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A comprehensive financial-planning experience for families and businesses

by Jan 30, 2019Advisor Interviews

A comprehensive financial-planning experience for families and businesses

by Jan 30, 2019Advisor Interviews

Phimar Patterson, CFP • Atlanta, GA
Blue Clover Financial LLC • Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC)
Read full biography below

Proactive Advisor Magazine: Phimar, talk about your background and why you entered the financial-services industry.

I grew up in Louisville and had a great family life. I attended parochial schools, was a good student, and was into a lot of activities in high school. One was soccer, a lifelong love of mine, and I play and coach soccer to this day. In high school I was captain of the chess club, a theater stage manager, and cofounder of an investment club. Even though my parents were not big investors, my interest in investing goes all the way back to the sixth grade when I started following the markets online and participating in various stock market challenges. My early interest in investing was certainly an influence in my ultimately becoming a financial planner and wealth manager.

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management where I earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA in finance. I think both disciplines have been very useful throughout my career. Accounting emphasizes quantitative discipline, measurement toward goals, and understanding “where you have been.” Finance is much more strategic, analytical, and forward-looking.

Following my graduate studies, I embarked on a lengthy career in corporate financial planning and analysis, working for several major corporations, including several Fortune 100 companies. I started out in the financial analysis and planning group at Hewlett-Packard, working on business-to-business projects involving hardware and software installations for the enterprise groups of different corporations. When Compaq and HP merged, I had the opportunity to move to California but decided to stay in Atlanta. I was hired by Coca-Cola Enterprises, also in financial planning and analysis. It was a significant culture shift, moving from a tech company to a traditional consumer beverage company, but it was instructive to see how two very different organizations managed the financial-planning process.

I enjoyed working in two additional positions of a similar nature in corporate America before deciding I was ready for a career change. I entered the financial-services field with MassMutual and then worked for MetLife, picking up some great training and a strong grounding in individual financial planning and exposure to many varied products and services. I decided to open my own firm in 2015 and have since built our firm’s team and worked successfully to grow our client base. Overall, I think my background has helped me develop the skills to look at the big picture, analyze trends, and apply management tools and analysis to increase revenues and control costs. That is essentially the approach that I have translated into financial planning on the individual and small-business levels.

What is the client-service philosophy of your firm?

I think it starts with the commitment to providing full financial-planning services to individuals and businesses. Coincident with deciding to open my own firm, I also pursued the course of study leading to becoming a Certified Financial Planner. Going through that process was not only worthwhile from a purely educational and training perspective, it helped me gain further insights into how to serve clients on a holistic basis.

We can assist clients with debt-reduction strategies, college-funding strategies, tax-mitigation strategies, and estate conservation, in addition to wealth management, retirement planning, and risk assessment and protection. Our goal is to identify and implement strategies to help ensure all aspects of a client’s financial life are integrated with one another.

Please describe the types of clients you work with and your financial-planning process.
My clients are varied in terms of age, income, careers, and assets, but we typically work with families that have relatively good incomes—likely dual wage earners—and children still living at home. We do a lot of work with small-business owners, corporate executives and managers, and federal employees. The primary concerns of many of our clients are not focused necessarily on the investment piece of the puzzle. I hear a lot of clients saying, “My spouse and I work hard and earn good salaries, but we don’t have what we want to show for it. Our emergency funds are too low, our retirement accounts are not where we want them, and we have a shortfall in college funding. What can we do to address this?”

They are looking to get their financial house in order in all respects, and that is exactly what we believe our firm can deliver. We tell clients, “We are there with you and understand what you are facing and the anxiety you might feel. Our strategies are carefully considered and recommended for you and your family, and only you and your family. We will try to help you understand how you can leverage the same dollars you are making into improving progress toward each of those financial goals or other additional objectives that we uncover together during the planning process.”

I subscribe to the basic planning process consistent with my training as a Certified Financial Planner. We conduct extensive discovery, define the client-advisor relationship and how we can best work together, identify objectives, develop a suite of recommendations addressing a client’s key goals, and then meet regularly to track progress and make required adjustments along the way.

As we go through the financial-planning process, we practice several core principles that our firm believes are important:

  • Providing a comprehensive financial-planning experience: Financial planning is not just about insurance and investments; it is about the total financial picture of a client and figuring out what is important in their lives and to their future financial success.
  • Education and integration: Clients lead busy lives, and we are there to be their trusted financial professional, helping them make sure they are implementing everything they should on a timely and coordinated basis for their financial situation.
  • Analyzing interest costs, taxes, and fees: We cannot help clients totally avoid any of these, but we can help them make smarter decisions and mitigate their combined impact, increasing the leverage of their dollars.
  • Organization and simplification: Do clients have redundant or unnecessary financial accounts? Do they have a systematic methodology to understand where their dollars are being employed?
  • Balancing risk and reward: We use the term “conservative creativity” to help describe how we help clients achieve returns, while appropriately managing risk, across all areas of their finances, not only their investments.
  • Continuous maintenance: We work with clients in an ongoing process that helps keep them on track to achieving their goals.

