Over the past 22 years we have helped our clients create, preserve and distribute their wealth. We have helped our clients plan for their own futures and now we need to plan for our own. In order to do that we first need to step back and think about why we do what we do, who we are and what we represent. When I sit down and think about this, here are some things that come to mind:
- We put our clients' interests first - Our clients are everything to us and are the reason our firm exists. Every action we take and every decision we make has to be in the best interest of our clients. If it won't somehow help our clients, we don't do it. Period.
- We provide value to our clients - We are always evaluating how we can best provide value to our clients. Our clients pay us for a reason and we need to remember what that is. Regardless of what type of services we are providing for a client, we always strive to provide value for the price they are paying.
- We treat our clients like family - We develop deep and caring relationships with our clients so that we truly understand their values and what is important to them. The planning and financial work we do for clients has to be aligned with these values and the only way to really help our clients is to really understand them.
- We never stop learning - Our clients pay us for our technical knowledge and expertise. We take this seriously and make it a priority for all of our employees to attend conferences and workshops, watch webinars, read industry publications and do whatever is necessary to stay on top of the latest news and regulations. We are also heavily involved in leadership roles with professional organizations like the AICPA and MACPA where we are surrounded by thought leaders in the industry and are always exposed to new ideas and strategies that might benefit our clients.
- We have fun - We take what we do very seriously because we are often dealing with very important issues facing our clients. While there are aspects of our work that can be boring, all our employees have a great sense of humor. We joke with each other and our clients. Just as we treat our clients like family, we treat each other like family too.
Just as important as who we are is who we are not:
- We aren't driven by money or growth - Do we want to make a good living and do we feel that we deserve to be compensated for our years of experience and knowledge? Yes. Do we want the business to grow so we can help more clients, develop more staff, stay profitable and survive as a business? Of course. Do we make decisions based solely on their profit potential or how quickly they will help our revenue grow? No. We are happy running a small firm and don't have any desire to grow bigger than we need to be. What is big enough? We believe there is an optimal size where we have the resources available to us to help us best serve our clients but are still small enough to be able to provide the personal service our clients desire.
- We are not marketers - Have you noticed you never see any advertising from us? We don't really do any marketing. Why? Because we think our time is better spent helping our clients. If we do good work for our clients, then they will hopefully spread the word. We have been incredibly lucky to have great clients over the years who have done just that.
- We don't focus on gathering assets - The majority of fee-only financial advisors judge their business on their total Assets Under Management (AUM). The typical fee-only advisor is paid a percentage of the assets they manage for you. We choose not to be paid that way and instead charge on an hourly basis or a fixed annual retainer. We believe this better serves our clients' best interest while focusing on where to add the most value in planning.
- We don't sell products - The only thing we sell is our objective advice and technical expertise. We come from an accounting background and have always had a fiduciary approach so this is all we have ever known. Unlike many financial advisors who started out selling insurance or commission based mutual funds, we have never done this and we believe it gives us a better perspective on financial advice.
- We don't work with everyone - When we have our initial meeting with a potential client, we treat it as an opportunity to get to know more about you and for you to learn more about us. We develop deep relationships with our clients and as with every relationship, there needs to be compatibility between the two sides. If we don't think we are compatible then we'll help you find another advisor with whom you might be more comfortable rather than risk having a relationship that doesn't work.