By Alison Stanton
For as long as Josephti Cruz can remember, she has enjoyed taking care of others.
Whether it’s being a trusted “rock” for a friend or doing whatever she can to make life easier for a family member, Cruz finds joy and fulfillment in being a calm and reassuring presence in other people’s lives.
Now, as the co-founder, chief compliance officer and wealth management adviser of the WealthGarden f.s. in El Segundo, Cruz applies her passion for caring for others to her clients and their financial needs.
“I am here to be my clients’ and their loved ones’ trusted partner for the rest of their lives,” she says.
Cruz offers a number of financial planning services at the WealthGarden f.s.
From managing investments or developing a retirement plan to providing divorce support, creating tax-efficient legacy strategies and more, Cruz and her team at the independent boutique firm can handle virtually every angle of their clients’ financial lives.
Regardless of what financial goals bring them to the WealthGarden f.s., clients can rest assured that Cruz will take the time to get to know them as people — not just as facts and figures on bank statements.
“I meet each client where they are and work with them to develop a positive, healthy relationship with money. We discuss its role in their lives — past, present and future — and take the time to understand its uses, benefits and potential,” Cruz says.
“Each person has their own thoughts and feelings around money and finances, developed from past experiences, perhaps from childhood, their families or adulthood. Money is emotional, and that’s OK.
“I believe the way I proactively dive into the emotions of money is incredibly unique and necessary for my clients to move forward, be more successful, and feel good about the work we’re doing.”
Just as a flower garden requires proper care to grow and thrive, so do people and their finances.
Or, as Cruz explains, her clients have already spent time creating their own wealth garden. She partners with her families to help them effectively grow and cultivate their wealth so they can benefit from it for years to come.
For example, after meeting with a new client to learn more about their hopes, dreams and goals related to money, Cruz will create a customized financial plan.
Next, Cruz and her team will implement the plan, which will figuratively nourish the client’s wealth and allow it to grow and flourish.
Cruz also uses a garden-themed schedule with her established clients, carefully tending to their wealth throughout the year.
Just as gardeners care for their plot and do specific chores each season, Cruz encourages each client to meet multiple times throughout the year.
For example, for a typical client, Cruz reviews each client’s portfolio at the beginning of the calendar year, goes over their yearly income needs and budget, and makes updates as needed.
In the spring, in addition to the portfolio, she reviews each client’s incapacity/disability plan, suggesting changes if necessary.
At some point during the summer, Cruz likes to meet with clients to discuss their overall goals, and in the late fall she will go over their legacy plan as well as give them any needed tax-related guidance.
To make meetings as easy to schedule as possible, Cruz is happy to meet with her clients in person, over the phone or through Zoom.
As needed, Cruz and her team will also collaborate with other professionals including estate planning attorneys and CPAs.
As Cruz notes, while she doesn’t really focus on a specific age range of clients, she does meet with people who are in “key phases” of their lives.
Cruz works with individuals, couples and families who are in what she calls the “accumulation” phase, which is a rapidly growing area of her practice.
“This means they are busy with their careers, budgeting, and saving for specific goals. They could be single or divorced, in a relationship or have children,” she says.
“Many times, I take on a coaching role, where I help streamline their budgets, save more efficiently and diversify their investments, in small, manageable steps over a specific period of time. Planning for this group tends to also be multigenerational, where we develop savings habits and open accounts for their children, and I also advise their parents.”
In addition, “I also work with individuals that are either close to retirement — within 10 years — or currently retired,” she says.
“My focus for clients that are ready to leave the workforce is to establish a predictable, reliable income stream and manage their investments, while also making sure there is a solid plan in place for their loved ones, future generations, charitable endeavors, and the possibility of incapacity or disability.”
As Cruz notes, nothing makes her happier than seeing her clients achieve their financial dreams.
“I love helping people achieve their goals, whether it’s retiring, buying a house, feeling comfortable taking a ‘gap year’ from work, or paying for college,” she says.
“I’ve helped clients retire years earlier than they thought was possible, move from their house into a swanky retirement community, substantially increase their investment portfolio by making minor changes to their savings habits and allocation, and enjoy nice vacations without worrying.”
Cruz is also pleased to share some exciting news about the WealthGarden f.s.
“We are growing! Wendy Turk recently joined as our newest partner. Wendy will work alongside our other founding partner, Jade Eagles; our assistant Libby Brady; and me.”
When she is not busy helping her clients with their financial goals, Cruz enjoys exploring Playa Vista with her “mini-me” daughters, Nyla and Sloane, and her Annenberg-adopted dog, Ollie.
“We love it here and rarely leave the bubble!” she says with a laugh.
Cruz is also grateful that her mom, who she calls her “rock and pillar of strength,” lives close by.
For people who are unsure or even nervous about taking control of their finances — or who may feel they are too young to get started developing and cultivating their own “wealth garden” — Cruz offers kind words of encouragement.
“There is no single perfect solution when it comes to managing your finances. Think of it as a range or a spectrum. There is always room for improvement, and that’s the wonderful thing about it,” she says.
“You are never too young, too old, too early or too late. Right now is the best time to get started, to take control of your money and your wealth.
“Do you ‘think’ you’re OK? How much better would you feel if you actually ‘know’ that you’re fine? You can establish your baseline and move up from there. I’m here to help, to give that gentle nudge and be the professional hand holder to help you move forward, one step at a time.”
The WealthGarden f.s.
1730 E. Holly Avenue, Suite 838, El Segundo
Josephti Cruz maintains FINRA licenses Series 7, 63 and 65. Her CA insurance license is 0K21081. Cruz is also a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).