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Jan. / Feb. 2013

Photo by © MSNBC

Issue 52



The New Sharky Takes a Bite out of Business

Marissa Mayer

From Google to CEO of Yahoo! All in a Days Work

Eve Wright Taylor

Turning up The Heat as the VP of the Miami Heat

JJ Ramberg, 2012 Editor’s Choice for

Business Leadereship

publishers note

Publisher Erwin E. Kantor Managing Editor Michael Gordon Editorial Helen Moss Robert Jordan Staff Writers L. A. Rivera Monica Link Wendy Connick David Gordon Diane Alter Sean Goldstein Rich Monetti Edwin Camacho Asst. Art Director Marienne Hilahan Illustrators Shafali R. Anand Mike Moss Marketing / Advertising Monica Link For subscription details, contact: For advertising inquiries, contact:


reaking the glass ceiling in the corporate world has long been a controversial topic, at least over the past two decades. Although the well-oiled “old boy network” still seems to be a major problem for women who are reaching toward top management levels, some progress has been made over the years by women who are constantly pushing these boundaries. At year’s end, as we look back at the lives of women who have become successful – who have accomplished, encouraged and inspired – “The Suit Magazine” features six top executive women who have made a difference in the media, entertainment and the corporate worlds. We chose these six women as remarkable individuals who made our world a better place. This look back in time includes one of our most courageous pioneers – Sally Ride, the first woman in space. Women have made strides in many other areas. The military now formally allows women to be closer to the dangerous center of combat, acknowledging those servicewomen who were already doing jobs as medics, military police and intelligence officers. More recently, women dominated the London Olympics for the first time in history. On Team U.S.A., women won more gold medals than men. New Hampshire also made history by electing the first-ever all-woman delegation, making it the first state in which its executive and all of its national representatives are female. In this issue, we pay tribute to Lori Greiner, holding 115 US international patents, who continues to inspire women across the country to strive for success. JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s weekend business program,

Jasmaine Mathews©

ISSUE 52 | JAN / FEB 2013

Empowering Women

“Your Business” and author of “It’s Your Business” gives small businesses the boost they need to excel by telling them the truth. Then, there’s Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, one of the world’s most successful technology companies – which may seem like a dream job to some. Other successful role models are Eve Wright Taylor, serving as Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami Heat, Michelle Patterson, CEO of Event Complete and Executive Producer of The California Women’s Conference, as well as Rafaela Monchek, currently serving as Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Emergency Management, who is in charge of providing guidance and establishing workable solutions in the aftermath of some of the county’s worst disasters. These are some of the names that embody the spirit of what it is to be and entrepreneuer and women continue to make big strides in the corporate world.


Erwin Kantor Erwin Kantor Publisher

Issue 52

Jan. / Feb. 2013

JAN / FEB 2013 Photo by © MSNBC




The New Sharky Takes a Bite out of Business

Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo! All in a Days Work


JJ Ramberg, 2012 Editor’s Choice for

Business Leadereship

Eve Wright Taylor

Turning up The Heat as the VP of the Miami Heat

MSNBC host and bestselling author of It’s Your Business is telling the truth and giving small businesses the boost they need to excel in the boardroom and grow bank accounts. JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s weekend business program Your Business.

BUSINESS features


Eve Wright Taylor

Continues to turn up the heat where ever she goes. As the Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami Heat, one of the hottest NBA teams in the league.

10 12

Michelle Patterson The Perfect Plan:

When an event is Bigger than BIG

Lori Greiner The New Sharky

18 A Woman’s World 31 Why women are beginning to succeed in business

The Fiscal Cliff 20 Getting the feeling we’re

Merging small town values with global financial expertise


32 ProfessionalFinancial

23 2013 Resolution

Thinking outside the box for unique financing

New Year’s Financial Resolution

26 Financial Growth the Old Fashioned Way


32 Katz Life Group

The life insurance crisis, under insured by trillions

Spectrum Advisory

The newest shark in the tank takes a big bite in the business world


Walking with Diogenes

Marissa Mayer


Dumont & Blake


Raising a family, interviewing Lady Gaga and serving as the CEO for one of the world’s most successful technology companies may seem like a dream to some, but for Marissa Mayer, it’s all in a day’s work.


Rafaela Monchek

Managing in a crisis - keeping a level head is key


Trilogy Wealth Advisors

COE Financial Group


Balancing clients futures by playing it safe and taking risks

28 Patient Focus Systems

The movement of patients through hospitals

29 The Lubitz Financial Group

Financial plans are useless without good planning



33 Inferential Focus

Chaning the way you look at things

34 Trovena

A good financial planner hits sweet spot

36 Berger Financial Group Balancing risk and return

36 20/20 Financial Advisors Investing in your future

38 enRich Private Wealth Management, LLC

Turning obstacles into opportunities

39 LC Green & Assoc.

Tax complexities of paying taxes

40 Charms Investments

Transcending to the next level, let’s go IPO

42 Kalos Financial

Making money when the bears come to market


Center for Progressive Economics

Progressive economics everyone makes progress

44 James D. Klote & Associates Helping churches realize their missions

46 Allen Capital Group.

Allen captial group makes investment personal

Illustration By Mike Moss

50 Campbell Financial Services

Financial advisers are not a necessity, not a luxury

51 Paragon Investment Management

Alternative investing options buying municipal bonds

52 Ameriprise

Tough economic times breed more robust investing


OEM Capital

The business of business relationships

54 Strategic Financial Concepts, Inc. Challenging the status Quo



Forte Capital

56 AL Energy Solutions LED


NorthStar Wealth Partners

58 ClearAlign

Seeking partnerships with clients

Making sure you see the light

Independent advisors advocating financial Ingenuity in optical systems independence THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.5



CORPORATE EXCELLENCE JJ Ramberg is passionate about business – and she’s not afraid to give you advice about yours. By Monica Link JJ Ramberg is passionate about business – and she’s not afraid to give you advice about yours. The MSNBC host and bestselling author is constantly giving small businesses the boost they need to excel, noting, “On ‘Your Business’ we are all one hundred percent focused on providing useful information to small business owners, so that their companies can survive and grow.” This influential woman got her first job working for NBC. After a few weeks there, Ramberg fell in love with journalism and decided that broadcast journalism was definitely the right path for her. Since then, she worked for CNN, became a regular on the “Today” show, and also writes for a number of magazines including “Entrepreneur.” Throughout her career Ramberg has managed to use her passion and drive to create and assist small businesses. In an effort to make a greater impact on society, she teamed up with her brother, Ken Ramberg, to start the nonprofit, a site that raises money for non-profits by donating a penny for every search performed. The person searching can also designate the charity. Along with two sister sites – and GoodDining. com – to date, these non-profits have raised over $9 million for charity and given her direct expe-


rience as an entrepreneur. In 2012 Ramberg gained attention for her honest advice, not only as a broadcaster, but also as co-author of the book “It’s Your Business: 183 Essential Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business.” She gained influence as more business organizations began to listen to and successfully use Ramberg’s advice than ever before. In “It’s Your Business,” among the 183 tips that can transform a small business, are tips on managing employees effectively, understanding your brand and giving employees raises only after performance reviews have been finished. Tip number 109, for instance, may be one of the most important in a tough economy: “Never say no to a potential customer.” Her advice is straightforward and helps keep business owners from blurring the lines between their business and personal affairs. Ramberg’s quick thinking and sharp advice has led to the success of her MSNBC show. “I’ve always been interested in hearing people’s stories and in the power of storytelling to effect change,” Ramberg said. Among the stories that inspire her most is one from Kim Jensen, owner of “Kim’s Light Bagels.” Jensen – who had very little business experience – took $16,000 in savings and started a company making low-fat bagels. “Kim is an amaz-

ing woman. I left our interview completely inspired andfeeling like anything’s possible if you put your mind to it,” Ramberg said. “I think that Kim had an unwavering belief that there was a market for her product and a ‘don’t take no for an answer’ kind of attitude. Her ability to hear ‘not now’ when people told her ‘no’ was what kept her going in the beginning.” Interviews featuring such entrepreneurs help Ramberg inspire other small business owners. In 2012, America witnessed one of the most closely followed elections in history. Although Ramberg isn’t making a lot of predictions about the long-term impact of Obama’s re-election on small business, she does think 2013 might turn out to be a good year. “I think there is potential for (2013) to be a great year. Small businesses still face a lot of challenges, namely slow economic growth, but optimism is definitely higher than it was a few years ago,” she said. “As far as starting up a business – good ideas that are well executed do well during any kind of economy.” Ramberg will continue her own small business crusade in 2013. “During the campaign, both President Obama and Governor Romney repeatedly spoke about and to small business owners, underscoring their importance to the economy,” she said. “My goal is to continue with the work I’m doing now and expand our reach.”



JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC's weekend business program Your Business




Eve Wright Taylor continues to turn up the heat and light sparks By Diane E. Alter Eve Wright Taylor seems to heat things up and light sparks where ever she goes. As the Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami Heat, one of the hottest NBA teams in the league, Taylor advises on a plethora of legal issues related to the team’s marketing, promotions, concerts, events, corporate sales, merchandising plans and a plethora of player and fan related issues. A graduate of DePauw University, Taylor said she always wanted to be a lawyer but never knew what it entailed. She found out fast, rising the corporate ladder quickly and proficiently. Taylor hadn’t even celebrated her 35th birthday was she landed the coveted post at the Heat. “I never imagined my focus would be in the professional sporting industry. I thought all involved in the trade, no matter the sport, were high maintenance individuals. But you never know where life is going to take you. Before working at the HEAT, I served as the Senior Director of Business and Legal Affairs for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), a position I got after my mentors at a Fredrikson & Byron cut the apron strings and set me loose. In a parental way, they told me I needed learn how to be a lawyer. My feelings were hurt, but it led me on my current path,” Taylor shared. As an African American womTHE SUIT MAGAZINE - JAN / FEB 2013

an, an extremely successful and accomplished one at that, Taylor says she faces the same kind of challenges all women face in any predominately male corporate environment. Yet instead of seeing challenges, Taylor sees opportunity and bright prospects. “Everyone isn’t against me, but it’s true some are. I just push forward and push through using my resources and savoir-faire.” This savvy entrepreneur and tough competitor says of her prospects and endeavors, “I have been given a legacy that has left me with a responsibly to continue to build upon that legacy.” Taylor did just that when she founded theSpark, a network that provides empowering and enlivening open and fun forums for like-minded women. It aims to help them achieve the goals they desire in their personal and professional lives by lighting their fire of passion. “There is no one-size fits all approach. Women have different aspirations. I simply hold the door open. Whether they are seeking a promotion, a raise, want to meet a man, travel, overcome fears, need advice on how to juggle home and work life, or don’t know what they want, I help them find out,” a passionate Taylor elucidated. As she played with the big boys in a slew of primarily male environments, Taylor said the obstacles she overcame made her excel in her field and a better person.

“I’ve had my share of stumbles. I look back now and think to myself I should have handled some things differently. But it’s a reflection. You live and learn. You brush off your mistakes and you move on,” said a reflective Taylor. Of our legal system, Taylor makes it clear she is proud to be a part of it. “I believe in our justice system. It’s the best in the world. While arbitration and mediation have their place, sometimes you have to fight the fight. Whether you agree or disagree, advocates are here for a reason.” Never finding she can’t stand the heat, Taylor fights the fight when it’s called for, and offers support where and when needed. Moving forward, Taylor is working on a book and expanding her family. She and her husband are expecting their first child. “In the future, I want to continue doing good work at The Heat and theSpark. I am excited about the birth of my child and spending good time with my baby and husband. I think I will have my hands full for a while,” Taylor noted. If there is one thing Taylor knows how to do, it’s juggling many tasks. Always on guard, always playing defense and never dropping the ball are what make Taylor so indispensible. Her time at The Heat continues to be a slam dunk for the franchise, and her time at theSpark grows more enlightening with every discussion.

Eve Wright Taylor - Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami Heat

special report


nce upon a time, dea certain sum but the employresponsibilities for more than fined benefits pen- THE SUIT er isMAGAZINE not required to provide a 4,300 failed pension plans. EDITOR”S PICK sion plans were “defined” retirement benefit And, according to Hopkins, not just a benefit of at the end. defined contribusince 1975 over 170,000 plans “public service” employment tions plans, which most comhave ended in a standard terby state and local governments, monly appear in the form of mination - meaning that those but were also an expected part the familiar 401(k) plan, place BUSINESS companies DISTINGUISHED AWARDchose to discontinof corporate life. Employees all the investment risk on the ue their defined benefit penCORPORATE EXCELLENCE worked at the same company employee - if he or she hasn’t sion plans. for decades and retired knowaccumulated enough money in “There are what I’ll call a ing that their pensions would the account to live on during ‘perfect storm’ of issues which allow them to live comfortably retirement, that’s their probhave led to [pension plan failand without financial worries. lem. ures],” said david HildebThe When an Event is introduction Bigger than Big butPerfect from thePlan: employer ’s point “The of 401(k)randt, who is a senior partner of view, defined benefits plans type plans has, over time, disat the law firm of kirton & Mchave a serious drawback - they placed defined benefit plans Conkie and an internationally place all the investment risk on for many companies,” said recognized pension By David Gordon security to invitations, stage and makers,” Patterson expert“The the employer. Marc Hopkins, a spokesperson and welfare benefit plans. entertainment management, and companies that recognize the im- “The The terms of these pension for the Pension benefit Guaranmost common one isin probably Whether you are a new graduate, even alcohol and beverage control. pact that social media plays the plans require the sponsoring tee corporation (PbGc). The the aging population of partica career changer, or simply lookBut Event Complete isn’t expectmarketplace and directly related to pay and retired is birthday a government entityto women ipants. If participants live loning employers for work, choosing thenem- ing toPbGc host any parties in are the companies that ployees the agreed-upon benthat steps in to protect pension ger, the liability for a pursuing a new profession can the near future. Patterson is also are succeeding and doing well.” defined efits, whether or not the penbenefits if the employer can no benefittheplan increases. be a daunting task. Many people executive producer of The CaliforFor many, logistics of events The sion’s funds are adequate to longer meet its obligations. It second is the current frantically search for a solution to nia Women’s Conference, the largcan be overly stressful, which isfinanmeet those needs. If the penis funded by insurance premicial and capital markets’ streamline success but they may est women’s symposium in North why event planners have become envision’s investments do poorly ums paid by companies that ronment. And the third not have to look as far as they America. The historic conference so highly sought after. But Pat-one is and if the contributions into sponsor defined benefit penthat the actuarial assumptions think. Studies show that when boasts many A-list members and terson, who says she “works well the plan work aren’tisenough, the em- keynote sionspeakers plans. The assumed professional in sync with such PbGc’s as Firstmostunder for pressure,” alsoinvestment feels com- earnployer is forced to make up the recent annual report says that ings in these plans are somewhat a person enjoys, it creates a Lady Michelle Obama, Deepak fortable in high-octane environdifference. there are about 27,000 privatetimes in excess of 7%, is virtuous circle of passion and enChopra, Jane Fonda, Oprah Winments and affirms the need which to That’s why defined benefits sector pension funds today proving to be unrealistic in toergy that is a prerequisite for prosfrey, former British Prime Minister keep one’s cool. “It’s important, plans have been almost entire- Tonythat 25 or Lama, more Barenrolledas the day’s perity. Blair,have the Dalai leader,market.” to be able to set that ly replaced in corporate Amerworkers. That’s down from the Saburn, ango attorney “The best way to determine bara Walters and countless other tone. It’sJoe being able to ahead who ica by defined contribution all-time high of over 114,000 was formerly in-house what to do (professionally) is to celebrities. “What I found is that and stay close to what the overallERISA plans, in which the employer pension plans in 1985. In 2011 for AT&T is now figure out the things you spend the individuals who are really sucvisioncounsel and mission is,” sheand said. and/or employee contributes alone, PBGC took over benefits a partner at Ogletree time on that you don’t get paid cessful are the best to work with,” Patterson also tells her volunteersDeakfor,” said Michelle Patterson, CEO of Event Complete. “Do what you love, because you will fall in love every day.” Event Complete, a full-service event management company, was created by Patterson after years of working as an organizer for Taste of Ladera, the largest not-for-profit charity event in Orange County, California. “I’ve always had that mindset of putting on events and pulling people together,” Patterson told “The Suit.” Patterson and her team offer a slew of services that help turn just about any event into a thriving, revenue-generating affair. The company’s Event Concept Development Plan provides the know-how for everything from site logistics, media relations and

