What a year it’s been. 2022 was one of the toughest financial years we’ve seen in our lifetimes. The state of the markets is concerning, but we’ve never been prouder of our team and what we’ve been able to do for our clients.
With that in mind, today’s episode is all about what we’ve done behind the scenes to position our clients for success. As we prepare to celebrate our 20th anniversary at SHP, we’re excited to talk to you about our new hires, our charity work, and what to look for as you consider a financial advisor or retirement plan.
In this podcast discussion, you’ll learn:
- How we’re leveling up our customer service as we go into 2023.
- What we did to support our veterans, the Cape Wildlife Center, and the Plymouth Thanksgiving Parade.
- The key things to look for as you select an advisor or retirement plan–and how to tell if the Retirement Road Map process is a good fit for you.
- “We’re hyper focused on making sure that the customer service always lives up to the same quality of marketing and financial planning.” – Matthew Peck
Matthew Peck: Well, welcome everyone to another edition of the Retirement Road Map podcast, brought to you by SHP Financial. And I’ll be your host today, Matthew Peck. And as we wind down 2022, we certainly want to be wishing everyone happy holidays and Merry Christmas. What a year it has been.
And so, with that in mind, we want to talk a little bit more, especially in the holiday season about the people, or let me put that, the P in SHP. Now, technically, SHP stands for Sheltered Harbor Planning. But today, we want to talk about P and use it in a different way of the people here in what has been obviously a very difficult year in the markets and financially. And obviously, for anyone that has been listening to this podcast throughout the year has probably heard my voice talk ad nauseam or nauseam or whatever with all of the inflation and interest rates and Chairman Powell and Russia and Ukraine and bear markets and value versus growth.
So, today, yeah, we’re not going to be talking about any of those types of things. Of course, we always could. But at the same point, it’s good to take a step back, again, especially during the holiday season, and learn more about the people behind the money, the people behind the process, the people behind the product because whether the TV shows and the marketing campaigns we do there or whether it’s our emails or workshops or whatever it may be, people generally see a very nice and sort of handsome face in front of everything. Or at the same time, it takes a lot of people to do what we do every single day, especially during a tough year.
And I like to say about how and I think most people would agree that you really don’t know people until it’s a tough time. I mean, it’s easy during easy times where you really get to know a person during trying times and difficult times. And COVID, 2020 certainly was a very difficult time for us as a society, to say the least. And I’ll strike 2022 as a very difficult time financially where we certainly had a lot of people concerned and rightly so about the state of the markets and whatnot.
So, now, it’s good to know about what SHP has been doing behind the scenes and who are some of the people that are able to produce the plans and the phone calls and the check-in calls and the investments that are recommended and the portfolios that are managed and whatnot. So, as a matter, we really want to take today to dive into that and to kind of review what has been happening during this tough year financially, but as to give you a little preview, I’m just extremely proud of everything that has happened here at 225 Water Street or up in Woburn or down in Hyannis of what the people did day in and day out, where all the teammates here at SHP, what we did throughout this year to still make it a memorable one and to still make sure that we were there every day.
What inspired this was, I’m trying to think what year it was, 2018, 2019, but I went down to– it was actually at the Wharton School of Business to get what’s called my CIMA designation. And so, what CIMA stands for is Certified Investment Management Analyst. And what they teach you amongst many things, but they teach you what’s called manager selection.
Well, manager selection is, let’s just say, me as the head of the investment committee, if I’m looking at two large-cap funds, right? I’m looking at a large-cap fund from JPMorgan versus a large-cap fund from Fidelity. How do I make a decision as to whether I use the JPMorgan, for example, or whether to use the Fidelity? And they have the sort of, it’s called like the 7P process, which is, all right, find out about price, find out about performance. So, which fund did better and which fund did worse during over the past? And they talk about, again, price. How much does each fund cost? And they talk about things like process and they also say philosophy.
But they also mentioned people. And really, again, that’s what inspired today because it’s like, all right, when we would visit these mutual fund companies to say, okay, let’s meet some of the people behind this mutual fund, it’s not just a ticker symbol, right? It’s people that are clocking in day in and day out to put together that particular mutual fund.
