Author Archive for Taryn Clark

“First, Do No Harm” AmeriTrust CEO Harvie Roe Discusses His Career and Investment Philosophy

BY: HARVIE ROE

President, AmeriTrust

(918) 610-8080

Harvie Roe, CFP®, is a pioneer in the field of fee-only financial planning, having worked since 1982 as a fiduciary for clients in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He joined the Argent family in mid-2018 when AmeriTrust, where he’s been CEO since 1997, merged with Argent.

What were the circumstances behind AmeriTrust’s founding in 1997?

I’m a co-founder of AmeriTrust along with two other people and the only one who is still active in the company. Before AmeriTrust, I headed the trust departments at a succession of banks in the Tulsa area and went through about four mergers in five years. It just got to the point where we knew we couldn’t serve our customers the way we wanted to. So several of us started AmeriTrust 22 years ago.

What made your merger with Argent such a good fit?

We wanted to be with people who shared our philosophy of how to serve clients. We believe the trust business is very personal and is best served locally. We talked about this a lot during the merger process, and we continue to believe that Argent is serious about giving every client highly personalized service.

How has AmeriTrust changed since it merged with Argent in 2018?

During the time we’ve been under the Argent umbrella, we’ve been serving clients with the same style, the same people, from the same location and with the same phone number. Aside from us learning some new back-office systems, I don’t think our level of contact or speed of response to clients have changed. Where we’re strengthened is that Argent has a lot more services available, and having their institutional knowledge is also a benefit in that we have additional experienced people who can offer their advice on a particular client situation.

Do you have an investment philosophy?

I borrow a portion of my philosophy from the medical profession: “First, do no harm.” We try to make sure our focus is on how to help our clients accomplish their financial goals, and not keeping up with the fancy investment trend of the week. We want to protect the money our clients have and grow their assets along the way. We want to give people peace of mind with the least amount of risk.

Many of our clients are in their 60s or above. By the time people arrive at that transitional period of their lives, financial independence is very important. They want to make sure their bills are being paid and their money is safe. Sometimes that’s part of the job for us — putting the pieces of the financial puzzle together to make sure our clients have peace of mind.

One of the critical failings of the financial services industry is that advisors want to talk about investments, and how they have the “hot investment” that’s going to triple in two years. Very few advisors talk to clients about their lifestyles and whether or not their level of spending is feasible over the long term, based on the resources available to them. Instead of trying to accomplish the unrealistic goal of higher and higher returns, with higher and higher risk, we try to help clients adjust their lifestyles to get control over their spending if they’re living beyond their means.

What continues to inspire you about your job?

In many ways I feel blessed that I get to do something that I enjoy. I’m helping clients accomplish their financial goals and getting to share in their life journey. These are people whom we think a lot of, and hopefully they think a lot of us. It’s not just business.

It’s not uncommon for us to attend our clients’ bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and funerals — we like being included in their inner circle. There’s true friendship there, and it’s based on a foundation of trust that we work to strengthen every day. We’re very conscious of that. The word “trust” can’t be overemphasized. You earn it every single day, and you can lose it in five minutes.

Trip of a Lifetime: Preparing Your Financial Road Map

BY: LAURIE SAINT

Assistant Vice President, Financial Planning
(405) 608-8007

Close your eyes and think back to the first time you were given a set of car keys. I imagine you felt a little bit like I did: a combination of excitement, freedom and a tiny bit of fear. Where will I go first? How will I get there? What if something unexpected happens along the way? Just like having a map is an essential guide when you hit the road, it’s important to have a guiding plan or authoritative voice to assist in creating a plan for your finances as well.

At AmeriTrust, we’ve designed our program to be an in-depth analysis of various components of an individual’s personal finances, with resulting recommendations targeted toward meeting a client’s individual financial goals. It can be viewed as a financial road map, identifying where a client is today, where they want to be and most importantly, how to get there. Creating a road map is the first step toward lasting financial wellness and independence. Here are three stops we pass along the way:

Start with ‘why’

Just like when you first open a map, the complexity of looking at your situation and trying to find the safest and most efficient path to success by yourself can be daunting. Our advisors begin with getting to know you first, before we get to know your numbers. What are your goals and dreams? We begin our work by looking at every piece of your financial lifestyle, from monthly spending and medical history to debt and assets in order to identify a fair and objective starting point.

