One Year Later – Looking Back on Our Shift to an Independent Firm

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Well it’s a year ago that we made the move to an Independent Firm and I am grateful for those that have stayed with Gertsema Wealth Advisors.  It’s been a rough ride, but things have really smoothed out well.  Adapting to the new world of technology has been a challenge, but I’ve found that if you embrace technology and change it is worth the time and effort.  When you really think about it, when we purchased our first smartphone, we were apprehensive at first and didn’t think it was worth it.  Can you imagine living without your cell phone today? That pretty well sums up how I feel about the move to Independence.

A lot of our clients are enjoying the benefits of our new technology on a very personal level and it’s allowing them to make some major life changing decisions that they never thought possible.  The new technology allows us to illustrate in a real time digital experience of many “what ifs”, from gifting to the kids, paying off mortgages, purchasing vacation homes, taking family vacations with kids & grandkids, money saving income tax strategies, and reducing Uncles Sam’s share of your estate and legacy to your loved ones.

Technology is getting introduced to us daily; we see self-checkouts, cell phones, cell phone upgrades/replacements, automobiles are computers on wheels, satellite radio, social media, YouTube, Google, Amazon, on-line banking, on-line shopping only to name a few.

We’ve also been showing clients that technology has changed how we view investing as well, from the elimination of a lot of embedded internal expenses and avoiding risk and volatility, to getting better performance numbers with complete transparency of fees.


Technology Change Is Good

I am a baby boomer and my generation didn’t grow up with a lot of technology, we just had to figure it out or find someone smarter with more experience that knew the answer.  We couldn’t ask Google, Siri and Alexa or watch a “how to” YouTube video to help us.

I’ve been in the financial services industry for almost 30 years and I think I’ve seen more change due to technology in the last twelve months than I have in the past 12 years.  Technology does not only make us better; it makes us faster. It allows us to give better advice to our clients on a real time basis.

I feel like the curtain has been lifted on what’s available to our clients and how advanced the industry is getting, not to mention how much more cost efficient it is. If we don’t embrace technology, it will simply run us over and pass us by.  It reminds me of math in high school, if you missed a day or week of school, you fell behind and had a tough time catching up.

When it comes to investing, it’s not what the best stock tip is, most brokerage firms on Wall Street offer their top stock picks, it’s about risk management and knowing when to sell.  Once again, technology plays a huge a role in money management and risk management.

It used to be the broker was “in the know” and had all the answers, but now everything is available on the internet and you can buy the stock of your choice for zero commissions.  The financial industry is about investing, but I’ve learned it’s really about advising and risk management.

If your investment advisor is not keeping up with all the technology tools available, it will simply pass them by, and it’s very difficult to catch up in this day and age, especially if it’s forced on them.  A lot of companies are investing in technology to save money, which leads to replacing workers, forcing workers to adapt to the new technology, or in many cases it forces them to seek other employment.  I’ve also learned in the last year than most people hate change, while it’s all around them.  Most people will not make a change until they feel threatened or it’s forced upon them.


We Enable Our Clients to Make Life’s Decisions on Their Terms

There is a ton of information available on the internet, but it’s generic, and not personalized or specific to everyone’s situation.  Advising on the other hand is personalized, specific, and is geared toward your goals and risk comfort level.

Making wise decisions on what type of investments, qualified or non-qualified, low cost EFTs (Exchange traded funds), mutual funds, stocks, bonds, or annuities have a big impact on your results.  What about income taxes or the how different types of accounts impact you today and down the road?

Recommendations have been made over the years by experience in the industry and the best information available at the time. Today it’s years of experience, information available, and technology to test the information to be more accurate of the most probable result.


A Change in My Own Thinking

I’ve learned that mental health is as important as physical health.  The last twelve months have been the most challenging experience in my life and will forever change me.  I’ve always considered my relationships with my clients and colleagues as a close and trusting relationship, only to find I was very naïve in some cases and pleasantly surprised and humbled in others.

I’ve been blessed to build a very successful practice and I have always focused on my client’s best interests before my own, I will continue to do so, and I have no regrets.  I’ve also learned that mental health is also very important for retirees as well.  Most baby boomers are taught how to work, not how to play, so spending time determining what retirement will be like and how to adapt to a completely new lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s really a new beginning and believe it or not, it can be a tough transition.

I’ve watched clients use their imagination on what they’d like to do while they still have good health and want to pursue the bucket list of items they’ve always wanted to experience, but didn’t think they could afford them.  To be a part of their experience is probably the most rewarding part of my job.


8 Items I’ve Realized Over the Last Year

  • Technology will drive the future of the financial services industry.
  • Investing is getting commoditized by ETFs and no-load mutual funds.
  • The cost of investing is going lower with zero commissions and more transparency.
  • The industry is bringing more value by advising than investing.
  • Technology is driving the cost of investing lower.
  • Technology is improving investment success and management.
  • Technology is making the advising process better and faster for the clients.
  • Mental health is as important as physical health.


How Can We Help You?

This new stage in our adventure as a firm has given us new energy and focus to help our clients. We’re still putting your interests first, and passionate about your goals and your plan.

How can we support you now and in the future? Let’s talk!

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