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What We Do

Category: About Us
Published: Tuesday, 02 August 2011
Written by Administrator

Who We Are and What We Do

A VETERAN NAPFA ADVISOR SERVING NAPFA ADVISORS TODAY

We employ a structured marketing system by leading a weekly book discussion group with Women, Wealth and Wisdom, Unleash The Fire Within To A Life Of Purpose. Experience has taught us that reading participants form a trust bond with the advisor leading the discussion and discover a greater need for financial planning services.

SERVICES OFFERED ARE:
For Business owners we offer:
    • Practical, effective, low cost, highly effective marketing strategies with gravitational pull to your ideal client.
    • Practice management tools and techniques for financial advisory practices.
    • Guidance in key growth and staffing decisions

Steven Wightman, CFP, the retirement expert who believes every client should have a growing Gross Happiness Index.

Who’s our single best client?

Our best client is a blend of the individual and the business all in one. Our ideal client is a small financial planning practice looking for a long term partnership to fuel their growth, public image, and employee continuity through strategic thinking and a mutual commitment to excellence in services.

Steven Wightman, Certified Financial Planner®, principal and a NAPFA REGISTERED Financial Advisor has offered fee-only comprehensive, independent financial planning since 1995 to singles and couples concerned about retirement, increasing health care costs, long-term care and investment security.

FAQs

Category: About Us
Published: Saturday, 23 July 2011
Written by Administrator

What's the history of Wightman Financial?

Wightman Financial has been serving clients and testing cutting-edge practices since 1995. Steven Wightman has consistently trained with some of America's top coaches in life planning, the psychology of money, and a wide range of personal financial planning topics. In addition, he has written and published articles and a book on topics ranging from retirement strategies to health savings accounts to investments to life planning. Wightman's latest book, Women, Wealth and Wisdom; Unleash the Fire Within to a Life of Purpose, goes far beyond to reveal the best strategies to a great life. 

What education and training should a financial planner have to manage your money?

MY STORY:

Just about every financial planner arrived in the profession by different routes. I started in the financial planning arena with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technology and Teaching. This degree is an excellent floor for someone in my field as technology is very involved in today’s world of financial planning, while the teaching side is involved in communicating difficult and confusing information clearly and concisely. I also have earned the Graduate level certification and license of CFP (Certified Financial Planner) in which I passed five written exams on taxation, estate planning, employee benefits, investments, and risk management. This certification also requires ongoing education on the newest and up-to-date information – all to the benefit of my clients. In addition, I have completed life planning counseling and training with two modern-day masters, Mr. George Kinder and Mr. Bill Bachrach. Last, but not least, I have completed professional training in post-secondary education advisory services to clients. This commitment to continuing education, training, and certifications is further evidence of my dedication to my clients’ well-being.

Why do clients become incredibly loyal to a firm?

It's all about trust. We have shown that trust-building is enhanced by following a clear structured path focused entirely on client needs. We've done this by practicing Values-Based Financial Planning. This is Life Planning blended with Financial Planning for a more well-rounded approach to integrating your finances with client values. This directly benefits clients because they become more motivated and actively engaged in their life and financial planning processes - saving them money and the pain of following a path that is not their very own.

In summary, practices with consistently high standards of ethical conduct, transparency, continuing education, and professional practice protocols attract and keep the very best clients - so much so that some firms will be amazed at how far ahead of the pack they are moving.

Businesses come to us because they desire less risk and more certainty about their futures.

What services do you offer?

We offer practice management and marketing services to financial advisory firms in all fifty states of the United States of America. These services are tailored to a given firm's specific needs and they are designed to significantly improve operational efficiency while bolstering the bottom line.

What are your rates?

We have two fee structures: Silver and Gold. The Silver plan employs Women, Wealth and Wisdom; Unleash the Fire Within as a foundation for building trust with clients and prospective clients. Our Gold plan is a separate flat fee based on the scope of the project.

How much experience do you have in this field?

I have been a practicing fee-only financial planning fiduciary since 1995.

