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“It’s not how much money you make, but how much you keep.”


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Frank Zocco is a Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist®, Accredited Investment Fiduciary ® and Wealth Advisor affiliated with NorthStar Wealth Partners. He has been actively serving his accomplished corporate and individual clientele with their retirement plan and investment needs for over fifteen years. Frank prides himself on delivering innovative yet practice financial guidance, which coupled with his in-depth knowledge of 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plan placements, differentiates him and his approach to financial management and implementation services.

MO: Can you share some of your core beliefs and principals regarding financial planning and money management?

Frank: I have two mottos that I live by. One is, it’s not how much money you make, but how much you keep. The second is, Bulls make money, Bears make money and Pigs get slaughtered. What I mean by that is that greed is not good. Investors should come up with a plan and stick to it. They should use proper asset allocation models which diversifies their portfolios. Diversification is a great friend to investors. It helps to minimize risk in their portfolio. An investor should never chase yields or returns. That is a recipe for disaster. Back to my first motto; Investors should pay themselves first. If they have an option for a 401(k) or something similar at work where the money comes right from their paycheck, they should take advantage of that, after all “Out of sight, Out of mind.” Also, quite often there is a tax savings in investing this way. Where people get into to trouble is when they spend more than they make and don’t pay themselves. I always tell my clients, if you make $25,000 per year and you spend $20,000 then you’re in great shape. If you make $1,000,000 per year and spend $1,000,000 you’re in trouble.

MO: What are your top tips for creating a retirement plan?

Frank: First and foremost, you need to know your client. Know his/her likes and dislikes, his/her tolerance for risk, what his/her past investment experience has been like and most important how long before they need to use the money. Once I get all of this information, then I can devise a plan that is very specific for my clients. Some clients are super conservative. For those clients I tend to use insured investments. It costs a little more, but at least they can sleep at night knowing that they are protected.

MO: Can you provide a recent example of where you provided innovative financial guidance?

Frank: I had a client referred to me by his tax professional. He was concerned that he was paying too much in taxes. He was heavily invested in annuities that had substantial growth within them. The problem is when you have an annuity with substantial growth and you need income is that all of the growth gets paid out first and is subject to taxes (LIFO –Last in, first out). I put together a tax advantaged portfolio which virtually eliminated his entire income tax burden while increasing his income.

MO: What are some of the basics of putting together a good investment strategy? Can you share some good resources for people who are interested in starting to invest but uncertain of how or where to begin?

Frank: First thing I look at is how long before you need this money. Time horizon is the most important factor when determining what kind of asset allocation model is needed. If the time horizon is short, less than 5 years, then there will be more cash or cash equivalents in the portfolio. If the time horizon is longer, then less cash is needed. Once I have that portion of the allocation created, I can then divide the other assets over other assets classes. The basic classes are; Large Capitalization, Mid Capitalization, Small Capitalization, International, Corporate Bonds, Government Bonds and cash. Each one of these has subsets of classes as well, but I don’t want to confuse anyone with those details. Yahoo finance or Morningstar are great resources for someone starting out.

MO: Can you expand on how your firm sits on the cutting edge of the available techniques and income modeling which can help create an ideal retirement plan for each client?

Frank: Our firm is local Financial Planning firm. We invest very heavily in our technology as does our Broker Dealer and Registered Investment Advisory firm. We utilize the services of the Country’s largest Broker Dealer and Registered Investment Advisory firm. We have access to some of the biggest and brightest money managers. This allows us to provide personal plans for each client we work with. Part of the financial planning process is to devise ways to create sustainable income, which can be very tricky these days given the low interest rate environment which exists today.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Frank: I specialize in Employer Retirement Plans, like 401(k)’s. These past few years the Department of Labor has started to crack down on employers for not keeping expenses reasonable. One study I read showed that 45% of Employers thought that paying 4% in retirement plan expenses was reasonable. That number is outrageous. This crackdown from the DOL has forced many employers to take another look at their plan, which is creating a huge opportunity for me to growth my practice. I can offer services that the typical Financial Advisor cannot, which puts me in a great position when it comes to acquiring new clients.


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