Studying these parts of life that are rarely discussed publicly allow us to make comprehensive recommendations about income tax planning, cash flow management, investment portfolio, retirement planning, estate tax and distribution planning, risk management and education planning. Being honest about these facets of life with a trusted advisor is the first step to setting and pursuing the best financial plan for your unique situation.

Keep the end in sight

Once we’ve identified your starting point, it’s time to start dreaming about where you’ll end up! Just like the best part of a vacation is counting down the days until it starts, the best part about planning your financial road map is looking forward to the destination. Do you want to own your home? Give generously to your grandchildren’s college fund? Take that vacation you’ve always dreamed of?

Our advisors take the time to get to know you in order to facilitate your individual dreams and goals, giving you the freedom to concentrate on the steps needed to achieve them.

Discover joy in the journey

Anyone who has embarked on a road trip knows there are bound to be mishaps along the way. Our lives are full of these same situations, which is why our process is dynamic – designed to ebb and flow with the changes in your life. We like to consider ourselves as your financial co-pilot, constantly monitoring for upcoming changes, making recommendations for switching course or even just cheering you on in the right direction.

I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside clients during their most joyful and most sorrowful moments, giving them the gift of peace of mind, knowing we have a plan for anything life may throw their way.

 

 

Financial Wellness Programs: An Essential Benefit For Employees and Employers

BY: RYAN BARNETT

Vice President, Retirement Services
(405) 608-8007

In my role as vice president of retirement services for Heritage Retirement Plan Advisors, I have the pleasure of speaking with employers and employees about saving for retirement and financial wellness. The benefit to employees is obvious: more financial security and less anxiety. The benefits to employers are less obvious, but just as important, because if employees’ money problems are not addressed, it can lead to higher health care costs, absenteeism and lack of productivity.

Financial wellness can be achieved through good financial decisions based on a basic education in personal financial management. Unfortunately, many people lack this understanding.

When I meet with people, the three most common problems I find are 1) debt management, 2) budgeting and 3) savings. The result is lost efficiency and absenteeism – both of which impact employers’ bottom line. In addition, financial stress can undermine an employee’s ability to complete projects efficiently.

That’s why many organizations are now seeing the ROI of financial wellness programs that go beyond understanding traditional 401(k)s to offering support, information and training that address a broad range of employee personal finance concerns. And high-touch methods like one-on-one coaching, seminars and phone support are some of the most effective for delivering personal financial education to employees.

Employers are concentrating on finding ways to incorporate financial health into broader initiatives that include physical, emotional and social well-being. These initiatives include helping new-to-the-workforce individuals pay off their student loans and assisting near-retirees with navigating the retirement process – offering tools, resources and educational campaigns designed to help workers gain more solid financial footing.

For example, I had a client who had a large number of employees who were at or nearing retirement age. While salary deferral rates were strong, many of the employees were not financially ready to retire because of several important factors outside of the retirement plan, such as outstanding loans, credit card debt and medical expenses.

To help address these concerns, our team created and coordinated a targeted communication plan where wellness coaches sat down and evaluated everyone’s financial issues one-on-one. Then, we developed a customized program for each employee, with definable metrics to measure and monitor improvement.

The key to this program was to look beyond the spreadsheets of participation rates and plan balances, and treat employees with the care and concern normally reserved for close family members. By doing so, we dramatically improved each individual’s situation, which had a direct effect on their emotional and financial well-being.

There is no “one-size-fits-all.” Each employee has unique needs, so employers should provide a program that encompasses a range of options, including basic information about investing and saving, as well as topics like paying off student debt, estimating a family emergency fund and planning for health-care out-of-pocket needs. And it’s never too early or late to evaluate future retirement income savings goals.

The important thing to remember is those who have bad financial habits did not create them overnight, so they cannot be fixed overnight. Taking small steps toward addressing each topic will help avoid employees feeling overwhelmed. I enjoy the fiduciary responsibility and opportunity of working with employers to establish a tailored plan that allows employees to create healthy habits which will reduce financial stress and ultimately increase the bottom line – for everyone.