Wealth of Experience
George McReynolds of McReynolds Wealth Management helps people make informed financial decisions by gaining a true understanding of what’s most important to them
by Pete Croatto

George McReynolds has had a successful, varied career that makes him the strong, intuitive leader and accomplished professional he is today. He’s a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, Registered Financial Consultant and the man behind McReynolds Wealth Management. He’s also a time management expert, life coach and author. In his youth, McReynolds worked as a paramedic, police officer and also served on the security detail for the Supreme Allied Commander at NATO headquarters in Belgium.

When McReynolds says, “The math part of the job, investing and tax planning, is fairly simple,” it is not meant as an understatement or boastful. He has worked in personal finance for more than 25 years and says there is a system, and it works. McReynolds uses a science and evidence-based program designed by multiple Nobel Prize winners to identify the right opportunities and strategies for his clients. McReynolds takes a comprehensive approach, aided by independent research from numerous highly regarded sources.

McReynolds, who works out of Lansdale, has always viewed himself as a protector. Being the clearest-thinking head in the room has been at the center of every job he has ever had. “I feel like that’s what I am doing today,” he says. “I am protecting the hard-working, the less informed and the innocent from the financial challenges that are out there. That really hasn’t changed.”

He worked in Army Intelligence for a time, where he was trained at Fort Bragg as a “human lie detector,” he recalls. This experience taught him many things—among them, how to tell what someone is thinking, how to empathize with them, how to understand if a person’s words are consistent with their thoughts and how to zero in on the details of their situation.

“It’s those kinds of experiences that have really helped me draw in people, have them express their fears, help them really hold things up to the light,” he says. “The most important part of that, the foundation of it all, is trust. People will lie, even to themselves, when they feel that it’s not safe to tell the truth, so it’s about creating that environment of trust. The fact that I look people in the eye, listen to them and I feed back what they’re telling me—for some people it’s a profound and moving experience to be truly listened to for the first time in their lives.

“When that trust is established, then it doesn’t take a long time to establish a successful working relationship with clients—if you do it right,” he continues. “Then you can delve in to find out what’s really important to a person. That makes it easier to give them the advice, services and support they need, once you know what they really want.”

Although most of McReynolds’ clients have between $500,000 and $5 million, he has given up “trying to beat the market,” he says. “If your goals are right, you don’t need to do that. If your plan requires you to beat the market, you have a lousy plan. If you could actually beat the market over time, it still wouldn’t make up for the lack of a plan. We concentrate on minimum risk.”

Those who want to “get rich quick” will likely be disappointed, as McReynolds will not take on clients with such expectations.

“The very first question we need to ask is, ‘Is there someone or something in their life that’s more important to them than money?’” McReynolds says. “If it is only about the money, I am not the right advisor to serve them. It is a fool’s errand. You can’t satisfy them over the long term. We do not want to engage a client like that with promises of unrealistic performance. We do not want anyone looking for a guru or someone who thinks we have a crystal ball. If a person has someone or something that is more important in their life than money, we can benchmark that by the progress they make toward those goals. That is what we can deliver.”

McReynolds admits he did not learn this lesson right away. In 1999, he counted a top executive for a pharmaceutical firm among his many clients. The client was not only demanding, but also completely disorganized. Although this particular client had experienced tremendous success in business, his money was all over the place, so making a decision about where it should go had become impossible. McReynolds realized the problem: The executive’s objectives were clear in his work life, but not in his personal life.

While McReynolds was dealing with this experience, he was at work writing what he calls “an encyclopedia of money.” That voluminous manuscript was whittled down to 200 pages and ultimately published in 2001 as “Prosperity by Design.” McReynolds emerged with a new strategy, one embodied by a favorite quote from Roy E. Disney, a longtime executive with the Walt Disney Co.: “When values are clear, decisions are easy.”

With most of the administrative and financial legwork outsourced, McReynolds can work one on one with his clients, which he has capped at 100 successful families. The initial no-cost  meeting with a prospective client—“the discovery experience,” as McReynolds calls it—takes into account more about what’s important to them than their accumulation of investment trivia. It is surprisingly personal. In just 50 minutes, McReynolds leads a prospective client through three exercise-focused, “conversations.”

These conversations are: future finding, to help visualize a bigger and ideal future for that person; feeling finding, to identify their core values and beliefs, which McReynolds calls “the foundation of making smart choices about your money”; and fact finding, wherein a potential client is presented with “measureable, tangible goals to reflect what they really want out of life.”

A quick financial statement, to give the applicant an idea of their starting point, concludes the meeting. “Everyone”—whether or not McReynolds invites them to become clients—“leaves with a personal, financial road map,” he says.

“Some people come in expecting something that is really going to be focused on money, taxes and investments,” McReynolds adds, “and they are surprised from the very start of the process that it is about them, who they are and what they want.”

The reason McReynolds can deliver a softer, more personalized approach in a world of hard numbers is because he is an independent financial advisor. He has no quotas to meet. He has no products he must sell in order to keep his bosses happy. In other words, he can completely focus on his clients, what they want, and what is best for their future.

“It is a matter of trusted leadership, and relationship over salesmanship,” McReynolds says. Spoken like a true protector—and clearly a different brand of financial advisor.

For more information on McReynolds Wealth Management and its services, visit www.mcwealth.com or call 215-699-1050.

Securities and Advisory Services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Advanced Level Tax Planning, Income Tax Preparation, Life Coaching & Time Management Consulting Services, and Fixed Insurance Products and Services are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth. Commonwealth does not offer tax advice.

Photograph by Jody Robinson