FINANCIALLY SPEAKING: Getting from Point A to Point B with Minimal Risk

Many financial planners hold negative views of robo-advisors and similarly impersonal methods of investing. That’s not true of Jon C. Mommaerts, a Certified Financial Planner® and president of Mommaerts Mahaney Financial Services, Inc., based in Marquette, Michigan. “Robo and computer models allow people access to financial advice they may not otherwise have,” he says. “It’s not comprehensive, but it’s getting there, ever evolving. People need to understand risk management and tax management – computer models aren’t quite there yet.” He adds that it’s typical for clients not to understand the reality of the risks with such models, and they may take more risks than they need based on their financial planning goals. Still, “It’s better that people use these models than nothing at all,” he says.

Service Rather Than Sales

mommaerts200Mommaerts graduated from college with a finance degree, and started working for Kidder Peabody in Washington, D.C. as an assistant to a stockbroker, doing research and cold calling. “I determined real quick I didn’t like that. I thought there was a better way to provide advice for people and service them rather than sell them something,” he recalls. After moving to Michigan, he created such a service from scratch. “In 1997, I realized I needed more expertise on the investment side. I knew a man who retired from the investment banking world, partnered with him and built the firm,” he says.

Involved in Every Financial Aspect of a Client’s Life

The firm doesn’t have a minimum but does have efficient ways to deal with smaller-end clients. “We know that everyone needs help and we explain ways to do it. We look for clients looking for guidance and wanting help, not the DIY,” according to Mommaerts. He says his firm doesn’t take over management of assets until they have a clear view of where the clients are today and where they’re headed. “We try to get from point A to point B with the least amount of risk and in the most tax efficient manner,” he says. “We view every client as important and we’re involved in every financial aspect of their lives. They keep us in the loop with any financial changes in their lives. We’re essentially the CFOs for everything that they do,” he says.

Growing to Critical Mass

The firm’s number one goal is for clients to grow their portfolio to critical mass. “We work our way into portfolio construction that relies on increasing income for retirement,” he says, noting they try to avoid a way in which clients depend on principle distributions for retirement. “In rare cases, we’ll consider annuitization of some assets, but the goal is usually to have them become financially independent.” As for long-term care, he wants clients to self-fund, if possible. For those who cannot self-fund, the firm presents a variety of scenarios, such as spending down assets, obtaining a reverse mortgage or long term care policies. “With long-term care policies, there is no silver bullet. We educate clients on what the possible outcomes might be if they must go into a long-term care facility for many years. We also let them understand they may live to be 100 and will need enough money to support themselves.”

Goals for 2018

For this year and into the future, the firm’s goals continue to focus on becoming more efficient with technology, so they can better service clients. “If you take care of clients and communicate with them, growth will happen. It’s really that simple,” says Mommaerts.

For more information on Mommaerts Mahaney Financial Services, Inc., visit: mommaerts-mahaney.com

Mommaerts Mahaney Financial Services, Inc. provides advisory services through ERTS Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor.


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