“”Most complex investment concepts do not stand up to academic scrutiny and the test of time. Here is some great news: simple strategies have been, and likely will continue to be, very effective.
Kevin is responsible for advising clients for whom he is the lead financial advisor. He also manages the operations and development of the firm, and oversees all of the investments of Austin Wealth Management clients.

Kevin is on a mission to explain complex financial concepts in simple demonstrations and deliver practical advice that works for people in their daily lives. Everyone has a different level of interest in learning, ranging from “I just want to know that I am investing responsibly” to “I want to understand my risk exposures to currency movements” and everything in between, so the educational experience is designed to be adaptive to each individual.

He uses a combination of economics and psychology to help clients understand and deal with the trade-offs of important financial decisions. You won’t leave the conversation with a secret investment strategy sure to provide you with instant fortunes, but you will likely leave with a concrete understanding of how financial markets work and how to make decisions about which combination of investments is appropriate for you. Investing can be overwhelming, but after talking to Kevin you will feel relieved that there is a way to sift through the constant barrage of information and noise using a rational approach to investing.

Kevin believes that making investments with the help of a financial advisor should be more of a collaboration than a proposal. As one of his favorite philosophers, Thomas Sowell, famously said, “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” When it comes to investing and many other decisions in life, there is no right answer. Instead, there is a range of possible decisions, each having its own range of possible outcomes. Finding the right fit takes a combination of education, effective communication and a commitment to intellectual honesty.

Schedule a Meeting with Kevin:  Click Here

Education
  • Finance BBA, University of Texas at Austin, 2004
Experience
  • 2009 - Present, Managing Partner, Austin Wealth Management, LLC
  • 2006 - 2009, Business Consultant, National Financial Partners
  • 2003 - 2006, Analyst, National Financial Partners
Professional Designations
  • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
Background

Kevin was raised in a handful of mid-western towns, moving about every four years due to corporate consolidation during his father’s accounting career. The family finally landing in the Dallas area where he attended high school, then moved to Austin where he earned a degree in Finance at the University of Texas. He hasn’t come across a good reason to leave.

He was given an opportunity to work for National Financial Partners out of college, where he developed a consulting division and learned the good, bad, and ugly about the financial services industry. He sacrificed evenings and weekends for several years to earn the CFA designation which taught him about the investment decision making process, capital markets, ethics, and behavioral finance, which became his passion. Just after getting married and before kids, he left his career to start a financial planning business that would do something different from the norm at that time – deliver practical advice rather than focus on product sales. That business became Austin Wealth Management, LLC.

Kevin’s wife, Julie, is a scientist and administrator at the University of Texas. They have three children, Zoe, Jack, Isabel, and a Labrador Retriever named Lizzy. On the weekend, you will find this family exploring the many parks, swimming holes and trails around central Texas. His parents are retired in Georgetown, TX, and his sister is a fashion designer in Los Angeles.

Interesting facts about Kevin:

Kevin has a lifelong objective of picking up a new sport or activity every couple of years. The list includes mountain biking, trail running, kayak/canoeing, golf, windsurfing, adventure racing, boxing, parkour, rock climbing, and most recently, skateboarding (he realizes he should have started at a younger age).

  • Favorites Band/Performer: Wilco
  • Favorite Movie: The Big Lebowski
  • Favorite Writers: Steven Pinker, Tyler Cowen
  • Favorite Blog/Podcasts: EconTalk,  Hardcore History

Videos by Kevin X. Smith, CFA
The Politics of Growth in Austin w/ Jack Craver
Investing In Line with Your Values (ESG investing)
Remodeling in Austin w/ Carina Coel
Questions people ask my wife about money
Applying investment research w/ Apollo Lupescu
Breaking away, working for yourself w/ Kevin McLaughlin
Inflation, the dog that isn’t barking
Lessons from our 20s
Mortgage decisions w/ Nick Flanagan
Building a financial fortress
Index funds out, day trading in?
Thinking about becoming a financial planner?
Building a house without going broke
Do I need this whole life policy?
The most underrated insurance
Why are stocks so high?
Are millennials value investors?
Blog Posts by Kevin X. Smith, CFA
Snipping Sneaky Subscriptions

  I used to be really cheap. From the time I went to college until my early 30s, I actively avoided nice things. I bought house brand groceries, almost never bought new clothes, never paid for a hotel room, rented…Read More

Your Life With Inflation

Two of my favorite topics of conversation – aliens and inflation – happened to both make it to mainstream discussion this month. I see some interesting similarities in these two mysterious subjects. There are trillions of stars. So it stands…Read More

What To Do With All That Home Equity?

