Financial planning that resonates with clients’ values
Financial planning that resonates with clients’ values
Proactive Advisor Magazine: Jason, how has your background shaped your mission in working with clients?
My first few positions in the financial-services industry were excellent in terms of providing training and helping me gain a solid background with a variety of financial products and services. I worked as an investment representative for a large national firm, as an investment and sales consultant for one of the largest banks in the U.S., and as a client account executive for a smaller firm specializing in strategic income planning.
The diversity of these positions helped me build a well-rounded skill set in the financial field across both the individual and business client segments. They all involved a high volume of clients, which required working efficiently to determine a client’s needs and identify potential strategies that could help them. I decided after about eight years that I wanted to work with a more limited client base, which would allow me to more deeply dive into a client’s financial and life situation and help them with the full range of their financial needs.
I offer financial planning to families, individuals, and businesses using a holistic, economics-based approach. We work in concert with our clients to uncover their financial goals, review their financial health, identify financial blind spots, and help them design holistic investment and insurance strategies. I selected the name “Resonant Financial Planning” for my business after a lot of careful consideration. I believe that when professional, process-driven financial advice resonates with clients’ values, people can become empowered to make decisions with clarity and confidence. I incorporate a wide variety of financial strategies and products within my practice and work closely with other professionals as I strive to be my clients’ best financial resource. I feel fortunate to work in a profession that I find rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable, and to have the opportunity to work with incredible clients and colleagues.
Describe your financial-planning process.
Everything I do revolves around holistic financial planning. My belief is that clients who are a good fit want a trusted advisory relationship. They want an advisor who can work with them over their lifetime in the ongoing process of making financial decisions. They’re looking for an advisor who can help them confidently answer, “Am I going in a suitable direction? Am I headed toward my goals? Am I making sound decisions?” That starts with having a competent and knowledgeable advisor that they trust and who puts their interests first.
A large part of my practice involves retirement-income planning and risk management, but I work with clients of all ages and from all walks of life. I enjoy the variety of people that I work with and building an understanding of their different backgrounds and specific financial needs.
I became a Certified Financial Planner in 2014 and earned a master’s degree in financial planning at the same time. The core principles of both of those programs inform my approach to financial planning. I also have been trained in LEAP (Lifetime Economic Acceleration Process), which employs economic principles to help clients understand how to put their money to work. The LEAP model incorporates everything from income planning and investments to insurance and taxes, offering clients a full view of their financial picture as they seek wealth protection and financial growth.
Our first step in the process is the discovery phase, where we gain insights into a client’s values, motivations, and financial situation. The analytical phase follows, where we use advanced financial-planning tools to thoroughly analyze risks and opportunities, and then move into strategy development. We tailor our recommendations to each client and formulate strategies to help optimize the client’s financial health and progress toward their financial goals. We next select the specific investment and insurance products to carry out strategic plans. Then we coordinate with other professionals and institutions as needed.
We monitor a client’s results over time, tracking progress toward goals and assessing any changes in the economic or investment environment that could impact their plan. We help clients to proactively manage their assets and apply risk-management strategies, understanding that changes in life circumstances might require adjustments. Finally, we stay connected with our clients, making it a priority to keep them informed and educated. We develop a custom communication plan for each client, including periodic reviews, regular account updates, monthly client newsletters, and ongoing social media posts.
“We want our clients to embrace and have ownership of their financial and investment plan.”
What is your broad investment philosophy?
My belief—and my experience supports this—is that most clients’ risk tolerances change over time and their ability to withstand risk is almost always far lower than what they think it is when things are good. For that reason, we place a premium on risk management in both our financial and investment planning. Our approach is perhaps more conservative than some clients initially think it should be, but over the long term they come to appreciate this philosophy, especially when markets experience steep drawdowns. I do not think any client will regret perhaps giving up a little on the return side to have less exposure to truly catastrophic market risk that could seriously impact their financial future.
Our emphasis on client education goes hand in hand with this philosophy. Going back to the resonance theme, we want our clients to embrace and have ownership of their financial and investment plan, and that can only come when they fully understand its objectives and implementation strategies. Their investment plan should not only reflect their true capacity for risk but also their preferences and comfort level.
Do you work with third-party investment managers?