Why do you work out of your home?

I believe clients hire me, not an office. They seek my guidance, advice, experience, and time-tested wisdom. The only difference is that I have only one, not two places to manage.  I enjoy the comfort, convenience, and flexibility of my home office. It allows me to keep meetings that a traditional office may not allow. I don’t have to spend the time maintaining both a home and a distant office. I don’t have to pollute the air by commuting daily. This means I have more time to spend with clients and working on their behalf. If I save just 5 hours weekly, that adds up to 250 hours, or 31 days a year more time. I also save clients the expense of having my office costs passed on to them. Finally, today's technology allows me to perform any function I need to and would do in any office around the world faster and better. My clients all benefit from this.

Community Service - Military

Category: About Us
Published: Thursday, 26 May 2011
Written by Administrator

Stepping up free help to military

By Charles Paikert
December 20, 2004

NEW YORK - With newspaper headlines serving as an all-too-poignant reminder that members of the U.S. military need all the help they can get, financial planners are stepping up their efforts to offer free assistance to them and their families.

"It will be a major focus of our pro-bono efforts next year," said Clara Lipson, the New York-based director of pro-bono services for the Financial Planning Association, which is based in Atlanta and Denver.

"There's a major problem out there, especially with so many reservists now serving in the military," she said. "They don't have a support structure, and there's a tremendous need for financial recovery when they finish their tour of duty."

Crisis is seen

According to Mark Passacantando, director of pro-bono services for the FPA in Massachusetts and a managing member of Westwood, Mass.-based Financial Planning Partners LLC, inadequate financial guidance for military personnel has reached crisis proportions. "There are soldiers coming back as double amputees, which has profound financial consequences," he said. "Soldiers are coming back with all kinds of debt problems, and they have to assimilate back to their civilian job - if it exists." One of the FPA's major goals in 2005, Ms. Lipson said, will be to match military bases that need help with nearby FPA chapters that can provide it. Ms. Lipson denied that the damaging insurance and mutual fund gouging scandals re- ported earlier this year by The Wall Street Journal were the catalysts behind the FPA's flurry of military pro-bono efforts. "This is really an outgrowth of the pro-bono program that we started after 9/11. When the Iraq war began in 2003, we immediately got phone calls from our members that we need to do something," she said. "We also got a call from the Department of Defense and the National Military Families Association," Ms. Lipson said. "It was clear that military families were going to be impacted financially and that we needed to help out." This summer's insurance scandal did, however, give the FPA's efforts "more impetus," she acknowledged. "It became even more [urgent] that something needs to be done," Ms. Lipson said. The scandal "brought the issue more into the limelight, and we didn't want to see the abuses perpetuated." Just last week, Fort Worth, Texas-based First Command Financial Planning agreed to pay $12 million to settle charges by NASD and the Securities and Exchange Commission that it used misleading sales material to promote high-fee mutual funds to military officers. Local FPA chapter members said their pro-bono efforts were being driven by either personal involvement with the military or growing requests for help from local military bases or service families. Ralph Lunt, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a vice president for Strategic Capital Advisors in Cleveland, said that as the war intensified this year and more reservists were being called up, he realized that other reservists "might not be as familiar with the financial repercussions if they get called up." As a result, he began giving training sessions to other planners who volunteered to do pro-bono work for military families to explain such issues as "the unique qualities of military benefits" and how they meshed - or didn't - with a reservist's civilian benefits. Mr. Lunt also began doing a personal-finance TV show on The Pentagon Channel, the military's in-house network, "to get the word out and educate people more." In addition, he has met with the Volunteers of America, which has a military rehabilitation facility in Cleveland. In 2005, Mr. Lunt said, local financial planners will be offering regularly scheduled classes on personal finance for servicemen undergoing rehabilitation. "These are veterans who will be re-entering the work force," he said, "and they need to know as much as possible." Pat McDonald, another planner with ties to the military, contacted his local Red Cross chapter in Orange County, Calif., earlier this year. It put him in touch with a Marine Corps base in the area. Mr. McDonald, who is an Air Force veteran and owns an eponymous financial planning firm in Placentia, Calif., set up a group of planners who will offer financial counseling to families of active-duty casualties next year. "We'll help them deal with benefits, as well as collecting insurance and their children's education and any other estate or budget planning need they may have," he said. Vietnam veteran Steven D. Wightman, principal of Lexington, Mass.-based Wightman Financial Network LLC, said he became aware of reservists' need for financial planning assistance when he was called up for the first Gulf War in 1991. "I made up my will and packed my bags," he recalled. This year, Mr. Wightman is working with four other local planners and offering a seminar to 200 reservists at nearby Fort Devens on such matters as wills, debt management, educational benefits for reservists and available financial planning resources. Mr. Passacantando said 43 financial planners throughout Massachusetts have volunteered to do pro-bono work with soldiers and their families, including those at Fort Devens. Initially, he said, it was difficult to persuade the military command to open its doors. But when Mr. Passacantando asked the officers if they wanted the soldiers "thinking about their personal financial problems instead of bullets flying around them, that did the trick," he recalled. "The Marines said, 'When can you come?'" Currently, Mr. Passacantando said, planners in Massachusetts are answering questions from servicemen by e-mail, phone or in one-on-one sessions. Next year, he said, the FPA hopes to heighten awareness of the program for all branches of the military around the country. "With increased communication and cooperation from the military," Mr. Passacantando said, "we want to leverage what we've done with national and other state chapters. The country is in a unique situation right now, and we want to make a difference."