Patterson said with a laugh. Event Complete, which is committed to supporting charities, has developed both the social enterprise and the expertise needed to help generate funds. Patterson notes that communicating with both short-term and long-term sponsors plays a crucial role in efficient fund-raising. “It’s important to understand what the target is you’re focused on for your fund-raising efforts and make sure that (it) is not only communicated through the sponsorship package, but that it gets out to the masses,” she said. Social media, whose influence on fund-raising is unparalleled, can be a useful tool in reaching out to the target audience. “Women represent 78% of consumers and 85% of decision


to keep things in perspective and not let the stress take hold of them. “I don’t ever want to see them running across the exhibit hall,” she mused, then added seriously, “People notice your energy levels. If you’re stressed out and feeling overwhelmed, then your crowds and audiences will feel that same way.” Coming into 2013, Patterson plans on going even further in her profession. She has numerous events planned nationwide and internationally, including blueprints for programs in Singapore and for the United Nations. “You can never start soon enough,” she said.

Michelle Patterson, CEO of Event Complete and Executive Producer of The California Women’s Conference, the largest women’s symposium in North America.




The Entrepreneurial Journey. Knowing is half the battle, but getting there can be even more challenging. By Michael Gordon Knowing is half the battle, but getting there can be even more challenging. That’s a mantra that most entrepreneurs live by. Their intuitive sense of direction, desire, passion and the willingness to learn separates them from the average executive. Everyone knows the daunting task, money spent and hurdles needed to jump over in order to patent an idea. With no mentors, teachers or books on how to create patents, Lori Greiner, owner of For Your Ease Only, Inc. and one of the stars of the hit ABC show, “Shark Tank,” just figured it out herself, through trial and error. “It was very exciting to literally take something from a drawing on a piece of paper to a viable product that would sell in retail stores,” Greiner explains. Greiner realized early on in her career that her ideas for various products were successfully coming out onto the markets – but just not by her. Rather than wasting energy fuming about it, she resolved, “This time I’m just going to do it, and I did it.” She says, “With my next idea, I set out about how to make it, how to patent it, everything in which to take a product from concept to creation and to the market.” Greiner’s experience was an amazing journey, with a great deal of learning taking place along the way. On creating the product and THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JAN / FEB 2013

figuring out its dimensions, she noted, “In essence, it’s like sculpting what would be the perfect product.” The show has given Greiner the ability to work with an eclectic cast all of whom she likes. When asked about Kevin O’Leary, Greiner replied, “Even though people think he’s “a Meanie”, I do like Kevin O’Leary. He can be very funny and even though he is linear and has a very definite point of view.” She adds, “He sticks to that point of view, but interestingly I find that if I start to say something that makes sense to him, I can see almost see his brain working. I can feel him looking at me and thinking ‘hmm, maybe what she is saying makes sense, maybe this is a good idea and maybe I should be interested in this.’ ” Born and raised in downtown Chicago, Greiner grew up in a family where her father and grandfather were very entrepreneurial. She was raised to think that you can do anything you really want if you put your mind to it. She says, “I see a lot of their personalities in myself. I’m really not afraid to take risks.” That’s what really started her off on the path to success, including the ABC show “Shark Tank.” Once her first product was created successfully, “I just kept creating more products and patenting more ideas that eventually made it to retailers and which also led to

my own show on QVC,” Greiner noted. For the past 14 years, she has run her own show on the QVC channel, an online shopping network. She has created countless products, holding 115 U.S. and international patents. After a winning run with her first product, Greiner successfully brought 350 more products to market. “I was lucky enough in the early days to get into JC Penney after a lot of hard work, and I got into the Home Shopping Network for a year before I moved to QVC,” she adds. “Once you are successful at something, people want more and then you are driven to creating more, so it set my mind to thinking.” She continues, “I have to keep creating to keep feeding the needs of the retailers.” In fact her forthcoming book will be amazing, because it’s what people have asked her to do, for over a decade. “Everybody wants to know how to do what I did, and my book is going to tell them that.” Greiner chuckles. “It’s going to help people to learn and have the ‘street smarts’ sort of speak – the know-how and the knowledge to take something from nothing to a successful, viable product or a business.” With thousands of people asking her advice, this book will help many people get from A to Z. One of Greiner’s greatest successes has been the creation of a


ferred to as their actuarially assumed rate of investment return) may well be one of the most troublesome of the causes of the current pension crisis. Two major investment market “crashes” in the last 10 years have caused chronic but manageable levels of pension underfunding to now become dangerously and unmanageably large. Many public pensions are underfunded to the tune of millions or even billions of dollars. And these pension funding problems are starting to spread out in a ripple effect, touching more than just the plans’ enrolled employees. At least twelve local governments have sought relief from the crushing burden of their retirement and benefit obligations through Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings, and an increasing number of states have and are taking action to reduce


special report

great deal of products that make people’s lives better, happier and easier. “On ‘Shark Tank’ I am a role model for young women and men,” she says, adding, “That was something I never expected. It’s so positively overwhelming because people – (even) children and teenagers on the street – always stop me and say, ‘I want to grow up and be like you one day.’ Greiner humbly says, “I never looked at it as being a role model for women and men, but it’s turning out to be that way. I try hard to be a good one.” On a recent episode, owner Ginelle Mills of CoolWAZOO, who was turned down by the Shark Tank cast because her product wasn’t viable, created a sad moment as the contestant got tearyeyed and cried. But Greiner thought that Mills had the personality required to make something work, along with the passion and drive for the product. “Well, the more I sat back and watched the product – and also remember what you see on television is about 10 minlong and we see live can beAnd he points out that, ins, utes agrees. Hewhat states that, hour,”degree, she says, “I underthought that the “worse yet, many pension fund “to aanlarge the product had merit. I could see people trustees, who are responsible funding problem springs from liking it because about it was fund so multi-funcfor choosing the fund’s investfaulty assumptions tional for women and their babies.” ment strategy, aren’t necessarinvestments’ likely rates of rebeing very true ily experts on picking investturn.”Greiner, And, he explained thatto herself, stepped back insimply and acquired in managers. They usually the stock market hasn’ta stakement the company. “The guys will joke and rely on third party vendors or behaved as predicted. “Since if thebefore contestants investment consultants. but 2008say, but‘oh, even that,cry, in Lori will allin soft.’ not90s, that.we’ve I always make the trustees ultimately have 2002get and theIt’s late decisionsignificant based on what I think is right had a some investthe responsibility of fulfilling what I think willthe work,” the funding requirements for mentand downturns. And as- Greiner laughs, “Ithat don’tthe everactuaries do a deal where I plans. So some of these the sumptions the even productthough is bad just a seeing that there’s a havethink used, ab- to helptrustees, personlegal, – that’s feudal.” growing funding deficit, have solutely have not been She adds, about her fellow been chasing riskier and riskmatched by the actual real Sharks, “At the end ofthat the the day plans I find them ier all investments in order to market returns people I enjoy their the camaradetry to maximize the returns. needgood in order toand maintain that we have.” And, as markets have continfull rie funding obligations,” he to helping charities that ued to fluctuate, those risky said. Dedicated “In reality, the investassist others extreme need, Greininvestments have only made ments have overinthat time proer issomewhere involved with and donates to their underfunding problems duced between 3 many including to 5%. Socharities what that meansthe is Salva-worse.” Armydeficits and the American that tion funding have been Red The failure of many, if not Cross. She for alsothe donates to severalmost plans, to produce the accumulating, majority children’s believes of plans, overcharities the lastLori 10 to 15 herneeded, targeted level of inlife is blessed and continues to ‘pay vestment returns (often reyears.” it forward’.

special report


nce upon a time, dea certain sum but the employresponsibilities for more than fined benefits pen- THEerSUIT is not required to provide a 4,300 failed pension plans. MAGAZINE EDITOR’S PICK sion plans were “defined” retirement benefit And, according to Hopkins, not just a benefit of at the end. defined contribusince 1975 over 170,000 plans “public service” employment tions plans, which most comhave ended in a standard terby state and local governments, monly appear in the form of mination - meaning that those DISTINGUISHED AWARD but were also an expected part the familiar 401(k) plan, place BUSINESS companies chose to discontinof corporate life. Employees all the investment risk on the ue their defined benefit penCORPORATE EXCELLENCE worked at the same company employee - if he or she hasn’t sion plans. for decades and retired knowaccumulated enough money in “There are what I’ll call a ing that as their would the world’s account tomost live on during ‘perfect storm’ of issues which Serving thepensions CEO for one of the successful technology allow them to live comfortably retirement, that’s their probhave led to [pension plan failcompanies may seem like a dream to some, but for Marissa Mayer, it’s and without financial worries. lem. ures],” said david Hildeballbut in from a day’s work. ’s point the employer “The introduction of 401(k)randt, who is a senior partner of view, defined benefits plans type plans has, over time, disat the law firm of kirton & Mchave a serious drawback - they placed defined benefit plans Conkie and an internationally Byplace Monica among Google’ssaid said recognized in a statementexpert released the allLink the investment risk on to be fornumbered many companies,” inatpension most-searched people. Originally time and of her appointment. “I look“The the employer. Marc Hopkins, a spokesperson welfare benefit plans. Raising family, interviewing 2011, this video Guaraninterforward to common working with comThe aterms of these pension recorded for theinPension benefit most one the is probably Lady Gaga and serving as the view viral with more than 2The pany’s employees to plans require the sponsoring teewent corporation (PbGc). the dedicated aging population of particCEO for one oftothepay world’s most views innovative products, content employers retired em- million PbGc is to a date. government entity bringipants. If participants live lonsuccessful companies Inthat addition high profile personalized experiences to ployees technology the agreed-upon bensteps to in her to protect pension and ger, the liability for a defined may seem like a dream some, the workand advertisers all around The efits, whether or nottothe pen- accomplishments benefits if the in employer can no usersbenefit plan increases. butsion’s for Marissa it’s all in a to place – shemeet has been on Fortune It the world.” fundsMayer, are adequate longer its obligations. second is the current finanday’s work. list by of “50 Most Power“Yahoo’s products continueenvimeet those needs. If the pen- Magazine’s is funded insurance premicial and capitalwill markets’ This influential womando waspoorly apful Women in Business” since 2008that to enhance our And partnerships with sion’s investments ums paid by companies ronment. the third one is pointed and CEO of madedefined history in 2012 by technology media and ifpresident the contributions into – Mayer sponsor benefit pen- advertisers, that the actuarialand assumptions Yahoo! in 2012. Her appointment the youngest CEO of most a companies, while investment inspiring andearnthe plan aren’t enough, the em- becoming sion plans. The PbGc’s for assumed came as a is shocker thethe Fortune 500annual company in thesays Unit-that delighting ourthese users.” Mayerare said. ployer forcedtotomany makeinup recent report ings in plans somebusiness community, since for ed States. Starting her position at “There is ainlotexcess to do of and difference. there are about 27,000 privatetimes 7%,I can’t which is the past 13 years built her Yahoo! when she wasfunds expecting to get started.” That’s why Mayer defined benefits sector pension today wait proving to be unrealistic in tohigh profile career at Yahoo’s potentially anplans have been almost rival, entire- a child, that have 25 orshattered more enrolled day’s market.” Google, servinginascorporate vice president glass ceiling fordown women ex- the ly replaced Amer- other workers. That’s from Joe Saburn, an attorney who in ica several afraid of being punished bycapacities. defined contribution ecutives all-time high of over 114,000 was formerly in-house ERISA In 1999, in shortly afterthe graduating for having a family. plans, which employer professionally pension plans in 1985. In 2011 counsel for AT&T and is now from Stamford University, Mayer Mayer not afraid be abenefits visand/or employee contributes alone,isPBGC took to over a partner at Ogletree Deakwas hired as employee number ible CEO, either. In her media in20 at Google and learned the busiterviews, Mayer said that having I am honored and ness by working as Google’s first a baby and a demanding job isn’t female engineer, later becoming as tough as she thought. She also delighted to lead Yahoo, a designer, product manager and spoke about the fun she is havone of the Internet’s executive in a variety of departing in her new position. Mayer premier destinations for ments. She also oversaw the crereceived some criticism for those ation of and successfully defended remarks – they went viral – as more than 700 million the clean, spare look of Google’s well as for taking a too-short mausers.“ search page. ternity leave, going back to work During her tenure at Google, in a mere two weeks and working - Marissa Mayer Mayer interviewed famed singer from home for only a few weeks and entertainer Lady Gaga as part after giving birth. Yahoo! does of Google’s video series on muneed intensive help, however, essicians, spending more than an pecially after several years of unhour with the star. In the midst of inspiring leadership and a mission talking about her life and career, that is less than straightforward or it came to light that Lady Gaga inspiring. uses a lot of technology. By using “I am honored and delighted to this to create a powerhouse career lead Yahoo, one of the Internet’s and connect with her fans worldpremier destinations for more wide, she has successfully risen than 700 million users,” Mayer


special report

ins, agrees. He states that, “to a large degree, the underMarissa Mayer - President funding problem springs from and CEO of Yahoo faulty assumptions about fund investments’ likely rates of return.” And, he explained that the stock market simply hasn’t behaved as predicted. “Since 2008 but even before that, in 2002 and in the late 90s, we’ve had some significant investment downturns. And the assumptions that the actuaries have used, even though absolutely legal, have not been matched by the actual real market returns that the plans need in order to maintain their full funding obligations,” he said. “In reality, the investments have over that time produced somewhere between 3 to 5%. So what that means is that funding deficits have been accumulating, for the majority of plans, over the last 10 to 15 years.”

