Interview with Phil Riesen

This was an interview that was done with a local news anchor in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1999. If you would like an actual audio CD of this interview, just send us an email with your request.

Q. Explain specifically how you help your clients with retirement planning

A: Retirement planning is probably the hottest topic out there today because it affects everyone. I like to use the term retirement management rather than retirement planning. The reason for this is that retirement management is more descriptive. Retirement is an ongoing process that doesn’t end. It continues thoughout your life. I would also like to point out that I consider tax strategies and estate planning to be a very important part of the retirement management. Considerable attention is devoted to these topics with every client. I let my clients know that the most crucial think they must do is develop a strategy, implement that strategy, and then let it work. It is important that they do not procrastinate because time can be a huge asset. If they have time, compounding interest can have an almost magical effect. This is what I do in helping my clients. I give them the information they need to make an informed decision and then help them implement the strategy that best meets their needs.

Q. What is Estate Planning and what does this involve and how do you help you clients.

A. The best definition of Estate Planning that I have heard is: giving what you want, to whom you want, the way you want, when you want. In addition, saving every last tax dollar, attorney fee, and court cost possible. That’s Estate Planning in its simplest form. The law provides for one’s assets to be taxed when received and again when they pass to our heirs, unless steps are taken to prevent this from happening. So, what I do is help my clients to arrange their estates in such a way that their estate tax liability at death can be minimized. In many situations, their estate can be set up to receive money tax-free while they are still alive, without giving up control of the assets in their estate.
After inflation eats away its part, and Uncle Sam takes his part, what’s left for our dreams might only be a fraction of what we started with! That is why having a financial strategy accomplishes many objectives. By methodically reducing tax liability we can free up more dollars to invest and reinvest.

Q. Why is it important to do what is in the client’s best interest? What would you tell someone who may have had a bad experience working with an advisor in the past?

A. I believe that long-term relationships are built on the highest level of integrity, trust and service. My number one goal is outstanding service and commitment to excellence. I know that my success is specifically tied to my client’s success. I want my clients to know that they are extremely important to me and their business is certainly appreciated. Really, without them I’m out of business.
The reason why it is important to do what in the client’s best interest is simple. So that they will achieve their financial goals. I find great satisfaction in being able to make a difference. And that difference is reflected when someone becomes sick and can’t work. We can keep the business operating and the family respect intact. Very simply put I enjoy seeing my client’s goals and dreams come true. Woodrow Wilson past president of the United States said “No man has ever risen to real stature until he has found that it is finer to serve somebody else than it is to serve himself.”
And now for the second part of the question, to anyone who may have had a bad experience working with someone else, any number of things may have happened It may have been the wrong time, or the wrong product. Or maybe it was the wrong company. In any case, I feel sorry for those people who have had an experience like this. When this happens it makes it hard for them to trust anyone with their financial affairs. This may prevent them from ever trying again. However, the result could be never reaching their financial goals. To those people I would recommend that they must try again.

Q. what are your requirements for taking on a new client?

A. My best clients are those who had a financial professional. These are the ones who appreciate all we do. My clients who never had someone before take us for granted sometimes. I like my clients to demonstrate the following characteristics: One, they must care about their families. They need to be responsible and future oriented. They need do demonstrate a real desire to make things happen in their lives.
Q. How would I start?
A. The key is to just start. That is the ultimate secret to success. Everything we have talked about today comes down to taking action. Daniel S. Kennedy in his book “The Ultimate Success secret” based his book on this question “What is the one, single secret to success of such overriding importance that, if concentrated upon exclusively, will literally change a person’s entire life experience and results?” His conclusion was take action, or in the words of Nike, “Just Do It.”