In 2017, after a career in tech, senior housing, and healthcare, Arvette M. Reid joined Signature Estate & Investment Advisors (SEIA) — a Los Angeles-based RIA that was founded in 1997 and that now has more than $12.7 billion in AUM — to create the firm’s Lifecare Affordability Plan, a flat-rate solution designed to meet changing healthcare needs while preserving the caregiver’s quality of life. We spoke with Reid in her Tysons, Virginia location. Below is our recent discussion, edited for length and clarity
What motivated you to get into the financial side of lifecare planning?
I came to SEIA with no financial background. My mom was a social worker, and my father was a middle school principal. We didn’t talk about finances. I’d had a successful software career before I started working in senior housing and healthcare, and then I spent 15 years working with families who were trying to make a housing or a healthcare decision. Even though I was a marketing person, I was always the one trying to tell them how much things cost — how much they would have to pay out of pocket, what the daily rate was, and so forth. And the look on their faces…they were like, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to pay for this?” People just don’t realize how expensive some of these home care and housing options are.
Tom West — the partner that I work for now at SEIA — was well respected in the senior housing and healthcare industry, and we had known each other through the years. He started talking to me about creating the Lifecare Affordability Plan — he said he thought that it was really something we could do, and he asked me to come over. I was like, “Okay, I’ll try it.”
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You have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering…
Yes, the engineering degree throws everybody off. I describe myself as having a social worker’s heart, from my mother, and an engineering degree. I’m still very engineer-like in the way that I present information. All these years of working directly with families have informed how I communicate, and I can be warm and fuzzy, but when I’m working with 85-year-old men who were engineers or military, or who worked in high-level government positions, my ability to talk like an engineer makes them feel comfortable.
What has been your most satisfying moment at SEIA?
I’ve had colleagues hire us to help with their personal lives. Two years ago, one woman hired us because she needed help with her in-laws, and I bumped into her a couple months ago. She told me, “Oh my God, everything that you helped us with…as soon as things started hitting the fan, my mother-in-law didn’t push back because we had talked it all through. We had a plan and she felt comfortable because we had laid it out.” We had built a plan to show this woman exactly what her family would need to do, when that time comes, and how they could afford it. And it takes away the anxiety. I love what I do.
The inaugural RIA Intel Awards is a celebration of financial advisors, wealth management firms, and industry leaders. Results will be revealed at a gala dinner and ceremony at the Metropolitan Club of New York, September 14, 2022.
Ron Geraci is a Senior Writer at Institutional Investor Thought Leadership Studio and based in New York City.