Private Wealth Wake Up Call: Are You Missing Out on the Most Meaningful Benefits of Wealth?


By Susan E. Dahl, LEVATUS Wealth Services

You have seen it. There are people who succeed, and then there are people who FLOURISH. Success in its fullest form does not happen by accident. Over the many years we have worked with clients, we have found that there are some very tangible common denominators amongst those who go beyond success. Connecting strategy with priorities and passions in specific, visible ways tops the list. But where to begin? If you feel like prioritizing your priorities is easier said than done, you are not alone.

How can I create some structure around evaluating my priorities? How to quantify their ‘value’ from a planning perspective?

Thinking about priorities in categories is helpful. Designing those categories so that they speak to factors that impact people’s lives and well-being takes this to the next level. We view this process as one of the most important ways we, as advisors, can help clients. The LEVATUS process addresses this all important topic within a data-driven, proprietary framework that formally connects the principles of modern wealth management with the the science of cognitive impact, emotion, and well-being.

There are many components within the process, which are all deeply personal. One tool some clients enjoy starting with is a straight forward, science-based questionnaire that is a first step in quantifying and weighting priorities. Results from the questionnaire offers some perspective on where individual priorities most naturally intersect with investment and planning choices.

Can a simple Priorities Questionnaire really tell me anything I do not already know?

The answer to that is different for every person. Some people find the questionnaire quite helpful, while others prefer to talk through the process one on one. That said, the LEVATUS questionnaire can provide a simple first step in creating structure around the assessment of priorities. This questionnaire style  assessment uses a framework called PTSV, which stands for Purpose, Touch, Security, Viewpoint. The aggregation of responses gives dimension and relative weight to factors that influence portfolio and planning priorities. The structure of the questions is super important, as they are not simply asking what your priorities are, they are asking for information that derives insight.

What does the Purpose score tell me?

What are your values? How are you expressing these values? If your Purpose score is high relative to the other scores a mission-based investment style that puts particular emphasis on these questions may have outsized value to you, a value that is more than the pure economics. The nuts and bolts of this could translate into investing in publicly traded companies that are well aligned philosophically or emphasizing a family-owned business that is important and inspires a sense of purpose. Others who score high in this category, may gain a relatively high degree of satisfaction though charitable gifting or volunteering their time.  There is no cookie-cutter approach to elevating “Purpose” within your financial priorities because purpose is different for every person. The important takeaway is that making a specific connection between values and financial strategy may add particular value (above and beyond pure economics) for somebody with a high score in purpose whereas somebody that has a higher relative score in other categories may find more benefit by emphasizing other elements of strategy.

What does a high Touch score imply?

The Touch score gives insight into what type of advisory relationship will be most helpful to you. What is your communication style? Some investors benefit from detailed investment reports with high frequency, others find this creates unnecessary stress and a lack of clarity. Some find a personalized executive summary twice per year instills a far greater level of control.  There is no wrong answer here. This score gives insight on how to achieve the connection between investing and information flow that empowers, enriches, and works for you. A high score here means a higher touch advisory relationship might be best for you.

Is the Security score important?

Identifying the appropriate level of risk for any individual is a highly nuanced calculation. It is so much more than your age and asset level. Accurate risk planning within your portfolio and asset allocation sets the stage for control, and an ability to truly enjoy life. It is one of the most important factors and often is different amongst family members.

The risk and security elements included in the questionnaire offer an innovative approach to uncovering meaningful and actionable insights related to risk tolerance. The Assessment risk tolerance measurement differs greatly from traditional  measures, which are generally based on an investor’s age, assets, and their self-reported risk tolerance; a method that was developed over 50 years ago and really has not changed much since. The LEVATUS assessment integrates questions grounded in decades of  research in the behavioral sciences in order to arrive at a more meaningful and accurate measure of this highly important factor. Why is it so important? if risk is too high it provokes anxiety. If risk is too low it provokes regret.

How should I interpret a high or low Viewpoint score?

Are you investing because you want to take advantage of themes that you see as becoming important over the next 5-10 years? Do you like doing the work uncovering great ideas and crunching the numbers yourself? Someone who scores high in this section enjoys expressing their personal views and opinions through Sector, Geographic and Thematic portfolio tilts and may be looking to take a more active role in the management of their investments. Somebody with a lower relative score in this area often gains more peace of mind by delegating this part of the process. This personal preference is important to understand when considering if an advisory relationship is right for you, and if yes, which type of advisor would be a good fit.

Summing it up …

Clearly, the story does not end with the Priorities Assessment questionnaire, it might not even begin there. Deciding  that your broader priorities matter is the truly important part. Armed with that insight in-person discussions and exploration can help to identify each client’s unique combination of goals, risk appetite, values, priorities, views, communication style, intellectual needs, and personality.  This is where asking for and getting more from your wealth begins. To flourish is more than to succeed. As we often say, ‘Much of the most meaningful work doesn’t end with the money, it begins there.’

Thanks for reading this essay. We hope it was helpful.  If after reading it you would like to take the online portion of the Financial Priorities Questionnaire, you can visit our website at While this is a proprietary tool we are happy to share with those interested in discovering a bit more about where and how their priorities and plan might intersect. If you would prefer to schedule an in person Discovery Call please visit our website to do that as well.

LEVATUS LLC is a registered investment advisor. For additional information regarding the Advisor’s investment advisory services, please refer to Form ADV 2A (“Disclosure Brochure”) on their website:

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