And he points out that, “worse yet, many pension fund trustees, who are responsible for choosing the fund’s investment strategy, aren’t necessarily experts on picking investment managers. They usually rely on third party vendors or investment consultants. but the trustees ultimately have the responsibility of fulfilling the funding requirements for the plans. So some of these trustees, seeing that there’s a growing funding deficit, have been chasing riskier and riskier investments in order to try to maximize the returns. And, as markets have continued to fluctuate, those risky investments have only made their underfunding problems worse.” The failure of many, if not most plans, to produce the needed, targeted level of investment returns (often re-

ferred to as their actuarially assumed rate of investment return) may well be one of the most troublesome of the causes of the current pension crisis. Two major investment market “crashes” in the last 10 years have caused chronic but manageable levels of pension underfunding to now become dangerously and unmanageably large. Many public pensions are underfunded to the tune of millions or even billions of dollars. And these pension funding problems are starting to spread out in a ripple effect, touching more than just the plans’ enrolled employees. At least twelve local governments have sought relief from the crushing burden of their retirement and benefit obligations through Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings, and an increasing number of states have and are taking action to reduce





Managing in a Crisis Keeping a Level Head is Key

Sergey Kamshylin©

By David Gordon To paraphrase an old adage: “when the going gets tough, the tough get tougher.” It takes a unique personality to not just survive a stressful situation but to actually thrive under duress. For Rafaela Monchek, pressurized predicaments are a driving force in her life. Currently serving as Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Emergency Management, Monchek is charged with providing guidance and establishing workable solutions for the aftermath of some of the county’s worst disasters. Monchek, who always felt great compassion for the eco-system, looked to transform her natural tendencies into responsible action. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Florida International University, Monchek began her federal career with the Department of the Interior’s South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Vowing to protect and manage the nation’s energy, water, natural resources and cultural heritage, Monchek pursued an approach that was both holistic and scientific. When the Everglades National Park – the largest subtropical wilderness in the Unites States – was placed on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger, Congress approved a federal effort to help preserve it And Monchek became accountable for coordinating both federally-funded and private Everglades restoration projects. in 2005, Mother Nature smashed the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina. The area was totally devastated, with widespread deTHE SUIT MAGAZINE - JAN / FEB 2013

struction and massive human suffering. Good Samaritans such as Monchek were enlisted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help with recovery efforts and she became a Disaster Assistance Employee, streamlining survivors’ access to federal assistance in Mississippi. Monchek cultivated her relationship with FEMA and in late 2006, she was asked to join the staff of its Washington D.C. headquarters, becoming the Senior Program Specialist for Housing Assistance Policy. Monchek also participated in grassroots relief efforts such as addressing and advising the Board of the North American Association of Synagogue Administrators (NAASE) in Biloxi, Mississippi, which collaborated with Helping Hands, a not-for-profit organization that offered on-site aid to tens of thousands of Katrina victims. In 2003, FEMA joined 22 other federal agencies under the all-encompassing wing of the Department of Homeland Security. Although it was the most significant reorganization of the Federal government since 1947, FEMA still remained a vital agency. Continuing to work for FEMA gave Monchek freedom to continue pursuing her interest in emergency management. Since then, the tenured strategist has served in many capacities across that organization. As Chief of Operations for the Mission Support Bureau, Monchek had a supervisory position over a total of six functions, including the Offices of the Chief Administrative, Information, Procurement, Security, and Component Human Capital Officers as well as the Enterprise Business

Unit. But these exhaustive responsibilities did not diminish Monchek’s energy and enthusiasm for emergency management. She has also served as Deputy Director of the Inter-agency National Disaster Housing Task Force, Special Assistant to the Acting Deputy Administer, as well as the Applicant Services Manager for the Maryland National Processing Service Center. In the summer of 2007, Monchek spoke at FEMA’s Individual Assistance Emergency Support Function. The conference was dedicated to implementing a National Disaster Housing Strategy (NDHS) which was required in light of post-Katrina legislation. Hoping to tackle key concerns such as mass care, emergency assistance, housing, and human services, Monchek discussed different types of temporary housing units and their placement, as well as other procedures to aid victims of both natural and man-made disasters. Monchek also addressed program options and alternatives regarding how to provide the best assistance for both individuals with special needs and low-income populations after a disaster, to ensure that the NDHS would be able to meet their needs in a timely manner. Both a strategist and coordinator, Montek’s ability to keep a level head in an emergency is why America’s leaders call on her during the Nation’s toughest times. Her passion for the ecosystem and her love of people has enabled her to also emerge as a pioneer in emergency management.

Rafaela Monchek - Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Emergency Management

James Weston©

by diane e. alter

Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion. -Oprah.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Sally Berger.

uss ds disc s n i m t ind Grea rage m ll e v a , s sma idea events, ople. s s u c s di pe discuss elt. s d n i v m r Roose o n a e l -E

A Man’s World No Longer

Why Women are Successful in the Business World


hat old saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman” is one that has been toyed with over the years. The altered adage that currently seems most apropos is “Behind every great man is a great and successful woman, rolling her eyes.” In the eyes of the world, women are finally becoming forces to be reckoned with, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the business world. Forbes’ 2012 Fortune 500 List, a compilation of the 500 largest corporations in the United States, revealed an unprecedented 18 firms headed by females, marking an increase from 12 compa-


nies just one year earlier. It also topped the previous record set in 2009, when 15 firms were overseen by female executives. Although it doesn't seem like a large number, only one decade ago, a mere seven women manned the helms of prestigious and prosperous American firms. Even more impressive and encouraging is the news that the current number is expected to swell in the coming years as women continue to move ahead, break through barriers and overcome obstacles in the predominately male-dominated world of business. Women are enjoying a changing landscape in the cor-

porate world. International businesses, big and small, as well as global governments, recognize they cannot continue to grow and flourish without fully embracing one half – often deemed the better half – of their populations. Myriad studies show that women earning their own incomes can drive economies, significantly boosting a country’s gross national product. One prominent factor that has driven women to achieve great things, attain great goals and become great role models is education. Higher learning provides women with more options, empowering them to be independent thinkers, negotiators and brokers of change. Census figures released in 2011 revealed that for the first time, women outnumbered men when it came to finishing college and earning advanced degrees. Demographers say these unprecedented educational gains are part of a decades-long trend that is slowly reinventing the workplace. There are more opportunities trending for women than ever before – and women are pouncing on them. In a constantly challenging and shifting economy that includes rapid changes in the way we communicate, interact, innovate and conduct business, a unique path has been paved by women for themselves. Vicki Milazzo, author of “Wicked Success Inside Every Woman,” notes that inherent traits of unbridled participation, total engagement, uninhibited collaboration, steadfast relationship building and a true appreciation for the greater good, all come naturally to the female of the species. These highly esteemed qualities are invaluable in today’s business culture, now being driven by an explosion of social networking through the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Successful businesswomen are embracing their inner selves, taking more risks, and reaching far and wide for the golden ring. The Women’s Leadership Network found through research and experience that the top ten characteristics allowing women to succeed in business today include: (1) defining success on their own terms; (2) being valued-based; (3) recognizing their






power and using it; (4) trusting their own instincts and believing in themselves; (5) acknowledging their own strengths; (6) nurturing a creative side; (7) being aware that their time and knowledge are priceless resources; (8) investing in themselves; (9) building support networks; and (10) taking time to smell the roses. To elaborate even further, what helps women really thrive in business is the fact that they are great relationships builders. Women aren’t afraid to ask for help and are expert multi-taskers. While it’s true about a “dogeat-dog-eat world,” a little bit of compassion, empathy and giving go a long way. Women are masters at and generous with these features which are often more effective, rewarding and appreciated than money or prowess. The gift of time and mentorship are frequently deemed the most valuable gifts. One thing most successful women have in common is that they never quit. This is unquestionably the simplest, most basic secret of the successful businesswomen. Women who connect their business with a greater meaning or cause are more likely to create a long-term profitable business or move ahead in one. By seeing or experiencing a significance in their work, women will work through inevitable difficulties and letdowns because they know it’s important to survive. Furthermore, women often are inspired to do their best work when the odds are stacked against them. As women grow even more competitive and are regarded on an even more level playing field with male counterparts, the future for women in the workforce looks rich and robust. Many companies are finding that women often represent them better in the public eye. It’s not looks that make them more attractive than men – it’s their demeanor, it’s the way they communicate, it’s their maturity, it’s their perspective and it’s their vision. Scores of businesses are beginning to take heed. A new mantra is emerging in the business world: “Never send a man to do a woman’s job.”



Is there a Safety Net at The End of The Cliff?

Torian Dixon©


he fiscal cliff has been settled. Yet, the United States is facing yet another crisis, and this time it’s more than the economy that will go over the edge. First of all, the “fiscal cliff” is a shorthand term for the package of government spending cuts, tax increases and reduction to the United States Federal budget deficit that would have automatically gone into effect on midnight December 31, 2012. This means the end of the temporary payroll tax cut – a 2% tax increase for workers; the end of specific tax breaks for businesses; changes in the alternative minimum tax, raising taxes for many; the beginning of the 3.8% ObamaCare tax, taxing incomes over $250,000 to fund ObamaCare; and the end of the Bush tax cut. However, a frantic deal was hatched up between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to avert sharp tax increases and sever spending cuts. Legislation was passed despite the objections of some from both parties. The pact raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while defering spending cuts and putting in stop-gap measures on other key issues. “I think the president sees victory at the bottom of the cliff,” Said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) who accused Obama of wanting to take the government over the edge. “He gets all this additional tax revenue for new programs, he gets to cut the military, which Democrats have been calling for, for years and he gets to blame Republicans for it.” A smaller government would be a good thing. A fifty percent drop in the federal budget deficit also seems like a major step in the right direction. And higher taxes wouldn’t be devastating to many, but to Grover Glenn Norquist, founder and president of “Americans for Tax Reform,” it would call for a major change. His entire career is based on the principle that Republicans cannot compromise on raising taxes under any circumstances.His “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” was signed by 95% of all Republican members of Congress prior to the November 2012 election. The toxic atmosphere between Democrats and Republicans sustained itself

when 67 Republicans voted against a hurricane Sandy relief package that passed the House last week. One of the lawmakers, Rep. Steven Palazzo from Mississippi is being scrutinized for voting against Hurricane Sandy victims, because seven years ago, he pleaded with federal officials to fund the recovery in his storm-battered community after Hurricane Katrina. Two months from now, the government will hit its borrowing time, and funding expires. And the Republicans are seeking cuts in the Medicare healthcare program and the Social Security pension program. The Democrats are pushing for more tax revenues, as well as spending cuts to curb the deficits “The idea that we face some dire situation just because we miss the January 1 deadline is an invention,” said Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “There is nothing that happens as a result of missing the cliff as long as a deal is struck soon. It could be missed for a while and that likely has been priced in. There may be some modest drop off in the immediate aftermath, but prices will stabilize and bounce back when there is a deal.” Yet, some would say the only solution for avoiding a constitutional breakage is for a bipartisan majority to take control of the House – and for that group to shun those who would rather see the country fall into the abyss because of their ideological sensibilities. “I hope we would have one last attempt here to do what everyone knows needs to be done, which is the larger plan that really does stabilize the debt and get us moving in the right direction,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who also stated that Republicans and Democrats should split the difference in their proposals with a deal that would amount to $1.45 trillion in spending cuts and $1.15 trillion in new tax and other revenue. If a deal isn’t met, who will be blamed in the next election?


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by pat brooks, CFP®

2013 New Year’s Financial Resolution Plan discipline and long steady effort. While many people have added 20+ pounds from their high school “glory days”, we try to remove those extra pounds in just a few months. It is not practical or healthy to go to extremes in an attempt to undo decades of neglect in just a few short months.


s we begin the New Year many of us will declare new personal and professional goals that we hope to achieve in 2013. This should be approached with a plan and specific goals in order to increase the chance for success. Unspecific goals like “be a better person” or “lose some weight” are not defined enough to have meaning. If you attend a gym with any regularity you will see the annual January spike in membership followed by the subsequent February decline. It is as predictable as the migration of birds. Often it is a case of trying to alter behavior too quickly. Instead of starting with a goal of running a 26.2 mile marathon, most people should start with something manageable like a 3 mile fun run before raising the ante. Financial fitness has many parallels to physical fitness. Both require

In the same fashion, we all got to where we are financially over many years of making both good and bad financial decisions. Regardless of where you are today, there are practical and sustainable steps that can be made to help you move forward.

on Social Security is not a rosy assumption. That leaves relying on your personal savings as the part of the retirement income plan that you have the most control over. If your employer has a company match make sure you are at least contributing up to that level. If you are self employed you may want to consider a SEP IRA or a SIMPLE IRA depending on your contribution amount and business profile.

