Having a good understanding of how to properly manage your finances is imperative to the quality of life, whether it is on a personal level or for your business. We all know that it can be an arduous process to budget our expenses, plan for retirement and still be able to treat ourselves to things such as vacations and hobbies.
So, what are the best steps to make sure your financial situation is on the right path?
Throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley, financial consultants are available to help guide you in managing your money. Here to answer this week's “Behind the List” questions is Michael Fischer, president of Client 1st Financial in Fogelsville.
Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Client 1st Financial been operating in the Greater Lehigh Valley and what are its primary services?
Michael Fischer: While I have been providing professional financial services to clients in the Lehigh Valley since 1988, Client 1st Financial has been in operation as a professional financial services firm since January of 2011. Our primary services include asset and wealth management for individuals, fee-based financial planning and risk management planning for individuals. We also provide and service retirement plans (401k's) for businesses.
LVB: What have been some of the biggest opportunities and hardships Client 1st has encountered throughout its years in business?
Fischer: Client 1st is an ongoing business concern just like any other business. We face the same challenges that most other businesses face — creating a distinct personality focused on the client, attracting and retaining top talent, regularly finding ways to improve the service we provide to our clients.
Our opportunities are born out of the issues, challenges and hardships our clients face. At the end of the day, how we help them deal with and overcome those challenges defines us. Our clients' success is our success.
LVB: What credentials and licenses have to be obtained to become an investment adviser representative, CFP or asset manager?
Fischer: The requirements to hold certain positions (investment adviser representative) or professional designations (Certified Financial Planner) are two different things entirely. One (investment adviser representative) requires the successful completion of registration exams administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is a professional course of study and not a requirement to conduct a financial services practice.
The CFP designation, along with the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF), are some of the most respected designations in the industry. All require the applicant to pass a number of courses.
LVB: How does Client 1st directly stimulate the local economy of the Greater Lehigh Valley?
Fischer: At Client 1st Financial, we help our clients achieve the life, prosperity and legacy they desire. One of the ways we do that is to help our clients prepare for and successfully implement retirement income strategies.
By helping our clients to create those streams of income in retirement, we help to ensure that our clients can maintain their lifestyle. That means that they can spend money on products and services throughout the Lehigh Valley.
We also employ a number of financial and support professionals and have expanded our business, infrastructure, marketing and footprint in the Valley.
LVB: What does the future look like for Client 1st on a local level?
Fischer: Our future looks bright because we have a great team of professionals in place, we plan meticulously every year to build more efficient systems and we keep our clients first in everything we do.
Ours is a mindset and formula that serve us all well. Our plan is to continue to expand our staff and capabilities, just as we have each year that Client 1st has been in existence.
Compiled by christopher holland