Bountiful Harvest
Retirees and pre-retirees place their financial futures in the trusted hands of Rosemary G. Caligiuri and Harvest Group Financial Services
by Jennifer Updike

To understand Rosemary G. Caligiuri’s approach to retirement planning, one might first consider her unique background. She started her professional career as a registered nurse but has since reinvented herself as a skilled and watchful steward of her many clients’ nest eggs.

“I loved being an advocate and liaison for my patients,” says Caligiuri, founder and president of Langhorne-based Harvest Group Financial Services Corp. “I would get to know my patients very well, and some of my older patients would ask me questions about how to protect their money. I wanted to learn more for my patients, and that’s how I came to be on this path.”

What she discovered in her quest to learn more was a lack of coordination among information sources, with one financial magazine contradicting another and so-called experts advising disparate strategies for preserving one’s personal wealth. Market volatility has only worsened this confusion in recent years, thereby adding to an investor’s uncertainty and underscoring the need for a trusted partner such as the team at Harvest Group.

“Our specialty lies in making proper allocation of a client’s money for a lifetime, or even two lifetimes, meaning we can create a lifetime income stream for our clients and leave tax-free money to their heirs through legacy planning,” she says. “I see our role as financial planners as people who can act as a coach and as an educator, demystifying everything that’s confusing out there and creating a plan for the client that suits them. What we’re able to do is answer questions for clients that they don’t even know to ask.”

In fact, Caligiuri has been featured on the covers of Smart Money and Barron’s because of her expertise on the topic. “We’ve even been hired to teach other financial planners how to create cash flow for life [for their clients],” she says.

Caligiuri and her team are devoted to providing independent, prudent and ethical financial guidance to clients, most of whom are in pre-retirement or retirement, including “forced” retirement. These people are at a crucial time in their financial lives, meaning the decisions they make now need to be made carefully and based solely on their specific circumstances, resources and dreams for the future.

“My practice is client centric and based on integrity, with a plan suited to each client’s individual needs,” she says. “With an emphasis on cash-flow income, I often talk about the four P’s: plan, preserve, provide and then pass it on. … The biggest challenge I see for the consumer is this information overload that tends to muddy the waters. The laws are constantly changing, and the client’s life is also changing, so how do you put it all together? That’s where we come in.”

An initial interview between Caligiuri and a client generally takes two hours, covering topics such as lifestyle status, investable asset base and risk tolerance. Beyond the basics, Caligiuri also delves into more personal aspects of clients’ lives, such as one’s dreams and desires, legacy plans and everything else that could be affected by a client’s future wealth.

Planning Ahead
Now, more than ever, investors stand to benefit from the services of a trusted, qualified financial planner. With company-funded pensions increasingly becoming a thing of the past, the paradigm has shifted from one of rampant accumulation to one of preservation, protection and steady growth—essentially making sure that one’s money endures. Caligiuri’s first rule: Never mess with a nest egg.

“I’ve been focusing on this since the mid-1990s, and I’ve seen bull markets and bear markets,” she says. “A consumer left to his own devices with a pure accumulation plan might have lost 40 to 50 percent of their assets two different times in the last 14 years. Hence, you don’t mess with a nest egg. … You capture gains in bull markets and lock in those gains, and structure your plan so that in bear markets you have downturn protection.

“You never put all your eggs in one basket,” she continues. “I don’t care how great chocolate cake is, you can’t it eat three times a day and expect to be well nourished. The same truth applies to any type of investment tool. … By utilizing all these different tools, if a downturn happens, the client will not be harmed or be at risk of running out of money. Our job is to position them to not be at risk.”

The advisors of Harvest Group each hold accreditation in at least one specialized area of expertise. This allows the group to better serve a variety of clients. Caligiuri is a Chartered Advisor of Senior Living and a Retirement Income Certified Planner (RICP), a designation she earned from the American College of Financial Services, with an emphasis on clients in or approaching retirement. “We place a huge emphasis on professional education and applying that to usefulness in the clients’ portfolios,” she says. “Oftentimes they have one primary planner with consultation taking place among us all. If there is a specialty need, we consult a lot behind the scenes but always have one person who is most qualified for their needs working with them.”

“We have a legal, as well as personal and moral, requirement to do what is in the best interest of our clients,” adds Dan Ballard, CFP. “Not all investment advisors are fiduciaries; investors cannot assume they all have this designation even though they seem to be doing similar things. We are unbiased. We do not work for any particular company. We meet with each client to determine their goals and find the best investments to bring those goals into alignment.”

With more than 20 years in the financial services industry, John Lindsey, ChFC, RICP, has seen a lack of qualification among financial planners. He previously worked as a wholesale representative for financial products. “My job was to speak with financial advisors in order to educate them on how their money manager was working for them, to educate them on economic strategies and products,” he says. “Unfortunately many are not as competent. … I knew investors weren’t getting what they needed.” He respected the advisors of the Harvest Group, though, and saw that they offered clients the advice they needed. “Harvest Group puts the client first,” he says.

In addition, Lindsey has had the opportunity to pursue educational advancement at Harvest Group, which he says is important because “advisors who have experience also need expert knowledge in the field. That knowledge comes from educational and professional development.”

In his capacity as a ChFC and RICP, Lindsey helps retirees develop a plan for preserving the potential of those income-generating investments, including strategies to maximize Social Security benefits.

“Most people are focused on accumulating money, but many are unsure how to convert those assets into income,” he says. “The three concerns most investors face are: Will I run out of money; how do I convert my assets into income I can depend on; and how do I protect my investments from markets/inflation—in other words, protect my lifestyle?” He answers these questions with personalized solutions.

Financial advisor Bea Stinson also brings a unique perspective gained from her earlier career. As the former executive director of Attleboro Retirement Village, she has seen the positive effects of successfully planning one’s retirement and the devastation of not. Frustrated by seeing people whose options were limited, she sought out an opportunity to have a bigger impact on people’s lives and, nine years ago, joined Harvest Group. Now she too helps investors choose how to use the money they have saved and provide for their needs in the best way possible.

“As advisors,” says Elizabeth Gosek, Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), RICP, “our role is both financial coach and educator. We clarify confusing, complex issues and topics, while creating and implementing a plan that suits each individual client. Being tailor made is an essential ingredient to an individual’s financial plan and sometimes that means ignoring the latest trends.

“Integrity and a client-centric approach have always been important to me,” she says. “At the end of the day, at Harvest Group we create a customized plan and work side by side with each of our clients. They have a successful outcome, they have inflation protection, and they are able to leave tax-free money to their heirs. As a result, I go home smiling every day.”

Harvest Group Financial Services Corp.
1707 Langhorne-Newtown Road, Suite 1
Langhorne, PA 19047

Fine print: Registered representatives offering securities and advisory services through Centaurus Financial Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC, a registered investment advisor. Supervisory Branch: 3902 State Street, Suite 101, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, 1.888.569.1982. Harvest Group Financial Services and Centaurus Financial are not affiliated.

Photograph by Allure West Studios