Introduction to Volume 2

Profiles in Success: Free up your time for what matters most to you

Corporate executives are extremely busy people. Schedules are full, travel is frequent and stress is abundant. While diligent in overseeing the affairs of our companies, time constraints often restrict the same level of attentiveness when looking after our own personal situation. Having worked extensively with successful business leaders and entrepreneurs over that past 25 years, I find this problem to be extremely concerning.

As a wealth manager, and a business-owner, I know the countless decisions to be made regarding personal wealth management. Executive compensation packages can be complicated and often changing regulations lead to even more creative methods of recompense – only to require even much more extensive due diligence. Should you participate in a non-qualified deferral plan? Which insurance coverage will have any bearing on your long-term financial plan? What should you be doing now to help lower your future tax obligations? What additional investment options will supplement your investments within your company plans? What are you doing to plan for the single, most critically important financial event of your life – the transition out of your business?

Unfortunately, when executives lack the time to properly manage personal finances too frequently their decisions are motivated by taxes or emotions (theirs or their spouse’s). Their portfolios are often designed and implemented in an ad hoc manner, without a clearly defined strategy – making it difficult if not impossible to achieve the goals that matter most.

Financial planning isn’t just about making money. It’s about your dreams and having the resources to implement those dreams. It’s about devising a strategy that allows you to slow down or perhaps redirect your energy towards the people and the activities that bring you the most joy. It’s about finding peace of mind.

Much like the corporate leaders featured in this volume of profiles, many of my clients are very involved in their communities. Not only do they provide financial support, they personally get involved with and work to further the missions of the organizations to which they contribute. They sit on advisory boards, chair fundraisers, or mentor someone in need of a positive role model. They look around, then roll up their sleeves and just do what needs to be done – and it is often a major long-term goal that they continue their charitable giving into their retirement.

Sharing that same kind of enthusiasm for community and service, I find it particularly satisfying to work with like-minded individuals and families who are passionate about doing what they know is right for others. Upon reflection, I would have to say that my drive to work in the financial services industry stems from my focus on community values and on giving something back on an intimate and everyday level. I’m fortunate that in my career, I’m able to find a way to help people in a one-on-one situation and it allows me to align my own values with how I want to lead my professional career. Even in a job you love, the opportunity to line up your skills with your personal passions doesn’t come along every day. But when it does, it makes for exciting, fulfilling work. I experience that satisfaction at Bernhardt Wealth Management, as well as through my involvement with Executive Leaders Radio where I can help the next generation of corporate leaders through numerous educational mentoring opportunities.

What gives you real gratification?

Partnering with a professional advisor who knows your unique circumstances and understands your goals will help free up your time for what matters most to you. You gain peace of mind knowing a trusted partner is assisting with the ongoing review of your stock options and alternative investment purchases; continually reviewing market trends on your behalf; and working closely with your accountant and other advisors to ensure the best financial decisions are being implemented.

Ask yourself these questions:
Have you been paying the proper amount of attention to your personal finances?
Do you have someone you can turn to that will review your entire financial situation including investments, insurance, estate planning, tax mitigation and charitable giving, to help ensure you are making smart choices right now?
Have you structured the right plan for turbulent markets?
Does your current advisor invest the time to understand you, your family and your unique situation?
Have you given any thought to how you’re going to transition out of your company?

If you are not confident in the answers to these questions, then you might benefit from a professional second opinion. Understanding the particular needs of high-net-worth individuals, Bernhardt Wealth Management has developed a specialty practice working with executives in the Washington, D.C. area. We are committed to developing long-term client relationships built on a foundation of ethics, service and trust. We dedicate ourselves to focusing on our clients’ investment goals so they can focus on creating a quality of life that reflects their deepest values.

Success gives us resources to implement dreams and serve the world around us. Wealth management is a critical component to unlocking the power of those resources.

Gordon J. Bernhardt,
CPA, PFS, CFP®, AIF®
President and Founder
Bernhardt Wealth Management, Inc.