Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and the answer probably sounds something like this: I want to be a firefighter because I love trucks. I want to be a veterinarian because I love dogs.
Of course, there aren’t many kids who dream of entering the world of fee-only fiduciary wealth management—or can even pronounce it. That’s too bad, because as all of us at Halpern Financial can personally attest, working in this field is a wonderful way to help people succeed and achieve their dreams. So as our Valentine to you, we want to share exactly why we love what we do!
President and Wealth Advisor
I love that I have the capability to help people who are driven and successful in a manner that is truly objective and completely transparent. We are not linked to any broker/dealer, which means we have no limitation or bias other than what is best for the client. This independence allows us to explore the universe of investment products, customize a portfolio and plan to the client’s specific needs in light of their overall financial life. Our institutional platform permits us great leeway to provide a true holistic solution for the client.
We are proud to do this as fiduciaries—and in a manner that is priced in the most optimal way for the client. It is really rewarding to see people succeed once we help them to put an effective system in place.
Melissa Sotudeh, CFP®
There are so many reasons that I love what I do…what initially attracted me to the profession is that we guide, coach and educate our clients to achieve a sense of financial well-being. They are all individuals, so it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. I enjoy the opportunity to be creative while drawing upon my experience and training.
My two favorite things to hear from clients are:
“You listened to me, heard my concerns and answered my questions. I feel confident with your advice.”
“I was so worried coming today with all the financial and economic news but now I feel that a weight has been lifted from my shoulders because you put it into perspective for my situation and I know I have a plan.”
There really is nothing like when a client walks out of the office feeling more empowered and confident than when they arrived. I am not only proud of what I do but WHY I do it.
Kirsty Peev, CFP®
We pride ourselves on providing clients with the most efficient path to markets, and as part of that I love ‘finding change between the couch cushions’ for our clients. Cost savings really add up! For example, we stay on top of the latest reductions in expense ratios for mutual funds or ETFs that our clients might be able to use, new products which can fill a gap in our allocations or add a new element to improve returns or reduce risk. All of these give me great satisfaction. The best part for me and our clients is that because we are fee-only and take a fiduciary role for our clients, any move we make is done only with our client’s best interests in mind. When our clients win, we do too – and I love the feeling that we are in this together with our clients. We are all rowing the boat in the same direction!
I will say though, the moments which have meant the most to me over the years are actually less to do with my primary role as Portfolio Manager, and more to do with the relationships we have formed with our clients. I really love being such an intimate part of our client’s lives, from sharing in the excitement of a new child or grandchild to helping our clients through both the mourning AND practical considerations after losing a loved one. Probably the best moments are sharing in the satisfaction of our clients when they actually retire. I can think of many times over the years where all the planning, all the saving, all the strategizing finally comes to fruition….and then that first conversation or meeting with a client after they actually retire is truly heartwarming.
I appreciate all of the situations and life stories that our clients share with me, positive or negative, and I really value the trust they place in Halpern Financial. I’ve been working with Halpern Financial for over 17 years, and during that time I have learned what tends to work well and situations that can be avoided with a little planning.
One of the most important situations that I see often is those who have lost loved ones and their financial house is not in order. It is so important to share with loved ones, whether it is a spouse, relative or trusted advisor, your wishes when you pass from life on earth. It’s not a traditional Valentine, but in 2017, consider reviewing your estate plan for your loved ones! A little planning now goes a long way to ease the transition for the inheritors of your estate.
I think one of the most fulfilling things is when a casual conversation with someone leads to a significant positive change. For example, one that comes up a lot is saving for children’s college funds. It’s interesting to see how many misconceptions there are! People just don’t know about the benefits of 529 plans that are freely available to anyone, and it can make such a big difference for the family and the child to avoid student loans to the extent possible. This is just one example of a small piece of advice that can have a big impact—I really enjoy helping people avoid a mistake or take advantage of an opportunity available to them.
