As we bring yet another year to a close, our team collectively reflected on the work we’ve done on behalf of and in partnership with clients in 2023. It has been a year of significant change for some – with clients selling businesses, losing a parent or spouse, purchasing new homes, beginning to travel again, and more. We also had six clients retire successfully in 2023. Congrats!
It is our vision to be an essential partner to clients, using our experience, resources, and passion for making a difference, to help clients identify and pursue their vision of financial success at every stage of life. We do that by living our 5 core values: integrity, excellence, collaboration, community consciousness, and innovation. Thus, while this is just a snapshot of our work, we hope it provides a greater understanding of the services we provide and the impact we can have.
We wrote 12 monthly newsletters with nearly 50 articles that included topics such as new legislation (i.e., SECURE Act 2.0), cybersecurity and fraud risks, snowbird tips related to buying, managing, and passing on second homes, college planning and FAFSA, tax planning and savings opportunities, retirement planning for business owners, elder abuse, and economic / market updates.
We prepared and sent 750+ Spring Check-In letters to clients detailing primary and contingent beneficiaries by account. This communication enabled countless beneficiary updates to be made by clients to better align with their estate plan and/or personal wishes.
In 2023, we supported 401(k) plans for 26 businesses with a total of 59 trustees and 850+ plan participants. This aspect of our business is sometimes lesser known but can have a very positive impact on retirement planning and savings for business owners and employees alike. More than half of our team supports these 401(k) plans in the form of plan start-up and maintenance, investment oversight, trustee education and advice, and participant education and support. Of particular note, MaryAnn White (401(k) Program Manager) was selected by the National Association of Plan Advisors as of one of ten individuals, out of a pool of over 200 applicants, to provide input to the updated Certified Fiduciary Plan Advisor curriculum.
Our investment team provided ongoing rebalancing of more than 1,400 client accounts throughout the year. Rebalancing supports two key objectives for clients: 1) tax loss selling and 2) ensuring accounts stay aligned to each client’s risk tolerance, growth expectations, and timeline for use of the money. As Portfolio Implementation Lead, Wealth Advisor Jessie Schlanderer wrote in the newsletter this year, “As your accounts grow and change, some of your investments will increase in value faster than others. We strive to keep you diversified so that we aren’t trying to predict which investments will be the short-term “winners,” as that tends to change drastically from year-to-year.”
Our financial planning team, led by Wealth Advisor and CPA Jill Carr, analyzed 63 client tax returns for calendar year 2022. The goal was to identify tax savings opportunities for clients to share with their CPA or tax preparer. It also helped us identify actions we can take on behalf of clients in our end-of-year tax planning activities. This is a service we will provide again in 2024 to clients who request it and send in their 2023 tax return.
Community Consciousness remains one of our five company values. Our team recently shared with one another information about an organization we are or have been involved with, the role we play(ed), and what drew us to the organization. It is great to see the impact a team of our size can have in the community. In the word graphic to the right, you will find the 14 organizations where members of our team either currently lead as a board member, participate as a member, or provide a financial donation.
We generously received 20+ client referrals from current Stephens Wealth Management Group clients and friends of the firm and conducted meetings with several young adult children of existing clients. These generational wealth conversations help individuals in their 20’s and 30’s gain clarity on their short- and long-term goals and learn strategies to put their money to work for them in alignment with their goals. We also have online tools that work well with young adults and are happy to share them.
Last, but not least, we thought we’d share our trip around Australia with you. We participated in the Genesee County Fall4 Fitness Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to provide a fun, motivational exercise program for all participants. The more steps you took during the month of October, the further you traveled in your virtual trip around Australia. Our team came in 24th place out of 40 small business teams. We traveled 1,040 miles and took 2,210,897 steps. MaryAnn traveled the farthest for our team – 550,000 steps all on her own. That equates to 17,741 steps daily or about 8 miles. For those who track their exercise, you know this is a major accomplishment.
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