I took off 5 months between my last job and joining Bluestone Wealth Partners. I wanted to be incredibly thoughtful and selective around this next season of my career. After many years of cross-country moves & life on the road, I was looking for somewhere to fully invest myself and put down my career roots. I was not entertaining short-term stepping stones.
I spent 11 amazing years at my previous firm, BlackRock. Eleven years is a long time for anyone to spend at a company today, but perhaps even more unusual for someone my age. Call me old school, but the thought of jumping from one job to the next makes me break out in a cold sweat. I am, and have always been, a planner.
With that in mind, I decided I would need specific criteria for how to fairly evaluate my opportunities. Choosing Bluestone Wealth Partners boiled down to three key concepts: Relevance. Long-term vision & Trusted Partner.
In my previous field sales role at BlackRock, I had the opportunity to work with most of the largest Independent advisory practices across Ohio. When I decided to pursue the advisory side of the business, relevance was not only an important factor to me, but one of the reasons Bluestone made my short list.
Let’s face it, there are approximately 300k financial planners in the US*. Robo-advisors have entered the arena. Financial literature is available at the click of your mouse. It is harder and harder to remain relevant. If you’re not offering something distinctly unique, you’re probably not going to be around for long.
Thankfully, this is where my previous job gave me a front seat. Ric and Adam are both innately curious. They ask questions. They educate themselves. They want to know their client’s businesses and financial situation better than the client does themselves. It’s one of the reasons Bluestone has been successful planning with so many Retail and Corporate Executives over the years. We know their business inside out which allows us to coach to their specific situations.
Over the years, the strive to stay relevant also led Bluestone to be early adopters to many things that have been beneficial for our clients. While most financial planners have only recently incorporated ETFs (exchange traded funds) into their businesses, Bluestone adopted ETFs over a decade ago as a component of our client’s portfolios. Particularly for client’s Non-qualified investments, ETFs have historically delivered greater tax-efficiency at a significantly lower cost than a traditional mutual fund.
Tax planning, or lack thereof, can have a significant impact on returns over a long time-horizon. We’ll often work directly with our client’s CPAs to verify their financial plan is aligned with their tax situation. The list goes on, but if there is one thing I am confident of, Bluestone will always find a way to remain relevant to our clients.
Long term vision
Humans are, by nature, creatures of habit. We all know how easy it is to fall into a routine, but generally, from a business perspective, becoming comfortable is one of the most dangerous things you can do.
Consider a few real-life business scenarios: Polaroid. While one could argue that Polaroid has made a small comeback with their retro styled cameras, Polaroid would be the first to admit they weren’t prepared for competing in the digital camera era. The irony to me is that they were so innovative in the first place! They were one of the first to recognize the human desire of “instant gratification” in the photography world and yet, failed to see how that could evolve down the road as technology improved. Blockbuster and Netflix. There are dozens of examples. In short, constant innovation and evolution is critical to long-term success.
Ultimately, it was important to me that the team I joined had a successful existing foundation & infrastructure for running their business efficiently, but I also wanted to be sure that team wasn’t so laser focused on only the here and now. Bluestone demonstrated a hunger to be ahead of the curve. Even in the short amount of time I’ve been on the team, there is constant collaboration from all members on how we can evolve to better serve our clients, run more efficiently as a team & continue to grow the practice. Better yet, the team has exploded with growth – adding two full-time planners and a full-time assistant in just the last year. This speaks to the footprint we want to leave on Columbus for generations to come.
When I say, “Trusted Partner”, this covers two critical buckets for me. First, of course, we educate our clients so they can make informed decisions and always act in their best interest. Without my faith in this, Bluestone would never have been a consideration. Second, was a bit more selfish on my behalf: Was this a culture and environment I would feel safe & enthusiastic about? Would the team become my own trusted partners?
I wanted to be surrounded by people who were collectively motivated, who would challenge me professionally, but also a team who would bring out the best versions of one another. Any reservations were quickly brushed aside when Ric expressed that we couldn’t move forward until I had spoken with EVERY member of the team. I loved the respect this demonstrated – every voice on this team matters. Bluestone is a family.
They say a rising tide lifts all ships. I can’t recall a time in my career that I felt so valued for my contributions, even in such a short amount of time. It’s highly motivating and it makes you want to deliver even more for the team and our clients. The positivity is contagious.
Perhaps equally compelling for me was the lack of turnover. This team has grown organically, with the same staff, until the success ultimately warranted bringing on another person. Ric and Janet have worked together for 25 years! Adam has over a decade working alongside the two of them. I love that each person still brings their own unique personality to the table and if someone is out of the office, you know you can count on the team to support – regardless of how big or small the task is. These are the day to day things our clients don’t typically get to see, but we hope they can sense.
Overall, since joining the team I’ve witnessed unparalleled client service, industry-leading expertise & outstanding leadership. I am so grateful I landed here and look forward to contributing to a team with such a bright future.
SOURCE: Cerulli, 2017. https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2017/01/18/only-16-of-advisors-are-women-cerulli/
ETFs are index-based products that allow investors to buy or sell shares of entire portfolios of stock in a single security. An ETF is a type of investment vehicle whose objective is to achieve the same return as a particular market, and is similar to an index fund in that it will primarily invest in the securities of companies that are included in a selected market index. It is not possible to invest directly in any index. Exchange traded funds are subject to risks similar to those of stocks. Investment returns will fluctuate and are subject to market volatility, so that an investor's shares, when redeemed or sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
Lincoln Financial Advisors and its registered representatives do not offer legal or tax advice.
Registered associates of Bluestone Wealth Partners are registered representatives of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Bluestone Wealth Partners is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.