For Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the voices of the women of Halpern Financial. Part of what makes our team so special is our ability to provide boutique-level service with the capabilities of a large firm. As a completely independent firm with no ties to any bank, broker, or insurer, we have the ability to provide creative solutions and truly tailor-made strategies for our clients.
This week, our female team members answer the question: What has been your favorite/most meaningful way you’ve been able to help a client?
Director, Client Experience
As you can imagine over 22 years, I could write a book on all the meaningful ways I have been able to help every client of ours either directly or indirectly. One special place in my heart is organizing and simplifying our clients’ lives. By listening and seeing their challenges I help find solutions. A few that come to mind…
- A 70-year-old client came to us once with shoeboxes of multiple paper savings bonds. She had purchased and then stored them away for safekeeping. We were able to catalog and research their maturities, directed her on what to cash in, and then helped convert the remaining ones from a hard copy bond to an account with the Treasury. By the end, all of her bonds were accounted for in one electronic account.
- A client and I were discussing his new car purchase, but he dreaded having to go to the Motor Vehicle Administration to register the vehicle. I had received a recommendation from another client of a local tag and title business, and in fact I used the business myself based on their recommendation. I recommended them to the client buying the car, and later that day I received a call of gratitude. Sometimes it’s those little things to ease a client’s stress that make a huge difference!
Kirsty Peev, CFP ®
Director, Portfolio Management
Our Portfolio Team is laser-focused on minimizing investment expenses. In fact, we waged a campaign to make Institutional share class funds (among the lowest cost available in the entire industry) available for all our clients. I get a great deal of satisfaction from shaving off fractions of percentages on portfolio expenses for all our clients – which add up to massive dollar savings and I have really enjoyed seeing our work culminate in shrinking portfolio expenses over the years!
The other way I love saving our clients money is through tax-efficiency. This is probably the nerdiest part of my job – and the part I love most! Using tax-loss trading and tax-gain trading to help our clients directly save money on taxes over the years is incredible! During a truly awful market dip in March 2020 when equity markets felt like they ‘fell off a cliff’ – we made lemonade out of lemons for our clients by adjusting their portfolio to specific asset allocations while ‘banking’ losses for tax purposes. It feels great to give clients a ‘win’ even in challenging times!
Melissa Sotudeh, CFP ®
Director, Advisory Services
My favorite client moment has always been at the end of a client discussion when the client says they had never thought of the things we advised, that we truly listened and provided a solution that provided a better path.
The true test, of course, was this past year. Everyone talks about how unprecedented this past year was so I will say it again. Although the main focus was staying healthy, our world did continue to move forward, and clients were still subject to the economy shutting down. Being there for our clients’ financial health during the pandemic was incredibly meaningful as a wealth advisor, and also as someone wanting to provide comfort during this time. I was glad our investment strategy and the strength/stress-testing we perform for our clients allowed us to have very confident conversations with clients during the height of volatility.
Jennifer Davis, CFP ®
Head of Planning
I really do love creating financial plans for our clients. As a sometimes indecisive person, it gives me great satisfaction to incorporate all of a client’s personal financial information, evaluate several different strategies and ultimately arrive at customized recommendations to help clients better achieve their goals. To me, a financial plan is my way of delivering peace of mind and inspiration for what is possible to our clients.
My favorite and most meaningful part of helping a client is creating a level of comfort for them. I love to take the time to listen when a client shares what is on their mind.
Prospective clients will call and may feel a bit of uncertainty looking for an advisor, especially if they are not used to making financial decisions in their family. I know if they have reached out to Halpern Financial, they are in the right place!
Marketing Manager & Portfolio Researcher
One of my favorite ways to help clients is via unique research projects custom to their lives. I remember one that was particularly fun because it really helped both the clients and their daughter, who was a horseback rider like me. Like all horse-crazy kids, she wanted her own horse. I detailed the costs versus benefits of owning a horse, leasing a horse, and part-leasing a horse, and the family was able to make an informed decision that was best for them.
I also really enjoy when a client finds a decades-old stock certificate in their files or in the attic, and I’ve helped them research if it still holds any value. Old stock certificates have beautiful designs, and the stories behind the company splits and acquisitions over the years are sometimes full of drama!
Since my position is operational and behind the scenes, I view Halpern Financial as the client that I help most. The most meaningful way I have helped the firm is through data management and vendor solutions. I work behind the scenes to help facilitate data throughout our systems in a clean and efficient manner. My favorite part of my job is creating and following processes. I also enjoy working directly with our technology vendors, making sure we are offering the best solutions to our clients and team.
Retirement Plan Consultant & Portfolio Administrator
I feel great accomplishment when I help retirement plan participants enroll in the plan and take advantage of the service. So many people just push this critical step to the side if they do not understand how important it is for their future.