Elon is here and he brought Tesla. It seems like a new celebrity or ultra-wealthy tech investor moves to Austin every week, and I hear casual Austin references in podcasts so often I barely take note anymore. This type of…Read More

Game Stop Lessons

You may have read a dozen articles about Game Stop last week, or maybe none, but you probably heard the buzz: regular folks getting rich and hedge funds losing billions. There is much to learn from the story that created…Read More

Our Updated View on Bitcoin

We have been studying Bitcoin for a few years, trying to understand it from many angles to figure out why, how and when it might make sense to buy. ‘Because the price of Bitcoin has gone up dramatically’ is not…Read More

Tesla in the S&P 500

When you hear someone reference “the market”, they probably mean the S&P 500 index, at least here in the United States. It is a list of 500 companies (actually 505) selected by the US Index Committee that are meant to…Read More

Introducing My Kids to Investing

My kids are 3, 7, and 9. The first money concept I tried to teach them is that money does not fall from the sky, but Congress and the Federal Reserve keep proving me wrong. The older kids seem to…Read More

How I Invest My Money

I spend most of my time helping people think about their investing decisions and not much time on my own. An old saying goes “the cobbler’s son has the worst shoes in town”, or something like that. Rather than my…Read More

Post-Election Market Surprise

How did the stock market do after election day? Remarkably similar to four years ago. 2020 Post-Election Global Stock Index 2016 Post-Election Global Stock Index If you predicted Joe Biden would win a contested election with a (possibly) split Congress…Read More

10 Year Forecast (October 2020)

Predicting the future is out of the question, but developing reasonable expectations for planning purposes is necessary. Calculating expected returns on investments is a difficult task, but fairly simple models have been accurate enough to help with long term planning….Read More

Cracked screens and the sunk cost fallacy

I almost got tripped up by the sunk cost fallacy. Almost! This is a public service announcement to help others avoid a costly mistake. A sunk cost is the time and/or money already spent. It’s done. For example, you spent…Read More

What the heck is a 529 plan? Here you go…

What is a 529 plan? A 529 is a tax-advantaged education savings account that allows money to be saved and invested for a beneficiary, typically your child or grandchild. The earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis, and funds can be…Read More

Elections and the Stock Market

I did not predict anything about 2020, including that the Presidential campaign three months from election day would be so quiet. You can’t escape it if you are glued to cable news or Twitter, but by comparison to past elections,…Read More

Great companies at bad prices

Prices matter. In fact, we think prices matter a lot. There is a price low enough to make an unimpressive investment attractive. There is a price high enough to make an amazing investment unattractive. Today, investors in the US stock…Read More

Tips for day traders

There is more energy around day trading than I have seen in years. Maybe it’s because of quarantine boredom. Maybe it’s because tech stocks have been soaring and FOMO (fear of missing out). Maybe marketing genius Dave Portnoy is responsible…Read More

Three Mortgage Refinance Strategies

After a video interview with Nick Flanagan of Summit Funding, I asked if he could share some helpful examples of the different types of mortgage refinancing. Here is what he gave us. Special thanks to Nick for the education. Cost…Read More

How much MSFT, AAPL, AMZN, GOOGL, FB do I own?

When you own a diversified portfolio, it doesn’t feel like owning stocks. What you see on your statement is a list of ETFs or mutual funds with names that describe the type of stocks you own “US Large Cap”, “International…Read More

Podcast: “Personal Finances and COVID-19”

Follow this link to our latest podcast. This is a conversation with Austin-based tech entrepreneur, Kevin McLaughlin. He and I regularly discuss the financial challenges and economic opportunities of the Millennial generation. We talk about methods to deal with losses…Read More

Recession Risk by Life Stages

Early to Mid Career Income risk Younger executives and professionals in the process of establishing careers may be at higher risk of income loss, which can come in the form of reduced base pay, lower bonuses or layoffs. 30% rule…Read More

The elusive ‘bottom’

Seeking the bottom of the market is risky business. The conditions that caused The Great Recession of 2007/2008 had nothing in common with our current crisis, but the feeling of watching stocks fall is similar. Investors are struggling with a…Read More

View All Blog Posts by Kevin X. Smith, CFA
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Favorite Austin Places
North Austin Rock Gym

No ropes needed - just show up and climb. This is not one of the flashier climbing gyms in town, but the climbing more closely resembles Central Texas limestone routes in my opinion. The community is friendly and welcoming to new climbers.

Turkey Creek Trail

If you love being outdoors with your dog running free, this is as good as it gets in Austin. There is plenty of shade and many creek crossings to cool down the 4-leggers.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

The Greenbelt is an outdoor playground just minutes from downtown Austin. On several occasions, I have combined climbing, mountain biking, trail running, and swimming on the same day. I suggest starting a day like that at the trailside Tacodeli and ending with a cheers at the nearby classic Deep Eddy Cabaret. (I found that great picture of Seismic Wall at tortugaoverland.com).

We Believe in the Power of Integrity and Honesty

We serve as professional educators and advocates for the financial well-being of families in Central Texas. We believe that the business of financial advice can and should be rooted deeply in the research of America’s finest institutions and delivered with the same attention and care as a Four Seasons concierge.

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