Increase Your Emergency Fund Most of us spend all that we make (or more) on a monthly basis. The past few years have highlighted the uncertainty of the future and the need for personal savings. A goal of having six months of living expenses is recommended. Start moving toward this goal by having a savings account that is separate from your primary checking account. This can be used during times of unemployment or to fund an emergency expense like a high health care plan deductible. It is not used for routine expenses or things like buying a car or a vacation.

Know Your Numbers: If you go to your doctor for an annual checkup you will receive baseline cholesterol, blood pressure and other important health numbers. In the same manner, you should have a baseline idea of your investment mix based on what you own. Typically you want to know the percentages you have in US Stocks, Non-US Stocks, US Bonds, Non-US Bonds and cash. Beyond those basic numbers you may want to specify small and medium company exposure as well as bond type, quality and bond duration. Bonds may be under pressure in 2013 if interest rates rise or if there are increased defaults. Knowing how sensitive your bonds are to rising interest rates is something bond investors should know, but most do not.

Participate in Your Company Retirement Plan: In the past, retirees received income past their working years from the three sources of a company pension, Social Security and personal savings. Going forward, many of us will not have a company or government pension and the reliance

Review Your Beneficiary Designations: Things change over time. In reviewing beneficiary designations for clients it is not uncommon to see deceased or divorced spouses still listed as primary beneficiaries. Make sure the beneficiary designations on your IRA’s, insurance poli-


cies and company plans are up to date. If appropriate, add contingent beneficiaries in the event that your primary beneficiary predeceases you. Review the Pro Rata and Per Stirpes designations to clarify your wishes regarding distributions to the surviving family members of your beneficiaries. If this is all new to you then make sure your advisor or attorney explain the difference to you. Consider Trade Authorization on Accounts for Incapacity: If you want your spouse or another person to be able to provide direction on an investment account or retirement account make sure you meet with your advisor to add trade authorization to the account. Without this authorization, the person may not be able to access the account on your behalf. Don’t assume that a power of attorney is adequate. In most cases, having a joint account with someone other than a spouse is a bad idea. It may expose your account assets to their creditors or be attacked if they are involved in a lawsuit. If they are simply on the account for trade authorization it is not treated as their asset. You may also want to consider adding a Transfer on Death stipulation to your account to allow a nonIRA account to pass directly to your named beneficiary. While this does not avoid estate taxes it may expedite the transfer process. In closing, many of these steps can be addressed in reviewing or completing an estate plan. Typically you will want to coordinate the process with your attorney, financial advisor and insurance professional. While doing the entire plan may seem like a daunting task, you can start with one step and move forward incrementally. While we cannot control the stock market or the actions of the Federal Reserve, we can take actionable steps to improve our financial picture. I hope that 2013 finds you and yours off to a healthy and happy start both personally and financially. Pat Brooks, CLU, ChFC, CFPŽ, is a Registered Principal and Registered Options Principal with LPL Financial. He is the owner of Independent Investment Services, LLC in Savannah,


Georgia. His practice focuses on asset management for individuals, foundations and endowments. He also offers hourly financial planning engagements. Pat can be reached at 912-692-1000 or or via his website at Securities and Financial Planning offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

by diane alter

Financial Growth the Old-Fashioned Way A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT


ticking to the basics of long-term investment objectives and intelligent diversification, Spectrum Advisory Services, an independent private investment advisory firm, has garnered a stellar reputation and continues to grow its affluent client base, primarily by referrals. “Reputation is crucial,” explains president and founder Marc Heilweil, an expert with more than 30 years of experience in managing money. “Individuals looking for someone to oversee their funds should first take a good look at a money manger’s lifestyle, which is a good indication if he is in the business to live well or serve his clients well.” This close-knit Atlanta, Georgia firm does exceptionally well by helping clients face the challenges of asset allocation over the span of a lifetime. It is these long-term relationships, along with trust and impressive returns, that set Spectrum apart. The bulk of the firm’s high net worth clients are successful individuals who THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JAN / FEB 2013

Warren Goldswain©

want to turn the daily duties of managing their funds over to a trustworthy investment advisor. “We have made a good life for a lot of good people,” Heilweil acknowledged. A Yale University graduate and Fulbright scholar, Heilweil worked in securities law before starting his own investment firm. This invaluable knowledge and experience landed him in the position of advisor to several prominent private companies and charitable organizations. Strategic alliances with esteemed industry professionals continue to keep Spectrum on the cutting edge. Heilweil set himself apart from other advisors in 2000, after distinguishing himself as portfolio manager for the Marathon Value Portfolio, earning Morningstar’s coveted 5-star rating. Through calculated diversification, Heilweil dodges loss, not simply as a means of reducing risk, but also as a means to augment returns. Highlighting the importance of diversification, Heilweil stresses that many investors at other wealth management firms are subjected to mindless diversification through duplication. “Our clients avoid that scenario since most leave all their assets with

us, allowing us to carefully apportion their funds without useless replication. It’s important for a fund manager to have a clear overview of a client’s total resources to minimize risk, loss and tax implications,” Heilweil detailed. Always on the lookout for outstanding investment talent, Heilweil, who has no immediate plans of retiring, says he wants to make certain he has the best team in place at all times to serve his clients’ needs. Concerned about the possibility of a double dip recession in 2013 and the complicated changes taxpayers face, Heilweil stresses that demand for his firm’s astute investment acumen and experience is mounting. On the road to building wealth, Spectrum’s strategy, as detailed in its Marathon Value Portfolio, has always been slow and steady. The journey to prosperity is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

by david gordon


Seeking Financial Freedom

Coe Financial Group 1121 Lake Cook Rd., Ste P Deerfield, IL 60015 Tel: 847.444.9444


long with the unsettling issue of Social Security modifications hovering over the heads of future retirees, many find even contemplating financial planning to be a daunting task. In today’s economically unstable climate, confidence is low and the consequences of so many unknowns often affect more than mere bank accounts. “Times are uncertain,” said Chad Coe, president of Coe Financial Group (CFG) and wealth manager with First Allied Securities a Broker/ Dealer. “People have to reset and be able to plan for a new reality.” This new reality, Coe notes, includes the possibility of continued volatility in the market, lack of job security, slower economic growth and increasing regulation. . “All of these factors more contribute to why people are turning to financial advisors to help them navigate the landscape and plan for a more secure future,” Coe said. Baby boomers – specifically those

on the verge of retirement – are searching for income-producing investments such as annuities and alternative investments. At CFG, this is only one of multiple approaches that Coe and his team use to safeguard income for their clients. “I believe that you need a diversified portfolio with equities, fixed income and alternative investments that is appropriate to your risk tolerance. Just jumping into annuities isn’t necessarily the solution to your income needs,” Coe told “The Suit.” In order to modify a portfolio that is appropriate for a client’s needs, several factors, such as diversification, lifestyle and the client’s level of risk aversion, need to be determined, he said. But caught between the debacles of Ponzi schemes and big bank bailouts, consumer trust is at its lowest level, with many potential investors not even knowing what is safe or who to trust anymore. The size and reputation of a company alone is no longer enough to ensure credibility and integrity. “That’s where CFG comes in,” says Coe. “We’re independent advisors of First Allied Advisory Services, Inc. To enhance our value to clients, we work with several outside money managers to add an extra layer of expertise to the investment planning process.” Coe and his team of experienced advisors offer clients the comfort of a full-service review of all aspects of their financial lives. As part of their service, they offer financial, estate and retirement planning strategies as well as a thorough review of each client’s insurance coverage. “We believe that we need to help every client protect their assets as well as grow them,” Coe said.


To Dumont and Blake Investment Advisors’, Capital is Knowledge Balancing Clients' Futures by Both Playing it Safe and Taking Risks by rich monetti Morley Goldberg of Dumont and Blake Investment Advisors ments have some growth to them – not (DBIA) believes that if you offer money management to as much as the S&P 500 – but you get a average people on the street, they’d opt to hold higher dividend rate,” he says. onto their cash and hope for the best. How There’s also nothing wrong with helpthen does one sell something that can’t ing give some of your money more of even be given away for free? Sella fighting chance in convertible-type ing is certainly easier when the investments like ETFs, which come person’s retirement precedes with less certainty. Goldberg rethe pitch, but closing on a new marked, “We tell clients there’s no client still requires a key form way to get a decent return withof capital that he and DBIA out taking risks.” knows it has in abundance. Thirty years later, the impli“We’re not selling anything cations of Goldberg’s philosoexcept our knowledge and our phy clearly balances out in expertise,” Goldberg says conthe black for him and for all fidently. those with whom he has been Of course, securing that confidence today has become involved. “I built a business that helps clients and employs tougher for all due to the corrupt few, while a glut of short people. That’s success,” he concludes. term traders has created a sea of volatility. That said, stability is still a priority for many, but DBIA advises on the importance of balancing safety against a certain degree of chance. For instance, putting a portion of a portfolio in dividend income serves the interest of the safer side. “These



patient recovers and goes home. Hospital housekeeping seamlessly turns the room over for the next person in line. As straightforward as it sounds, the vacuum left behind does not automatically fill itself just because nature and discharge papers assume it should. Among hospitals, this lag time is universally known as a problematic void that can lead to inefficiency, patient dissatisfaction and lost revenue. Mary Cooper Gregg of Patient Focus Systems (PFS) in Ann Arbor, Michigan has made it her business to automate this kind of costly emptiness out of a hospital's systems. "With our technology, we can remedy the problem," says the President/COO of her company's bed management software. Once a discharge notice enters the PFS system, housekeeping receives its assignment, and since cleaning duration times have been determined beforehand, actual turnover time can be matched to existing standards. "The progress of their housekeepers can be checked in real time," she says, and adjustments can be made if necessary. Similarly, gridlock can also occur if the lines of communication are not open between the emergency room, admitting and awaiting beds. "With our system, both bed statuses and patient pending admission are communi-


cated automatically to staff," Gregg asserts. This means less time spent sitting around in waiting rooms. Another problem of patient movement involves transport. When patients aren't able to be moved efficiently from their rooms to keep clinical appointments on time, hospital synergy can stall across the board. In response, PFS’s patient transport product makes sure patients are scheduled efficiently and arrive on time. According to Gregg, "The product provides technology support to move patients through the hospital in the most efficient manner." The results speak for themselves. "We’ve never had a hospital decide to terminate the use of our system so they could go back to a manual system," Gregg says. In this, PFS rests confidently on their record.



by diane alter


es T hew



he best time to start planning for retirement is at the earliest possible moment. And even though you may have a plan, unless that planning is good, the chances of getting ahead are slim. “Start out small. Start out with something. But get started – as soon as possible,” Linda Lubitz Boone, CFP® Founder, and President of Lubitz Financial Group advises. This established and rapidly growing Miami-based firm’s services include solutions and recommendations regarding investments, tax planning, employee benefits, risk management, retirement, estate planning and life transition planning, such as divorce, death of a spouse or partner, sudden inheritance, or job change. “We work with clients we like to call ‘amiable delegators.’ These are clients we are fond of and enjoy working with. They take our financial advice and follow it. They trust us and don’t panic when the market drops. Our clients are individuals with an investable net worth of at least $1 million. They value our expertise,” Lubitz Boone explains. Providing objective advice, with their compensation received only by client fees, and stellar service, Lubitz Boone– who got her start in banking but found the purely transactional business too impersonal – continues, “We don’t give our exceptional and personalized services away for free. Our clients definitely get their money’s worth.” Since we are also a fiduciary for our clients, they can be sure that our advice to them is in THEIR best interest, not ours.

With people living longer, planning for the future also means bringing the imminent into the present conversation, so that final plans can be made about the inevitable. And staying flexible is key. “I tell clients not to be too rigid in their plans. They are certain to change, because life always changes. That’s a simple fact,” Lubitz Boone maintains. Recognizing wealth management as a lifetime and personal process, Lubitz Boone and her extraordinary team get to know each and every client. In fact, heading into the New Year, one of her goals is to personally call every single client and thank them individually for letting her into their lives and to visit each one who lives outside of the local area during the year. Driven and successful, although Lubitz Boone is an admitted non-athlete, she managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, South Africa’s tallest mountain by taking the assent slow and steady – an approach similar to the one she follows in work. Standing on the apex, looking down in awe at the sheer brilliance and beauty of the mountain, Lubitz Boone knew she could conquer anything. She remains determined to continue doing so.






by rich monetti

Merging Small TownValues with Global Financial Expertise Finding that Politeness Works


ryan, Ohio is a real entrepreneurial town. It is home to both EtchA-Sketch, a classic American toy and to the Spangler Candy Company, makers of Dum Dums, a classic American lollipop. Midwestern politeness makes for everything you might want to find in your neighbor, bartender or barber, and it’s likely you’d welcome the same in your financial advisor. The practices in big cities and world financial centers seem to say otherwise, according to Powers. Jill Powers of Trilogy Wealth Advisors cut her teeth with the Great American Insurance Company. In 1983, after meeting former colleague Tom Hofbauer again, and later Steve Hess, the three of them became financial planners at Trilogy and equal partners in the company. Over the years, changes in technology, along with the exponential growth of the financial services industry, allowed all three partners to provide a customized approach, and they have been fulfilling the needs of Midwesterners for over 20 years. “I think the main factor that allowed us to excel – even out of a town as small as Bryan, Ohio with a population of 8500 – was our ability to work at a national level. That gave us contacts and the experience to bring our clients

the best services,” said Powers. But kindness alone is not enough to offset the expertise needed when navigating the complexities of retirement or avoiding global financial catastrophes. Trilogy aims at lifelong relationships with clients who are the “working hard” class of Bryan, Ohio, building retirement portfolios, focusing on the telecommunication and energy industries while collaborating with retirement planning partners, and providing retirement plans for both AT&T and BP oil employees. “New trends that we are seeing in the media is college planning.” Powers explains, “College planning has always been an opportunity for financial planners, but only recently have we started to see a real hunger from our clients for help in planning to save money for their kids to go to college. That reflects the challenge of saving money and the costs associated to putting our kids through college these days.” Retirement services represent the bulk of Trilogy’s business. For these clients, ETFs are currently being viewed as preferable to mutual funds – which are susceptible to style drift – with Trilogy sticking to the better-known ETFs for stability. Still, Powers insists, “I think the overall strategy is to make sure you’re getting the asset allocation story right.”

