Everyone needs to plan for the future, but when it comes to money, many people shy away from it. They may think they don’t have enough assets, it’s too complicated, or they just don’t know where to start. The process feels intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be, say Scott Troutner and Matt Barnes, financial consultants with ProFed Financial Advisors, LLC. It starts with a simple conversation.
“We don’t have a sales-oriented mindset ever,” says Barnes. “It needs to be much deeper than that. Our mission is to try to educate people.”
In fact, the firm is rooted in education. It was established by ProFed Credit Union, a financial institution originally chartered to serve area teachers. The credit union recognized that its members often needed investment advice as well as a wide variety of savings options, so when the National Credit Union Administration passed its first regulation regarding Credit Union Service Organizations in 1987, it created ProFed Financial Advisors that same year. Today, ProFed Financial Advisors remains a wholly owned subsidiary of ProFed Credit Union.
ProFed Financial Advisors accepts clients from all walks of life, however, not just credit union members. Everyone can benefit from guidance in understanding and managing their resources. The biggest challenge for some people, say Troutner and Barnes, is that they don’t even know what to ask. That’s where that simple conversation becomes important.
“Our first meeting is for us to learn about them and for them to learn about us,” says Barnes. “We work toward understanding their financial situation, goals and their investment objectives. We want to get people to the point where they know enough to ask good questions.”
Troutner and Barnes want to help people become comfortable talking about their financial future. After all, says Troutner, “at the end of the day, we all have finite resources. It’s really just about having an overall strategy to manage and use these resources.”
It doesn’t cost anything to have these conversations with ProFed Financial Advisors. While they ultimately hope for people to become clients, the first step is simply to get them on a path to saving.
“It’s about setting people up to save appropriately,” says Troutner. “Not every conversation has to be revenue generating.”
Financial planning can start at any age or stage of life, and it can encompass a variety of purposes. Retirement planning is the most common, but saving for college, estate planning, and tax planning also rank near the top.
“Today more than ever, we’re all responsible for our own financial well-being,” says Troutner. “Moving to the future from a financial perspective means getting started early, but it’s never too late.”
Because the financial aspect affects so many different areas, an effective planning strategy includes several types of professional relationships. Estate attorneys and tax professionals top the list, and ProFed Financial Advisors is happy to coordinate with all of them.
“Middle America should definitely have relationships with these various professionals,” says Barnes. “No one person can know everything about everything.”
That’s especially important as people move through the savings phase and into retirement, when they begin to use the wealth they have accumulated. This is when tax planning becomes particularly valuable.
“How clients choose to use their funds is every bit as important as how they got through the accumulation phase,” explains Barnes. “Tax planning is not just for wealthy people; it’s for most people.”
In addition, planning should also be coordinated across generations in many cases.
Troutner explains, “It’s very likely that the baby boomer generation will amass greater wealth than prior generations. The transfer of wealth is going to be huge in terms of managing it.”
Clearly, there are many factors to consider in planning one’s financial future. That’s why Troutner and Barnes remain passionate advocates for partnering with a financial advisor. They want to help people get comfortable not only discussing their financial health, but also defining their path. Although it isn’t always a comfortable topic for people, it’s an important one.
As Troutner puts it, “People should spend as much time each year focusing on their financial health as they do planning their vacation. It’s important to figure out where you’re at, where you’re going, and what’s important to you.”
“It’s not as painful as some people think,” adds Barnes. “The ability to gather information is easier than ever before, and doing it regularly helps it become a process rather than a chore.”
The advantage of working with ProFed Financial Advisors is that clients receive the benefit of the collective experience of the firm. Troutner, Barnes and their staff have a broad base of relationships and resources they use to help clients as they define their goals and work toward them. They are careful to underscore that investments represent only part of the equation. In their role as a sounding board for clients, they also identify areas where simple changes might make a significant difference.
“We don’t want to overemphasize investments at the expense of common sensical things,” says Barnes.
Taking time to get to know their clients, developing a relationship, and sharing information so they can make the best decisions are the hallmarks of ProFed Financial Advisors’ business practices. They are in it for the long haul, they say, and the relationships set the tone.
“What’s really important is that we understand that every situation is unique,” says Troutner. “That’s why our cards say financial consultant, not broker. It’s about more than investments.”
Securities and advisory services offered through UNITED PLANNERS FINANCIAL SERVICES, Member: FINRA, SIPC
ProFed Financial Advisors, LLC and United Planners are independent companies.
Not NCUSIF Insured
Not a Deposit
No Credit Union Guarantee
May Lose Value
Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency
Owner(s): Scott Troutner and Matt Barnes
Address: 4315 Flagstaff Cove Fort Wayne, Indiana 46815
Phone: (260) 486-7989, (800) 468-1520
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Products & Services: Financial Consultants and Investment Services