In 1995, I entered my sophomore year at a small-town Central New Jersey high school. I conjugated countless verbs in Latin only to discover that they didn’t improve my PSAT verbal scores. My chemistry teacher confessed to the class that he was a coffee addict. And I spent an entire baseball season seated on the bench. Across Highway 9, I heard echoes of ‘The Boss’ encouraging me and my friends to “break this trap…run till we drop…and never go back.”
Unexpectedly, in a fortuitous twist of fate, I was introduced to two sounds that would forever change my world: the sweet sound of my first six-string guitar and the scratchy static of a dial-up modem. It was the dawn of the Internet age. I crafted an AOL username (‘STRATOCST’) in honor of my favorite Fender guitar. ‘Surfing the web’ I discovered databases of user-created guitar tablature. I was an explorer on the frontiers of the world wide web & the fretboard.
Meanwhile, somewhere over the Tappan Zee bridge, WMGNA officially opened for business. Heeding the call of the dial-up modem, Brian and Dan adopted the AOL membership/subscription model for their wealth management services. Mass mailings were sent to prospective clients with a dollar bill attached and a promise to realize at least $5,000 in tax and other financial savings. The word got out, the firm grew, the path to True Success™ was blazed.
Today, we celebrate 22 years of working with our clients. It is our mission to make sure clients make smart decisions with their money and achieve their goals. In honor of this milestone, I scoured the WMGNA archives and traveled back in time to 1995. Reading through old columns I discovered that despite significant changes in the market, technology and regulations, the sound financial principles upon which WMGNA was built are still relevant & useful.
Finding a Financial Advisor/Financial Planner
Recent Department of Labor regulations have brought the ‘Fiduciary Standard’ into the spotlight. Simply, it maintains that a financial professional should always act in the best interest of the client. While this notion seems self-evident it has historically been implemented by a mere segment of planners & advisors (Mainly, those in the independent advisory space). WMGNA has been putting client’s needs first since our doors opened in 1995. In fact, Brian's thoughts on selecting a reliable planner were featured in a Farmington Valley Post many years ago…
“…all advisors are definitely not alike. When it comes to your finances, who you hire to prepare your taxes and counsel you on your financial matters can literally mean the difference of paying thousands of dollars more or less in taxes and expenses each year...Skilled advisors care…get a feel for whether the advisor is sincerely interested in YOU and working diligently on your behalf…Make sure you get all the attention you deserve.”
[Beck, Brian. “Paying less income tax starts with a reliable financial planner.” The Farmington Valley Post Jan. 1997. Print.]
At WMGNA, we believe that “Your taxes affect everything you do, and everything you do affects your taxes!” Tax-planning has been and continues to be a cornerstone of all-inclusive wealth management at our firm. Back in 1995, Brian authored this short list of tax-saving strategies:
“Adopt strategies that will cut your full year’s tax bill…Recalculate your estimate and withheld taxes…Consider your gains and losses…Look at retirement contributions. Check your cash flow…Make appropriate family gifts – now.”
[Beck, Brian. “You can cut your 1995 taxes – now!.” Farmington Valley Herald 3 Aug. 1995. Print.]
Financial Planning for Small Businesses
WMGNA has been serving small business owners since our inception. Our unique method of financial planning, called Restylement™, has helped businesses grow and thrive throughout the years. Brian offered some knowlegge on the initial challenges of starting a business in a Farmington Valley Herald article from 1995.
“…the most common reason why businesses struggle and fail? Because most business owners are so busy working in their business, they fail to properly plan and do work on their business (and being good at what you do no longer guarantees a profitable business). This simple concept causes business owners to literally lose thousands of dollars per year in “back end” sales and profits. And, as any successful business owner will tell you, this is where the real money is made…or lost in a business.”
[Beck, Brian. “Keys to business success.” Farmington Valley Herald 23 Feb. 1995. Print.]
Though the above financial advice has remained the same, life is a constantly changing and adapting journey and we strive to individualize our advice to meet our clients’ needs. Above all, at WMGNA we believe change, when managed well, can be a good thing. For 22 years WMGNA has provided clients with the power to set goals, implement plans, and enjoy life. It’s a dynamic approach that evolves as our clients do.
Happy 22nd WMGNA, here’s to many more!