As you probably know, The Planning Center family has grown significantly in recent years. We now have a team of 26 employees and partners— financial planners, tax experts, and support staff—located in six offices throughout the country.
Ultimately, the driving force behind this expansion was to form a group of passionate, like-minded professionals well-equipped to provide our clients with exceptional service and planning expertise for years to come. We couldn’t be prouder of the team we have assembled.
With most of the growth initiatives behind us, we are now moving onto the next phase: collaboration and integration. Ultimately, we are asking one fundamental question:
How can we leverage one another’s skillsets and expertise to give our clients the best experience possible?
This is a question we will never stop exploring, but I want to take this opportunity to share a few of the answers that have emerged so far. Here are the top three most important ways The Planning Center’s team approach will benefit our clients moving forward:
1. Knowledge Sharing
The financial planning landscape grows more complex with each passing year. Estate and tax planning are perennially in flux as legislative initiatives and regulatory changes take effect. The investment management space is consistently evolving in response to fintech disruption and the emergence of novel investment opportunities. These are just two examples, among many others. This complexity is far more than any single planner can manage effectively.
Fortunately, The Planning Center’s team approach allows us to maintain up-to-date expertise in all the relevant domains. While no single TPC planner is an expert in every subject, our collective knowledge is robust and comprehensive. This shared expertise, combined with our highly collaborative culture, leaves us well-positioned to serve clients’ needs in an increasingly complex financial planning environment.
2. Client Convenience
One of our most important goals as a firm is to respond to client needs quickly and efficiently. Our integrated approach allows planners to share each other’s support staff, resulting in better client service across the board. Whether you need to schedule an appointment with your planner, take a withdrawal from your account, change your login password, or something else entirely, our service specialists in locations across the country are ready and eager to help.
While the person you talk to when you call in might be different from the associates you’ve spoken with in the past, rest assured that every employee of The Planning Center has been trained to give you the level of service you’ve grown accustomed to.
3. Operational Efficiency
One of the most impactful benefits of joining forces and pooling resources has been the ability to hire a full-time dedicated Chief Financial Officer (Amy Tessmer, CPA) and a Director of Operations (Matt Mercer). Nancy Greunhagen served as our CFO for years while also leading our tax practice. As we prepared for her upcoming retirement the ability to bring on Amy to take the reins from her has allowed Nancy to focus on taxes and allowed the firm to have a clean passing of the baton on the financial management of the firm.
Amy, Matt, and their teams have been indispensable. TPC financial planners are now able to focus on the needs of their clients without having to simultaneously manage the day-to-day responsibilities of running a business. For clients, this means getting the undivided attention of their planner. For planners, it means having more time to do the work they’re most passionate about.
Looking back on years of change, we are humbled and energized by how far we have come. This past year was especially challenging with offices closed for much of the year. The TPC team quickly adopted an all-virtual collaboration model. Thanks to the dedication and perseverance of everyone on the team, we have emerged stronger and more united than ever before.
We enter 2021 with enthusiasm and optimism, eager to build on the progress we made last year. As always, we are grateful to our clients for giving us the opportunity to serve them, and for remaining flexible as we grow and evolve.
Andy Baxley, CFP®, CIMA®, is a Financial Planner in the Chicago office of The Planning Center, a fee-only financial planning and wealth management firm. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.