 

Amid war, military families tap financial resources

By Craig M. Douglas

METRO WEST NEWS, Sunday, March 23, 2003

Jennifer Johnson puts her best foot forward when discussing her husband Mark's military service, which was just extended indefinitely due to war with Iraq.

Life is good, the 27-year-old Hopedale resident says, and she's intent on making do until her infantryman, whom she is very proud of, is discharged from duty as a U.S. Marine.

Nonetheless, it's easy to hear the disappointment in Johnson's voice as she runs down a list of "adjustments" the couple has made over the past two years, when Mark was shipped overseas, offered military leave and then shipped out again for battle. The flip-flop of events has left the Johnsons with a total of six months together since their hastened wedding in December 2001.

And while absence may make the heart grow fonder, military pay and a shaky economy have all but frayed the nerves of the former office administrator, who recently filed for unemployment after losing her job at a technology company in Marlborough.

Today, Johnson is living with her parents, trying her best not to dip into her husband's meager paycheck which, she hopes, will buy them a modest home someday in MetroWest.

"He was supposed to be discharged last year in either March or February, but that was (scheduled) before 9/11 and all of this (war with Iraq) happened," said Johnson, who had originally planned to be married in May 2002. Despite all of the time and expenses that went into scheduling the spring wedding date, uncertainty after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., prompted the Johnsons to cut their losses and, instead, opt for a more immediate ceremony before Mark's inevitable deployment.

"All I really want to do is settle down and have a normal relationship. It's hard," Johnson said. "I have no resentment toward the military, because I've always known there was a chance this could happen. I just have to live on a budget, pay for the things I need and do without the rest...just do what I need to do."

As strange as it may sound, the Johnsons are two of the lucky ones. Thousands of families, with more than one mouth to feed, are often left to deal with the financial hardships brought on when a spouse or parent is called to active duty in the military. For reservists and members of the National Guard, service abroad can mean a dramatic drop in pay and considerable uncertainty, both financial and emotional, during their time served.

Under federal law, companies are required to hold an activated employee's job for up to five years of service and to extend his or her benefits for at least 30 days. There are no stipulations regarding the extension of pay or bonuses, leaving the average staff sergeant only $2,400 a month -- the equivalent of around $40,000 a year in gross salary -- to send back to a family at home.

With the plight of military families in mind, the U.S. House of Representatives moved last week to grant temporary tax relief as the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan unfold.

"Most families live right on the edge. There's usually no cushion there," said Steven D. Wightman, a financial advisor and Gulf War veteran living in Lexington.

