Scott Ashline is a wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual in the La Jolla/UTC area, who said he’s guided by The Golden Rule of Finance: “Don’t advise a client to buy a product or implement a solution that you wouldn’t use for your own family.” This conviction has enabled Ashline and his team to serve their clients well for the last 25 years.
Ashline explained that each member of his team specializes in a specific area of support and planning. Those areas are: certified financial planning, estate planning, business planning, retirement income planning, investment strategies, risk management, marketing, service analyzing and international relations. Some of his employees have been with him for more than 20 years.
“The No. 1 concern for most of our clients is ‘Will I have enough? (to retire)’ ” Ashline pointed out. “People really appreciate seeing a quantifiable plan that minimizes (or supports) their concerns. Clients want a strategic plan because they realize there are so many factors that affect a retirement outcome — inflation, taxes, longevity, legacy and charitable planning.”
Ashline said his team deals with clients’ needs through a comprehensive approach: “I see that most financial advisors are focused on accumulation planning for clients, which in many ways, is a commodity in today’s market. But we also put together a retirement distribution plan for our clients. This creates a strategy for withdrawing and spending the assets they’ve spent their lives saving.”
Northwestern Mutual was founded in 1857 in Wisconsin and has offices nationwide. The La Jolla office is one of three in San Diego; the others are in downtown San Diego and Carlsbad. The company had a record year for growth in 2017, seeing a revenue increase of 27 percent.
Ashline said he built his financial planning business a bit differently than most. He chose a multi-generational team of six people and it’s growing. He points out that the average age for a financial advisor is 57 and the typical office has one support person. “It’s important to me to have advisors in their 20s and 30s on our team, because we’re working with many of our client’s children and grandchildren. People do not want their accounts passed along to a stranger. They want a familiar face on a team that they’ve known for many years.”
Ashline said he’s always taken a personal interest in his clients — even those with little or no financial savvy. “As an example, one particular family we worked with came from a very simple, humble background and were not financially sophisticated. After a death in their family, they received a large amount of funds. However, they had no idea what to do. We set up special education accounts and trusts for the kids. We created a budget for them and gave them a monthly income. The family readily admits if they had not done any planning, they would have easily squandered their funds within a year. Now, they are set for life.”
When he’s not helping clients, Ashline said he enjoys family time with his wife, Noemi, whom he met while attending Boston College. They have two daughters — Amanda, who is a junior at UCLA; and Bella, who is a senior at Cathedral Catholic High School. He said he also enjoys the many things Southern California has to offer, and has a surprising side-goal in his future. “I love to ski, run, read and drink wine,” he shared. “I’m also a yoga fanatic and hope to be a yoga instructor some day.”
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