2019 was a year of transition for us—and maybe every year should be, to a degree.
The most tactile, disruptive event: We moved!
After being in one building since 2003, and after a lot of wrestling with the idea, we made the move.
It wasn’t far and we’re now just about seven minutes north of our old office, but it was a much larger move in other ways. We’ve relocated to an iconic Dallas landmark, the Campbell Centre.
If you’re from Dallas, you know the two gold buildings on Central Expressway—yes, the ones that will blind you on the morning commute!
If you want to date yourself a little, you’ll remember these twin towers from the opening of the old television series, Dallas.
Here’s a little trivia: What Dallas character officed there? (See the end of this post for the answer.)
Sometimes a move is just a move, sometimes it’s more…
For us, the move definitely coincided with something more.
Back in January 2015, we began to talk seriously about our clients: what they need from us, what we were hearing from them, and how we can better serve them.
For many years, it seemed that we got sort of bogged down in being tax preparers, just being the “tax guys.” Nothing at all wrong with being the “tax guys,” of course! I love taxes and wear the moniker “tax geek” as a badge of honor!
Nevertheless, at heart, we are advisors and not simply preparers.
What’s the difference?
As preparers, a client would just drop off their tax information once a year in order to get their tax return prepared and filed in a professional and timely manner. This is an excellent service to provide to the American taxpayer.
However, what we really saw happening is that those clients had questions, concerns, and needs that ranged far outside simply getting the numbers properly entered on their tax forms.
These questions included:
- Am I paying too much in tax?
- Is there anything I can do to pay less in tax?
- Should I buy a car or lease a car?
- Should I pay off my mortgage?
- Should I sell my rental property outright or do a 1031 Exchange?
- How should I structure my business?
- How should I save for my child’s education?
- When should I file for social security?
- My parent just passed away and left me their IRA; what should I do?
- Should I contribute to a Roth IRA?
- My company pays me with stock options; when should I exercise them?
- I’m buying a rental property; should I form an LLC?
- Should I put all my assets in a trust?
Over 35 years, the list of questions has grown quite long.
Most of the time, we attempted to answer these questions in a limited capacity. The problem emerged that the answers really lie in the context of a holistic, integrated financial plan.
That fact led to the result that we often simply did not have the information to properly answer the question—or that we spent a great deal of time answering questions that were far beyond the scope of preparing an annual tax return.
The final result was that neither our clients nor us were benefiting. Our clients were getting one-off answers not squarely within a nuanced context that made them meaningful and workable to the individual, and, frankly… we were not getting compensated for our advice!
Nevertheless, at heart we are advisors. Helping our clients is the reason we come to work.
This solidified in my thinking this year after reading and thinking through Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.
Beginning in 2015, with great intentionality, we began to transition from a firm that primarily engaged in tax planning and compliance to an advisory firm.
The lengthy transition time allowed us to methodically and systematically re-tool what services we offer and how we offer them without any kind of disruptive, blinding sharp turn.
Part of the metamorphosis was forming our RIA (Registered Investment Advisor), FS Financial Advisors, LLC.
We are excited about the future.
It’s fun to come to work each day and do what you love to do and feel called to do.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you. What are your needs? What’s keeping your awake at night? What are your goals?
How can we work with you on this life path?
Give us a call at 214-761-8304 or contact us through our website.
(The answer to our Dallas trivia question above is, of course, good old Cliff Barnes!)