Twenty years ago, Laura Kuntz created this firm so she could give her clients objective advice, distinct from a focus on proprietary products. Now two of the other CFPs at LWP, Mallory Kretman and Saul Baumann, join her to talk about how the firm has grown.
Laura: I’m Laura Kuntz and I founded Laurel Wealth Planning 20 years ago. On my left, we have Saul Baumann, who is a Certified Financial Planner and one of our wealth managers here at Laurel Wealth Planning. At my right, we have Mallory Kretman, who’s another one of our wealth managers, a Certified Financial Planner here at Laurel Wealth Planning. We’re going to talk to you a little bit today about how we founded our firm and how we grew and the history of our firm.
Laura: We are celebrating our 20th anniversary as a firm, and I am very, very excited about that. I am so grateful that this firm has come from nothing to be what it is today. I didn’t know that when we started. I had 15 years of experience and mostly in firms that had a commission-based model. I had some discomfort with a commission-based model because there are conflicts of interest. When I decided to hang up my shingle, I wanted to work on a fee basis. Objectivity was very important to me, and putting the client first was very important to me. So, I started on a fee basis. Fortunately, even 20 years ago the market had matured where people expected to pay a fee for quality financial advice.
Laura: I felt like I could really put the client first. I felt like I could give the right advice. I’m so grateful that this firm has built from that point, not only helping clients, but also being a place where attorneys and accountants can ask us to help their clients and have confidence and trust that we do things the right way. Then, on top of the fulfillment of helping clients and being helpful to the community of other professionals, I am just charmed to see our team grow and be a part of that and see them mature professionally, but most importantly help our clients. That just means so much to me when I see one of our team members adding value with our clients.
Saul: One of the things that I really like about working at Laurel Wealth Planning is all the wonderful clients we have. What I really appreciate is that we can work in a fiduciary manner for clients. What that means is that we always put our client’s interests first. That really allows us to always do the right planning work for our clients.
Saul: The work that we do for clients is really so critical to their financial success. I think that really acting as fiduciaries is really the only way that this work should be done.
Mallory: As I was reflecting on Laurel Wealth Planning’s 20-year anniversary, it really struck me and occurred to me that this would not be possible without our clients. We’re just so humbled and grateful to them for entrusting us with their financial situation. I can think of probably a couple dozen clients that have gone from a working phase to a retirement phase through our work with them. I can think of probably 20 clients, or so, where they were in the final stages of a divorce or coming to us just after a divorce and we helped them through that new phase of life. Then, from time to time we do have clients that find us due to losing a loved one. So, I can think of a few where we’ve helped them through a really difficult transition after losing a loved one. When you think of that all together, it’s just really neat to quantify that. So, just thinking about our clients funding education accounts for their grandkids and giving charitably over the years.
Saul: We thank you for your continued confidence.
Mallory: We thank you for sharing your lives with us, and your joys, and your accomplishments.
Laura: I just thank each of you so deeply for believing in us. Also, for always holding us to a high standard. We need to earn the trust of our clients and our CPA and attorney friends.
Laura is a Senior Wealth Manager and the Founder of LWP. She has a master’s degree in tax and is an excellent listener. While she is a sophisticated financial planner with experience in complex issues, her priority is ensuring a financial plan works for people.