Dynamic Duo
The mother/daughter team of Mary Ann Blair and Emily Woodson offers a full spectrum of services to address clients’ financial planning needs
by Leigh Stuart

In the world of finance, a legacy plan is one of the pillars that uphold a sound financial future. The mother/daughter duo of Mary Ann Blair and Emily Woodson knows this firsthand and applies this knowledge not just to their clients’ plans but also to their own.

Blair, who received both her undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of Delaware, has been in the financial services industry for more than 33 years; Woodson has been in the business for more than seven years. Yet, neither started their professional journey in their current field. Blair began her career in insurance, which she says was “a very good entry into financial services,” as in this capacity she spent a great deal of time addressing risk, which is a large part of her current job.

After earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., Woodson honed her communication skills with a master’s degree in education from Wilmington University. After graduating, she taught grades five through eight for 10 years. This experience, she emphasizes, also helps in her current role in financial planning as she still sees herself as an educator, teaching clients the ins and outs of investing and saving.

While both women enjoyed their earlier careers, both found their true passion in helping people through financial planning. Blair earned her Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) through The American College in the 1980s. She is now also a member of the Estate Planning Council of Delaware, the Society of Financial Service Professionals and the Wilmington Tax Group.

Woodson studied at her mother’s alma mater, the University of Delaware, and subsequently earned her designation as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. She is currently on the board of the Delaware chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the Lincoln Financial Securities advisory board. She is also a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table, an elite organization for financial services professionals around the world. Both Blair and Woodson have also attended the Barron’s Top Women Financial Advisors Summit, an invitation-only event for the nation’s top 500 female financial advisors.

Blair and Woodson have been in a successful partnership for nearly a decade, offering a host of financial services—everything from helping people save for a first home to retirement planning.

“I think everybody needs a plan—a roadmap to get to where they want to go,” Blair says. “We help clients first identify what their needs are, their goals are and their objectives are and where they are now relative to those goals and objectives; then, how to get them where they want to be at retirement or at the end of life so their assets transfer to the next generation, or charity, whatever their legacy is.”

Blair and Woodson accomplish this through a bevy of avenues, including insurance as well as investment products and analysis; the team also works closely with tax professionals and attorneys who draft legal documents.

“We consider ourselves comprehensive financial planners, which means that we provide a plethora of financial services including developing financial plans, retirement planning, insurance review and needs analysis, tax strategies, estate planning, even helping people who are new to investing get started with investing,” Woodson explains. “Our business services also include 401(k) and succession planning.”

Looking to the future, Woodson plans on taking a more central leadership role, ensuring the firm’s clients have their own legacy plan within the firm.

“There’s an issue in finance services as far as succession planning,” Blair explains, noting the question of “Who is going to take over?” arises frequently with financial planners. “To have a built in succession plan is very comforting to our clients.”

Woodson agrees, noting, “I think that brings a reassurance to our clients, that their accounts and the services we’ve provided will continue to be there for them.”

Blair and Woodson’s well-planned succession arrangement is particularly fitting as the duo now sees second- and third-generation clients. Blair says many of the firm’s clients have gone on to recommend their services to their children and grandchildren, so the firm is working with entire families to help plan for sound financial futures. “I think this speaks to the high level of care we provide,” Blair says.

This level of care is upheld by a number of central tenets Blair and Woodson emphasize, including accessibility.

“We have a very able assistant and an office staff and the technology we need to follow up with people,” Blair states. “We are well organized and our clients know they can call when they need us. We respond within 24 hours—usually sooner than that—wherever we are.”

The kinship Blair and Woodson share extends to clients as well. “I think the fact that Emily and I are working together as mother and daughter, and that we’re a family, makes for a uniqueness,” Blair says. “And we treat our clients as family, too.”

The family focus of the financial planners extended even further with the recent addition of Blair’s husband, Joe, who has been in the financial services industry for more than 30 years. “It gives the whole family concept another level,” Blair says, “and it expands the footprint that we can serve.

“We have a high standard of care,” she continues. “The passion we feel for doing the right thing and listening to our clients’ needs we take very seriously; to help people become financially independent and leave a legacy if they wish—to have their money say something about who they are or who they were.”

Of her own legacy, Woodson cannot speak highly enough about the special training she’s had.

“I’m extremely grateful to my mom,” Woodson says. “She’s an inspiration to me and she’s been a mentor and I feel extremely lucky because I feel like I’ve learned from the best. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”

Financial House
5818 Kennett Pike
Centreville, DE 19807

Mary Ann Blair and Emily Woodson are Registered Representatives offering securities and advisory services through Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation, Member SIPC. Lincoln Financial Securities and Financial House are not affiliated. LFS-1428453-022516

Photograph by Alison Dunlap