A Passion for the Process

Financial plans for accommodating an unpredictable future.

At Berk Cleveland Rathmell Wealth Strategies LLC (BCR Wealth) in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, the staff is passionate about helping people develop sound, tax-efficient plans allowing them to pursue their own passions while planning their future financial goals. Advisers then help keep each client on a carefully mapped-out path to success, whether the markets or financial environment are golden or gloomy.

“Unforeseen circumstances are not really unforeseen when you’re creating a financial plan designed to protect for any situation,” said Marshall Rathmell, CFP®, CPA, PFS, owner and managing member of the firm. “You need to have a plan that takes into account all of the possibilities on the front end. We try to stay away from the predictions world.”

During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, those clients who had a strong relationship with a BCR Wealth adviser weathered the storm and subsequently saw one of the best 12-month periods that had been seen in 25 years, Rathmell explained. “Those who didn’t have a strong relationship with their adviser allowed fear to take over and weren’t able to stick around to see that.”    

BCR Wealth’s hub is located roughly five miles south of Birmingham where Rathmell was born and raised. His family’s Alabama roots trace back six generations. BCR also has offices in Binghamton, New York and Canton, Massachusetts.

Crediting his grandfather with instilling in him several core philosophies, Rathmell said, “My grandfather had a passion for good financial behavior and honesty – and for understanding what you’re investing in. He passed that passion on to me.” 

But Rathmell didn’t immediately dive into a financial planning career. He worked as an auditor for a Big 4 accounting firm, then at a large bank writing the notes for its financial statements. About seven years ago, Rathmell saw an opportunity too good to pass up – the financial planning business.

BCR Wealth attributes its success to having a well-defined process. This process includes discovery meetings to learn all about clients, what their situations are and what they want to accomplish. Then an adviser makes recommendations, mapping out behaviors and helping set expectations as to what they are trying to accomplish over what time frame, and how those goals will be achieved. “We see ourselves as the Chief Financial Officer for clients,” Rathmell said. “We help them focus on decisions that will impact the future.”

With a substantial portion of the practice catering to young Generation X and Y professionals, Rathmell acknowledged that clients must start early to make decisions for accommodating longer, healthier lives and for living longer into retirement. “Age is just one factor in deciding how much risk and inflation protection someone needs,” Rathmell noted. “Creating the proper portfolio in line with the needs and resources available doesn’t always follow the strict formula that was once appropriate when we had a much shorter life span.”

For more information about Berk Cleveland Rathmell Wealth Strategies LLC, please visit:

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