Q&A: Barbra Shaffer

So Barbra,

How do you think clients benefit most from your holistic approach to your work with them? 

Everything I do is focused through the lens of the client experience. At our offices, this is reflected in everything from providing convenient parking, to the delicious smell of chocolate chip cookies baked daily in the receptionist area, to the welcome from our positive staff when clients walk in the front door, to the contemporary office décor (forget wood-paneled boardrooms). It’s all about creating an environment that’s conducive to trust and reflects who we are. My clients also have my cellphone number. They call me often and I welcome that—it’s part of being in a relationship business, after all.

In our work with clients, our team at Premier Wealth Planning brings tax planning and financial planning together. This holistic approach is extremely beneficial to clients because when we have a full picture of their financial world, it allows us to see things like opportunities for tax savings resulting from certain investments.

When I meet with clients for the first time, I ask that they bring in their last three years’ worth of tax returns, their latest brokerage, annuity, retirement plan and life insurance policies, etc. We’ve had a few people come in with overflowing shopping bags. Other clients are just beginning to think about their finances, so we work with them from where they are. The overall goal is always finding a strategy that best suits the client’s individual needs.

I imagine this strategy is particularly well-suited to women in life’s transitional stages (combining finances with a spouse, for example).

Approximately half of my clients are women 50 years and older. Some are business owners and very involved in their personal finances, while others may have outlived a spouse and not written a single check while they were married. As their financial consultant, I want them to feel equally comfortable and knowledgeable when it comes to their finances.

One way I’ve learned to help build clients’ financial confidence is with a heavy focus on education. We’ve had a lot of success with a program called “Coffee Talk,” which I hold Tuesdays at 10 am during August and September. We discuss various topics like long-term care, taxes and life insurance, just to name a few. Another cornerstone of my practice is scheduling quarterly, face-to-face meetings with clients. Especially for the women who may have lost a spouse and feel less sure about next steps, I’ll invite their adult children to join these meetings as an extension of their support network.

Have you observed any general differences in how male and female clients approach financial decision making and goal setting?

I’ve noticed that my female clients tend to be more conscious about the potential to outlive their money. This can translate into more moderate, less aggressive portfolios, but it really depends on their goals. Women also tend to be more receptive to Impact Investing– investing in companies with the goal of generating a social or environmental return alongside a financial return.

 Have you noticed any trends when working with the next generation starting their own investment journey?

As I begin to work with the adult children of some of my clients on their financial portfolios, I see more demand for efficiency in the form of online access to tools and a level of comfort with social media interaction. The next generation does not know life without a cell phone, and financial services professionals will need to accommodate that. On our website, we have short, 2-minute video tutorials on various financial topics that resonate particularly well with this group. Pushing them out via social media platforms creates yet another value-additive touch point.

Do you have any advice for women starting out in this field or starting their own practice?

Go independent and start early. I had been a wholesaler for most of my professional life– I wholesaled mutual funds, annuities, UITs, managed futures, all of it. After I had my child, a month before my 40th birthday, I thought to myself, what can I do with all these licenses where I wouldn’t have to travel? This sparked my transition into retail and I began to build my own practice. Oh, and the way to keep your practice running smoothly is to keep your staff happy! We put our staff first along with our clients because if our staff is happy, they keep our clients happy.


Barbra’s Bio:

Barbra Shaffer is a Registered Representative and co-founder of Premier Wealth Planning, LLC. Originally from New York, Barbra graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Florida in 1986. After college, she began her career in New York City working for UBS and Morgan Stanley. In 1990, she moved to Houston, Texas to work at Van Kampen American Capital, and become a Senior Vice President at John Hancock. After gaining extensive training and experience, she found her home back to South Florida in 2000. In 2009, Barbra transitioned to a nationally recognized tax and financial planning firm, Gilman Ciocia, before co-founding Premier Wealth Planning in 2016.

Barbra continues to speak at many community and professional events in South Florida focusing on financial, tax, and estate planning strategies. She works with individuals, couples, domestic partners, and small businesses to provide investment, retirement, and insurance planning advice. This holistic approach includes the coordination of your financial, tax, and estate planning needs.

Barbra’s passions include traveling and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She exhibits great enthusiasm and dedication while providing exceptional service to her clients. Barbra resides in Fort Lauderdale with her son, Aaron.

Barbra Shaffer is a Registered Representative with National Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. She uses Premier Wealth Planning, LLC for marketing and/or tax purposes, but offers securities through National Securities Corp.

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