How do you approach investment planning for clients?

It is a goals-based planning methodology. For each client or couple, we consider their overall financial objectives, current financial position and cash-flow needs, risk profile, time frame, potential needs for retirement income, and tax situation, just to mention the main factors. We also want to know about their prior investment experiences and if they have strong biases for or against any specific investment vehicles. We also want to explore any special circumstances they envision for the future, such as funding college expenses for children or grandchildren, buying a second home, or starting a business.

We do not try to fit our clients into prepackaged investment scenarios—everything is custom-built for their needs and comfort level. I think this is an area where we are particularly skilled, putting strategic planning tools and analysis to work in evaluating how clients can best achieve their financial goals. We are very familiar with different traditional and nontraditional investment options—there are many ways to capture investment returns while managing risk and tax exposure. We also work with third-party investment managers, who can provide different types of investment strategies.

“Our goal is to help clients shape an overall financial plan that is based on sound and strategic planning principles.”

For many clients, we will usually look at some combination of active and passive strategies, depending on a client’s financial-planning needs. For younger clients, especially those who want growth, we believe that actively managed strategies with a strong risk-management component can help mitigate the downside of bear markets. While this type of approach might not always achieve market returns in a bull market, we think it can generate very competitive returns while significantly reducing downside exposure. While there are no guarantees, when you consider the mathematics of returns, this should enable their portfolio to be in better shape over the long term.

The bottom line is that we would like our clients to come out of the financial- and investment-planning experience feeling that we listen well, really “get them,” and understand their financial needs. Our goal is to help clients shape an overall financial plan that is based on sound and strategic planning principles, delivered on the schedule that suits them, and that they can take confident ownership of their financial future.

6 core principles of successful financial planning

Phimar Patterson is a financial planner and wealth manager at Blue Clover Financial LLC, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Patterson says he “embraces a holistic financial-planning process” and is experienced in serving clients through personalized financial strategies. Mr. Patterson emphasizes six core principles throughout his work with clients:

  1. Providing a comprehensive financial-planning experience: Financial planning is not just about insurance and investments, it is about the total financial picture of a client and figuring out what is important in their lives and to their future financial success.
  2. Education and integration: Clients lead busy lives, and we are there to be their trusted financial professional—helping them make sure they are implementing everything they should on a timely and coordinated basis for their financial situation.
  3. Analyzing interest costs, taxes, and fees: We cannot help clients totally avoid any of these, but we can help them make smarter decisions and mitigate their combined impact, increasing the leverage of their dollars.
  4. Organization and simplification: Do clients have redundant or unnecessary financial accounts? Do they have a systematic methodology to understand where their dollars are being employed?
  5. Balancing risk and reward: We use the term “conservative creativity” to help describe how we help clients achieve returns, while appropriately managing risk, across all areas of their finances, not only their investments.
  6. Continuous maintenance: We work with clients in an ongoing process that helps keeps them on track to achieving their goals.

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Phimar Patterson is a financial planner and wealth manager at Blue Clover Financial LLC, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Patterson says he “embraces a holistic financial-planning process” and is experienced in serving clients through “personalized strategies in the areas of liquidity, retirement funding, investments, estate conservation, education funding, and risk assessment and protection.”

Mr. Patterson holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and a graduate finance degree from Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. He has over 20 years of experience in corporate America, having worked in various financial-planning functions at Fortune 100 companies and others, including AT&T, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Hewlett-Packard, and Heidelberg USA.

In 2013, Mr. Patterson decided to leverage his corporate financial-planning experience within the financial-services arena to “better assist families and small business in meeting their financial goals.” He started in the industry at MassMutual and has also worked at MetLife. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). Mr. Patterson says he is particularly committed in his practice to providing a resource to young people in his community.

Mr. Patterson and his wife have two children. He enjoys “spending time with family at home and traveling together off the beaten path.” In his free time, Mr. Patterson is an avid soccer player and coach. He is also a scuba dive master and says, “There is nothing as peaceful as being below the surface of the ocean, watching the world swim by.”

Disclosure: Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely through registered representatives and investment advisor representatives of Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC), a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC, and a registered investment advisor. AIC is not affiliated with Blue Clover Financial LLC. Additional products and services may be available through Blue Clover Financial LLC that are not offered through AIC. Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation. Proactive Advisor Magazine (PAM) is not affiliated with either entity.

Photography by Lynsey Weatherspoon


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