Interview

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My father and I started our firm, The Coursey Financial Group, in June of 1993. We develop strategies and action plans designed to protect assets and accumulate wealth in order to help achieve financial independence for our clients and their families. Our customers are individuals who want to work with a professional to improve their planning and entrepreneurial businesses who need to rely on a trusted professional for their own planning as well as the employee benefit programs for their employees. Our areas of specialization are in retirement and insurance planning. We are not transaction oriented, but instead believe in taking a detailed, personal approach. Through our work, we earn our client's business but, more importantly, over time, we earn our client's trust. Once we earn their trust, we receive referrals from our clients, which is the most effective way to build our practice.

I actually did not intend to start in financial services when I graduated from college. I had an interest in working with commercial real estate, but after interviewing with a number of firms, I found that they did not want to hire anyone fresh out of school without any marketing experience.

 

At that time, my father was a General Agent with the Connecticut Mutual and he shared with me the evolving changes in the financial services industry where traditional insurance agents would expand their practices to include the investment, retirement and estate analysis fields. I became intrigued with the idea that I could build my own practice and that any successes that I had would be based upon my efforts and my clientele.

I began in January of 1982 by successfully earning my insurance license and becoming a licensed representative with Connecticut Mutual Financial Services. This was important because I was able to work with my customers on both their investment and insurance goals. My practice has adapted over the years to adjust to the needs of our clients and the constant changes brought on by tax legislation and the evolving financial marketplace. I enjoy the freedom of working for my clients and I believe they appreciate our independent advice and service.​

The CLU designation stands for Chartered Life Underwriter awarded by the American College, one of the oldest, accredited educational institutions in the country. The CLU is a professional insurance designation earned by passing ten college level courses and exams focusing on insurance, estate and employee benefits planning. The ChFC stands for Chartered Financial Consultant designation, also awarded by The American College, for advanced studies in investment and retirement planning. In additional, stringent ethical requirements and professional continuing education must be met on an annual basis.

Both these designations demonstrate my dedication to my business. They give me a strong financial background and the ability to view my client's planning on a broader basis. In addition, my professional continuing education helps me keep up with the changing marketplace concerning taxes, investments and estate analysis​.

Our clients are individuals who have chosen to work with a financial professional to improve their overall planning. They are successful professionals, business owners, active retirees and others referred to us by our existing customers. Most do not have the time or energy to do all of the research and reading that is necessary in order to develop a financial strategy. They also realize that they may not have the experience to see through the cycles in the financial marketplace that creates volatility or monitor a financial portfolio effectively once a plan has been put into place. They want to work with a professional with whom they can develop a relationship that can adjust to the changing marketplace.

 

A number of times we are referred to an individual who has a multitude of insurance and investment products and has no idea on how they work or coordinate. They would like to work with someone to help organize their "junk drawer" to determine if their planning is as effective as possible. We are also referred to a individuals who are in a position to make a major financial decision concerning a change of a job, purchasing a business or retiring and they want a second opinion on their planning. A number of our customers also own their own businesses and need to develop attractive benefit plans for their employees.

 

​Overall, our clients are financially astute and successful individuals who care about someone and want to take the time to make sure that their planning is working as hard as they are.

Developing a comprehensive financial strategy is a client-oriented process designed to manage risk and grow capital by focusing on all the psychological and financial factors which may have an impact on the client's financial goals. In other words, a financial strategy develops a long-term goal for your future, taking into consideration every aspect of your financial situation and how those aspects relate in achieving your objectives.

We deliver the expertise, stability and business relationships that individuals should receive from their financial professionals. I have invested over twenty-four years in building my expertise in investment, insurance and estate analysis. I have built my own independent practice working with financial companies and products that I feel are the most competitive in the marketplace and not those which happen to be someone else's pick of the week. I work on developing long term relationships with my clients, becoming one of their trusted financial professionals, helping them address their financial security for themselves and their families.