As a master sergeant trained to deal with biological and nuclear warfare, Wightman said his family was forced to address financial issues that could arise during his time away, and he remembers well all of the morbid discussions and contingency planning that accompanied his deployment.

Fortunately for Wightman, the war ended before he was shipped overseas, nor were any weapons of mass destruction unleashed on American troops. Still, he said his last-minute scramble to straighten out his will, insurance contracts and finances was a lesson in the potential hardships facing military families, who more often than not are stripped of their household's "breadwinner" when war or other military obligations occur.

"The consequences to families are always the same (when soldiers are activated)," said Wightman, who prepared with his wife and stepson for deployment during the first Gulf War. "The only difference is that during war, a husband or wife actually has their life on the line."

Today, Wightman still answers the call to duty, even though he is long retired from the military. As a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, he and a network of his colleagues are volunteering their professional expertise to help military families persevere through an uncertain financial future. Whether it be a mortgage refinancing, a simple budget plan or a rundown of their legal rights and resources, Wightman said basic financial planning is a must for many military families, who are currently being squeezed by both turmoil abroad and a slumping economy at home.

"People tend not to be too concerned until a hot iron falls in their laps," said Wightman, who volunteers at the Family Support Center at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford. "The biggest thing is always the `New Budget.' Families need to learn to scale down their expenses as much as possible -- to rethink things. The key is finding ways to make up for their income gaps."

To do so, Wightman said families often have the option of renegotiating the terms or rates of their mortgages. For families who have lived in their homes for a number of years and are having an immediate cash crunch, they also have the option of drawing from, or "tapping into," the equity built up in their house.

In addition, Wightman and other financial professionals give military families an overview of their rights, ensuring them that no derogatory credit action or foreclosures can occur while their enlisted spouse or parent is on active duty.

"What's unique about Hanscom is that, with the closure of so many military institutions, we're sort of it for New England," said Dawn Andreucci, chief of programs at Hanscom's family support center. "We're really the only full-service military installation in a six-state area. So, we end up doing a lot by e-mail and phone."

Andreucci, along with Sondra Albano, the director of the family support center, manages programs for military families facing myriad issues, both financial and emotional. With a number of resources at their disposal, the center's staffers said their roles are equally balanced between preemptive and emergency programs.

"I'd say we have a two-pronged approach to financial support at the center," Albano said. "As soon as a soldier is notified, we have a family-readiness officer give the family a pre-deployment breakdown -- educating them about the emotional cycle as well as practical preparations to prevent problems from ever occurring.

"We also have an emergency component that assists families in desperate situations. Here, we have the Air Force Aid Society, although each branch of the military has its own assistance program. They provide no-interest loans and even monetary grants, depending on the member's ability to pay back a loan."

Albano said military families also have access to the base's commissary, which rivals the size and scope of any supermarket in the surrounding area. Albano estimates the average commissary shopper saves between 20 and 30 percent on their grocery bills.

Speaking from experience, the volunteers and employees at the Hanscom program all agree it is in every military family's best interest to take a trip out to the base, even if it means a one- to two-hour drive from an out-of-state community.

"If there is one thing that I can stress, it's not to go it alone. It's too tough," Wightman said. "There are people out there who really want to help."

Why Choose Wightman Financial

Category: About Us
Published: Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Written by Steve

Advisory businesses need a winning coach to take them to the genius level. 

Winning Today Means Lowering Your Risks. Your advisory firm today is a lot like a commercial airplane. It is complex, constantly evolving, and it has a lot of moving parts. Sooner or later things will go wrong. It’s not the event itself that should concern us, but more importantly, it’s how we respond to it that is crucial to the outcome. When Captain Chesley Sullenberger, aka “Sully”, guided his multi-ton airship for a safe landing in the Hudson River on January 15th, 2009 he demonstrated that his response was probably much different than over 99.99% of people, and thus, he had a different outcome than expected. That’s exactly why people hire professionals; they desire to lower their risks and get the best outcome.