Well, if you broaden that definition, and again, what today is really drilling down into is who are the people behind SHP’s financial planning process or SHP’s Retirement Road Map. And we truly hope that after today and won’t take up too much of your time, I know you’re probably shopping and a lot of other things you’ll be doing, maybe a ham’s in the oven right now, for all I know. But just to kind of give you an idea of who it is that comes into the offices every day and what they are doing, again, during very, very difficult times because to build on that a little bit, I always mention about how are– when it comes to mutual funds or even when it comes to some of our financial planning software, well, it’s not proprietary to SHP.
Other firms have similar financial planning software out there that they use on behalf of their clients. Certainly, when it comes to how we construct our portfolios, we’re using readily available funds. It’s not like we’re using these funds that aren’t available, such as Vanguard or Fidelity or JPMorgan, like I was saying. Well, yeah, people can buy those funds directly.
So, on one hand, it’s like, okay, well, what does make the firm different or what does make it special? And that again, that’s a theme of today is the people behind SHP because that’s proprietary. That’s what you’re not going to get anywhere else is this combination of humans, if you will, that are clocking in every single day and really making sure they take pride in their work and pride in the SHP way and in the plans, and obviously, making sure that their clients are well taken care of.
So, let’s start with the new hires because one of the things that we certainly emphasize here is the importance of service and of providing solutions for our clients. Very often, especially now, and you’ll be hearing a lot about this over the next year or so, but we’re actually going into celebrating our 20th-year anniversary at SHP Financial. So, Derek, Keith, and myself, we’re now rounding the 20-year, the second decade of working together and working towards providing solid financial planning so people can spend less time worrying and wondering and they can really just enjoy their time living and dreaming.
And from day one, we never wanted to be some fly-by-night company, some company that would just sort of say, hey, here’s your plan or here’s your product or whatever. Hey, yeah, I’ll see you later. Move on to the next. We want to honor what we did or what we recommended for that individual, whether it was back in 2003, 2006, 2016, and beyond.
So, each and every year, we continue to add to what’s called the advisory solutions team. And this year, we specifically hired– and this is just in 2022, we hired three new rock stars – Kyle, Jimmy, and Natalia. And their role is to support some of the original partners. Well, Jimmy actually works on Mark’s team. Natalia is under Derek’s, and Kyle is now working under Keith’s team.
But with that main goal in mind of making sure that whether it’s an old client, that again originally did business with SHP back in 2006, or whether it’s a new client that we are honoring what we said we were going to do for that person, that when the phone rings, someone is there to pick it up. When an email comes in, there is someone then to respond to that email. Because as I was saying a little bit before about how we’ve got these great marketing campaigns and a fantastic podcast. I mean, am I right? I mean, come on now.
But we have all this great material. But we and all of us, and me in particular, were so hyper focused on making sure that the customer service always lived up to that same quality of marketing and that same quality of financial planning, right? So, by hiring and expanding in that solutions team really helps honor our original obligation to the client. And so, when people know, when they come on to hear SHP, whether they hear us from a podcast or our TV commercials or our workshops from day one, they’re getting the feeling that, okay, this is a team approach. And the people who are on that team that make up this team not only are caring individuals but experienced individuals and people that are going to make sure that whatever is recommended is also implemented. Because you can have the best plan in the whole wide world, but if it’s not executed or implemented properly, well, good as it is, it’s like a car with no gas, right?
So, making sure that you have people to hold your hand and to walk you through each step because there are a lot of steps here, I mean, all of our podcast listeners know. I mean, when you build an income plan, an investment plan, a tax plan, health care, and legacy, that’s a lot of work. And you’re going to need the people behind you and you’re going to need a team to do there. So, the new hires of Kyle, Jimmy, and Natalia, as we continue to expand in that area, was a focus in 2022 and will continue to be a focus as we go forward.
