Meet Ian Cerminara, CFP®. Ian has been with Allegheny since 2013 and is an Associate Financial Advisor in the BHKM Group. In this interview, Ian shares how he spends time outside of Allegheny, who one of his heroes is, and two pieces of financial planning advice he offers clients.

Who is one of your heroes and why?
John Adams for a multitude of reasons, but I think he is arguably the most important figure in our nation’s history. The weight of his responsibilities and the decisions he had to make both before and during his presidency are unfathomable.

What book are you currently reading?
The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier. It is a fascinating look at the intersection of today’s economic, political, and moral landscapes in the US and UK, especially when compared to the post-WWII era. Next up is Grant by Ron Chernow.

How do you like to spend time outside of the office?
My wife and I purchased a fixer-upper in 2013 and have been remodeling it since day one. Now that the inside has been renovated, we’re turning our attention to the outside and the areas around our home. Our next big project is building a playground behind our house.

What is one piece of financial advice you offer clients?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just one piece, so instead, I’ll offer two pieces of advice from opposite ends of the spectrum. First, I believe that money is leverage (not just in the traditional debt-sense of the word) and should be viewed as such. Every financial decision you make has a personal economic impact, either now or in the future, and should be carefully reasoned. Second, remember to check your beneficiary designations! It’s both free and easy to do, so once per year double-check your retirement accounts and insurance policies to make sure the beneficiaries are up-to-date.

What are some important things to consider when choosing a financial planner?
Comfort level and individual attention are paramount, not just with the financial planner, but with the plan itself. We can put together a plan that we think is perfect, but if a client isn’t entirely comfortable with our recommendations then long-term success is difficult to achieve. Likewise, if financial planning isn’t tailored to each client and their particular goals, then they’re not receiving the level of service they deserve. Clients should only work with a financial planner that listens to them and is willing to make changes to the plan as often as necessary.

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What do you think are the most important steps people can take to improve their financial well-being?
Anyone can put together their own balance sheet, and I strongly suggest that people take time every few months to sit down and list out everything they own or owe. Having a list of assets and liabilities and their corresponding values can be an eye-opening experience. Also, having a complete picture makes spotting opportunities for improvement much easier.

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