From our beginning over 40 years ago, Matt Rehak, our founder believed in both the fiduciary standard of putting our client’s first but our role as a research and education organization that benefits our clients. As many of you know, Matt’s wife, Carol and her sister, Ellie, both worked for Harford County Public Schools. Matt built HFG by building relationships with educators which is still a core constituency we serve. We understand their benefits particularly their pensions and other benefits like 403b and health insurance and integrate them into a reliable retirement income plan that is tax managed. We have been able to create that game plan and combine it with the educator’s spouse.
Being in this environment and interacting with these professionals has rubbed off on us where we really value research and education tremendously. Additionally, as I have taken over leadership of the firm, I believe in this strongly. I spent 14 years working with the technical training firm, General Physics. The best organizations are learning organizations. Additionally two of my Aunts were school teachers and quite candidly my love of learning comes from them and the rest of my family. I have an insatiable desire to learn as many of you know. As a leader, I am trying to create the environment that encourages this within the team.
In the past year, we have segmented leadership so that we have leaders in our three core teams. Melissa leads our Advisory Team. Mallory leads our Client Service Team. Diane leads our Operations Team. Melissa as the leader of Advisory is responsible for making sure our Advisors are trained to our high standards which include making sure everyone is either a Certified Financial Planner or working toward that standard which is one of the top credentials in our profession. A Certified Financial Planner has skills to do holistic financial planning and know the 5 pillars which are: retirement income, tax, estate planning, protection (insurance), and investment management. She is also making sure that our team is doing constant due diligence on investment and insurance products to include our investment committee that overseas portfolios.
We meet with many professionals, attend training, and do a prodigious amount of reading. I love this field and love serving you so I geek out reading about tax law, retirement income, and investment management. So far I have read 109 books this year. Not all of them are on financial planning, but it is part of my commitment to personal growth. The role you have entrusted to us is serious and we want to be great at our craft. What is exciting now is that many colleges are offering PhD’s in Financial Planning. As a result, there are now researchers who examining so many things. There is empirical research on retirement income planning. We are using that in designing our plans.
Finally, it is not enough for us to do the research and understand it but we also look at our role to communicate it as crucial. I spent many years on the platform teaching engineers, engineering technicians, and trades folks. Additionally I taught leadership, communication and sales skills with Dale Carnegie. Melissa and I have done seminars over the last 10 years. Once it is in your blood, the heart of an educator never leaves.
We pride ourselves in synthesizing the complex information and distilling it with non-technical jargon, use visuals, use analogies and metaphors, and explain in a way so that our clients understand. We don’t want it to be a bunch of financial mumbo jumbo and jibberish. Part of this is the blogs and videos we are doing. Within next several years as we expand the team, we hope to start a podcast. We look to resume our seminars.
It is all about serving. Our belief is that you are always in charge and our job as fiduciaries is to arm you with the best information to make the decisions for you and your family.