The hubbub surrounding the president’s State of the Union address has dominated headlines since the beginning of the government shutdown, and recently, that got me reflecting on the history of such addresses. According to the U.S. House website, the Constitution mandates that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Originally, this “information” was formally known as the Annual Message, but it became known as the State of the Union beginning in 1947.
Typically, the State of the Union is an opportunity for the president to outline his (or one day, her!) objectives for the year, the state of the economy, and which projects or areas could receive funding priority. Stakeholders, from members of Congress in the room to Americans watching from their living rooms, have the opportunity to understand the direction of the nation and what’s on the mind of their elected leaders.
In this blog, I often share with you what’s on my mind to help you better understand what’s happening in the markets, but I don’t often share with you the inner workings of AMDG Financial, our future direction, and our priorities. We have a lot of exciting things happening this year, so here’s a brief “State of AMDG Financial” to get you caught up!
Why We Exist
Over the last year, we’ve worked hard as a team to clarify our vision, core focus, values and guiding principles. We’re doing our best to live these every day and rely on them for the decisions we make – not only for the business, but also for our clients. Here they are:
Our commitment to the highest level of stewardship principles will result in the overall well-being of our community, such that our involvement in people’s lives is impactful and beneficial to all.
We serve as family stewards by integrating tax, financial and investment strategies to help our clients make financial and life transitions on purpose.
- We care for our community with a focus on understanding the values they hold dear. Our community consists of our clients and their families, our families, our partners and our team members.
- We lead our community with integrity, stewardship and trust, resulting in a beneficial relationship for all.
- We support, without judgment, our community members in the accomplishment of their goals, whatever those goals may be.
- We commit to the success of our community by putting it and the values of its members first. We hold each other accountable, respect differences, and continuously improve our knowledge and skill sets to help make positive contributions to our community. Through our meetings, we deeply listen to the values of our community to understand and act on them.
- Serving others. We serve to live. We understand that when we do the right things, the right things will happen. We strive to inspire the confidence of our community by being mindful, timely and accurate in all aspects of our work.
- We selflessly support each other in work and in life, demonstrating sensitivity to the individual circumstances of our community members.
- Honesty and integrity. We consider it a privilege to serve our community in a humble, responsible and open way. We do so by demonstrating honesty, integrity, and the courage to lead in our actions and communication.
- Learning and personal growth. We are committed to learning and personal growth and we are committed to living and sharing the example to our community.
Partners and Team Members
As part of the formal succession plan I created for AMDG Financial, I now have two minority business partners who are helping me execute our vision for the firm. Many of you already know Rebecca Stroud, CFA®, AIF® who serves as our director of operations and client service. Becky has worked with the firm in one capacity or another for many years, taking a brief hiatus after moving to the St. Louis area and starting her family. Becky acts as the integrator to my role as visionary for the firm (we are following the model outlined by author Gino Wickman in his book, Traction).
My second partner is Ramey Becker, an experienced marketing consultant who has worked with AMDG Financial since 2014. Ramey, based in the Denver area, has been a part of the financial services industry since 2008, when she began working with an international nonprofit to promote the value of financial planning to consumers, regulators and financial services firms globally.
Over the last year, Becky, Ramey and I have assessed and added to our team, ensuring long-term business continuity for our clients, as well as solid coaching for our staff. We are focused on supporting our team’s professional development, and to positioning AMDG Financial locally and nationally as a firm committed to the financial well-being of our clients, through competent, ethical, fee-only financial advice integrating tax, investment and financial strategies.
Our advisory team now consists of Chris Carlson, CFP®, C(k)P®, AIF®, and me. Our operations team includes Ken Porter and Mary Beythan, and Mark Evenson, AIF® handles finance, administration, and compliance. Mark also divides his time with AMDG Business Advisory Services, LLC, our tax and accounting firm with whom we share an office. Those of you who use AMDG Business Advisory Services for your tax returns probably already know our two long-time team members on that side of the business, Michele Ledford, CPA, and Kim Scriver. We also recently added Molly Wallace to assist Michele, Kim and Mark during tax season this year.
If the idea of having a succession plan sounds like I won’t be around as much, I can assure you I continue to be involved now and will for many more years. The purpose of having our plan is to make any future transitions seamless to our clients, and to pass on our institutional knowledge and company culture to the next generation of partners with plenty of time to work through potential financial, client service or operational issues.
With the support of our clients, we have been fortunate to continue to grow AMDG Financial each year. In 2018, we served approximately 244 families and would like to build on that number this year. We’re also exploring additional technology to streamline our operation and will evaluate how we might employ an additional platform to serve clients. In addition, we’re examining how we can make our client onboarding process easier to understand for those who are new to working with an adviser. Finally, my new book, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Financial Well-Being, will be published this spring, and I hope to share insights from the book through speaking engagements throughout the year. (If you know of an organization who might be interested in this topic, please let me know!)
So, there you have it – my first-ever “state of the firm” address. I welcome your thoughts and comments. We all appreciate the trust you’ve shown AMDG Financial as we’ve carefully planned the future of our firm as we’ve helped our clients plan their financial futures. I’m excited about the year ahead and look forward to sharing more about our developments throughout the year.