Going into my 11th year now with Halpern Financial, I am truly loving what I do! Actually, I enjoy the people with whom I work with here in the office, as well as all the wonderful clients of Halpern Financial near and far. We have a very friendly, family-like atmosphere here. Most everyone, I can greet with a hug and know that their comfort level is a high priority—from the time they walk through the door to meet with our team, to knowing that their finances and financial future are cared for in the best possible way.
I started working here just before my oldest daughter was preparing for college, and now my son is graduating this June. I have to say that I had heard of the MD 529 savings plan, but until talking with Ted, I had no idea how much my husband and I could save on our MD taxes each year while saving for college! When I checked into starting a plan, I found it very easy to save for my son, and now, I am comfortable knowing he will not have student loans. I also have been able to help him out with the purchase of a car this year! As Melissa says “a debt-free college education is the best gift you can give your child.” She is so right! A student loan makes me visualize strapping a huge boulder to my child’s back and making them wear it for the next several years until that debt is paid. That loan could take them way past marriage and starting a family, not to mention additional high interest. Just knowing that I have great advice all around me is such a loving feeling!
Communications & PR Coordinator
I chose to work at Halpern Financial because I was very disillusioned with certain types of financial “advice.” Every day, real people are losing real money due to unconscionably high fees, stock picking “strategies” based on reacting to the news and other unpredictable elements, and black-box systems that leave investors completely in the dark. It never fails to amaze me how little newspapers, TV and online financial media focus on what is actually important: save more, spend less. It really is that simple—not easy, but simple! And that is what we focus on at Halpern Financial.
Each member of the team is dedicated to helping our clients achieve their financial goals by creating holistic plans, keeping costs down and using proven portfolio techniques—but more than that, we get to know our clients on a very personal level, and we encourage them on their path to attain the life they want. It’s not only about growing wealth in dollars (though of course, we do that too), but about an overall wealthy life full of cherished experiences and achievements.
It sounds cheesy, but when people ask me what makes Halpern Financial different, my answer is “We actually care.” That makes it really easy to do my job as the PR and Communications Coordinator!
Jennifer Davis, CFP®
I love financial planning because I get to be a professional puzzle solver. I love the challenge and the reward of putting people at ease or giving them an action plan. It is refreshing to find a creative solution that can help improve someone’s life. But I joined this industry as a skeptic. So many firms come across as stuffy and pretentious, or even manipulative. I knew I wanted to work with people who embodied the complete opposite of that.
Before I had my interview with Halpern Financial, I looked at the website and was astonished to find so many women at the firm. This is VERY unique in the industry. A few things that stood out to me from our meeting, and why I ultimately was convinced to join, was that Ted mentioned Halpern Financial was a team of introverts (I thought that was charming), and he believed in the competence of women (crazy that's even a differentiator!). After our meeting, I didn't know the area around the Ashburn office very well, so Ted had me follow him on back roads to White's Ferry to get home. This was just the first taste I experienced of how going “above and beyond” is just part of the Halpern Financial culture. My reason for going into financial planning was to be a force for good—for my family, my friends, and for good people who deserve honest advice. I feel like I can do that here.
My first months at Halpern Financial have been really eye-opening and I can tell that I’m really going to enjoy learning more about financial planning. We have a huge emphasis on investor education and so far, that has been really positive for me personally! As a mom, one of the most impactful things for me is learning how to save for my son’s college fund. I would love for him to graduate from college debt-free. I came out of college with student loans and college prices are only on the rise. Also, I really like the system we recommend for cash management—having three buckets for monthly expenses, emergency reserves, and other saving goals. That is so important for navigating the curveballs life may throw at you!
Everyone on the Halpern team has their own area of expertise, but everyone truly cares about using that knowledge to help people. It’s a really supportive environment—both for our clients and our team.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Halpern Financial, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Halpern Financial, Inc. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Halpern Financial, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Halpern Financial, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.