When I get on an airplane, I am essentially hiring a pilot. I am counting on his or her skills to get me safely to my destination. The outcome - my life - is in his or her hands. I don’t look for a pilot who is famous, or one who flies the biggest airplane. I look for the one who can fly the airplane I am a passenger on very well. How? Simply by knowing the pilot’s credentials and understanding what they mean. I also know the safety rules and I make sure they are followed.

Choosing a financial planner is a lot like getting on an airplane. It means entrusting your life’s outcome to someone you probably don’t know all that well. Assuming that the planner is licensed as a Certified Financial Planner, they are a highly regulated and trained professional capable of handling usual and unusual conditions, and of course, emergencies. Interestingly, our selection process with our lives and our money is similar with a twist. With pilots, we assume that the airline has fully complied with all federal aviation regulations. We trust this oversight so much that we do not even check the minimum requirements. In fact, we don’t even know the name of the pilot before boarding. Now how do we choose financial planners?

If we choose pilots like we currently choose people to manage our finances, they would have a very big airplane, be well liked, and have passed few, if any, tests of their skills as a professional pilot. They would have designations following their names that have little to do with being qualified to get us safely to our destinations. There are people sitting in the financial planner seat, looking a lot like a financial planner professional who range from underqualified all the way down to people like Bernie Madoff who are only interested in getting our money. They are often pretenders and often work for branded companies with big ships called assets under management, AUM. Further, lots of people get on for the ride! That really impresses us. That’s where the stampede goes, but where’s the beef?

With these three criteria met: fame, size, and reputability, we jump on board for the ride. When our ship hits turbulence and cockpit needles trend to extremes, the pretenders push the wrong buttons and we crash. We find our finances strewn like airplane parts across scorched terrain. This is what happened in Buffalo with Colgan Air flight 3407 on February 12, 2009, a Continental contracted regional carrier. Experienced and properly trained pilots could and would have prevented the stall that led to the crash and tragic deaths of scores of people by following normal and emergency procedures. In the financial world, there are millions of people holding tickets to a destination called retirement who have already crashed (think 2008) and many more will surely follow. The reason is that we still cling to the FSC rule: Fame, Size, and Crowd. The big ships and the Madoffs of our world know this well and market to us highlighting these features. They know FSC is like honey to bees even if it is tainted. Is there a better way? I think NAPFA.

What’s NAPFA got to do with it?

A NAPFA member is a lot like a Sully. They take training and safety standards to a whole new level. The National Association of Personal Financial Planners follows five Cs.

  • Compensation: All NAPFA members are fee-only. Unlike fee-based, that means members can only take compensation from clients.
  • Continuing education: NAPFA members are required to obtain 60 credits each two years in six core areas of financial planning. That’s twice the requirement of the Board of Certified Financial Planners for CFP licensees.
  • Comprehensive Financial Planning is offered or available to every client. This covers the pillars of wealth planning: insurance and risk mitigation, employee benefits optimization, investments and investment management, estate planning, and tax planning.
  • Competence:NAPFA’s requirements exceed those of any other financial industry association.” Members must meet stringent ongoing requirements including a fiduciary oath that states a commitment to working solely in the client’s interests at all times.
  • A Commitment to every client to provide the best advice and services in order to guide them safely to their destinations in life.
  • Certified Financial Planner and licensed by the CFP® Board. As of 1/1/2010, all new NAPFA members must also be licensed. Bonus.

 

The five Cs +1 all add up to a way of being - which, like Sully, provide a sense of confidence. Top professionals are more likely to lead us to a safe landing even when the going gets rough - really rough. Isn’t that the kind of professional you'd want as captain of your ship?

There will always be turbulence and rough times. It is part of living. We cannot change that, but we can choose how we react to events and that distinction can make all the difference. There will always be risks. Our only certainty is uncertainty. It is our focus to wisely plan for the certainty of uncertainty. Think experience. Think Wightman Financial Network, the firm who has met six Cs from day one.