I’m also extremely proud of the charity events that we did, and there are three in particular that I’d like to highlight this year. What we do is we sort of break up the team. So, here, I’m talking about all these teams and all that stuff, but at the same point, you’re going to have a new business team and they generally work with new business. You can have the marketing team and they generally work with marketing or team Matt or Team Keith or Team Derek, and obviously, that’s a very– not siloed by no means, but they just work closely together because that’s what they do and that’s the team that they’re on.
Well, when we started the charity groups, we split them up. So, now, we’ll have somebody from new business and someone from the investment committee, and someone from marketing. Two or three people that never really sort of interact on a daily basis, we’ll have them, split them up onto all these different charity teams and groups. A leader is then picked who then selects a charity of their choice. Once every six months, that group will then be on-site to perform whatever type of charity work it is.
So, as I said a little bit about the tough year it was, even during these tough years, no matter what happens, we at SHP believe that you still have to give back because if it’s tough on us, well then, it’s going to be a lot harder on the people that are underserved or underprivileged or whatever that may be. A perfect example is homeless veterans. So, a group of the SHP teammates was up in downtown Boston and I know exactly where it is. Homeless veterans, we know that idea that these are people in tough times.
But to have that group go in there and serve them physically, to be behind the line or the kitchen, and to help out the homeless veterans. And not that any homeless person needs it more or less, but I mean, that combination of a person that served and does not have a roof over his head or her head certainly makes sure that they need some extra special attention. And so, whether it was the homeless veterans that the group did in downtown Boston or other group that actually, I was proud to be a member of it, help support the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation. And so, that was actually down the Cape near Otis Air Force Base.
But think of that the Support Foundation is that, for a lot of veterans as they come back, if there are disabilities or if there are injuries due to combat, well, they get pretty well taken care of. And this is from an outsider’s perspective, I’m sure there could be disagreement there, but there’s a lot of people that are cut off from that support because it’s like, oh, they just came back without any major injury or whatever that may be.
And so, the Support Foundation helps support them, people that might not have gotten additional benefits from the VA. So, there we were taking these great donations from companies like CVS, unpacking these massive boxes that were all kinds of things tossed in, sorting through the food and the cans by expiration date, and kind of putting things aside. Okay, this has to come off the shelf first. This can come off the shelf in a month. This can stay for six months and is kind of almost like triaging all these donations.
And then last but not least was to get away from veterans. Another group went to the Cape Wildlife Center. And so, that’s really helping animals and any of the other sort of unfortunate or hurt animals, whatever that may be, because we all know that they also don’t exactly have everyone looking out for them at all times.
So, as I mentioned, even though this was a very, very difficult year, SHP continued to give back in the community as much as possible. We were also very happy to support America’s hometown Thanksgiving parade. Well, certainly over Thanksgiving, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we marched in the Thanksgiving parade. So, similar idea. I mean, goodness, our main office is based in Plymouth. I was joking around about how being in Plymouth for Thanksgiving is like being in Bethlehem for Christmas. It’s pretty much where it started, right?
And so, there’s the parade. I know they have the Macy’s parade, right? Yeah, but it’s no Plymouth Thanksgiving parade in my biased and not humble opinion. But that’s the idea is that, okay, here is something that is our hometown. It’s currently America’s hometown, but it’s SHP’s hometown, at least again, where our main office is. And really, just again putting a face to everyone that works here because I was saying earlier about the hires, we’re up to about 40 people now. I think we’re 40, 42. And actually, I had an employee benefits client, but I go, careful, once you turn over, I go over 50 employees. All these new laws kick in, like yeah, can’t wait, more regulation.
But at the same point, again, it continued to grow and making sure that we show the face of all of our teammates in those types of parades and just, again, out in the community through the charity. And we’re even adding more, and I wouldn’t say through hiring, but we had three separate SHP teammates, three separate people here welcomed their first child. So, Erin Machado, who is a compliance manager, she welcomed Wesley back in September. Dave Hathaway, who is on our investment committee, he welcomed Bennett in October. And then Katie welcomed Liv in June.
