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Mark Zawasky • South Park, PA
Zawasky Advisors • Questar Asset Management (QAM)

v12-i03-advisor-mark-zawasky-3-350pxI have been in the financial-services industry for close to three decades and believe that creating a solid personal relationship is critically important to working successfully with clients. Like most advisors, I initially take clients through a discovery process, but I believe that needs to go deeper than just the facts and figures. I am interested in knowing all about what makes them tick as people, what they consider to be the important priorities in their lives, their family dynamics, and their past experiences—good and bad—with their finances and their investments.

It is very helpful to have initial meetings with clients at their home, as that helps me to get to know them better as individuals. One of the most important and sensitive issues we might discuss is debt management. That is an area that many people might be uncomfortable speaking about at first, but I try to create an open atmosphere where we can get all of the issues out on the table.

Some other factors we discuss relate to their relationships with other trusted advisors and family members. Do they have an existing relationship in place with another advisor? Are they looking for a second opinion, or is this the first time they have worked with an advisor? Do they have key relationships with an attorney or CPA I should be aware of? What is their family situation or unique family needs, in terms of children, parents, or other relatives that may impact their planning objectives? What is their broad outlook on legacy planning? By the time we work through these types of questions, I will be more fully prepared to help them begin assessing an overall investment planning approach.

I employ this personal approach throughout my relationship with clients. Each month my wife and I work at scheduling a dinner with one of our clients or client couples. While this is primarily a social event, inevitably the conversation turns to how things are with the client’s family and how our family is doing. Are there any marriages, births, kids having a school milestone or entering college—just generally talking about what is going on in their lives and ours. Not only does this help to strengthen our personal and working relationship, but it also may lead to finding out about other financial issues that may merit further discussion or to a potential referral. We enjoy these dinners, and they are also a very sound business practice for our firm.

Disclosure: Securities offered through Questar Capital Corporation (QCC). Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Questar Asset Management (QAM), a registered investment advisor. Zawasky Advisors is independent of QCC and QAM.

Photography by Kathy Wolfe