Annuities offer a similar sentiment – especially for a client base that’s grounded among those with middle incomes. Despite the increased tax expense built in, she says, “Especially in the Midwest, nobody has the good manners to die early,” Powers chuckles, noting, “We all tend to be healthy and live a long time.” There’s a certain amount of income that clients can count on as a bottom line, and that income is guaranteed. The bottom line is this: when it’s time to retire, people should start getting serious about financial planning strategies with a professional and not just someone who is just there to manage your money. Trilogy provides both financial planning, the so-called “pencil sharpened calculator spread sheet,” beating 100 different scenarios that really nobody likes to do. “We dive deep into a client’s lifestyle, a client’s budget, their potential health issues, what their kids are going to need and the caring for aging parents going forward,” Powers explains. In any case, peering beyond the horizon into retirement cannot be taken lightly. It requires financial expertise across an advisory roster of accountants, lawyers and trust managers. It isn’t just a one trick pony anymore. “This is a business where people are giving us their life savings and we are busy instituting plans that work,” said Powers.

516 East High Street Bryan, OH 43506


Thinking Outside the Box For Unique Financing When Martin Eisler started Professional Financial Associates (PFA) in 1978, he wanted to find and lend to people who were fairly safe prospects. So PFA’s first borrowers were doctors and dentists. “We would find a doctor or a dentist who needed money for one reason or another. Then what we would do is go in their offices, and buy all their equipment,” Eisler said. “Then rather than turn around and use that equipment as collateral for a loan, we turned around and documented it as a lease, and we leased that same equipment back to them.” This approach provided the doctors with the funding they needed, while supplying PFA with secure collateral. It even provided the doctors with the significant tax advantage afforded by leasing. Today, almost 35 years later, PFA has one of the largest independent broker networks in the U.S., is a Dun & Bradstreet rated company, has an A rating with the BBB and is a member of the Better Business Bureaus “Trust Link” Program - Those links can be found at the bottom of PFA’s Home Page at . The company

by wendy connick

provides would-be brokers with the information and training they need to get started, then sets them up with financing programs, not only from PFA itself, but also from other lenders who have chosen to partner with the company. And PFA is still looking for unique ways to provide funding. “We pride ourselves in making available to our broker network a variety of financing alternatives that tend to be under-represented in the financial service community at large,” Eisler said. “Because most people, when they’re thinking of financing, are thinking of their local banks. And right now, the banks aren’t lending quite as liberally as they once were.” If you’d like to receive information via email on how you too can achieve success in this lucrative field, and receive the complete training and ongoing support that PFA has provided to their brokers for over 1/4 of a century.


Few people want to dwell on the subject of life insurance: It makes us think about our own mortality, which is not a pleasant subject. But that attitude of neglect has led to a serious insurance deficit in this country, according to Ronnie Katz, president of Katz Life Group, a life insurance general agency. “Many clients don’t know how much life insurance they need to protect their estates and their families. They don’t do proper planning. They don’t look forward,” Katz said. “And frankly many consumers think that life insurance costs too much. And so they put it off or they never look at it, because they’re a little bit stressed with other financial challenges today.” Yet if those families suddenly lose a wage earner, their financial situation will be even more precarious.


So Katz works with these clients to find ways to provide the coverage they need, even if they’re experiencing cash flow problems now. Katz usually recommends permanent life policies rather than term policies to his clients, because permanent life policies are better fit for today’s longer lifespans. Term life policies usually expire after 30 years, which can leave a client without insurance at a critical time. “If, say, a 40-year-old man buys 30 year term insurance, well, today most 70-year-olds are pretty healthy and still need coverage,” he said. “When clients are provided with permanent insurance and are provided a premium, they know exactly what they can budget for the rest of their lives.”

by diane alter

Changing the way




any people have grandiose visions of changing the world. In reality, the world changes on its own accord every second. Making sense of the constant changes and the impact they have on people, places and things is unquestionably a daunting task. But not for Inferential Focus. This New York City based firm, in business for more than three decades, not only makes sense of the plethora of continuous changes, it also expertly explains them in ways that helps scores of clients make better investment decisions. Managing partner Charles Hess, a master at piecing together a realistic perspective of today’s global anomalies and recognizing patterns of change, cofounded this unique firm and is credited with its development and success. The team he helped amass at Inferential Focus is comprised of a blend of individuals with specialized talents and assorted backgrounds. This diversity ensures that clients receive a multiplicity of viewpoints, carefully researched and presented in concisely written materials and in-person conferences. “We read through hundreds of journals and infer what hasn’t been written. We provide clients with early diagnosis of what is going on in the world, and point out the most likely outcomes so that our clients can change their strategy and investments accordingly. We don’t make predictions. What we provide is early recognition of significant, and often unexpected change. We’re advising clients that the reality has shifted long

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before it shows up in the headlines,” Hess explained. “When oil prices were dropping to $8 per barrel in 1998, we advised our clients that oil had hit bottom and prices would soon be on the rise. As early as 2005, we told clients of what we warned would be a financial and economic “tsunami.” We were also early to recognize and advise our clients of the effect cloud computing would have on the way people store computer data,” Hess shared. Institutional investors, corporations, and government agencies, some of whom have been clients of Inferential Focus for more than 30 years, rely on the firm’s approach to business intelligence. The Inferential Focus team has an uncanny ability to decipher and decode vast volumes of complex facts, events, and data related to social, political, economic and technological changes. The firm closely examines seemingly unre-

lated facts and events and identifies emerging patterns, contexts, and turning points. This deepdive and comprehensive view of the world enables clients to position their investment portfolios and strategies ahead of the curve. “We take great pride in the correctness of our inferences. Our track record is over 90 percent accurate,” Hess said. The inevitability of change makes access to this level of insight and understanding into economic and social dynamics well ahead of the game an invaluable asset to the clients who rely on Inferential Focus. Because in today’s climate of uncertainty, the only thing certain is change.


by rich monetti

I help clients “cut through the

financial noise to what’s important, moving them through their financial paralysis to empowerment. - Debra L. Morrison

“ A Good Fiscal Planner hits



inancial planners are a dime a dozen. But the good ones are like diamonds in the rough. Debra L. Morrison, a fee-only CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, is one of those rare gems. Ms. Morrison acknowledges that even as a teenager she was intrigued with money. “I revered the stock certificates gifted from my grandparents; I knew they were powerful, yet I didn’t yet understand the myriad ways in which money could buy people choices. “ After 34 years in the Financial Services industry, Debra L. Morrison, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with Trovena, LLC, certainly does understand the importance of tailoring investment portfolios and financial planning services to her individual client’s needs, particularly those of women and widows who all too often still don’t understand how the many pieces of


their financial puzzles, fit together. A true visionary in the financial space, her clients spread over 10 states, Debra has earned respect over the years for her ability to hold the hands of the nervous and clarify the minds of the confused using every day analogies to empower clients to take action. She speaks professionally to that end through Always starting with a complimentary interview, the fee-only CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ says, “I like to work with people with whom I sense a real simpatico, where the communication is easy; where they recognize they need a professional to help them avoid costly financial potholes.” All too often people don’t even know what they don’t know financially speaking. “I meet them where they are, help them cut through the financial noise

to what’s important and move them through their financial paralysis to empowerment” Morrison adds. Ms. Morrison joined Trovena in 2005, a fee-only firm, which simply means no insurance products are sold, no commissions or referral fees are received. “Our fiduciary responsibility is to singularly align ourselves with each client’s goals and they appreciate that unbiased, no conflict-of-interest advice.” Since financial planning entails far more than investments Debra consistently works with clients’ CPAs and attorneys to effect income and estate tax minimization strategies to better ensure that her clients’ money

lasts longer than they do. “Ultimately, I position myself as my clients’ trusted advisor, adding significant value to asset management while quarterbacking the financial team to work in concert,” Ms. Morrison said. Trovena’s approach of using strategic passive investing is ultimately far more cost effective & tax efficient than that of so-called “active” advisors who take risks that increase the volatility of a portfolio. “I only use transparent investments. If I don’t understand it, I don’t invest in it. I stay away from manufactured products, hyped stocks and alternative investments—the bulk of which were at the heart of the 2008 market meltdown,” Ms. Morrison said. The company utilizes Dimensional Fund Advisors institutional mutual funds. “Not only are the management fees razor thin, we also avoid herd mentality,” Ms. Morrison said, “and by that I mean, when the stock market drops precipitously, a lot of uneducated consumers dial ‘1-800-REDEEM’ to sell out of their retail mutual funds, further depressing the price as well as triggering tax consequences.” She positions clients to minimize risks while providing growth potential to keep pace with the ravages of inflation. “There’s no sense in sending money ahead (college/retirement goals) if it doesn’t buy the inflated priced goods and services (tuition/health care costs) when you get there.” With her Master’s Degree in Retirement planning, Debra ultimately puts the investing and planning puzzle pieces together for her clients so they can crack the retirement code—making retirement all they’ve dreamt it would be.


Balancing Risk and Return Stocks are Still a Wise Investment By Wendy Connick During times of economic turmoil, when the stock market is rising and falling unpredictably, it is very tempting to avoid stock investments altogether and instead focus on annuities and other pensionized assets. But Mark Berger, principal of the financial planning firm Berger Financial Group, Inc., cautions against that approach. “So many of the annuities, both fixed and variable, do not do a good job of protecting from future inflation,” Berger said. “The 1965 through 1981 era averaged 7% inflation per year, turning roughly a dollar of purchasing power into 30 cents. That is a primary concern that I do not believe people are adequately addressing in their current retirement plan portfolios.” Berger pointed out that risk management is really the key to investing well. A good investment plan takes both potential risks and potential rewards into account. “I

think many are frustrated that risk cannot be removed. There's either market risk, interest rate risk or longevity risk,” he said. “And there is no way, even through government bonds and such, to fully eliminate risk. It's all about competently balancing the different risks that cannot be alleviated entirely.” Berger also recommends choosing investments that can take advantage of greater economic trends, such as the weakening of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies. Choosing the right stock assets and diversifying well can produce a portfolio with the best risk/return outlook. In Berger's opinion, stock market investments do carry some risk – but they can be less risky than putting money into investments that won't outperform inflation over longer periods.

Investing In Your Future Managing Your Retirement Funds


ost Americans don't have enough money in IRA or 401(k) accounts to pay for a comfortable retirement. Many people expect to live on Social Security or simply don't think about what they'll do after they retire. Yet this attitude can effectively ruin their golden years when they reach retirement age and simply don't have the funds they need to live. “You have to take an entrepreneurial look at your retirement. You cannot rely on your company. You cannot rely on the government,” said Howard Buck, managing partner at 2020 Financial Advisers. “You have to take it in your hands and you have to be very vigilant in how you save and how you invest to make sure that you meet these goals – and then (see) that they're updated every year.” Buck also stresses the importance of not relying on your employer to pick your 401(k) investments for you. One of the biggest issues Buck sees with his own clients is a failure to measure risk versus reward accurately. “People say, 'I want to make 10% in a 2% rate environment.' Well, they have to take on the risk for that extra 8%. And they don't realize how much risk they have to take to make the money,” he said. “Others – they're too conservative. Right now, there's probably 6 trillion dollars in money markets and money markets are lucky if they're paying a quarter of a percent. (People) don't realize that there's other stuff where they could maybe make two to three percent more with hardly any more risk.”



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Turning Obstacles INTO OPPORTUNITIES a leading entrepreneur and successful money managing mentor. “A lot of people (mistakenly) assume that because I’m a female financial advisor, I’m going to get all women clients,” said Daley. “But that’s just not true.” Evenly split between male and female clients, enRich offers a wide spectrum of services to a full range of potential investors. The Illinois-based financial firm walks its clients through their five point program called The Financial LifeStyle Designer which focuses on exploring financial goals, designing and conveying an investment strategy, orchestrating project management and finally, enriching results. “People can sometimes be intimidated by the topic of finances so we try and make it a manageable and non-intimidating subject matter,” she said. Daley explained that many of her clients are simply not exposed to the financial world enough to feel engaged in their own financial process. To counter this, the team at enRich focuses on education that empowers their investors. A mutual commitment to communication is required before any new projects are started. “Clients that don’t want to be engaged in their financial future don’t really fit here,” she said. Through developing a relationship with a client gradually, security is ensured and trust is established. Trust plays a key role in forging the bond that is so crucial to allowing both parties’ needs to


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Wealth management can be tough for even the most experienced investor. Still, if a financial plan for the future is implemented, it cannot be abandoned and must be monitored. Especially in today’s age, the financial market is dynamic and its trends, laws, and fluctuations require constant surveillance and scrutiny. “Life changes,” said Ursula Daley, founding partner of enRich Private Wealth Management, LLC. “Having a long-term investment plan is important but the most important thing, once that’s created, is maintaining it on a year-toyear basis,” she said. “We don’t believe in laying out a plan for a client and then wishing them good luck over the next 10 years,” Daley added with a laugh. Daley noted that multiple factors need to be taken in to account in order for her clients to properly manage their money. “As we’ve seen in the last four to five years, the economy, the state of the government, and international issues are all going to impact your financial investment plan,” she told “The Suit.” Other, more immediate aspects can also be influential, including market volatility and changes in tax laws. For Daley, maneuvering through the vicissitudes of the market – in order to protect and ensure the safety of clients’ capital – can be a challenge. But it’s not the only trial she faces on a daily basis. After she finished law school and began working her way up the corporate ladder, Daley entered a new industry and founded enRich. Although the financial world has traditionally been dominated by men, Daley has emerged as both


be met. “We really try to navigate our clients through an education process with regard to their own financial status,” said Daley. Although potential investors, including retirees, may have an initial impression of how hard they worked and how much they have saved, proper planning and focused goals enable enRich to be more accurate. “Sometimes people say they want to live a certain way with a certain amount that has been saved – but those two numbers don’t always match,” she noted. “So we ask a lot of questions and try and figure out a way that their objectives can be met through the choices they make.” Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have gained a lot of popularity recently for their low operating expenses and tax efficiency. Unlike their mutual fund counterpart, ETFs are traded throughout the day and have no investment minimums, which may help improve the rate of return on investments. For Daley, this means more options for her clients. “They (ETFs) have really allowed us to bring a higher level of sophistication to our clients’ portfolios,” she said. With the addition of strategists that are offered by LPL Financial – America’s largest independent broker dealer – enRich has enabled their clients to enjoy shining services while keeping costs at a minimum. “By utilizing

ETFs we’ve been able to keep that cost down for our clients but still allow them the research and trading capabilities of these strategists,” Daley said, adding “It’s been great for our clients.” Daley believes that the greatest success for enRich has been the ability to take risks. Through changing careers, to eventually acquiring other businesses to help enRich grow, Daley has emerged as a leader in the financial industry. The economic downturn, which Daley said “shocked people due to its severity,” also solidified relationships that clients have with their financial advisors. “The positive is that we’ve been able to really assist people in a very uncertain time,” said Daley. “I always like to take challenges and try to make them (into) opportunities.”

