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Who Is Straightforward?

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Who is Straightforward Wealth Management?

Who comprises Straightforward Wealth Management? My name is Bernie Martin and I am the consultant and contact for my clients. I am affiliated with LPL Financial, who is the largest independent broker dealer in the United States, as reported by Financial Planning magazine in 2022, based on total revenues. I am also affiliated with Private Advisor Group, who is one of the largest and fastest-growing independent wealth management firms in the country* and has been recognized by Barron's as one of the top 10 registered investment advisory (RIA) firms on the publication’s listing of “2023 TOP 100 Firms.” I have been with LPL since 2002 and Private Advisor Group since 2009. I will explain later why that matters.

I will first start with me.  What are my qualifications? I have been a financial advisor since 1997 and a CPA before that. I am a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), which is the Gold Standard for Financial Planning. There are about 97,000 individuals who hold this credential. I am also a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS™). You may never have heard of this credential. There are just over 5,000 individuals that hold this credential. The PFS™ credential is granted exclusively to CPAs with tax expertise and comprehensive knowledge of financial planning. 

However, one of the most important things is to find someone you trust and will not over charge you in fees. There are other advisors that I regularly talk with in this local area, and we often run ideas by each other.  Our goal is to help our clients the best we can.

The credentials just show that I have the expertise to do both investment and tax planning.  I have a separate outside tax business that I provide tax advice and tax preparation services for my investment clients.   

How Does This Benefit My Clients?

I started as a financial advisor in 1997.  My target market when I first started was P&G retirees. The reason was simple, many of the people in my hometown worked at the P&G Mehoopany Plant. I was also able to show P&G retirees, from the Mehoopany plant, an innovative new way to structure their retirement to give them more flexibility with their distributions, while also simultaneously saving them on taxes. In 1997, and the beginning of 1998, none of potential P&G prospect that I met at the time had ever seen a strategy like it. The concept is known as NUA-Net Unrealized Appreciation of Employer Stock. See the P&G Employee Link for more detail.

I am always working to help my clients with different strategies to save them taxes like utilizing Roth IRAs, Roth Conversions and HSAs. There are so many tax planning strategies to use to save clients taxes or qualify them for additional tax credits. My clients like the idea that they have the same contact for both planning needs.

Investing deals with probability. Here is an investment example of what I did for my clients. In 2020, when interest rates were at what they say was a 5,000 year low in rates, I had lower allocation to bonds and those bonds that I did have were primarily shorter-term or had some type of hedges for potential interest rate rises.  Traditional bonds decrease in price as rates rise.  I felt the record low interest rates in 2020 went from ridiculously low to absurdly low.  Many of the webinars and mutual fund wholesalers I listened to said people one day are going to get crushed in traditional bonds. Then in 2022, bonds had one of their worst years ever.

Because I am a CFP®, CPA, PFS™, I am always listening to webinars online to keep up with my CPE.  There is so much investment information that I have access and listened to, plus each morning LPL Financial has a ½ hour morning call for its 21,000 financial advisors.  They discuss what is happening with the markets that day and they almost always seem to have informative charts. They have an extensive research team because of the size of the company. They also have other specific webinars throughout the month. They have weekly newsletters for my clients and daily blogs. I'm proud to be affiliated with LPL Financial. 

As I mentioned, I am also affiliated with Private Advisor Group, along with over 750 other advisors primarily with LPL Financial. They handle my compliance and are a great resource for technology and investments.  They have numerous webinars. Each year, they hold a 2 day conference where they bring in many top notch speakers, provide very informative breakouts with the actual fund managers and also allow us time to meet many other advisors throughout the country that we don’t compete against locally.  I have become friends with some of these advisors and we run ideas by each other. They might meet a mutual fund or ETF wholesaler that presents them with a great idea that we will share with each other.  Some of these advisors invest very similar to the way I do. 

You need to find the financial advisor that is a right fit for you.  This is who Straightforward Wealth Management is.

Private Advisor Group Source

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