Dare to Dream
The professionals of the Financial Coach help clients plan for their ideal retirement
by Dana Dobson

What is your relationship with money? What is your dream of retirement? Are you a savvy investor, or are you baffled by the complexity of managing your finances? Do you spend money with wild abandon, or does money terrify you?

If you are unsure of the answer to any of these questions, the skilled professionals at Financial Coach, an independent consulting firm solely dedicated to retirement planning, can help.

Everyone has a unique relationship with money and saving for the future, and the advisors at Financial Coach suggest this relationship greatly affects the success of one’s retirement planning process. The team at Financial Coach takes its clients’ dreams, fears and comfort levels into account as they create customized retirement plans that are easy to understand while striving to help clients feel completely comfortable.

“Our goal is to help clients not unduly worry about their money and how to make informed choices,” says Michael Traynor, a financial coach for the firm. “I’ve done that for the many years I’ve been in this business with my friends and family, and to be able to do that in my professional capacity at Financial Coach is extremely gratifying.”

During the 1990s, Traynor explains, everyone made money and thought they knew what they were doing. Since then, however, the investment process has become extremely complex and more people are asking for help. The notion of having a financial “coach” as well as an advisor has become increasingly valuable in a world oversaturated with conflicting information. Traynor adds that an overall theme at  

Financial Coach is truth and transparency, as these values are essential in building permanent relationships with clients. He started his career in the trenches of the large financial institutions, which capitalize on people’s lack of knowledge by selling products that investors probably don’t fully understand or even need.

“Bringing transparency and unbiased advice to clients is exceedingly rare in the industry,” Traynor says. “We tell clients the truth about who we are, what we do, and how we do it, and we do it with confidence because we have done our homework and understand the facts.”

In addition, Financial Coach tells clients the truth about how financial markets operate, about what works and what is wasteful, as well as the facts about planning and investing.

“When a client wants to pay off his kids’ $80,000 credit-card debt, sell out of the market or buy a house they can’t afford, we say, ‘Don’t do that!’” says Jeff Mastronardo, one of the founding partners of  Financial Coach and also a senior wealth advisor. “The key to a successful plan is not which stocks you pick at what times, but that you consistently make solid financial decisions without your emotions getting in the way.”

Mastronardo, whose dream of the ideal retirement would include teaching financial planning to young people so they can get on the right track early, says that the most satisfying aspect of his interaction with clients is his freedom to fully utilize his talent as an educator.

“I love meeting and helping people,” he says. “I like to look someone in the eye and see their realization that they’ve got me in their corner and that my goal is to help them get through their retirement comfortably. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to creating and executing effective retirement plans for our clients.”

Financial Coach created a unique and proprietary program called “Retirement Gameplan,” which covers all aspects of clients’ financial life that relates to retirement. The process begins with two complimentary, in-depth, no-obligation discovery meetings to identify each individual’s relationship with money, as well as to pinpoint any possible pitfalls and opportunities that may have been overlooked.

“By spending time with our clients, we get to the heart of who they are and what they hope to achieve,” says Owen Mulhern, the firm’s senior wealth advisor and a registered principal with LPL Financial. “What makes them tick? What keeps them up at night? Their customized retirement plan prepares for certain eventualities, like market fluctuations and unforeseen circumstances, so they can pursue a confident retirement.”

When it comes to money, Mulhern explains that human beings are hardwired to certain levels of the “flight response.” This is why he and his team designed an assessment tool that reveals a person’s “investor type,” or how one feels and behaves around finances.

“It’s a short online questionnaire that asks visitors a few simple questions to gauge where they fall in the money consciousness spectrum,” Mulhern says. “Depending on the results of the assessment, we deliver directly to the respondent’s e-mail inbox a ‘white paper’ giving detailed information regarding the type of investor they are.”

[Editor’s note: The assessment tool is available here.]

Mulhern’s dream of the ideal retirement is to spend his days playing golf, stand-up paddleboarding with his wife, running triathlons and volunteering with local charities and community outreach organizations. With four daughters and a son, he also hopes for plenty of grandchildren.

Under Mulhern’s leadership, Financial Coach makes complex ideas and convoluted subjects easy to understand. He helps members of his team continually improve the client experience and find the next “value add” or nugget of information that will make a difference in each client’s quality of life in retirement.

Financial Coach offers a comprehensive suite of services to manage the many aspects of retirement planning all in one, convenient location. These include investment planning, income planning, long-term care and asset protection planning, estate planning, tax planning and education planning.

In a series of straight-talking seminars, Financial Coach presents strategies to help manage volatility in a wildly uncertain market; structure savings and investments to help maximize retirement income; minimize taxes; and much more. Seminars will be held September 10 at the General Warren Inne in Malvern, and September 16 at the Dilworthtown Inn in West Chester. Presentations begin at 6 p.m., with dinner to follow.

“We create strategies that clients can understand and follow comfortably and with confidence,” Mulhern says. “We want them to pursue a confident retirement. On our watch, that’s going to be the outcome.”

About Financial Coach
Founded in 1996, Financial Coach is an independent, full-service consulting firm dedicated to helping people in the greater Philadelphia area work toward their retirement goals. For more information or to register for one of its informative seminars, visit
www.financialcoachgroup.com or call 484-887-0452.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through FC Advisory, LLC, a registered investment advisor. FC Advisory and Financial Coach are separate entities from LPL Financial. Investing in securities is subject to risk including possible loss of principal. No strategy assures success or guarantees against loss.

Photograph by Nina Lea Photography