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Peachtree Planning's James Gnefkow featured on Focus Atlanta's Roundtable: Wealth mindset

Peachtree Planning's James Gnefkow featured on Focus Atlanta's Roundtable: Wealth mindset

| February 26, 2024

Roundtable: Wealth mindset

2 min read August 2023 — Invest: spoke with James Gnefkow, managing director of wealth management and financial advisory firm Peachtree Planning, where he discussed closely held businesses, which are now the fastest-growing area of the firm’s business. “We take a lot of time not just to identify client goals but to understand the values behind those goals,” he said. 

The full interview:

What have been your key takeaways over the past year?

Closely-held business owners are becoming increasingly aware of the need for guidance as it relates to their long-term planning objectives.  We made tremendous inroads  of communicating the capabilities of the firm in this area and expanding our closely-held business clientele. Planning is typically directed at individuals and families as it relates to their financial planning. But there is an increased demand from  business owners to have clarity on how they will accomplish what tends to be the most complicated transaction of their lifetime – transitioning out of their business with the peace of mind that their most important values and objectives are being addressed. All business owners will leave their business at some point, so we design planning to address how they can do that on their terms, accomplish their personal and business goals and protect their legacy. Data shows the need is there but there is a tendency among owners to put it off because they don't know where to go for help, which creates obstacles to planning. We meet people where they are to get that process started.

What differentiates Peachtree Planning?

We have experience and expertise in the closely-held business planning space.  We have 18 associates who have the certified exit planner (CExP) credential. It's a rigorous program to go through, with intensive training so we're not giving lip service to this as a means to sell a product or gather assets. We take a consultative approach to our work and guide the business owner through a series of projects. We ask the very important questions to understand what is most important to the client and that serves as the compass in creating the plan. We take a lot of time not just to identify client goals but to understand the value behind those goals. As a firm, we have served clients in our communities for nearly four decades and we are extending the values and impact that have made us successful to better serve the closely-held business community.

How is Peachtree helping clients navigate the current economic climate?

Post-pandemic surveys indicate that 38% of business owners are deferring the sale of their business and their retirement, so it goes back to that ability to adapt plans.1 There will always be headwinds and changes in the economy and, in that sense, our planning process is timeless. Tax policies change, financial markets will go up and down. But it's all about honing in on the values and behavior of clients, helping them feel empowered no matter what, knowing there's a roadmap to their goals, and advisors that can guide them along the way. It helps them overcome common emotional pitfalls that can cause plans to go awry. We're not as concerned about supply chain and inflation, which are very real things we need to account for, but the true value of what we're bringing is in that leadership and consultative approach.

How have client demands shifted over the past few years?

Our planning philosophy is rooted in cash flow, which is critical to the viability of any business owner in order to operate and be profitable. Our planning process is rooted in identifying the unplanned and unforeseen events that can cause a disruption of cash flow and we seek to mitigate that to the extent that we can. We help business owners get a baseline of what their business is worth and target how much capital they will need to generate from the transfer of business. With economic downturns, it may necessitate a higher allocation of cash on balance sheets, a lesson we all learned over the course of the pandemic. If a client is confident and knows where they're going and confident the cash flow will be there and unforeseen risks have been mitigated, we know we're doing a good job. You have to consider those behavioral elements and approach the plan intentionally with the end in mind at the beginning.

Business owners often have multiple professionals that give advice in specific areas.  We help our clients get organized and see their entire financial and business life in one place, which leads to empowerment when making decisions.  There is an increasing awareness among business owners that sound planning requires experience and multi-disciplinary expertise – but most importantly, it gives clients confidence that there is a path forward to make sure the things that are most important to them come to fruition.

James Gnefkow, Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities (PAS), LLC, 5040 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342, 800.366.0839.  Securities products/services and advisory services are offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY.  PAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian.  Not practicing law for Guardian or its subsidiaries or affiliates.  Peachtree Planning is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian.  Guardian, its subsidiaries and its agents, and Peachtree Planning do not provide legal or tax advice.  Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.  2022-148440
  1. BEI Business Owner Survey Report, page 4.

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