Joseph LoPresti is the President and CEO of Arlington Wealth Management. He has been in the investment industry for over 35 years. Working as a broker for various firms in the 1980s and 1990s, Joseph was unhappy that his training focused on selling, but not how to be a great advisor for them. Joe hit the ground running, accumulating a valuable collection of knowledge from various experts, and taking a self-taught approach to form his specialized methodology. In 2000, he ventured out to start his firm. It was at this moment where Joe began the adventure that we know today as Arlington Wealth Management. He knew that he wanted to share his strategies and leverage the knowledge he accumulated for his clients. Joe’s first book, entitled Empowered Investing: Strategies for Proactive Investors, teaches investors how to strategize and be a disciplined investor. In combination, Joe hosted a radio segment for many years to share his knowledge and methods with a larger audience. Joe provided his views on how investors could build their wealth and enrich their lives with Empowered Investing. Joe also teaches investment and wealth management courses at local colleges in their continuing education programs.
Joe’s evident passion for investor education led to the Investor Education Institute’s (IEI) foundation, which offers memberships and publishes investment insights. The membership benefits include accessing ongoing education, updated insights, and advanced training to become a better investor while maintaining your sanity. The IEI aims to put the power and confidence back into the hands of the members.
From the beginning, Joe has been guided by doing good and giving back to the community, a driving force behind the Joseph LoPresti Scholarship. Each year, he and AWM give the grant to a well-deserved high school senior based on their thoughtful response to an essay question.
Joe designed Arlington Wealth Management to be an island in a sea of investment wealth management firms focused on the “bigger is better” mentality. AWM keeps the firm’s size manageable to devote time and energy to each client. The AWM team strives to provide quality advice and service through customized advanced planning and tailored strategies for their wealth management needs. Arlington Wealth Management applies Joseph’s proprietary methodology when working with a carefully selected client base. The firm works closely with clients whose core values align with the Arlington Wealth Management team. The team prioritizes the hard work their clients made to build their wealth. AWM clients get expert guidance designed to make informed decisions, optimize their wealth, and accomplish their life and financial goals.
Joseph LoPresti and his team at Arlington Wealth Management strive to foster those relationships and help their clients build the ideal financial world they desire.
How did you get started in your industry?
I started my investment career as a broker for various firms, but the culture focused on sales. I felt that my clients were not getting the attention they deserved, nor did I get the training necessary to be a great advisor. So I decided to self-learn as much as I possibly could. I consumed a great deal of information and developed my proprietary investment methodology. Along with customized advanced planning to help address our client’s concerns that extend beyond investments, these methods are the backbone of Arlington Wealth Management. We are committed to providing a superior client experience, strong client relationships, and deep trust.
How do you make money in your field?
Through management fees for the services we provide. Our wealth management services include proactive investment management and advanced planning, all designed to provide our clients peace of mind and help them accomplish essential goals. Each client has unique objectives, but they tend to have similar concerns. Common concerns include: preserving their wealth from setbacks, funding their lifestyle, minimizing income, estate, and capital gain taxes, facilitating the most tax-efficient way to pass assets to loved ones with minimal difficulty and cost, protecting their assets from catastrophic loss, making meaningful gifts to charities in the most impactful way possible. We help families, business owners, and real estate investors make intelligent decisions in all these areas, and that’s how we make our money.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Typically, when you are starting a business, it takes time to become profitable. In the wealth management industry, the key is building your client base around quality over quantity. You may think the latter is better for turning a profit, but it isn’t when you start to think about retention. Suppose you can develop a great relationship with a limited base of affluent clients. In that case, you don’t have to worry about profits and can focus more on the quality of those relationships and the impact of the work you are doing for them.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
In this industry, you make many decisions, and doubt is bound to creep in if you let it. I have a firm conviction in my methods, so I don’t think doubt affects me as much as it could others. I can’t say that there has ever been so much doubt, but I know that there will be failures. However, you will learn more from failures than successes. Failures are a silver lining. Fail early and often, and you will ultimately have more success. Control your doubts through conviction, and grow from your failures. That’s how I handle them.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
We aren’t hyper-focused on adding a lot of new clients. We are focused on providing a limited group of clients with a higher quality of service. Education-based marketing is one of the more effective strategies; podcasts, blogs, courses, whitepapers. Educate your prospective clients, provide them quality thought leadership content that they value, and you will be top of mind when they need your services.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The decision we made to scale back was a tough decision. When working and competing in an industry where other companies base their success on how big they are and how big they can get, it is hard to possess a different way of thinking. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and it isn’t a benefit for our clients. I had to admit that I was better at managing a smaller team of people than a large one. Thankfully, this smaller team of excellent and talented individuals have been behind this decision, and the choice was the right one for us. We can strive to build excellent client relationships and spend more time and energy giving them the attention they deserve. I believe each client receives significantly more value, and we can work to make a more significant impact on their lives.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think it’s persistence. At times when others may give up, I find new solutions, and I keep going. I have too many people relying on me to turn back. I think that it is also critical to be adaptable. When you work in wealth management, it is vital to learn how you can change to avoid being a victim of the times. I lived through the dot-com bubble in 2000, the recession in 2008, and now the global pandemic in 2020. Continual improvement through all of these experiences has helped with our success.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When I invited two partners to join in with equity ownership in the company back in 2016. It was incredibly satisfying to know that I had built a business from scratch that had value not just to me but also valuable enough to others that they wanted to own a part of it.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Now that we have gone through this change of scaling back, I am very excited to continue to focus on building excellent client experiences now more than ever. I am encouraged to build on each relationship and help each client accomplish all that is important to them.
What business books have inspired you?
Jim Collins’ books- I love his series about how to become a great organization. Necessary Endings hit home because it drives home the point that certain things need to end to start anew. If I had read that book sooner, I might have felt more confident making this transition sooner with less regret.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Focus on the long game from the start. Growth for growth’s sake isn’t always the answer. Maybe not in all industries, but in wealth management, quality over quantity is a better business strategy.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Sure. You can find more information on our website here: arlington-wealth.com.