Ellen Desarno v1

Ellen M. DeSarno, Certified Financial Planner®, Chartered Life Underwriter®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor

I recently read an article about an expedition to the North Pole in the late 1800s. The explorers traveled by sailing ship. When the weather was clear, the sailors would resent carrying both lifeboats and sleds — in case they got frozen in the ice pack — because these items took up so much space on the ship. The wise captain had to prevent the sailors from burning these things as firewood.

Let’s just say that as a financial consultant working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients, our weather has been very, very clear lately. With the Defense of Marriage Act’s Section 3 overturned in 2013, loads of states legalizing same-sex marriage and this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriage, my clients are feeling confident and legitimized. Add to that a stock market and bond market that have rallied since 2008, and clients are starting to forget why we are carrying lifeboats, sleds and financial consultants!

Here’s a few of the ways a financial professional can help you succeed in any climate:

  • You can be honest and open about your financial hopes, dreams and fears. Don’t hold back, because we have experienced hundreds — or perhaps thousands — of clients who have faced similar circumstances to yours.
  • We’ll help you sort your financial goals into five areas: retirement planning, family protection, wealth accumulation for short midterm goals, estate planning strategies and tax-advantaged planning.
  • Your goals and dreams will be quantified and detailed. We’ll show you the progress you’ve already made, and we’ll lay out a realistic plan to reach your goals.
  • Specific products can be introduced to implement your strategies in a cost-effective manner. Some of these may be disability income, life and long-term care insurance — the “life preservers” of your financial plan.
  • We’ll explain how you need different dollars for different purposes. Sometimes, we call them “buckets” of money.
  • We’ll get to know you and your partner/spouse and become part of your decision-making team — sometimes as a neutral tie-breaker!
  • We’ll explain how time in the market beats trying to “time” the market.
  • We’ll seek to maximize your investment returns by matching your portfolio to your risk tolerance, choosing among available assets and seeking tax-free and tax-deferred vehicles.
  • We’ll show you ways to plan for lifetime income in retirement.
  • We’ll show you ways to help protect your loved ones financially.
  • When the seas get stormy again, we will calmly explain how market turmoil does or doesn’t affect you. We’ll tell you where your lifeboats are.

Working with a financial consultant should feel good, like you’re moving in the right direction. Whether your consultant gets paid an hourly fee, an asset-based fee or commission, the experience should be rewarding to YOU.

By Ellen M. DeSarno, Certified Financial Planner®, Chartered Life Underwriter®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor

Ellen M. DeSarno, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, is a registered representative who offers securities through AXA Advisors LLC (212-314-4600), member Financial Industry Regulatory Authority/Securities Investor Protection Corp. and an agent (California Insurance License #: 0H44952) who offers annuities and insurance through AXA Network LLC (AXA Network Insurance Agency of California LLC and AXA Network Insurance Agency of Utah LLC). AXA Advisors and its affiliates and associates do not offer tax, accounting, legal counsel or any related advice or services. This article is intended for general information only, and AXA Advisors and its associates offer no guarantee as to its accuracy or timeliness. You should consult with qualified and appropriate tax professional and legal counsel regarding your needs, questions and particular circumstances.