It’s my philosophy that one should not embrace just one way of doing things. The only thing in finance we know for sure is no one strategy will always work in all market environments. The client’s investment plan is driven by their objectives, the strategic orientation of their overall financial plan, their time horizon, their personality, and their views on risk. Taking all of those things into consideration, I think it is important that most investment plans should have a robust combination of different types of investment vehicles, asset classes, and strategies.
As an advisor, I feel I can add real value by introducing clients to the services provided by professional money managers. They have the experience, staff, and methodologies to be a tremendous resource for our clients in both portfolio construction and the provision of specific strategies. Some managers we work with have strengths in tactical, risk-managed strategies, and others might be a better choice for tax-managed strategies. A lot depends on whether it is qualified or nonqualified money for a client, which will have tax implications related to trading frequency. It also depends on the time horizon for specific client assets. Where it is truly long-term money, we might be able to assume a little more risk and have a more strategic approach. The bottom line is that we consider third-party managers a valued resource for most of our clients.
How would your long-term clients describe the benefits of working with you?
First, I would hope they say that they have a high comfort level in working with us—that they believe we respect their values and their individual personalities and have provided a customized approach to their needs. I also hope that they would recognize that our emphasis on education has helped them gain clarity and confidence in their view of their financial future. I would hope that they see us as a true collaborator in helping them progress toward their financial goals and that we have the skills and knowledge to enhance their probabilities for financial success.
Equally important are the tangible services that we provide to clients and the way we provide them. We do not focus on just one area, such as insurance or investments. We want to provide a holistic approach to financial planning that covers everything, including cash-flow planning, debt management, and tax-advantaged wealth management. I believe our long-term clients appreciate our competent, process-driven guidance and how our process resonates with their total financial and life needs.
Five questions clients should consider when selecting a financial advisor
Jason Palmer is the founder of Resonant Financial Planning, based in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. He says he employs “a professional, process-driven approach that resonates with clients’ values.” He has developed the following list of important questions that he thinks prospective clients should ask themselves as they consider working with a financial advisor:
- Do I want to find clarity and confidence in thinking about my financial future?
- Am I seeking an enduring relationship with a trusted advisory team?
- Do I value sound, competent advice that is based on my unique circumstances and reflects my best interests?
- How important is it to have a reliable resource to turn to with financial questions, challenges, and goal-planning?
- Do I proactively seek to improve my life and the lives of those I care about?
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Jason Palmer is the founder and president of Resonant Financial Planning, based in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. His agency provides financial planning and a variety of financial products and services to families, individuals, and businesses using “a holistic, economics-based approach.”
Mr. Palmer was born in Utah and raised in Indiana, where his father was a chemical engineer for a major pharmaceutical company. His mother, who had a degree in elementary education, homeschooled Mr. Palmer and his eight siblings. He says, “We received an excellent education and had plenty of opportunities to participate in sports and other activities.” He was involved with youth programs at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also became an Eagle Scout. Mr. Palmer received a scholarship to Brigham Young University, where he majored in the humanities and minored in business. He served for two years on a church mission in England, which he says was “very challenging but also very rewarding.”
Mr. Palmer started his career in financial services with a national firm, opening a branch office in California. After moving to Utah, he worked for four years in the banking channel as an investment and sales consultant, handling the financial needs of both individuals and businesses. He also worked for a firm specializing in strategic income planning before establishing his own practice in 2010. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), holds a Master of Science degree in personal financial planning from Kansas State University, and is a member of the Financial Planning Association. He was chief editor and a key collaborator for the book “The 8 Pillars of Financial Greatness.”
Mr. Palmer and his wife have five children. He says, “The entire family enjoys sports, travel, and outdoor adventures in our beautiful part of the country. We are also deeply involved with activities at our church.” He is an avid reader and enjoys choral singing. Mr. Palmer coaches youth soccer, is a scoutmaster, and is the membership director and a tenor for Witness Music Utah.
Disclosure: Registered representative and investment advisor representative of and securities offered through OneAmerica Securities, Inc., a registered investment advisor, member FINRA, SIPC. Resonant Financial Planning is not an affiliate of OneAmerica Securities and is not a broker-dealer or registered investment advisor. Provided content is for overview and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be relied upon as individualized tax, legal, fiduciary, or investment advice. Investing involves risk, which includes potential loss of principal. The use of asset allocation or diversification does not assure a profit or guarantee against a loss.
Photography by Glen Ricks