Above all that, the reason to hire us is the need to lower risks on the long, winding, and often black-ice-patched road to retirement. We want all our clients to have a comfortable ride and a safe landing at the destination of their choice. We want people to know that there is someone like Sully (with no fame before 2009), who is very competent and experienced in his profession at the controls. We live the six Cs and we believe they are a world apart from the FSC standard. Our principal has not only been a NAPFA member for over a decade, he’s been fee-only since becoming a Certified Financial Planner Licensee and, like Sully, he is a veteran pilot who understands risks and risk management. He has helped clients make safe landings from some of the worst financial markets of a lifetime and continues to help people live better by guiding them to make smart decisions about their finances through writing and publishing. Put a captain into your practice and you can sit back in confidence that you will have a safe landing too.

Our Philosophy

Category: About Us
Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Written by Administrator

Who are we?  How are we different from all the rest?

My philosophy: As founder, I believe every financial planner, wealth advisor, or investment advisor should have a foundation of solid training, credentials, and experience. I have set an example using myself and my firm so that others may measure where they stand. In this business you want to be anything but ordinary!

Wightman Financial Network, LLC, is a firm founded on a single vision: To help people get the most out of life by making informed and intelligent decisions which lead to greater financial security, peace-of-mind and ultimately, happiness. While most people may dream their lives away, our role is to coach people to live their dreams. Many people see a million dollars as a milestone. Although that is an accomplishment, we seek to work hard to encourage our clients to live and share as many moments of magic that they can experience along the way to financial freedom. These stepping-stones mark the winding road of our lives. They are what make each and every person’s life both unique and worthwhile.

PERSONAL FINANCE is like a jungle: Full of beauty and beasts great and small. The things you don't see often are the most dangerous. In the jungle, there are insects, germs, parasites and venomous snakes. Few reasonable people would venture into such an environment without an experienced and trusted guide who takes precautions to ensure that they have both a safe and fun trip and that they reach their destination. Those who do not heed advice and go it alone often have disastrous results. Yet when it comes to financial planning, fewer than 2% of the American population ever seek the advice of a professional guide. They proceed alone with predictable outcomes. In fact, the average retiree today has a household income of less than half the median poverty level.

Wouldn't you rather face the financial jungle with a master who lives there every day? This jungle is just too perilous to go it alone. Your future is just too important to risk it. As a life coach, we are not only financial advisors, but we are also mentors and personal guides through good times and bad. We protect you from dangers, illuminate what you can't see, take joy in beautiful things. We celebrate the journey and we help you plan for the worst - just in case.

We strive to be to our clients what a coach is to a winning team - the best leader, trusted advisor, and financial expert anywhere.

We are fee-only. We derive no compensation from our relationship with our clients other than what they pay us. This prevents conflict of interest. We focus on what clients need to be successful. We sell no products - only our objective financial advice.

We specialize in issues of sudden wealth management through such life events as divorce, death, or retirement. To support our client's needs, we specialize in retirement asset transfers and distributions - including military retirement. Our clients are people who are sincere and serious about achieving more fun, happiness and peace-of-mind with financial security and freedom by making smart choices about their money.

Our principle planner has three decades of personal investment expertise in many kinds of markets. He has training and expertise in mutual fund selection, risk analysis and tax-efficient investment strategies. His investment experience includes stocks, bonds, money markets, variable annuities, Initial Public Offerings, options, futures, warrants, and stock options. He is an active investor and keeps in touch with market developments.

We provide clients with comprehensive financial planning to address all areas of concern and risk. We tailor planning around client needs in both the near and long-term.

We seek long-term relationships with clients. We become their trusted advisor by a simple formula: delivering what we promise! Their success and ours is founded upon mutual trust and teamwork.

We only do well if our clients do well. Our reputation is only as good as our clients say it is. That is why we never stop working for our clients' continued peace-of-mind and financial security and that is exactly why we seek only long-term relationships. The longer the relationship, the more successful our clients are.

Please take a minute to read our oath to our clients.

For more information on setting up or enhancing your own model financial advisory firm, please contact us.