I believe that money allocated to long term investments should grow without taking excessive risks. My investment strategy utilizes asset allocation for investment diversification to help provide balance to a portfolio. Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will outperform a non-diversified portfolio or that diversification among asset classes will reduce risk. We also measure the investment performance of our choices against appropriate industry benchmarks to evaluate the performance of the fund managers themselves. I gravitate to money managers who have demonstrated consistent investment returns in varied economic environments without excessive volatility. Of course, past performance is not indicative of future performance.

My first visit with a new prospective customer is designed to find out as much as possible about the individual to determine how we might be of service to them. I will meet with people where they feel most comfortable, whether it is at their office or at their home. Also, my office in Farmington has a separate conference room, plenty of parking and is convenient to I-84 and Rt. 9.

 

At a first appointment, I like to address our potential client's questions and concerns about my work and their planning. Most people will determine at that time whether they want us to do a financial review or whether they would like specifically to work on one area that is a major concern to them.

If an individual or couple would like us to review their planning, we would have them complete a Confidential Fact Finding Questionnaire that would provide me with a list of their assets, liabilities, a copy of their W-2's from the prior year, company benefit plans, insurance contracts and tax returns. It is also extremely important for individuals to define their specific financial goals. I will spend as long as I can with people to review their current situation in order to fully understand their position. Once I have all of this information, I will then take some time to analyze their situation to determine if it is on track with what their objectives are.

 

At our next appointment I will highlight their current performance and give them a list of recommendations to improve their planning. I am more than happy to talk about alternative ideas since there may be different ways to approach their planning. I provide people with as much time and information as needed. Where we go from there is determined by them.

Our goal is to develop financial strategies to help protect assets and accumulate wealth in order to help achieve financial independence for our clients and their families. We help our clients determine what direction their individual financial strategy should aim for, make sure that we take action to fund their plans and monitor the effectiveness of the planning as time and needs change.
In developing a cohesive strategy, we start the process by reviewing an individual's insurance protection in line with their personal objectives. Current insurance coverage, specifically life, long term disability income insurance, health care and long term care insurance help to protect against potential financial loss. We also review their company's benefit plans to make sure there are no gaps in coverage and that they are properly utilized.
Our next step is to review their savings or accumulation planning to determine how much an individual is saving to meet their short term and long term objectives. Part of this accumulation planning might be targeted toward college education or a second home.

 

Inherent in this planning is to review the client's investment1 objectives in relation to risk and return, to make sure that their current portfolio works as hard for them as possible and is properly balanced to a level of risk that they can financially and emotionally handle Retirement planning is important as individuals have become responsible for their own retirement accounts. Part of this is to make sure that we coordinate their personal IRA's, company retirement plans and other retirement accounts with their overall planning, taking investments returns, risk, liquidity issues and fees into consideration.

 

​As an individual's or family's net worth builds, it is also imperative to make sure that they have an up-to-date estate plan, which addresses sensitive topics such as the custodian for their children, powers of attorney and up-to-date legal documents. It is imperative to review an individual's estate planning because of the tremendous tax shrinkage that can be incurred when passing assets from one generation to another. Part of our planning is to talk with our client's other financial professionals, such as their attorneys or CPA's to make sure that an individual's planning is well coordinated with their estate and tax planning.​

I want to be up front with prospective customers since there have been a lot of changes in the financial marketplace. Our compensation is either based on commissions or fees from the sales and services of insurance and investment products or on an hourly fee as investment adviser representatives. Our recommendations will be based on the information we learn from our clients during our fact finding interviews, the direction they would like to take and their personal feelings concerning their money. Our business is built on our expertise in understanding our customer's current financial situation and what they want to protect and achieve

The better the job we do in directing for our clients and helping them plan financially, the more our clients will trust us, do more business and refer their friends to us.

I recommend getting together if you do not have a strong, working relationship with your current financial professional, feel that you are not receiving the attention you deserve or know that your planning lacks focus and priorities. A second opinion on your financial planning is a prudent decision that either confirms that you are headed in the right direction or exposes potential problems in your planning.

When Planning is a Priority