A prominent figure in Nashville’s GLBT community has opened a financial planning firm to help Tennessee’s gay community to become better informed and more successful using their hard earned dollars.
John Wade, who is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and holds licenses for securities and insurance, has been with First Tennessee Bank since 1998 managing various bank branches and lending centers. Most recently he was vice president with First Tennessee Financial Planning Services.
Wade offers a complete range of financial planning services, of which will be fee only (based on a client’s income) not commission driven, and he has made a pledge to give a minimum of five percent of his company’s revenue to two community charities – Nashville Cares and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
“I am providing comprehensive financial planning services,” he said. “Financial planning differs from what is traditionally offered through an insurance agent and/or investment broker. Financial planning addresses all the ‘what ifs’ in life…what if I die, what if I’m not saving enough for retirement, what if I need medical care after I retire, what if I want to send my children to college, etc.”
Wade’s financial advice will come through the process of a complete analysis of his client’s financial picture.
“No part of a client’s financial future should be addressed in a vacuum,” he said. “It should be treated as a whole.”
Wade has been very active in the Nashville gay community – he currently serves as the secretary/treasurer for the Nashville Association of Professional Persons and as chief financial officer for Nashville Pride. He believes strongly that local companies should give back to the communities they serve.
“I have pledged to my clients that I will “practice what I preach” when it comes to giving back to the community,” he explained. “I have made a commitment to two local charities – each year I will give a minimum of five percent of my company’s revenue to both Nashville Cares and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I chose these two organizations because of the service and education they provide to the community at large and because so many of my friends/family have been affected by HIV/AIDS and breast cancer.”
Freedom Financial Advisor takes a little different approach in helping those meet their financial goals.
“I think my firm will be unique in several ways. The most obvious way is the fee structure. Because I want everyone who wants advice to be able to access it, my fee is based on my clients’ income,” he said. “Many firms charge a flat fee or ‘minimum fee’ which is out of the reach of many. An income-based structure will give people more freedom to seek the advice they need.”
Wade said he will specialize in planning for unmarried couples, both gay and straight.
“We are not different than our married friends but there are many circumstances for which the law does not provide financial protection and gay couples/individuals must plan appropriately,” he said.
For clients who need just a one-time or occasional overview of their financial situation, Freedom Financial will offer one fee structure. For those who want on-going advice and frequent reviews, there will be a second tier fee structure. That tier will also include personalized services such as interacting with the client’s attorney, investment advisors, accountants, etc.
“For busy individuals, this will be an ideal service,” Wade added.
For Wade to leave the corporate security of First Tennessee, it took months of planning and a leap of faith. However he said he felt there needed to be more accountability held of financial planners, and he wanted to provide consumers – gay and straight – with a choice.
“Consumers are becoming very wary of transaction or commission based firms. People are paying high costs and getting very little in return,” he said. “Not only may they be getting little return in their investments but they are getting little attention from the sales person who has already made their money on the transaction. What’s worse is that with most firms, the sales person gets on-going commissions from the investments whether there is contact or not and whether the client realizes it or not. There has to be more accountability. That’s why I decided to form my own fee only firm. I have no financial interest in clients’ investments (if they have any) because I accept no commissions. If I fail to be accountable or if the client no longer finds value in my service, they stop paying. It really is that simple.”
It’s his desire to be held accountable and to understand what financial motivations a client has, and to use those tools to help his clients achieve financial freedom.
“Unless an advisor understands the values that motivates a client and tailors a plan that works within those values, the work is futile.” he said. “It is not the job of the advisor to define values for the client but rather to get the client to recognize them as the key to their own success. It has been my experience that when clients can allow their values to motivate them, they are much more likely to remain on target.”