You launched a financial planning office for St. Louis-based Synergy Wealth Solutions Inc. in the spring. How is business going?
It’s been exciting to watch the office grow. My role as managing director, I have my own practice as a financial adviser, but also I’m responsible to recruit and develop other financial advisers in our office. I’m pretty excited that this has gone from an idea in less than a year to ... have eight full-time advisers in our office. We’ve rapidly grown and expect to see that trend continue down through the end of the year and into 2022. A lot of our advisers that we’ve recruited this year, they’re all new to the business. A lot of times, when our advisers come in, they apprentice in the business. Some of them don’t yet have their investment licenses for their first year. We also have some advisers who have a ton of industry experience who are looking at potentially joining our firm as well.
What makes Synergy different from other financial planners in the area?
Being a financial adviser now for about eight years, I’ve always admired MassMutual – MassMutual is our corporate partner. When you see Synergy Wealth, we’re essentially a regional firm for MassMutual across the Midwest. I actually originally approached Synergy not because of Synergy but because of MassMutual. One of the things that I feel like makes us different is that in that financial planning experience, we tend to be far more thorough than a lot of other options that clients have out there. We take a very holistic approach to planning, to where we sit down with clients and help them with potentially everything in their financial picture – anything from insurance planning to investment planning to business succession planning to understanding retirement income strategies. We really try to be that 30,000-foot view to help clients in everything they need for their financial plan. Clients do need certain services that we don’t provide, and that’s where we work with a lot of partners.
What are you goals for the Springfield market?
My vision is, 20 years from now, we are a known name in the community that does holistic financial planning. I want to be one of the leading wealth management firms in southwest Missouri. I’ve been here 80% of my life. I feel like there is a massive, underserved need when it comes to holistic financial planning.
What’s the state of the financial planning industry? Is it difficult to plan with uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and other economic factors?
Believe it or not, I feel like it’s actually the opposite. Forgive me because I’m going to mess up the exact words, but there’s a Warren Buffett quote that says when the tide goes out, we’re going to know who’s wearing trunks. This is one of those seasons. There’s so much uncertainty in the world that I think it’s actually attracted more people to have a trusted professional. When there is uncertainty, people want to know that they’re working with someone who understands the ever-changing industry and have a guide that can hold their hand through uncertain times.
Are there any investment trends that are hot right now, or do you tell people to stay the course with their financial planning?
Not at all. My investment philosophy is never to chase trends. I think the fundamentals ring true regardless of what’s happening today in the current market. It’s having a proper asset allocation, to make sure that you’re well diversified so that you can navigate whether the market is up or down.
Chuck Dow can be reached at email@example.com.
Raleigh, North Carolina-based Advance Auto Parts opened its first store in Springfield; Natural Grocers made its Springfield debut; and a business owner with experience in the insurance, financial planning and digital marketing fields entered the restaurant industry.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.