Attempting to navigate the financial planning marketplace can be challenging, particularly if you are attempting to go it alone. Many investors, whether just beginning their careers or preparing for retirement, discover that retaining a financial planner can prove to be invaluable when trying to navigate today’s financial marketplace. But selecting a financial planner can become just as a daunting task as making do-it-yourself financial decisions.
In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are pleased to introduce our readers to John Fawaz, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner and founder of Financial Partners of TN, LLC. Although John may be a familiar face to many of you who have seen him on WATE-TV or heard him speak publicly on a variety of financial topics, it is hoped that our interview will help introduce you to Financial Partners of TN, LLC and answer questions you may have about selecting a qualified financial planner.
EK: John, what inspired you to become a financial planner?
John: My father owned an aluminum manufacturing company with more than 100 employees. At a very early age, after being inspired by my father’s entrepreneurship, I decided that I wanted to join my father in running his business. So I decided to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. During my junior year, I received a call from my dad telling me that his business was failing and he had no choice but to close the plant. Because nearly everything he owned was invested in his business, I found it necessary to support myself. I tried a variety of careers, but what interested me the most was the financial service industry, where I discovered the importance helping clients create and implement a comprehensive financial plan. I only wished that my dad had met with a qualified financial planner. Things might have turned out much better for him. After my work in the financial planning field, I launched Financial Partners of TN, LLC and have never regretted my choice.
EK: Where did you attend college?
John: I graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in mechanical engineering. Although I never pursued engineering, the discipline I learned as an engineering student has proved invaluable in the financial planning marketplace, particularly as I worked full-time while earning my degree.
EK: People are understandably confused about how to select a qualified financial planner. What advice can you offer our readers?
John: Finding a qualified advisor is both challenging and critical, as many individuals in the financial services marketplace identify themselves as “financial planners.” CFP® professionals, on the other hand, have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. They understand all the complexities of the ever-changing financial marketplace and will make recommendations based entirely on your best interest. I’ve always recommended you do thorough research on any financial planner that you might be considering. The Brokercheck link at FINRA.org is a great resource for learning about a financial planner’s qualifications, experience, and registrations they may hold.
EK: Tell our readers about your involvement with LPL Financial.
John: We are independent Investment Consultants registered with LPL Financial, one of the nation’s leading financial services companies and the largest independent broker-dealer.* I was honored to be LPL’s Patriot Club. This distinct honor is awarded to less than 10% of the firm’s approximately 14,000 advisors nationwide and is based on an annual production of all registered advisors supported by LPL.
EK: Help our readers get to know you a little bit better. On a purely personal level, what are you most passionate about?
John: Aside from my passion for financial planning, I would have to say traveling. I travel frequently for both business and pleasure. I grew up traveling with my parents and my three sisters and brother. My sisters live in England, France, and Nigeria. While I have traveled the world extensively, there’s no better place to live or people to surround yourself with than Knoxville and its people. This is my 26th year in Knoxville. I enjoy an active lifestyle, which has included marathons, half Iron Man Competition, CrossFit, and yoga.
EK: How do the trust, education, and experience you have achieved in your career help you in your financial planning practice?
John: There are many good planners in the financial marketplace today, but I believe that what really makes us successful the fact that three different area financial institutions have entrusted us with providing financial advice to their valued customers. We are the exclusive Investment Consultants for the customers of UT Federal Credit Union, UBank, and Peoples Bank of the South. This is a big responsibility, which I don’t take lightly. I am also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Chartered Financial Consultant, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and have been a practicing financial planner for more than 18 years.
EK: Our readers may be familiar with you from your appearances on Knoxville’s ABC affiliate, WATE.
John: I’ve been fortunate to have been asked by WATE to provide financial expertise on different financial topics for past four years. In addition, I am an instructor at the University of Tennessee non-credit program and regularly speak to area groups on a variety of financial subjects.
EK: Tell us about Financial Partners TN, LLC’s philosophy.
John: We take a holistic approach to life planning, no matter where you are in life. Whether you are just getting started in life or winding down a successful career, you have goals and dreams. We engage you in an ongoing conversation about your needs, goals, and objectives to help you pursue the life plan that’s right for you. The most important lesson I’ve learned in business was from a true professional I consider to be my mentor – the president of UBank. “Treat people like you would like to be treated, and place honesty above everything.” That is the motto that I live by in my life.
EK: Although the answer may appear obvious to many, why is it important to initiate a comprehensive financial plan earlier in life rather than waiting until later?
John: The biggest misconception is that you need to have accumulated a large amount of money in order to meet with a financial planner, and as younger people are in the accumulation stage, they often postpone meeting with a financial planner until much later. Nothing could be further from the truth. Start planning early and let compound interest and time go to work for you. I meet regularly with older clients who wished they had started planning for retirement much earlier. Planning late leaves you with fewer options, although better late than never. We are procrastinators by nature, and we all live busy lives. Investing a few hours of your time now planning might save you years of disappointment.
EK: You are involved in many organizations. Tell our readers about your community involvement.
John: I currently serve on a variety of non-profit community boards. Giving back to a community that has given my family so much has truly been an enjoyable experience. My community involvement includes the past presidency of the East Tennessee Financial Planning Association and serving on the board of directors of Leadership Knoxville.
EK: How can people learn more about Financial Partners of TN, LLC?
John: Your readers can call our office at 865-558-8182 or visit www.financialpartnerstn.com, where we would be willing to answer any questions they may have.
Financial Partners of TN, LLC
2100 White Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37916
*As reported in Financial Planning Magazine, 1996-2016, based on total revenue
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its Licensed affiliates
The investment products sold through LPL Financial are not insured. Peoples Bank of the South and UBank deposits are not FDIC insured. These products are not obligations of the Peoples Bank of the South and UBank of Jellico are not endorsed, recommended, or guaranteed by Peoples Bank of the South, Ubank of Jellico, and UT Federal Credit Union or any government agency. The investment products are also not insured. UT Federal Credit Union deposits are not NCUA insured. The value of investment may fluctuate, the return on the investment is not guaranteed, and loss of principal is possible. Peoples Bank of the South, Ubank of Jellico, UT Federal Credit Union, and Financial Partners of TN, LLC are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial.