Retirement Planning

Clients Still Want the Personal Touch

Conversations Lead Strategy

In In a world dominated by technology and social media, much of today’s financial planning industry is driven by returns and analytics illustrated by charts and graphs. This might explain why robo-advisors – online financial planning and investment platforms and mobile apps – are on the rise.

But if you ask one firm, digital methods alone can’t deliver a holistic approach to wealth management and retirement planning.

“The bulk of my clients want to know you care and are doing what’s best for them,” said David Mire, president of The ROCK Financial Group, LLC. “Any financial advisor last year could have had a great year because all investments now are just par for the course. It’s making sure you are meeting clients’ goals, doing the right allocation, and that you care about what they are doing.”

First launched in 1994, the Lafayette, Louisiana-based The ROCK Financial Group is a full service financial planning firm that specializes in social and responsible investing for clients of the Christian faith. The company has grown to roughly 2,300 clients and is approaching $500 million in assets.

Mire200x345Instead of measuring the firm’s success strictly in returns, Mire said he looks at whether the strategies put into place helped a client achieve their goals. “What is important about money to you?” is a question he asks all of his clients.

“Everybody has a different answer to that,” Mire said. “What may be important to them is charitable giving or maybe helping their grandkids or a comfortable retirement.”

But helping a client pursue goals doesn’t mean playing it safe. Mire said he believes that you should always invest in equities. Whether it’s a dividend-paying equity or preferred stock, investors need a strategy that provides an opportunity for growth versus a stagnant rate or return.

“I tell my clients, ‘If you hook up to a heart machine and it goes in a straight line, that is not a good thing. You can grow poor safely,’” he said.

Focusing on goals also means asking tough questions, and sometimes taking a conservative approach. For example, Mire said he is in the process of de-risking a lot of portfolios as geopolitical concerns from the upcoming election build. According to the 33-year veteran, markets tend to perform better on average when the incumbent president stays in office, and worse when the incumbent loses.

Tough questions also mean asking about unpleasant life events – like death.

For that reason, The ROCK Financial Group has introduced the ROCK Box, which is nothing more than a “big, ugly yellow box” that clients put all of their financial documents in including tax reports, wills, trusts and insurance documents.

“It’s a love letter to their family, where if something were to happen to them, they could go to this box and leave certain instructions on what they want to do and what kind of legacy they want to leave,” said Mire. “It’s a piece of mind.”

At the end of the day, Mire believes that human beings want and need nurturing, and that’s how he runs his business.

“We need someone to talk to and not a machine,” he said, referring to robo-advisors. “In times of controversy, clients just want someone to reach out and let them know that everything is going to be okay. With technology, we are distancing ourselves from clients, which is the opposite of what we should be doing.”

For more information on The Rock Financial Group, visit:

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., (RAA), member FINRA/SIPC. RAA is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of RAA


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