By Becky Wiese
Having a child is a life-changing event, and it was no different for Krista McBeath when she became a mother in April of 2013.
Although it’s easy to think that being a mother of a small child wouldn’t lend itself to being successful in the business world, Krista has found that, like anything else, it’s all about balance. Not so surprisingly, the same qualities that she has found to be important as a mother are exactly the same traits that draw her clients to her professionally: a nurturing spirit; a teacher’s heart; wanting the best for others; looking out for their long-term success; and, most of all, truly caring.
Krista is a 2001 graduate of Illinois State University. Originally a business administration major with a minor in accounting, she took an insurance class based on the recommendation of one of her professors. That class had a profound impact on her future. “I knew what I wanted to do after taking that class. I ended up changing to a double major in business administration and insurance,” she says.
After graduation, she worked as an insurance agent for a period of time, then decided to open her own business, McBeath Tax and Financial Services, in December 2007. With her accounting background, offering tax services was a natural fit. The tax and insurance focus quickly evolved into financial services, and she eventually formed her own Registered Investment Advisor firm, McBeath Financial Group, in 2013.
A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is, by law, held to certain standards of care regarding clients. As a fiduciary (someone in whom others can place their trust and confidence for the management and protection of their money), an RIA must ensure that the investment recommendations made to each client are in the client’s best interest. McBeath is not a stockbroker making investments on behalf of her client to earn commission. Instead, she offers professionally built portfolios based on a client’s risk tolerance using a fee-based pricing structure.
Over the years, her experience has enabled her to offer a huge value to her clients. “I can wear three hats in one,” she explains. “Since I have a Registered Investment Advisor firm, I do financial planning and investments for clients, but because of the tax side of my business, I also know the tax impact of investment decisions. My insurance background gives me insight to make sure my clients are protected from a variety of risks such as death, long-term care, and outliving their money.”
Growing Relationships, Not Just Dollars
This unique combination has allowed McBeath to provide relationship-based services to her clients, many of whom come to her when they are 3–5 years from retirement. These clients, rather than being in the accumulation stage in which everything is going into a 401K or similar vehicle, are closer to the income distribution phase of their life.
“They often come in for an analysis wanting to know if they can retire,” she says. “My strength is income and distribution planning—making sure they have what they need to retire in the way they have hoped and helping protect them from threats such as market risk, inflation, and over-taxation. Legacy planning may also be a second priority.
“I spend time with my clients finding out what is important to them regarding their retirement,” she says. Many will start off saying they want to be “comfortable,” but McBeath digs deeper to learn what “comfortable” means to them. “Some want to be snowbirds in Florida; others may want to travel or do something special for their children or grandchildren. Still others simply want to know they can pay their bills.”
McBeath takes the information and analyzes cash flow, income and expenses, and savings; plus, she considers scenarios that are “unknowns”—losing a spouse, losing a job, and inflation, for example. She also looks at life insurance and medical insurance to account for situations that could adversely affect the client’s financial future.
There’s a lot to consider: The loss of a spouse would be a major change in income—she looks to verify that any lost income would be replaced by other assets or life insurance. Market volatility or a bear market could cause a significant loss in the portfolio, and this could dramatically change the retirement landscape—especially if it occurs early in retirement.
Medical changes and long-term healthcare present other planning challenges. “We are well-versed in Medicare and Medicare supplements and their benefits, plus we build a buffer for prescription medication based on what we know,” she explains. “And as far as long-term care, many people are opting to add a rider on their life insurance that will also pay out benefits for long-term care.”
All of these factors are taken into consideration along with the goals for the future as far as retirement “dreams.” Sometimes a client’s expectation doesn’t align with their reality. In these cases, some options to consider include working longer, reducing expenses, picking up a part-time job, and increasing the amount of savings now. These strategies may help the client get back on course.
Once all of the client’s information is collected, McBeath makes recommendations. This may include reallocation inside of a client’s existing investments or a professionally managed portfolio based on the client’s risk tolerance. That determination is made after looking at the risk and potential reward in each scenario. Assets such as stocks, bonds, treasury bills, gold, and other commodities can be part of a diversified investment portfolio.
Economic cycles and volatility in the market can cause fluctuations that are best mitigated by having a good mix of investments. A managed portfolio can help provide the right mix for individual clients. In addition, some people want at least a portion of their money in a “safe” place, such as a bank or credit union, or in fixed or indexed annuities. McBeath has the ability to help with safe money alternatives, too.
After the planning process, clients can access their financials in depth through a link on McBeath Financial Group’s website (www.McBeathFinancialGroup.com). The Wealth Management System organizes their financial information in one place and has the added benefit of a secure portal so they can log into their own accounts to monitor transactions. It helps their clients see all of their financial information in one spot.
McBeath works hard to educate her clients about products, services, risks, and benefits. “There isn’t a perfect financial product,” she says. “There are risks and benefits no matter where your money is.” Tailoring recommendations to each client’s goals, objectives, risk tolerance, timing, amount they can or want to invest, and tax situation is how McBeath Financial Group helps clients meet their financial goals.
Growing at the Office
Growth for clients is also reflected in the growth at the office. “I’ve added another administrative assistant, Lynn Harris, and another tax preparer, Susie Thomas,” says McBeath. Jennifer Kennedy has been their Client Relations Manager since 2013, and Jeoff Jenkins has been a tax preparer for McBeath since 2007.
Personal growth as far as knowledge and expertise also helps serve clients. Jen is now licensed to offer life and health insurance, so she can help more with policy service and paperwork on the insurance side. She is also completing coursework that will help with tax preparation. “Plus, she had a baby last year!” adds McBeath.
McBeath is proud to have completed the requirements and successfully passed the examination to become a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) in 2015. “That took a long time—running a business and having a child forced me to proceed a little more slowly!” she laughs. The ChFC is one of the most comprehensive financial designations, along with the CFP, and the designation adds credibility and professionalism to the work she does.
McBeath Financial Group believes in staying active in the community. The company is a partner for Money Smart Week in April and is a presenting sponsor for the McLean County Senior Expo every August. They’ve also been a sponsor for the Humane Society for several years. A new venture involves additional community education. “We are working with Heartland Community College to offer online webinars through their Community Education program,” says McBeath. Topics for webinars will likely cover the basics of investing, women’s financial concerns, and other financial education subjects.
“I love helping people,” says McBeath. “One of the things I love about what I do is being able to focus on quality. I personally do the planning for my clients, which means I am fortunate to build tremendous relationships with them. They become like family.”
For more information about McBeath Financial Group, call 309-808-2224, or visit them online at www.mcbeathfinancialgroup.com.
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