About Mark Guthrie & Westface Financial
I have been involved in finance since my first business elective class I took in high school over 30 years ago. I have studied finance in undergraduate and graduate programs, have taught the subject at the university level, and spent over 25 years working for large financial service companies. I have a lifelong passion for understanding all things financial – investing, insurance, banking, accounting, and taxes.
I discovered, in my corporate days, that there are no shortages of investment advisors seeking new clients. As a CEO of a new public company, I was called upon by most of the large brokerage firms trying to win my investment business. I listened to all the pitches touting how they could beat the average market returns and have unique access to financial products through their particular financial institution. While the people were all professional, and came highly recommended, none seemed too interested in anything about me other than how much of my money I could move to their management.
I resisted the urge to chase promised returns and self-managed my finances as best I could given the time I had. Five years ago I retired from the corporate life, and finally had time to study how the investment world really worked. I traveled to investment seminars around the country and listened to dozens of planning approaches and product ideas, but what I couldn’t find was anyone willing to start with the big picture first, and then finish with the products.
I investigated the professional financial planning associations that offer courses and designations and found some of the curricula to be very detailed in many important areas, but again, lacking a comprehensive approach to helping people with their entire ‘real world’ situations.
During my travels, I was introduced to a very remarkable and successful 30-year investment and insurance advisor with a unique financial planning system. The essence of the system is to analyze a family’s entire financial picture. It looks at the family budget, insurance coverages, taxes, mortgages, debts, estate planning, and investments. I was so taken by the comprehensive approach; I obtained a professional advisor’s software license on the spot for my own personal use.
After working with the system for a few months, it became clear that looking at investments without understanding what else is being done with the family budget is short sided. What good is a 10% pretax investment return when there is a car lease costing the family 12% in after tax dollars? Do most investment advisers ask clients how they finance their cars? No they don’t, but they should!
Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to launch a different type of financial services company. I would focus first and foremost on a family’s total financial picture, not just investments, or insurance coverages, or home mortgages, but all of these important items that make up the family financial picture.
I have found the approach so well received that I am working harder than ever and I am excited to expand the business to help more family’s make the most of their financial future.
Being an independent financial advisor, and the owner of an independent insurance agency, I have access to the country’s leading investment and insurance product providers with no single company limiting my access.
The world has changed for independent advisors; there was a day when an independent suffered from the lack of support of a national broker, bank, or captive agent insurance company. Now an independent has access to almost all the products from the leading financial institutions and has ‘anywhere’ real time market information, online continuing education, internet based client document systems, and dynamic client communication tools (phone, webinar, e-documents). All this allows time to focus on the client and their financial future.
Going forward, I’m excited to lead a business which offers families and small business owners comprehensive financial planning and investing services.