James Zahansky and Laurence Hale – Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors
- Written by: Neil Cote
- Produced by: Bill Keaton
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Do the little things right and the major pieces will fall into place. It’s a formula that can apply to most any endeavor, and is a big part of the playbook for Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors in the northeast Connecticut community of Pomfret Center.
“Plan well, invest well, live well” is how managing partners and lifelong friends James Zahansky and Laurence Hale sum it up. But it only sounds simple.
For, as the two men emphasize, there are many variables from the time a client commences with a wealth management plan and is ready to draw from it. Indeed each of those three goals needs to be separated into smaller, more detailed approaches, each of which may need to be broken down even further.
You may want to retire at 60 or 65—that’s the big picture—but may not realize the number of subgoals that go into the planning. How much income will you need at this age or that age to make this viable?
For such long-term and consequential decisions, one would seem well-advised to seek professional assistance such as that available at this firm that combines the financial savvy of the big wirehouse with the personal interaction that’s so often lacking on Wall Street.
A fair tradeoff
Unless you’re a high income earner, savvy saver or both, you likely have to make some tradeoffs in planning your financial future. Hence the first step in that strategy: knowing where you want to go. It’s all the easier to figure out after an open and straightforward consultation with one of the firm’s strategic partners.
“One thing all our clients have in common is that their individual needs are different,” Zahansky says. “That’s why we partner with them, to help them meet their own unique financial goals.”
What are the priorities, a client is asked during the Plan Well phase. Putting money aside for their children or grandchildren’s tuition? Budgeting $20,000 in annual travel expenses? A vacation home? A boat? Philanthropic interests? Legacy planning?
Prioritized financial goals are possible with tradeoffs today and a smart investment strategy that makes up the Invest Well phase of the three aforementioned steps. While there may be no foolproof way of gauging market direction, the firm’s strengths do include the partners’ extensive experience in the wirehouses and other industries, a well-rounded team and a partnership with Commonwealth Financial Network, a registered investment advisor (RIA) which provides technology, trading platforms, compliance and licensing.
And about that third step of Living Well? Well that’s the culmination of the two preceding steps. Thus while the goals can be accomplished, there’s never an end-all for, as managing partners Zahansky and Hale remind, living well also involves maintaining one’s portfolio.
In the investment world, this means taking a slew of factors into account, among them the ever-changing tax laws and the variables that may shift the markets into bullish or bearish modes. Ensuring a client’s Invest Well strategy is aligned to achieving their Plan Well life financial goals is essential to client success at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors.
Plan Well, Invest Well, and Live Well are areas in which a client may need guidance from the kind of well-seasoned professionals at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors.
As chief investment officer with a wall full of professional designations, Hale co-founded the firm in 2006 with the since-retired James Weiss, each of whom garnered extensive experience in the wirehouses. Excellent preparation, Hale says of his years at Putnam Investments, though without the client-centric approach that he’s since made business as usual. He leads the firm’s portfolio management, chairs its investment committee and further assists clients with estate planning and charitable strategies.
Zahansky’s responsibilities dovetail Hale’s. He leads firm strategy, business development, team building and financial planning. He also brought a different mindset to the firm in 2014, Zahansky’s resume showing 17 years as a senior executive in the pharmaceutical business, including a stretch as a Sunovion vice president that had him overseeing a U.S. team of 300 and $600 million in annual revenue. Such strategic thinking and financial acumen enabled his smooth transition to the investment world where he feels so at home.
“There are many parallels between the pharmaceutical business and wealth management,” says Zahansky, who has enhanced his financial creds with the designation of Accredited Wealth Management Advisor from the College for Financial Planning. “Though working for a big company, you don’t have as much entrepreneurial rigor as you might want. I wanted to buy into a firm that had growth potential and assisted clients in reaching their goals. That’s how I get my satisfaction, every client, every time.”
A firm for all
Generally speaking, the firm’s clientele can be broken into three groups with combined investible assets of around $300 million.
There’s the high net-worth individual or household with a portfolio of $500,000 or more. There are the small and medium-sized businesses that have to factor many variables, including plans for succession, the 401(k) plans and the ever-changing labor laws. And there are the nonprofits and institutional clients whose portfolios may have to take into account social initiatives as well as returns on investments.
And there’s a three-step plan and a specialist to better its odds for any such client, Zahansky assures, adding that the strategic and unique Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well process has built trust that has turned clients into the firm’s biggest advocates.
That trust extends into the community, with Zahansky and Hale leading by example.
“We give back by aligning with organizations that share your values,” say the two principals whose extracurricular activities include hunger relief, aiding the Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation, youth sports and other causes. Each employee is allotted three paid days off to aid the charity of their choice, with one of those days done as part of a team.
“If you are part of a community, you have to give back,” Zahansky reminds. “You can make a difference if you personally get involved with a worthy cause and think beyond money.”
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