21925 Field Parkway Suite 245 Deer Park, IL 60010 P 847.550.1500



n the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” With that in mind, the expertise of L.C. Green and Associates Inc. certainly is becoming ever more in demand. Founder L.C. Green admits that staying abreast of the ever-changing tax codes and gyrating financial markets can be challenging – even for a professional like himself. “I stay ahead of the curve by continually educating myself and my capable staff, as well as surrounding myself with astute people in like industries. I also encourage my clients to do likewise.” This California-based company, founded in 1984 and thriving ever since, provides fast, accurate and professional tax, accounting and financial services to small businesses and individuals. Other services provided include proficient guidance in all areas of real estate, financial planning, investment advice and insurance. When speaking to investment clients, Green advises them not to be swallowed up by the Wall Street shuffle of one step forward and two steps back. “The quick money fix is just not there. But with careful long-term investing – whatever the shape of the economy – you will eventually

get ahead.” Wearing many hats, Green is the co-host of the financial Network Corner on cable TV in the Los Angeles area, the author of countless magazine articles and several financial books, a college instructor and a public speaker. Concerned about the tax implications and changes for 2013, Green expects business to remain brisk for the next several years. His goals are similar to those of his clients: to save income and make it grow.

3553 Atlantic Ave Suite 175 Long Beach, CA 90807


by michael gordon

Transcending to the Next

Level, Let’s Go IPO.


hen it comes down to venture capital companies and banks – they’re tightening their belts. In fact, businesses loans under $1 million fell 13 percent between June 2007 and June 2011, and the amount lent has declined 19 percent. When this kind of problem arises, Charms Investments steps in as the middleman for start-ups and micro-cap companies who are looking to transition from the private sector into the public sector. “Ever since the events of 20072008, nations around the world experienced a series of major shifts and financial problems,” says Clinton Greyling, a partner at Charm Investments. Access to capital funds from institutions and other sources like venture capital firms have been stagnating, and financial opportunities for developing companies look bleak. “We help companies during the early stages of a direct public offering, and/or the introduction to a bigger brokerage firm on the larger side of the deal,” explained business partner John Zukowski, who helped found the company in 2003. Initially, it was founded with one vision in mind: to help 100 companies go public successfully during their embryonic stages of development in the market. Charms Investments provides such companies with a full host


of turnkey advisement and management services, including advising clients on the acquisition of public companies, M&A strategic planning and analysis, U.S. capital market management investment, strategic planning, accounting, and public relations. Charms Investments also helps companies stay compliant with rules and regulations enforced by the SEC and FINRA, which can be a daunting challenge. “Typically, a company is looking to gain capital by going into the public markets through a reverse merger (also known as a reverse takeover or reverse IPO) as one way for private companies to go public – through a simpler, shorter, and less expensive process,” Greyling explains. Allowing a public company the ability to grow and survive in the capital market can be challenging, especially for those not yet even employing a CFO on staff to help with the finances of the business. Costs such as these add tremendous expenses to a growing business, particularly to one that may not be turning a profit as of yet. “Using an inhouse accounting firm to bring in a CFO on board would make much more sense financially,” Zukowski says. Charms Investments works with companies in many different industries. While maintaining positions in the oil and gas sectors, the company also works

with defense contractors on growth and consolidation. “In fact, the mining sector has been tough considering how the commodities market has played out this year,” Greyling argues. “Corporations who are looking to go public and maintain a listing on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) used to pay upwards of $500,000 to $700,000 dollars,” Greyling said, adding, “but with dramatic shifts in the economy, companies now pay only $250,000 to $450,000 to be listed on the OTC Bulletin Board.” During the early stages of going public it’s important to brand the company within the market by introducing clients to investment banking firms who can provide loans, corporate financing and corporate injections. Charms Investments also encourages their clients to attend road shows, conferences and business expos to build brand awareness, allowing a public company the ability to grow and survive in the capital market. “We have a database of known customer clients we can recommend to implement cost savings across the board, from handling their entire management process of how and when a company goes public,” Greyling said. Their greatest success is the durability to adapt to the markets. For example, since 2012 Charms Investments has successfully taken 7 companies

We love to help companies go public and run efficiently while creating new job opportunities for the economy.”

public, gaining a 2-3% equity stake in ownership each time and diversifying their portfolio. Two of the companies they have helped take public are Daulton Capital Corporation, a company in the development stage engaging in the exploration and development of gold deposits in Australia; as well as First Surgical Partners Inc, that owns and operates two ambulatory surgery centers and general acute care hospital in the greater Houston metro area. “We love to help companies go public and run efficiently while creating new job opportunities for the economy,” Zukowski said, “To date we have helped 68 companies become public in one fashion or another.” In the end, Charms Investments bridges the corporate world by “creating an existing marriage between companies that can (come to) a fruitful conclusion, giving new entrepreneurs another life cycle in the micro cap market,” Zukowski added.


by wendy connick



Growth with Longevity


hen a bear market hits, investors start looking for investments that can buck the downward trend. Alternatives to more traditional investments hopefully can continue to climb – or at least hold steady – while the rest of the market falls. If not chosen wisely, though, they can also carry considerable risk. Choosing wisely is Daniel Wildermuth’s job. As president of Kalos Financial Inc., he manages a network of financial advisors that focuses on more than just stocks and bonds. “I think we’re seeing a slow, but definite shift towards a more sophisticated portfolio approach within the industry,” Wildermuth said. “Ten to fifteen years ago, it kind of didn’t matter what the question was, you were going to get mutual funds as the answer, and you were generally going to get about a 60% stock and THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JAN / FEB 2013

40% bond allocation. There’s been a tremendous amount of growth within the alternative space, because investors have been burned by the traditional stock and bond portfolio.” Wildermuth pointed out that the average investor, with a portfolio based on a standard allocation, under-performs on stocks by more than 400 basis points per year and on bonds by more than 500 basis points per year over a 20-year time period. Portfolios using more sophisticated investment strategies, on the other hand, tend to perform dramatically better . However, Wildermuth warns against pitching your money into the first unusual investment that offers itself. Hedge funds, for example, are supposed to be a useful investment during market downturns but during the 2008 market crash they failed to buck the trend. Individual investors also have trouble gaining access to some highquality alternative investments, since many of the best performers – particularly in hedge funds – require very

large buy-ins. “By the time you get all the way down to the size that’s available to an individual investor, a lot of the quality tends to be pretty poor. You’re really dealing with managers that unfortunately couldn’t make it at higher levels,” Wildermuth said. “But alternatives in other spaces are growing rapidly. Alternatives that are outside of the hedge fund industry, whether it’s real estate, hybrid debt, specialized debt, and even private equity – those are growing up rapidly. Most of those returns have been quite good, even all the way down to the individual investor level.” In 2013, Kalos Financial will be introducing some new offerings aimed at individuals that will make it easier to invest in solid alternative products. “If you’re a smaller investor, it’s still difficult to access some of the offerings that are out there, so we’re starting a fund that will be available to individual investors of any size,” Wildermuth explained. “We’ll also have a major software release at Kalos that will help people implement the endowment model across individual portfolios.”

3780 Mansell Road, Ste 150 Alpharetta, GA 30022 1- 888-356-1950

by diane alter

Progressive Economics



rogressive economics is chiefly concerned with advancing human commerce for the betterment of all – so that all can make progress. The aim is to make certain that greater stability exists in tandem with balanced growth in the economy, to keep money flowing – preventing it from accruing solely in one place or to one small group – in order to better reach universal goals. This is where the Center for Progressive Economics (CPE) comes in. The Encino, California-based non-profit company’s mission is “to promote the correct macro-

economic understanding, mainly through economic validation, that joins business with government, educators, environmentalists, civic and philanthropic leaders to create a quality global economy and community.” At the helm is founder and Chairman Mark Pash, a Certified Financial Planner, who boasts the kind of lengthy and impressive resume that comes from 40 years of working in finance and politics. He was even a Congressional candidate in 1996. Pash founded CPE with the goal of making the world a better place for current and fu-

ture generations. Totally committed and passionate to this cause, Pash promised to fund all the expenses of CPE’s website, with its plethora of valuable information, for the next several years, encouraging everyone to become a member. Tax deductible donations are accepted, but CPE’s primary goal is to grow its member base rather than to increase the amount of dollars pledged. CPE strives to educate individuals about, and be the advocate for, progressive economics. Members recognize progressive economic principles as being the most favorable way to safeguard the checks and balances between fair markets and community interests. As the backbone of our society, the economy has a monumental impact on the quality of life for everyone. In order for individuals to prosper and provide for their families, the economy must function properly. With proper policies, the economy can stabilize our society. One of CPE’s basic tenets is this: “We cannot have a politically democratic society without economic democracy.” CPE’s underlying philosophy is designed to facilitate the advancement of human commerce for the benefit of all, while also protecting the business environment from its own zealous hands and those of a meddlesome government. Acknowledging the myriad flaws of commerce and capitalism, the government has a role to play in countering these imperfections. But it must do so without hampering the marketplace, allowing for free enterprise and competition. CPE, with its vibrant vision of future possibilities, explains that an understanding of progressive economic understanding along with wise application of its principles could be the conduit to future financial success for everyone – underscoring that we are all in this together. Progressive economic principles, CPE maintains, can insulate America and the entire world from the defects of capitalism, and is capable of escorting us into a future where wealth can be created and relished by all in a quality economy.


by diane alter

Helping Churches Realize their Missions


ow more than ever, churches play diverse and crucial roles in their communities. As the need for guidance and leadership grows, churches have become more than spiritual refuges. Along with expanding responsibilities comes the need for more funding to ensure that they are adequately equipped to carry out mounting missions and developing duties. Without question, times are financially tough. It’s no great surprise, then, that people are giving less money to churches and charities, even as these institutions require it now more than ever. It’s also no great surprise that James D. Klote & Associates, Inc., a fund-raising consultancy leader, is finding its services so greatly in demand. As the man behind the name, Jim Klote has a long and impressive resume in the fund-raising arena. Klote got his start in 1987 working for Detroit’s United Way. He subsequently went on to work for the country’s first fund-raising firm, Ward, Dreshman & Reinhardt, Inc. (WD&R), garnering the distinction of becoming that firm’s youngest director and also its youngest president. Klote then went on to create and lead James D. Klote & Associates, Inc. – a Falls Church, Virginia-based consultancy that focuses exclusively on capital stewardship


for churches. The company is fused with St. Charles, Illinois-based WD&R, which is its wholly-owned subsidiary. WD&R concentrates its own fund-raising efforts on behalf of schools and other non-profit organizations. Ranked No. 1 in the country in guiding churches through the process of attaining campaign success to support their respective goals, James D. Klote & Associates is totally hands-on. The staff is always present and completely committed to every single project. These features make this standout firm unique, since the majority of others in the industry only offer part-time fund-raising services. “We are happy to have the distinct niche of being full time fund-raisers.” Klote explains, “Our employees actually go to the fund-raising site, live there and become a part of the on-site staff while working on the project. We experience the day-to-day workings and get to know the church leaders and volunteers. We truly become a part of the community.” The firm is comprised of stellar directors who are dedicated and who all share a deep personal commitment to helping churches accomplish the missions of their ministries. With its services always in need and holding the distinction of being the nation’s premier fund-raising firm

The work we do here is rewarding on so many levels. We make a difference. Not many people get to experience that.”

- Erin West

for churches, the firm has chosen to be selective in the projects it takes on. “I am always looking for a good match. As much as a client is interviewing our firm, I am assessing their interest in doing things the way we know they should be done to be successful. We want to work with those who will let us guide and lead. They have hired us for our counsel and we want to ensure that we will be partners in the campaign. We educate and uncover potential leaders and committed volunteers in a client’s plan of campaign. We conduct campaigns at the highest moral, ethical and professional level, whether it is for a one-time building campaign or repeat fund-raising event,” Klote shared. Making sure all of the company’s operations are running smoothly and efficiently is Erin West, Vice President of Operations. West came to Klote & Associates following an impressive career as an event and marketing coordinator in the competitive Washington, D.C. market. The talents that helped her succeed in her former profession – being organized, interacting with people and spearheading marketing campaigns – helped her seamlessly become a welcome and important part of Klote. Among the many hats West wears are overseeing the massive and crucial direct mailings, drawing up specialized and personal contracts for clients, creating a company manual

and making sure the right people are working on the right campaigns. “It is so important that our employees are a good fit with our clients,” West maintains. The company engages twice a year in the mailing of some 6,000 pieces, each of which are hand signed by Klote, hand stamped and followed up by a personal email from Klote. As daunting as that sounds, it’s all part of the job West loves and finds so satisfying. “The work we do here is rewarding on so many levels. We make a difference. Not many people get to experience that,” West stresses. According to West, the firm makes its clients successful by ensuring that at the time of the kick- off event, the public phase announcing the project, approximately fifty percent of the goal is already secured through pledges and gifts. This is done by engaging the leadership of the church. “Debt reduction campaigns are the new trend in church fundraising,” Klote says. Many churches are seeking assistance in raising funds to pay down debt, rather than for expansion projects or property acquisitions. Elaborating on this new trend, he explained, “Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, people were gripped with fear and fund-raising campaigns fell drastically. In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, a different kind of fear set in: the fear of carrying mountains of debt. In the past, many church leaders and boards were content to pay the interest on their debt. But since the financial crisis, we have seen a significant shift, with more churches implementing debt reduction campaigns instead of embarking on building campaigns. Another new trend is that donors are not giving as much in stock – another result of the economic downturn. And while large donors still pledge sizable amounts, we are seeing them paying these pledges off in installments rather than in onetime giving amounts.” The more than 300 recommendations received are proof of Klote and his firm’s expertise. Goals for the future include demanding even higher levels of customer satisfaction and focusing on growth. “We are expanding into Canada and will be opening an office in Toronto, Ontario. We also have our sights on opening a West Coast office. For me personally, I will focus more on sales and marketing. My name is on the letterhead and people expect to see me at conventions, focus group meetings and conferences and I am glad to make my presence at these events. I really don’t like just sitting in the office,” Klote adds. With church funding needs presently becoming greater than ever, so are their needs for the services of James D. Klote & Associates, Inc.

