CPAs and Financial Advisors
It used to be that, as consumers, we would go to one place to have our income taxes prepared, another place to get investment advice, and yet another place to get legal advice. At the end of the day, it was our responsibility to keep up with all of the decisions being made that impacted our financial world and hope nothing was overlooked – but not anymore. At Everything Knoxville, we found a group of Certified Public Accountants that have created a unique financial planning experience – every financial, estate, and legal service you need is offered under one roof.
EK: Yvonne, tell our readers a little bit about Marsh Professional Group, and describe for them the services you provide.
Yvonne: We are a team of CPA’s and independent financial advisors who partner with an experienced estate attorney to provide our clients with a fully-integrated financial planning service. We provide income tax preparation and tax minimization reviews, we help clients make sound financial decisions to protect their family’s future, and we give them the knowledge and tools to make smart, informed investment decisions. Also, by partnering with an estate attorney, we can make sure that their legacy plans are well thought out and documented. We’re a “one-stop-shop” of financial professionals, I guess you could say.
EK: How unusual is it for a full-service CPA firm to offer this complete range of financial planning services?
Yvonne: To my knowledge, we are the only CPA firm in Knoxville providing this entire suite of services in one location.
EK: How did you become interested in financial planning?
Yvonne: I started my career as an auditor in public accounting, which taught me how to listen and pay attention to detail. I was always drawn to helping friends and family with their tax and investment questions, so when I had an opportunity to transition into the financial advisory practice, I jumped at the opportunity. After we moved to Knoxville and my daughter was born, I wanted more work/life flexibility, so I started an online business, which I ran successfully before selling it a few years ago to rejoin the financial planning industry. My experiences as a CPA, small business owner, and a working parent help me view things from my clients’ perspective. I find it rewarding to help people make those hard financial decisions and give them the peace of mind they deserve.
EK: What is the biggest obstacle people face when they’re trying to make financial decisions?
Yvonne: I think it’s lack of time actually. We are all so busy managing our daily lives that it can be almost impossible to find the time to manage our financial life as well. It’s easy to push the decisions to another day, but the needs remain – to plan for our children’s college education and our own retirement, to make informed investment decisions, and even to help our aging parents manage their finances. So I developed a solution for myself and for my clients – I call it the Financial Foundation organizer.
EK: What is the Financial Foundation organizer?
Yvonne: We create a unique custom organizer that is our clients to keep. It reflects their entire financial world, from bank accounts, investments, debts, insurance policies, retirement plans, wills, and estate planning documents, just to name a few. Not only does it allow you to keep track of how you are doing, but it is an invaluable tool to your spouse and adult children to have all of this information gathered in one spot. We even include a Survivor’s Checklist to help with the financial decisions that must be made at the loss of a loved one. Also, importantly, it provides me the basis I need as a financial advisor to see where my clients are on their financial journey so I can get them to where they want to be.
EK: So along with providing tax services, help our readers understand the scope of financial planning services you provide.
Yvonne: How much space do I have? Just kidding… First and foremost, we get to know our clients – what financial goals and dreams are important to them. While we definitely help people answer their most pressing financial questions about “how much is enough?” for college savings and retirement income planning, we also dig deeper into the next layer of questions regarding such things as long-term care, social security maximization, income tax minimization, and proper investment diversification. Perhaps most importantly, we make sure that our clients’ investment holdings match their risk personalities so they aren’t riding the stock market roller coaster without a seat belt. We even provide a 401(k) review to ensure they have the proper mix of mutual funds and their investments in their employer’s retirement plan.
EK: So once you’ve created a plan for someone, you can also help them with investment decisions if they need it?
Yvonne: Yes, sometimes just building the plan isn’t enough and clients seek advice on their investment holdings. The most pressing question is definitely how to create income while protecting their principal. Safety and security is the name of the game, and if I’m going to recommend a certain type of investment to a client, I want to be able to follow the process to the end and be sure they get the best options available for them. Since I’m an independent advisor, I don’t have an agenda to promote any particular product or investment. I’m actually an Investment Advisor Representative, which means I am held to a higher “fiduciary” standard than what is generally found in the broker dealer world.
EK: The question I’m sure is on everyone’s mind… is this an expensive process?
Yvonne: It’s really not. Our advisory fees are very reasonably priced, and after our first complimentary meeting, I provide the client an exact quote of what their planning fee would be based on their goals and the level of assistance I can provide them.
EK: What types of clients do you work with?
Yvonne: A wide variety, actually. One reason I love my job is that I get to work with people in all phases of their financial life, though I most frequently work with individuals and couples over age 50 who are managing not only their own financial life, but perhaps helping their aging parents also. They definitely call it “the sandwich generation” for a reason! I also work with young couples and parents just starting out, women in transition due to divorce or widowhood, as well as small business owners.
EK: What is the best way for our readers to learn if you can help them achieve their individual financial goals?
Yvonne: Just give our office a call and set up a complimentary meeting with me. It gives us a chance to get to know each other and see how I might be of service. There’s no cost or obligation – just an opportunity to have your questions answered.
EK: In closing, is there anything else you would like to add?
Yvonne: Just that I hope people can be encouraged about their financial future, even if they have had some setbacks these last few years. Maybe their dreams are different now than they used to be, but they can still be attainable. I’d love an opportunity to give your readers some peace of mind that comes with having a comprehensive plan.
Marsh Professional Group, LLC
404 Ebenezer Road
Knoxville, TN 37923
Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Prosperity Capital Advisors, an independent, SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in the State of Ohio. Yvonne Marsh is an Investment Advisor Representative of Prosperity Capital Advisors in the state of Tennessee. Marsh Professional Group, LLC and Prosperity Capital Advisors are separate entities.