And so, something that, again, and maybe it’s just obviously, as I mentioned, being one of the co-owners here about– I’m sure everyone else gets a kick out of it, but certainly Derek, myself, and Keith get a kick out of it because when we did start the company again, as I said, 20 years ago, we were kind of young right out of college and didn’t know exactly how things were going to end up. But the point being is that we have embraced the idea of changing lives. And not only can–and this really is all of our clients too, I should add, and certainly, if I should say just a little quick little plug, I mean, this is the type of firm that we wanted to build and we’re very, very proud of. It’s not just the financial planning process or the investment process, which you’ll get plenty of during other podcasts.
But as I mentioned, the people that we bring in that match our culture and just live to serve and live to help out our existing clients. And we truly hope that if you don’t have that in your life or if you’re doing it yourself when it comes to your own financial planning, it might make sense to have a team behind you just in case, or if you are working with another firm that just doesn’t have that same level of caring or if you feel a little bit detached, that’s another perfect example of someone that might benefit from our services.
So, again, a little plug there for SHP, but I mean it sincerely because as I mentioned, here, we have three people. I mean, Katie’s been working with us for close to a decade, maybe a little bit less. Dave Hathaway is similar. Aaron’s in that same boat as well. I mean, these are people that came to us when they were sort of right out of college, but they just have matured underneath our roof, and now, they’re having babies, and now has more SHP babies coming around so just this ripple effect of lives being changed, not just from our clients and our client’s families, but now the internal people here at SHP Financial and their lives and their families being changed with every day going by or certainly with every year going by in 2022.
Going forward in 2023, we certainly have some things to look forward to because there were also three engagements that happened as well in 2022. So, there’ll be some weddings coming up in 2023 where Joe Anderson was engaged. He is an advisor here. Sam Madden was also engaged, as was Chase Reardon. And so, now, we’re welcoming some future wives into the family as we go on. So, all those weddings are going to be in 2023, which is we’re going to be kicking off the 20th year anniversary.
But in summary, this is why we want people to work with SHP. We want people that are good people and that at their heart, they’re trying to leave the world in a better place than they found it. And this can happen in so many different ways. I mean, I think, obviously, there’s the true charitable work, like we mentioned. We’re only there, say, once or twice a quarter or as we split out. I mean, of course, there are firefighters and teachers and police officers, nurses and doctors that are obviously making a difference every day of their lives, too. And it might be a little bit melodramatic to say the financial planning company is trying to walk in those footsteps. But in my opinion, again, humble and certainly biased is that we are taking those steps. We are trying to have that a key part of our culture.
And so, 2022 was a great example of that, of the charity, of the families growing, of walking in the parade as we wave to the crowd and celebrate America’s birthplace in 1620, or whether it’s, as I said, the building of the advisory solutions team and hiring and just making sure that we support the planning and our clients. 2022 was sort of a symbol of everything that we strive to do on a yearly, daily, annual basis, and we certainly are not planning on stopping anytime soon.
So, if you are looking at the whole idea of manager selection in your opinion, or if you are a client of SHP, you’ve already selected, and if you are in a financial planning selection or manager selection, as I said, during that CIMA, you want to look at the process, right? And so, I’m very proud of our Retirement Road Map financial planning process.
You want to work at, obviously, performance, of course. You want to look at philosophy, what is our outlook on things, the technology, and what we use. And is it up to date in a modern time? Does it have what’s called the portal where I can access my account at all times? So, you want to ask all those very important– what’s the price? What’s the fee for SHP and whatnot, right?
So, you want to get all of those things into your selection process but also make sure that the P for people is in there too. You want to know the people that are behind your money. You want to know the people that are behind your plan because the other ones are going to be standing by it. And you should feel confident and you should also feel a connection there. Because if those two things are there, then truly you’ve gotten everything you need. Not only do you have a great financial plan, but you’ve got great people behind it.
So, that’s my New Year’s resolution for everyone there. If you don’t have it, certainly, welcome to give us a call. If you do have it or if you’re already a member of SHP Financial, thank you so much. And certainly, here is to a better, at least less challenging 2023 when it comes to the financial markets. Have a great day.