103 Park Washington Court Falls Church, Virginia 22046


by rich monetti




President, Eric Allen CFP

Vice President, Mark Allen CFP


anaging risk is a core philosophy at Allen Capital Group. Managing expectations, along with learning to temper the onslaught of “noise” forecasting economic doom, is something ACG hopes to imprint on clients in the process. The current economy likely increases the importance of the latter. Of course, the lesson isn’t quite as easy to master when your own money is at stake. Nonetheless, it seems that not all investment firms have come to this basic understanding, leaving co-founders Mark and Eric Allen in a position allowing their standard manner of doing business to create its own competitive advantage. During downturns, “the clients that we’re adding are not hearing from their current advisors, and we’re able to capitalize on that because we stay out in front of people,” says Mark Allen. The telephone then takes a backseat as ACG goes on the road for face-toface meetings with clients. This demonstrates – rather than states – the integrity and commitment that advanced credentials don’t always bring. “Being available, asking questions and remaining consistent,” says Mark Allen. “You take care of people and eventually they realize you do have their best interests at heart.” On the other hand, the Allens don’t put many restrictions on who they will take on as a client. Based in Nebraska, the middle American space they occupy translates into customers who fall along the lines of middle income, and growth occurs mostly through referral from satisfied clients. “We go forward,” says Mark Allen, “if they’re willing to work within the scope of how we operate.” Eric Allen seamlessly separates the

dollars to make further sense of the strategy. “The client’s faith (in our company) is more important than their assets,” he says. In turn, a comfortable retirement is often paramount among ACG's client base. Their methodology centers around employing a diverse portfolio, establishing a strategy they can stick with and defining a risk tolerance that can always be balanced against the inevitable ups and downs of the business cycle. “There’s always bad news out there,” says Mark Allen. “There always has been and always will be.” That being said, according to the ACG approach, the flexibility offered by asset allocation and in the dividend arena is still preferable to guaranteed annuities. “They like the term guaranteed,” says Eric Allen. adding, “but the higher risk is offset by the inherent adaptability of the former as inevitable changes come down the road.” No matter what, even as the difficulties persist, ACG will continue its emphasis on educating clients. Their greatest achievements go beyond the obvious of merely holding onto their clients. “The greatest success is having a piece of pie served by a client because they think of you as family. That’s a great feeling to have,” concludes Eric Allen.

3032 West Stolley Park RD, Suite E Grand Island, NE 68801 Phone: 308-385-1500

by rich monetti

Seeking Partnerships with Clients

Serious about Investing


client with $500,000 in investable assets certainly has the potential to start a good relationship with a financial firm like Forté Capital LLC. But merely having assets may or may not imply that the client also possesses the ability and willingness to keep personal expenses under enough control to maintain the integrity of their retirement plan. In the current low return environment, this is equally as important as designing and implementing a risk appropriate investment portfolio. “If a client doesn’t understand the risk / return relationship, it makes for a very difficult relationship,” says Richard Nathan, CPA, partner and portfolio manager, about the kind of partnerships Forté seeks with clients. Nathan, one of six partners at Forte Capital LLC, understands the reason behind the popular migration toward guaranteed annuities. Citing the Federal Reserve’s policy of compressing interest rates across the yield curve, Nathan reasons that, CDs and many types of bonds may have become unprofitable at these levels which along with the stock market volatility of the last decade helps explain , this trend towards annuities. However, Nathan is not a big fan of annuities because of their relatively high internal costs. In designing portfolios for clients, Forté Capital utilizes among other investments, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Finding them highly efficient, Nathan likes the way they allow investors to target a focused segment of the market. Since ETF portfolios are generally diversified, specific company risks don’t weigh so heavily on the downside. On the other hand, investors can get too comfortable with the idea that this diversity insulates them from downturns. As the market drops, Nathan notes, “These ETFs can go right

down with the market – depending on the sector they are in.” Given the propensity for the market to decline since 2001, Forte has actually found its client base increasing, as people come to the realization that they need more help than they thought. Additionally, Forte’s risk management approach to investing client portfolios has also helped. For those investors not already working with a firm like Forte Capital, this means going through a process to find the right advisor. Nathan recommends going to discount brokers like TDAmeritrade or Schwab to create a baseline list of potential firms to work with. “They have programs where they will refer clients to advisors in their network,” he says. Paring down from standard designations like CPA, CFA and MBA, objectivity is paramount and best demonstrated by investment advisors who charge a fee based on assets under management. In contrast, commissioned work can potentially signify an advisor with a financial stake in the products being offered.

Finally, talking to existing clients and getting a recounting of the story of their interaction speaks loudly. Finally, Nathan explains that the advisor should have a clear, understandable, repeatable investment process, If the prospective advisor is unwilling or unable to explain it to potential clients, .then be very careful. In short, this equates to finding advisors who put the interests of their clients first. So while Forté Capital isn’t shy about counting themselves among that number, their initial inclination to continually reinvest in the firm’s client experience – even at the expense of personal compensation – goes a long way to proving the prerequisite. “I think it was the right thing to do for our clients,” he says. As he should, Nathan makes no bones about it being the right thing for the company too. THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.47

by david gordon

Independent Advisors Advocating

Financial Independence


ince the plight of the economic downturn, a new paradigm has emerged suggesting a more conservative approach to money management. Today, many financial advisors are noticing that their clients are far more cautious with their assets and even reluctant to move their money. “Clients are definitely looking for more safety and more liquidity,” said Robert Laraia, founder of NorthStar Wealth Partners. “Frankly, they’re worried more about losing it than necessarily swinging for the fences and making a lot of return.” For NorthStar, the new normal requires adaptation. “We’re dealing with a completely different consumer than we had six years ago,” said Laraia. After mentoring his now-business partner Brandon


Marinelli in a previous venture, the two broke off from their old firm to found NorthStar. Late in 2008, they made another leap, joining LPL Financial in what Laraia called “a very scary decision.” But the partnership proved successful and in a matter of a mere five years, Marinelli and Laraia have expanded NorthStar into five offices, with a growing staff including 25 advisors in a team consisting of numerous CFPs, CFAs, and MBAs. The vicissitudes of a declining economy ushered in a new wave of responsibilities for financial advisors. For the NorthStar team this means continuing to restore clients’ faith in an industry that has lost much credibility to high profile Ponzi schemes and big bank bailouts. “What people are asking for now is independent, customized, and unbiased guidance,” said Laraia, crediting this trend with spurring the growth of NorthStar and LPL Financial. Additionally, for Laraia, this requires an individualistic approach to investors. “There are a lot of people out there who call themselves advisors who are really there to either write books or have television shows that are basically trying to market their ideas to the masses,” he deplored. “Our philosophy is that every client is unique and you cannot 'commoditize' financial advice.” “One of the things we’re constantly doing is trying to educate our clients on the differences between the types of money they have,” Laraia told “The Suit.” He explained that Qualified Money, such as IRAs and 401(k)’s – and Non-Qualified Money that has been previously taxed – should be separated. “Frankly speaking, a lot of people lump it (funds) all into one big bucket and come here looking for advice on the bucket,” he mused. “What we really try to teach our clients is that they should be invested differently.” NorthStar’s approach harmonizes planning and practicality. The company uses a 4-step process which includes data collection, trial meetings to solidify strategies, mapping out all possible scenarios and finally, implementation. “This process really helps clients visualize their lives in front of them,” Laraia said. “It helps us forecast issues such as the advantages they may see, and even pitfalls before they actually happen.”

by wendy connick

Financial Advisors Are a Necessity, Not a Luxury


o one can be an expert on every subject. And when it comes to financial planning, unless you're a professional money manager, trying to pick your own investments means that your future is in the hands of an amateur. It's a recipe for disaster, especially during times of economic turmoil. That is why hiring an expert to manage your finances will save you a huge amount of money and heartache in the long run. “Dalbar is a research firm. They do a study every year, going back at least 20 years on investment returns versus investor returns. And the last 20 years or so, the market as a whole might have returned about 9% as an average return – and yet the average investor has made about three,” said Ron Campbell, president of Campbell Financial Services. He pointed out that all the financial tools and new types of investments available today won't make people better investors, any more than using Tiger Woods' golf clubs would make them able to play like Tiger Woods. “It all starts and ends with the client. Without the clients, we are all out of business.” Campbell said. “And my industry as a whole – the suitability side of the industry – has not done the job that should be done for the clients.” So Campbell's focus is on providing the best available money management expertise for his clients. To that end, he works with investment specialists who can select the perfect financial vehicles for his clients' money. “It's

It all starts with the “client. Without the

clients, we are all out of business. - Ron Campbell


kind of like you're the owner of the team: I'm the general manager, your money is the team, and now I've got to go out and get the coaches and assistant coaches to manage the team,” he explained. Campbell is particularly concerned with the impact the fiscal cliff will have on the market and the economy as a whole. “The bottom line is, we can debate all we want whether Congress is going to agree to something, but that's just a big gamble, isn't it? You're betting your livelihood on what Congress is going to do – that's just a sucker bet,” he said. Campbell advises his clients to consider five key factors when choosing an investment: risk, taxes, fees/expenses, penalties and inflation. And with the potential for a double dip recession looming, protecting those investments from excessive risk is more important than ever. As Campbell put it, “If we can maintain, over the next several years, a good part of our wealth, then who knows what we might be able to accomplish. But if we roll the dice right now, what happens when the fiscal cliff becomes a reality?” Investment Advisory Services Offered through Global Financial Private Capital, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.

by wendy connick



n an attempt to encourage consumer spending, the federal government has slashed interest rates to the bone. Although this creates a positive environment for home buyers and other consumers, investors are faced with some tough choices. Because interest rates are so low, many of the classic low-risk investments don’t even earn enough to beat the rate of inflation. “Bonds are an IOU. It’s a promise to pay you in return for your money and then give your money back in, say, ten years. And so there’s no real growth in principal – but it does create income,” explained Shari Burns, Managing Director of Paragon Investment Management. “Twenty years ago, we were getting 6% tax free from a 5-7 year municipal bond investment. Now we’re lucky if a ten-year treasury yield is 1.8%. That’s ludicrously low and such a penalty for savers and investors” Because most of Burns’ clients are in higher tax brackets, she has used municipal bonds as a key component of their portfolios. Now that interest rates are so low, she has also added a dividend fund to her firm’s offerings. But even in the current interest rate environment, she considers municipal bonds to be an excellent investment option. “You can find better opportunities in municipals. We buy callable bonds quite a bit and we are getting short bonds at 250-300% to treasuries. Those are really high ratios,” she said. “The default rate is significantly lower than, say, a corporate bond. You can find double-A, triple-A municipal bonds – and it’s very rare to find a corporate bond that’s even A rated. So municipals are much higher quality, relative to corporate bonds.” Burns explained that callable bonds are simply bonds that the issuer can buy back before the maturity date, like refinancing a loan. This option is less risky for issuers be-

Some areas of the U.S. are strugginling with budget cuts and low tax receipts, while others are doing fairly well.

cause it protects them against problems like a sudden drop in interest rates. As a result, callable bonds usually offer better returns to investors. “We have to pay a little bit more, but when you price out the tax free bond, and the yield to maturity, you’re getting significantly higher yields than, say, a taxable bond right now,” Burns said. “We think you’re going to get a higher yield to maturity, especially if tax rates are going to rise. ”Also callable bonds are a protection against a future rise in interest rates as higher coupon rates cushion the decline in principal value or price decline. The key to choosing municipal bonds wisely is in knowing the municipality’s fiscal background. Some areas of the U.S. are struggling with budget cuts and low tax receipts, while others are doing fairly well. “Washington State is a double-A state. They have their house in order. California’s in on shaky ground and Illinois is in bad shape,” Burns said. “So you just have to be really picky when you buy a bond, where it’s at, and where the resources to satisfy the debt service are coming from.”

1420 Fifth Avenue Suite 3020 Seattle, WA 98101


by rich monetti

Tough Economic Times



or over 30 years, the financial services industry has convinced investors that buying and holding mutual funds is the best way to invest. Brock Klich, a 20-year veteran financial advisor and franchise owner with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., disagrees. “I’m convinced that it’s not a great idea anymore,” he said, adding “I closely track clients’ investment risk to try to reduce both the probability and severity of a significant drop should something go wrong. Buying mutual funds and forgetting about them is not the best way to invest.” So what are some good investment choices for client dollars? Klich fires back, “It depends on the client, but I focus on capital preservation as a primary objective. This means designing a diversified portfolio that could include gold, currencies, preferred stocks, inflation-protected treasuries, emerging market debt, income producing real estate, commodities, and a dose of carefully selected individual common stocks.” “My investment recommendations are always made in the best interest of my clients,” Klich concludes. “As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, I have an obligation to my clients. In my mind that means being something far more than a mutual fund salesman.” After Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, Klich says he completely reinvented his business. Through a series of conference calls, he worked to move clients out of the stock market into the safety of cash. He then found himself thinking that there had to be a better way to invest – and he believes he found one. Klich started by using Ameriprise’s Strategic Portfolio Service investment platform, giving his clients access to


huge number of securities on an asset based fee basis. He then started researching off the beaten path to find investment recommendations that contributed to his absolute return objective – looking specifically for assets with low correlations to stocks but which still had promising total return potential. Once he figured out what to invest in, Klich hired a software programmer Adam Wallen, to write custom software enabling him to propose appropriate investment changes to clients quickly, and with a consistent, high quality written description of his rationale. His methodology seems to be working. Ameriprise conducts a biennial client satisfaction survey. In Klich’s most recent survey, over 90% of his clients ranked their overall satisfaction with him at one of the two highest choices on a 7-point scale. In both 2011 and 2012, he was named a FIVE STARWealth Manager by Five Star Professionals, a distinction given to fewer than 7% of advisors in each geographical area. Talking to Klich reveals an almost encyclopedic knowledge of what is going on in the global economy. He

quips, however, “As bad as things might seem here, they are really worse almost everywhere else. Europe is the world’s biggest concern, but fortunately, the Federal Reserve Bank and the European Central Bank now have safeguards in place that didn’t exist when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. They are no guarantees against another recession, but they are likely to prevent a repeat of what we saw in 2007 to 2009.” His knowledge has not gone unnoticed. He has now become a regular fill-in guest host on the syndicated radio broadcast “The Ray Jr. Show,” where he talks more about the economy than about investing. What’s next for his business? He replies, “I feel like I am really hitting on all cylinders now and for the first time in years I’m thinking about actively looking for new clients.” He is also building a new team to help. In addition to his software programmer, who has remained on staff part time, he says, “I just hired an associate Chris Maino, who I am trying to teach everything I know. He has already proven to be indispensable and is hoping to work his way into other parts of my business.”


