about their needs and future, and we give them our sole attention, whether it’s a phone call or in-person meeting. As a result, many of our clients have been with us for years or decades. And while they may first work with us as financial planning clients, they often become investment management clients, as well.

Our Investment Goals

Too often, we find that some advisors or investors believe stock market performance is the be-all, end-all when it comes to returns. While stock market performance makes a huge impact, there is so much more that also plays a key role in a client’s rate of return. With this in mind, we follow a few key guidelines with our investment management approach.

For one, we make it clear with our clients upfront that you shouldn’t try to time the market. Our philosophy is a top-down approach, starting with asset allocation. We begin by finding the proper asset allocation to match our clients’ risk profiles and investment objectives. We stick to diversified investments to spread risk, including mutual funds, ETFs, and individual stocks where appropriate. We may have a different allocation for your retirement account than for your college accounts.

Second, we do semi-annual reviews to make sure our clients are on track towards their goals and that their investments are appropriate for those goals. Consistent reviews of our investments and portfolios and making adjustments as the economy changes is core to our strategy.

And third, one area that we bring to the table that many other firms don't is our tax background. As Maura has the CPA designation, we believe we can help clients maximize their returns using all the resource and management tools that we all have, plus a tax component.

What We Aim to Provide Our Clients

Regardless of our clients’ specific goals and unique circumstances, we strive to provide them three essentials:

  1. Organization: When clients feel organized, we believe they can feel better about their finances. This allows them to focus on their future, not the details. They can also feel more empowered to make decisions and understand their opportunities.
  2. Supported: Having a professional continually monitoring their investments and financial plan helps them focus on the other areas of their life. We want our clients to know they can call or email us whenever they have a question, concern, or financial decision to make that they’re uncertain about.
  3. Confidence: Clarifying the goals that are most important to their family and creating a plan to pursue those goals often gives our clients confidence in their future. Through our services, we hope they can be able to enjoy life today and feel confident that they are on track for their future.

The Best Part of Our Job

The most fulfilling part of our careers is without a doubt the long-term relationships we create with our clients. We feel so lucky to be able to work with so many incredible people. That in and of itself motivates us to work hard every day.

We love that we get to see our clients grow personally, professionally, and financially. Watching them reach the goals they set 15 years ago is incredible. Many of our clients started working with us when they were first married with no kids, and now that they have kids going off to college and we’ve planned for that together, it’s a great feeling.

It’s incredibly fulfilling when a client turns to us and thanks us for helping them work toward their goal. Big or small, achieving something you seek is an amazing feeling, and we take just as much pleasure in our clients’ success as they do.

Ultimately, we’re passionate about working with kind and friendly families who seek to get financially organized and partner with an advisor to pursue their greatest financial goals. If you’re interested in learning more about how we work and if we may be a good fit for one another, we invite you to take the first step by reaching out to us by calling our office at 703.584.2700 or emailing clientservices@washingtonwealthadv.com. We’d be happy to speak with you during a no-commitment, fee-free consultation.

About Washington Wealth Advisors

Washington Wealth Advisors is an independent registered investment advisory firm serving high net worth families and small businesses. We focus on holistic financial planning and comprehensive investment management. Leveraging our core strengths of unbiased, active investment management together with a detailed annual financial planning capability, we serve your comprehensive investment and financial planning needs.