Disclamier: The views expressed here reflect the views of Brock Klich as of January 9th 2013. These views may change as market or other conditions change. Actual investments or investment decisions made by Ameriprise Financial and its affiliates, whether for its own account or on behalf of clients, will not necessarily reflect the views expressed. This information is not intended to provide investment advice and does not account for individual investor circumstances. Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. Investment products, including shares of mutual funds, are not federally or FDIC-insured, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor’s specific financial needs, objectives, goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Past performance does not guarantee future results and no forecast should be considered a guarantee either. Please review the Ameriprise® Managed Accounts Client Disclosure Brochure (Schedule H of Form ADV Part II) for a full description of services offered, including fees and expenses. Diversification helps you spread risk throughout your portfolio, so investments that do poorly may be balanced by others that do relatively better. Diversification does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets. Client Satisfaction Score: The Client Satisfaction Survey score is based on response to the survey gathered within the preceding two years. Information since then may have changed. The survey rates advisors on the following criteria: overall satisfaction with the advisor, the advisor’s financial knowledge, the advisor’s ability to provide financial advice that suits the individual needs of the client, and the adequacy of the amount of contact with the advisor. An Advisor’s score is based on an average of all responses for the advisor. There is no minimum number of respondents required for an advisor to receive a score. Client experiences may vary and working with any Ameriprise financial advisor is not a guarantee of future financial results. Investors should not consider this rating a substitute for their own research and evaluation of a financial advisor’s qualifications. As part of the FIVE STAR Wealth Manager (“Program”) research process all identified broker dealers, RIA firms and FINRA-registered representatives in the area were contacted to gather wealth manager nominations. (survey dates and details at: Fewer than seven percent of wealth managers in the area receive the recognition. The quality of client service provided by nominated wealth managers was evaluated using ten objective criteria, but results may not represent a particular client experience. Not all wealth managers use discretionary control to manage clients’ assets. Five Star Professional, manages the Program, but does not endorse listed wealth managers. Investors should conduct their own evaluation of a financial professional as working with a financial advisor is not a guarantee of future financial success. Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. 149162ACMR1212

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Make Us a Deal!


any owners of small tech businesses dream of the day when a bigger fish, preferably Google, will swim up and pay them a great deal of cash to acquire their companies. Likewise, large corporations are always on the lookout for brilliant new products that can be snapped up at bargain prices and added to their own stellar lineup. But in today's crowded marketplace, it's often difficult for buyers and sellers to find each other. Ron Klammer, president of OEM Capital, is a business matchmaker. It's his job to bring company buyers and sellers together. He works both with small companies looking to sell or searching for financing, and with big companies searching for that “Next Big Thing” to pump up popularity along with the bottom line “Before we undertake an engagement, we really want to understand the values that the client is expecting, or seeking to realize in a sale or in a financing, how they value the company, and what their willingness is on delivering those prices,” Klammer said. “So we spend time on due diligence, reviewing the financials and making sure that everyone is congruent as [to] what expectations are.” Not surprisingly, the economic crisis has presented some significant challenges for Klammer. Buyers held back because of concerns about spending money, while sellers held

back because they preferred to wait until their companies regained lost value so they could sell at higher prices. “It always amazes me that sellers want to sell at the top of the market and buyers don't fully understand that sellers believe it's the top of the market,” he said. “On the success side, we've represented a number of European public companies and both private and public US companies, and we were able to do a number of deals in this period.” Beginning in 1992, OEM Capital began working solely with technology sector businesses. Klammer believes that it's an area with a lot of potential for activity. “We tend to go with those sectors of the industry where action is happening, whether it's growth or consolidation,” he said. “Some sectors have consolidated years ago, and no deals are being done there at all.” Looking ahead, Klammer sees choppy economic waters going forward and plans to do what he can to keep his company strong. “I think that it could be a very tough economy. It'll require a lot of work but there will continue to be consolidation among the big guys and smaller guys wishing to cash out,” he said. “You've got to be pretty even-tempered for this job, because it has real ups and downs. You could be feeling on top of the world that you're going to close a deal, and then it goes away because some outside event happens.”


by david gordon

Challenging the Status-Quo What is “the New Normal”?


s the financial market faces growing economic changes, the world’s investors and corporations must adapt to the new normal. Those soon to retire, who may be affected by changes in the Medicare and Social Security programs, are encouraged to increase their retirement planning in order to stabilize their financial future. Whether the goal is to increase profits or simply break even and survive, old and outdated ideas must be tossed in order to achieve an optimal increase in capital. For many, this requires a long term retirement investment plan. Due to recent economic trends and new regulations in the Social Security benefits program, financial advisors are suggesting that additional measures be taken to ensure financial security after retirement. “If you look at the origins of Social Security, it was intended to be a small supplemental (program) to help people in addition to their own savings, planning, and maybe some form of company pension plan,” said Bruce Davison, president of Strategic Financial Concepts, Inc. (SFC, Inc.). “What it evolved into, of course, is a program that a lot of Americans are completely dependent upon as either their sole or a substantial portion of their retirement,” he said. Davison suggests that retirees and current employees alike should view Social Security simply as a supplement to a preexisting plan for their financial future. “It (Social Security) is a government-mandated program to provide a little relief in addition to what should be done in terms of personal retirement planning,” he told “The Suit.” According to an AARP survey, about three-fourths of older Americans are not in favor of using cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits to reduce the budget deficit. But cuts and other modifications to these federal programs may be inevitable. By extending retirement dates and potentially taxing those Social Secu-


rity beneficiaries who have higher incomes, retirees may find themselves waiting longer to receive full benefits – and then having a portion of that money included in their income tax. “Most of our clients recognize that something has got to change,” said Davison. Baby Boomers, who have already started entering retirement age, play a pivotal role in the financial market and can have a profound affect on today’s economy. Studies show that many seniors are looking to decrease the risk of their investment portfolios due to fixed incomes, changes in lifestyle, and the overall rocky economy. “Baby Boomers got overconfident. We saw the roaring markets of the 90s

and thought it was the new normal. Now we’re faced with another new normal,” Davison said with a laugh. He noted that the average of the two is the real standard considering recent market trends and economic performance. But the financial industry is facing yet another dilemma. The average age of a financial advisor is 57, and many of them will be retiring along with their Baby Boomer clients. Throughout his career, Davison has seen the age of advisors increase while the number of those entering the industry has been steadily decreasing. “There are fewer and fewer firms and big companies that are focusing on bringing in and nurturing new advisors to serve these

Baby Boomers, who have already started entering retirement age, play a pivotal role in the financial market and can have a profound affect on today’s economy.

younger generations. The question is will there be enough properly educated and prepared advisors to serve us in this much longer distribution phase of (retirement) than our parents and grandparents had?” Davison mused. At SFC, Inc. Davison and his team are dedicated to reversing this trend, potentially thwarting the dangers it poses to the industry and to their clients. “We are trying to remain resolutely focused not only on bringing in quality advisors that are already out there, but we’re trying to nurture a lot of the folks that didn’t get a successful start or are career-changers,” he said. Although the financial industry may appear to be doomed, there is

always a ray of light somewhere. “Qualified plans are more affordable than they’ve ever been before. Dollars that you had before in a 401(k) can be moved into an individual IRA and then redeployed back in with a new employer if you like that opportunity better,” Davison told “The Suit.” “There’s lots of flexibility right now.” Davison notes that preconceived notions are a challenge he consistently faces with clients. “We’ve consumed too much of a mantra from the financial and general media that everybody should do this, this way, because of these assumptions,” he said regretfully. “These formulas just do not hold up under real scrutiny, and just because they are popular doesn’t

mean we should continue to pursue those tracks.” SFC, Inc. – celebrating their 20th anniversary next February – takes pride in their ability to educate clients and help them find the best approach toward blueprinting their financial future. “Our objective is to help them find the strategy that works under any circumstances,” said Davison, adding “In light of the current global economic climate, it’s ok to challenge the status quo.” Strategic Financial Concepts, Inc. 216 N. Waco Wichita, KS 67202 Phone: 316.262.2929


by diane alter




o shed some light on Al Energy, a New York City-based company with over 30 years of experience, you must understand LED lighting along with the work, mission and philosophy of this pioneering company. Providing the most innovative and high quality LED products, Al Energy takes pride in providing custom solutions to meet their client’s needs, while also protecting the world’s natural resources. An LED, or light-emitting-diode,

is the process by which electricity is converted into energy (light) by employing the movements of electrons. In other words, when compared to the most common and traditional forms of lighting (fluorescent or incandescent), LED light bulbs are 300 percent and 1,000 percent more efficient respectively. Unlike other bulbs, LEDs contain no mercury or toxins, so you never have to worry about breaking one or the possible after effects. “Our bulbs never break. If you drop one,

Qi Feng©

Our bulbs never break, if you drop one, it will bounce.”

- Robert Doughtie


it will bounce,” Robert Doughtie, Al Energy's managing partner stressed. “Our LEDs provide illumination from 80,000 to 100,000 hours depending on the location,” he enthusiastically added. Al Energy – with President Jose L. Alvarez, Vice President Juan Alvarez, COO Mark Levy and Managing Partner Robert Doughtie – came together as a team to offer their unique approach to energy saving lighting. The aim of this environmentally conscious company is to provide the most effective and efficient lighting globally. The Al Energy team is committed to educating business owners and consumers about the benefits of solid state lighting including the reduction of overall lighting costs as well as carbon emissions. Al Energy has developed a proprietary tool that shows in exacting detail how this can be done. An international leader in the LED industry, Al Energy provides its services on three continents, a number expected to grow in the very near future. The company’s products, which adhere to the highest and most rigorous standards, have made the U.S. government, military and several non-profits see the light. “We can help people save money and we love that,” Doughtie said. What customers love are the very notable reductions in their electric bill, financing options, 5 and 10 year-product warranties, and knowing they are helping to save the environment by reducing harmful gas emissions. “We will conduct a free audit that shows just how much an electric bill can be reduced. LED lighting can cut the use of electricity by 50-70%. Most electric bills, even when coupled with our financing option, can be less than what customers are presently paying depending upon their hours of operation. Other incentives are rebates and federal credits for switching to LEDs,” Doughtie explained. This thriving company is in the process of providing Ecuador with over 2,000 LED street, stadium and sports field lights. “With our company’s growth we will be expanding our manufacturing and assembling facilities throughout the Americas.” a very proud Doughtie boasted. Without a doubt, the future for Al Energy looks very bright. THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.57

by diane alter



rom hay bailing and driving a combine as a teenager in Oregon, to earning an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Angelique X. Irvin came a long way – and that was only the beginning. As the first woman to win an engineering award in ceramic sciences, Irvin landed a job at prestigious Bell Labs, working in a mostly maledominated industry dotted with Nobel laureates. She ultimately became CEO of Clear Align, a successful and thriving optical engineering and systems integration company strategically focused on imaging and lasers. Formed in 2003 with a select group of her Bell Labs colleagues, the Eagleville, PA-based company supplies advanced optical engineering, prototyping and manufacturing for the defense, space and medical markets. Its laser and sensor systems are used in the exceedingly competitive intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance markets for satellites, helicopters, drones, submarines and man-portable devices (items capable of being carried by a soldier), among others. Fresh developments include a product family that reduces the weight of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle lenses 2050% and a covert, no-glare illuminator that helps identify troop movements in the dark. “We have talented staff developing innovative solutions


to our customers problems. With the ability to align things to plus-orminus a tenth of a micron, 1/60th of the diameter of a human hair, Clear Align understands precision. This provides a core advantage of making highly sensitive products smaller and lighter than competitors’. Our rapid program deployment is also a strength. The defense industry can be slow in bringing on new suppliers, but our great pipeline, unique talent and stellar reputation has earned their business,” Irvin explained. Selective in the projects it undertakes, Clear Align turns down 2336% of business that comes its way. “All projects we take on must meet our core mission to utilize optical technology to protect human life; it must showcase our competitive advantages and provide long-term profitability. We focus on products that are moving this highly challenging and technical industry forward. Our specialized capability has fueled greater than a 38% growth rate over the last 3 years, and operational strategy is key to maintaining this growth.

Our teams huddle 15-minute daily in sales, manufacturing and engineering disciplines to ensure that we are meeting our customers’ needs. This enables quick problem solving and more nimble service,” Irvin added. When Congress shut down amid stalled budget talks, Clear Align lost a large number of contracts in a matter of days, but the pace soon picked up again. Even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, threats to national security remain, and Clear Align’s prowess with military optics remains in great demand. “The capability to identify risks is growing,” Irvin shared. From humble beginnings in the fields of Oregon, to receiving a personal thank you for her work from President Barack Obama, Angelique Irvin clearly has the stars aligned in her favor.


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Issue 52  

Breaking the glass ceiling in the corporate world has long been a controversial topic, at least over the past two decades. Although the well...

Issue 52  

Breaking the glass ceiling in the corporate world has long been a controversial topic, at least over the past two decades. Although the well...